News Category: Current Events
By: Varsha Vaidyanath
The elevator music switches to “…and a partridge in a pear tree,” TV commercials begin to embody the holiday spirit, and we know that the Christmas season is upon us. We may not see Christmas decorations and holiday lights in every house in our neighborhood, but the music that entwines with our day-to-day activities always evokes the Christmas spirit without fail.
Today, various media sources incorporate the spirit of Christmas through music and songs. Imagine a time when music echoed of the Gregorian Chant in Latin from the halls of the ancient monasteries–a timeline where interactions existed exclusively in person. The earliest written music is known to be mostly Church Music. Minstrels roamed the castles, spreading cheer and joy.
As the music evolved outside of church, oral traditions began to take roots. Sharing music must have been extremely laborious and expensive, requiring many hours with the quills. Having no instant music sharing and streaming tools, the most practical way must have been through oral traditions. Christmas caroling tradition began in the nineteenth century, and the spirit of traveling across the town to wish neighbors good health and fortune likely laid the foundation for caroling. Music books during nineteenth century popularized Christmas carols. It may be uncommon to find carolers at your doorstep today, but the tradition of caroling still exists. My Girl Scouts troop follows the tradition of caroling in the cable cars of San Francisco, spreading the spirit of Christmas through music.
Music can manifest itself in many ways, including our memories. Mr. Dandrea, AP Music Theory and Band teacher at Amador Valley High School, can attest to that. He fondly recalls getting a Christmas tree with his family and listening to the same tape of Christmas music every year. “We always play music when we cook holiday dinners. Different activities from my childhood have unique musical memories associated with them; when I hear that song, I remember the memory. I never hear music not playing during the holidays.”
Whether we invoke the spirit of Christmas music instantly on Spotify or Pandora or indulge in singing with friends and family, we can unanimously concur that music brings about a sense of warmth and comfort during the holiday season. As Mr. Dandrea details, “Listening to Christmas music gives me the feels of the ‘warm season.’ I feel the need to bundle up and imagine warm smells.” Agreed, Mr. Dandrea!
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