Sunday, December 28, 2008


The precipitating factor for the recent posts on music as massage was the presence of a harp at the Christmas concert of the community band and choir. Ms. Maestro is Anne Michaud, an accomplished harpist who also played with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She was the accompaniment for one of the choral numbers, and I got to sit directly behind her on the next tier up, with my music stand sitting down on her tier, so I couldn't have really been any closer.

As she played, I both heard the sound and felt the vibrations in my torso. I can't remember a more pleasing musical sensation.

Another thing that struck me was that Ms. Michaud has the compact build and physical manner of a gymnast. She brings a lot of physical energy to bear on the instrument, and has great enthusiasm in doing so. One of the ideas informing the learning materials is that music is, a least in part, simply physical gesture made audible. Ms. Michaud playing the harp wonderfully demonstrates the interplay of physical gesture and musical forms.

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