Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cultural Chauvinism Note

I'm still in Amsterdam, still in the shadow of the Westerkerk.  And earshot: they've got a carillon, and it plays night and day: this the church whose bells Ann Frank wrote that she liked to listen to before the Nazis carted them away for the war effort  (for a downloadable ringtone version, go here).  Folks in Holland seem to be proud of their carillons: I've heard several so far, and there's even a cute little display at the Amstrerdam History Museum where you get to sample them by pressing buttons.  The Westerkerk varies the program on a pattern I have not yet discerned (or no pattern at all).  They do seem to repeat and so far, no St. Louis Blues.

I don't mind it, and perhaps I even like it though I wonder what it might be like after a year or so.  I grew up within earshot of the bell on a country church that tolled the hours, though it was a couple of miles away and pretty faint (the church is still there), I wonder about the bells?).  I suppose I thought that was okay, though I suppose that it was mostly just part of the background noise.

But I have to confess, in  Muslim country, when I get waked by the muezzin, I get annoyed: why can't they just shut up and let me sleep?  Is this pure cultural chauvinism?  Or well-grounded musical taste?

Update: For a more nuanced view, go here.

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