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Thread: Does one have to know the language to enjoy the music?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Clouds Weep Snowflakes's Avatar
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    Default Does one have to know the language to enjoy the music?

    I personally find Rimsky-Korsakov's Operas I've listened to by now to be very appealing, as well as vocal music in German in general despite speaking neither Russian nor German; is that normal? Does it happen to you as well, or you must be proficient to listen to the music?

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    What if the language were a total invention ? The music and structure (compositional design + performance setting ) would be completely responsible for all meaning .

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    Music with unintelligible lyrics are still enjoyable the same way music with just instruments are enjoyable. That being said, Bach's Passions become really boring if you don't understand what's going on during the recitatives. Thankfully there are English translations I can follow along with

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    English, German and Dutch are no problem. I can usually at least understand some of the French, but there, and in other languages like Italian, Czech, Russian etc I would follow a translated libretto when it's an opera. For songs/Lieder/chansons I usually do not bother, and just enjoy the overall experience.

    Likewise, some of my favourite pop/rock songs are in mandarin, thanks to my wife alerting me to them. And likewise, my Singapore staff (1999-2002) really enjoyed some Dutch songs I played for them.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    Senior Member TwoFlutesOneTrumpet's Avatar
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    Words in (classical) music are irrelevant to me. So yeah, as long as the music is good
    Last edited by TwoFlutesOneTrumpet; Aug-27-2019 at 19:01.

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    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    Some people will be content to have learned the standards of fine taste and virtuosity . It is an accomplishment . What appreciation is there when the composer kneels to the poet ?

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    Senior Member Annied's Avatar
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    For me no, not at all. It's how the actual sound of the words fits the music rather than their meaning.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Tikoo Tuba's Avatar
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    The composer would be challenged to make an alien's lyrical joke absolutely laughable .

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