Sunday, March 18, 2007

Terminological drift

The BBC news has a report that "boys tend not to join choirs because they think their singing voices "do not sound like boys", with the "sound of boys" now understood to be that produced by young men who sing in "boy bands". The name "boy bands" already contained some some substantial redefinition in that the proper membership of these groups were not instrumentalists, but rather singers, continuing the tendency long present in pop music in which singers were more fully integrated into "the band", as opposed to the traditional separation of instrumental and vocal forces (orchestra/choir, big band/singers, etc.).

(There is also a popular redefinition in which music is no longer made/written/composed by a composer or even a songwriter, but rather by a band; radio announcers seldom indicate the specific authors, and a great number of listeners can readily ID the band in question but not the individual composers.)

There is a real knot of gender and mass culture issues involved here which are well beyond my sphere of knowledge and , to be honest, interest, but will note that some of the childrens' choirs I heard in Hungary, with both boys and girls in the ensemble, were remarkable, achieving musical results with - to my ears - sophistication well beyond that of the best-known German-speaking or English Boys' choirs. (I say it's a spinach childrens' choir, and I say to hell with it!).

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