Musical appreciation

Last week I had a go at the BBC’s musicality test.

It turns out I’m not that musical.

While I did reasonably well at the objective tests on identifying genre and rhythm, and have a reasonable ear and can recognise when tunes are the same although in different keys, I scored very low on ‘social creativity’.

This score must have been calculated based on answers given to survey type questions.  And here I had the same problem I always have with surveys.

What is the difference between ‘agree’, ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree completely’?

It always seems to me that I either agree or I don’t; it’s hard for me to distinguish between the degrees of quality of my agreement.  If it’s only lukewarm agreement, then it’s probably closer to disagreement.

It is equally unlikely that I could ever tick the box indicating complete agreement, because there is always some small element with which I am not in accord.  I might agree at the moment, but how am I to know if I will still have the same view tomorrow; and in order for me to be able to call it ‘complete’ I’d need to know that it would be universally true.

But might the results of the test be right?

I’d like to think I’m fairly creative, but have no strong desire to be particularly ‘social’ while I’m doing it.

I’m not one for singing along, or joining in community singing and have never been within 10 yards of a karaoke machine.

I quite like a concert, but they’d be so much better without all those other people there, coughing and rattling sweetie papers in the classical world, or shoving and pushing in rock venues(!).

All this brought to mind ‘Musical Appreciation’ classes at school, when we would sit and listen to a scratchy LP played on a single speaker record player placed on the teacher’s desk at the front of the room.  I don’t really remember appreciating any of it very much.

There was once, though, a near riot, which was fun.

For some reason, although it was a mixed comprehensive, for music (and gym) classes we were divided into boys and girls.  This was the era when all teenage girls were either fans of the Osmonds (Donny in particular) or David Cassidy.  The good girls tended to like Donny; the more unconventional, David.

The (male) teacher, in a misguided effort to be ‘trendy’, (always such a mistake; see Gordon Brown, the Arctic Monkeys and Desert Island Discs), started to play ‘Crazy Horses’ by the Osmonds.  I expect opinions still differ to this day on the merits of this particular track, but on that occasion it managed to offend everyone in room.

The David fans wouldn’t listen to anything with the Osmond name attached, and the Donny fans thought that this was an awful song and that there were much better ones of Donny singing on his own.

It’s hard to know exactly what the chain of events was, but I distinctly remember the teacher grabbing the record player and holding it above his head to keep it out of reach of the surge of girls, while terrible scratching and scraping noises emerged from both machine and children.

And then there were those painful Music and Movement classes – ‘you are a tree – grow’.

But maybe that’s for another day.

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1 Comment

  1. margaret nickels

     /  January 19, 2011

    I know what I like ! And it is not any of those weird suggestions after the survey ! We are back to communication again …….. surely music has the capacity to convey something to us even if we cannot read a note .

    Reply

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