Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Beauty Of Life Made Manifest In The Art Of Music, Amidst The Bustle Of Living -- A Social Experiment

What if one of the world's greatest living musicians were to anonymously set himself in a station where thousands of commuters pass through everyday, tune his antique and very expensive instrument, and then begin to play pieces that have captivated audiences and that have lasted for centuries? Would people realize what they were hearing and stop? Would people be drawn to this music--interpreted as best as humanly possible--and glean that this music was speaking to them about their lives, about existence, about who we are as people, about more than making a living?

In a social experiment conducted by The Washington Post, esteemed violinist Joshua Bell did just that. Read this, Pearls Before Breakfast. It's a rather longish piece, so no excerpts. Just click then read, and listen to the videos. (In fact, if I were to copy-and-paste excerpts as I usually do, I might just end up copying-and-pasting the whole article.)

What do you think of the results of the experiment?

I'm not sure if I would have stopped if I had been a commuter passing through on that day. I'd probably be thinking of meetings, deadlines, reports, and what-have-you. And I would have missed out.

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