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AuthorMusician
Christmas tunes strike me as being one of three things: horribly annoying, funny, or really very good.

Annoying: shopping mall musak renditions of pretty much anything, closely related to elevator, er, stuff.

Funny: grandma getting run over by a rogue reindeer. Well, for the first 100 times or so.

Really very good:
Carol Of The Bells, Lindsey Stirling

I'm also a fan of those huge built-in cathedral organs, something that needs to be experienced live. Recordings don't seem to get it right.

So what are your favorites? Most disliked? Funniest?



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Trouble
So what are your favorites? Most disliked? Funniest?

For the most part I'm resistant to Christmas tunes. Winter makes me listen to Wagner in general. I typed in best Christmas songs and YT continually spits out Mariah Carey. unsure.gif

I'll go with something safe with Leonard Cohen Hallelujah

net2007
I've got an interesting song that I'll bet the members here haven't heard, It's by Benny Grunch & The Bunch. I'm half Cajun and from New Orleans originally, these guys were well known down there for their comical Christmas album (The 12 Yats). We've all heard variations of The 12 Days Of Christmas, so here's something different from their album. It's called Mblueh Rchristmasah, related to its distant cousin Blue Christmas. You'll either find it funny or annoying depending on your taste...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhxtK2BIHYw...4b&index=20

Many of us speak this way in southern LA. Nah, I'm kidding ....
or am I?

For Christmas songs that I listen to when I want to get into the Christmas spirit, I have a few. For now, the ones I can think of are (So This is Christmas- John Lennon), (Silent Night - Various Artist), (Last Christmas - Wham), (Little Drummer Boy - Various Artist) and (Carol of the Bells - Various Artist). Carol of the Bells could be my favorite so good choice AM. For those unfamiliar, as with many Christmas songs, there are several versions it. I like the John Williams version for the simplicity....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnEUC4eZjjA

and big orchestra/choir versions of it (like the one below) for the powerful voices, instruments, and coordination it takes to pull something like this off...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-W2Bkz_Rno
LoneWisdom

https://youtu.be/S67XYlnmu2I
AuthorMusician
I've been thinking about what people really mean by traditional Christmas music. Seems obvious that it has to do with stuff they heard as kids, but it strikes me as deeper than this.

The darkest days of winter have their own unique feeling that is more universal than Christmas or solstice or whatever holidays are celebrated. There's quietness in the woods and clarity in the air, and when a storm hits around this time, it tends to be quiet as well. I am of course thinking about northern weather. It could be different to the south, and all I have to go on for that are my three years in Memphis, TN. It wasn't much different during those three seasons. Well, the busker playing Hendrix on Beale Street was different. Also the BBQ joints. Still, overall, Silent Night fit.

With this in mind, here are some classical Christmas numbers done on period instruments:

Corelli Christmas Concerto

Bach Christmas Oratorio

While likely unfamiliar to most, these examples also fit into the season, albeit not so silent due to orchestra-sized ensembles.

As for the magic of keeping such large groups together, it's the conductor, who is half a beat ahead of the orchestra, who performs this feat, along with the first-chair violinist. That's how symphonic orchestras pull it off. In other forms of music like rock, blues, country, even rap, the drummer drives the bus followed closely by the bass player.

Solo acts depend on an internal sense of beat, sometimes tapping feet. Sometimes dancing happy feet, popular among banjo players and fiddlers. I like to watch those acts. I'm not so crazy about guitarists who make fake faces while playing, like that guy on the 1980s SNL shows, G.E. Smith. But he was just joking around, I think.

Anyway, classical Christmas music is a gas gas gas.
AuthorMusician
QUOTE(LoneWisdom @ Dec 5 2017, 06:42 PM) *


Heh, that's a very good parody.

Here's my submission for greatest musical parody 2017:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHu-2vyvaQY

The bossman has found his strongest talent. Young Springsteen never looked so good.

