This morning my house-mates and I had a debate about Classical Music. To me, it is the only soundtrack to my early mornings. I can't stand the banal misogyny of Chris Moyles, and I would far rather wake up to a string concerto than a pounding bass line.
However, their insistence that it was depressing got me thinking. Why is it that I find it so satisfying, and I came to two conclusions. Firstly that I am my own grandmother. Classical music with breakfast, tea leaves brewed in a pot, baking skills and an affinity for pruning things at the wrong time of year. I love this. Don't get me wrong, I love my laptop and blackberry also, but nothing makes me feel as safe and as loved as realising how much I have in common with one of those I love most in this world.
And the second is that I derive a strange pleasure from melancholy. I have a whole ipod playlist entitled rhapsody which is bloated with pieces in a minor key, which I adore. I listen, and I get that thing there you feel kind of like your heart is actually expanding. Sometimes I cry, but you know what, it makes me happy. The expression of the spectrum of human emotions as told by music isn't all lust and love, and heartbreak as Radio One would have us believe, but encompasses the history of human hope, tragedy and remembrance. And for me, the sadness of any given piece gives me such great faith in the ability of humans to deal with life, that Barber's Adagio for Strings is a source of comfort to me, rather than the most tragic piece of music ever written.
I have dance and my grandparents to thank for forcing a know-it-all western kid to open her ears, and then her heart, to such a gift as this "depressing"/"boring" music
has given me.