Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 2:32 pm
Music is not sound art, even though musical ideas find natural expression in melody and harmony, timbre and rhythm. Music may be carried in sound, but only in the way that our applause at a concert is carried in sound. Applause is clapping; it is stomping and shouting. These are noisy, but they are not noise. They are not sound as a physicist might think of sound. Music is to sound as gesture is to mere movement. Physics is only part of the story.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, 15 members of the Renaissance Street Singers gathered under a bridge in New York's Central Park. With little fanfare, they launched into a free, two-hour concert of music by Palestrina, des Prez and other composers who lived more than 500 years ago.