sound meditations to eric whitacre

I must disclose, that although I am a lover of many different types of music, I am a hard-core choralist. Raised in the Minnesota in and out of Lutheran churches and having gone to a high school that was known for its excellent choral music, I am deeply entrenched in the world of SATB, a capella, and the lovable eccentricity of choir jokes, like “Just sing E flat, flat!” (Thank you Mr. Culloton.) At times this is an odd feeling, as I don’t come across too many brown-skinned folks in New York who admit to their choral geekiness and who do not identify with R&B music as much as renaissance love songs from somewhere in Europe in the so-called Middle Ages… and yet here I am. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of the typical classical Western set, Bach and Mozart and even Brahams are a bit rigid for me, but when I find a nice blend of the power of collective voice AND emotionality and free rhythm, I’ll take that over Alicia Keys any day. And I even like Alicia Keys. Most days. But rock band member-turned-choral composer Eric Whitacre is a solid favorite.

So this morning I put on my “meditations” playlist on my phone to do a little getting into the music (I am a fan of meditation but have a stubbornly active mind, so sitting quietly to music is my compromise) and when this song came on, I listened to it as if it was the first time. The soundscapes are dense, complicated, and flow and explode and recede… I actually saw vivid images of waters – rivers, waterfalls, lagoons – throughout. It was a fun and unexpected exercise, to try to create mental images from sound. And, a pleasantly invigorating meditation.

What different types of meditations do you like to try? Whether you intend them as a meditation or not, what activities do you find yourself pulled into, and emerge from feeling awake and refreshed?

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