Thursday, April 12, 2012
Pete's Pantheon: Dame Evelyn Glennie, Breaking the Sound Barrier
The woman leans intently over the marimba, She lays down a complex tattoo with her mallets, sending out a warm and complex envelope of sound that fills the auditorium. Her audience listens eagerly as the music rings in the air. It is music the musician feels, but cannot hear. Evelyn Glennie, the world's only touring classical solo percussionist, has been deaf since the age of twelve.
This does not stop her from playing the piano, the marimba and drums of all descriptions. Sound is just the way our ears interpret vibration. Hold a tuning fork to your jaw and the pitch will come alive, transmitting through your bone with an immediacy that is felt as much as heard. Glennie performs barefoot to better absorb the vibrations into her body. Here is where she has the advantage. While the rest of us listen with our ears, Glennie listens with her entire body.
The question of who is the better listener suddenly becomes less evident. Music is in her bones.