The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality) | Intellectual Takeout

Family singing at the piano

Over the last 20 years, fewer people are learning how to read and compose music. What impact has that had on the music we listen to?

Source: The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality) | Intellectual Takeout

“Oh yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute:
Candles in the window, carols at the spinet!”

These famous lines, from the still-popular secular Christmas song “We Need a Little Christmas” (1966) are not just me longing for Christmas, in this steamy central Maryland August (although neither would I deny it), but an illustration of the linked essay‘s point: that although most people listening to it today probably gloss right over the line without a clue as to what is meant, the song would have been unlikely to contain those lyrics, if “carols at the spinet” (a once-popular type of small, drop-action piano) had not been an easily-recognizable feature of Christmas cheer at the time it was written.

It’s certainly recognizable to me! Born in 1965, the third and much the youngest of three brothers, I grew up with a “spinet” (actually a furniture console piano) in our home: one which my father had purchased for my mother years before – at a time when they were still struggling financially – because he knew how much music meant to her. Continue reading “The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy (and Quality) | Intellectual Takeout”

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