Sacred, secular, set to poetry or neutral syllables, vocal music can be found in most every corner of the New Music world. The voice is perhaps the most flexible and expressive instrument out there; everything from oboes to guitars is compared to it. There is something instantly rousing and sort of, well, human about vocal music. It translates emotion in a very visceral way.
This week we'll explore the far corners of vocal music, from secular choral music to songs of lament.
I have a hard time digesting sung poetry; I had always chalked this up to early exposure to opera in foreign languages, but I've learned that a lot of my fellow instrumentalists suffer from the same affliction. Lately I've been making a concerted effort to listen to and absorb lyrics. How do you feel? Does music enhance text or obscure it?