Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

15 February 2007

"A Satisfied Mind"

I've been needing to sing, but reluctant to sing. Lately I've been attempting--with some success--to give up the things which no longer 'feed' me, and singing songs of 'Faith and Joy' generally doesn't do it. It's not that I don't have 'faith' or 'joy', but my faith is not as narrowly defined as the Reader's Digest editors of the '70s (or, I suspect, of the present) would assume. Still, this is also a technical exercise: to sight read a piece, piano-wise, to learn it and sing it as technically well as I can at this moment, vocal-wise. This is an especially good exercise when I have no emotional attachment to the piece, when I can be more objective and distanced. This song is one of those pieces. I tried a new trick that I've learned with this one: my voice teacher suggested taking any songs written for men to sing down a third. It does work a lot better that way, it's very satisfying when a simple trick like this makes a difference.

I fear that my voice in general is not going to become what I want it to be by means of a simple trick, though. I've learned a lot of fun tricks with my voice teacher, but what I want from my voice is that quality of welcome: when someone hears me sing I want them to either sing along, or be wrapped in the warmth of the story that I tell. Now, I just sound like a classically trained singer. Not even a particularly gifted one, just an adequate one. I can sing in tune. I love music. I feel a sort of despair that I will not learn the tricks well enough to have my voice invite others to share that love on a vascular level.

Music is something so lovely in its universal nature: many, many people can share music with minimal talent, and very great pleasure. Being 'merely' a listener can also bring great joy, even transcendence. I don't know how to reconcile my very great and lifelong love of music, of singing, with this lack of talent, and it's more painful to know that I am most likely part of an immeasurely large group of peole who share this feeling.


At 4:46 PM, Anonymous binky said...

Faith and Joy, hmmm, isn't that the re-title for "I Love Patriarchy: Volumes 1-1000"? ;)


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