Here's the funniest Christmas song ever recorded, IMO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh8c3BmSfDE

And this one is the most annoying, except it made me laugh a lot. Ah, children and toys . . . in the worst way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsOO1rwnPi0

YouTube is full of this stuff. Have fun picking your own! santa.gif

Edited to add:

I love older jazz for a lot of reasons, but the primary one is how added complexity allows the expression of a greater feeling range. With that in mind, here's how jazz has increased the feeling range of our most beloved Christmas tunes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm4LO22-cyY

Not bad for the Devil's music, eh? Well, before R&R got that distinction. Still, it's similar to cooking -- too much of a good thing spoils the stew. More modern jazz hits me that way. Way too much cilantro! Just because you can burn up your instrument doesn't mean you should, most of the time. Classical ran into that situation too, so it isn't just jazz.

Calm down, breath . . . try more cowbell.
AuthorMusician
Ode To Joy (Beethoven's Symphony No. 9) isn't exactly a holiday tune, but this rendition seems appropriate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIiTdsvCjYo

Just happens to be in my home state too.

There are many examples like this on YouTube, which to me is the quintessential good use of tech.
AuthorMusician
This guy has become one of my favorite YouTube guitarists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjVl0UQiZ5M

So that's why there are Christmas tunes. It really is about nostalgia, the stuff that makes tunes classics. Except I suppose when the memories are first built. But then there's something else at work, maybe archetype memory? Or some kind of universal response?

Anyway, the guy plays like ringing a bell. Pretty good handle on music in general too. His videos are well edited and sometimes seem professionally produced, so I'm guessing it's a collaboration.

*

I've been a fan of Jethro Tull since my oldest brother gave me Thick As A Brick in 8-track format. Then later I got Songs From The Wood as an LP. Here's Solstice Bells from that album, a live performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ShwcA8KkkM

Ian Anderson sure can mug the camera. Winter solstice happened yesterday, always comes a few days before Christmas. Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Time to ring them bells flowers.gif

Sidebar: Just saw a piece on current pop/country music and how the I-IV-V-vi chord progression, with variations on the chord order and number of bars given to each chord, characterizes pretty much all current pop/country. Now I can't stop messing around with it, like when the 12-bar blues progression was shown to me eons ago. Doing The Mess Around John Candy style (ft. Ray Charles):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5miXR-BaQM
AuthorMusician
Christmas has come and gone, and now we look toward the new year. It has caused me to consider where music is going outside of pop culture, which is basically the same formulas done with relatively small variations. Nothing wrong with that, since familiarity is core to selling music. I like tunes that remind me of other tunes, a sort of reel dance, but I also am attracted to those musicians who mess with the ideas or introduce entirely new approaches.

Annie Clark (St. Vincent) is one of those:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Vincent_(musician)

She's only 35-ish, and to be this far along is remarkable. She has even designed her own guitar, made by Ernie Ball. Her success has come to a large degree from her mystery and what I call the crazy SNL female mystique, currently embodied by Kate McKinnon. It's in the eyes. Kate is a few years younger than Annie and no stranger to music, but Kate has concentrated on comedy.

So what's this mean for 2018? My guess is that these two, along with armies of other performers of the female and male body types, will be, er, instrumental in bringing about major cultural and political changes. The sense I get is that it'll rhyme with 1968, hopefully without the bloodshed that happened in Chicago and subsequent bad times. That's probably due to nostalgia and wishful thinking, but I'm pretty sure 2018 will become historically significant, and in an ultimately positive way. I bet we get a bunch of memorable works, similar to the Beatles' catalog and the other stuff that was going on in comedy and literature during that time. The politics will change too as my generation dies out and the newer ones take over.

While there's nothing new about these prognostications, the year 2018 could become the time of convergence when humanity takes a giant leap forward. Whatever it becomes, I'm looking forward to it even if it turns out bad.
Trouble
There is a gardening channel I follow up on who also happens to be musically inclined. He does have a pretty smooth voice.

One Yard Revolution
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