Art Carden  

What Modernity Hath Wrought: The Sacred, the Profane, and the Absolutely Amazing

Against crony capitalism, Ital... My Two Modes...

Here's a sad mistake I encounter all too often: people think economic growth and technological progress are substitutes for rather than inputs into enjoyment and appreciation of finer things like the arts or deeper things like the sacred.

I offer this video as a counterexample. The artist has apparently arranged "I Need Thee Every Hour" into a nine-part acapella harmony and posted a video in which he's singing all nine parts.

Maybe I'm just easily impressed, but this is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. My kids are captivated by it. Right now, I just watched it a few times while my three-year-old daughter sat in my lap and tried to sing along and copy the singer's motions.

You know what's really cool? You wouldn't be able to fit everyone who had a part in the video into a football stadium. Or ten: somewhere, there's someone who swept the floor at the store or warehouse that housed the singer's headphones for a short period. Someone somewhere grew the coffee consumed by the logger who cut down the tree that was used to make the pencil the singer used to scribble a few thoughts on a notepad. Someone somewhere wrote a line of code that, at some point, became part of YouTube. All of this specialization, trade, and division of labor allowed the singer to share his talents with the world.

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CATEGORIES: Growth: Consequences

COMMENTS (9 to date)
Tom E. Snyder writes:

"I, Music Video"

Julien Couvreur writes:

Along the same lines, you'll probably appreciate the different iterations of "Virtual Choir" on Youtube, which brings remote volunteer singers from all over the world.

blighter writes:

That's fun but not as good as Pamplemoose, for my money:

They're a couple who do the same trick but with detailed, many piece arrangements as well as harmonizing with themselves. They hit some small amount of fame doing ads for a car company a Christmas or two back. Their music & videos are all pretty nifty.

Brian writes:

I would second Julien's mention of Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir, I've been following his productions for a couple of years now, since the first one and they're always beautiful and awe inspiring.

And along the same lines, here's a couple other artists similar to the one in Art's post:

David R. Henderson writes:


Tracy W writes:

Who are these people who think things like that? I don't recall encountering any. Though I have encountered a few who think that science is incompatible with the arts.

Jon Murphy writes:

Ya know, this is a good point.

I am a deacon in my church and one of the biggest questions facing us is how to get bodies in the pews. On some level, I think the world is more secular today but on another level, I think the nature of faith has changed.

You've given me something to think about. Thank you

Steve Y. writes:

Artists have celebrated the Divine throughout history, and some of these works are universally acknowledged to be crowning achievements of Western civilization, e.g., Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Da Vinci's Last Supper, and Beethoven's Ninth.

No, this is not another polemic for Christianity; I just find it interesting that it used to be acknowledged that great beauty and artisty often were inspired by religion, and today we don't hear that point made at all.

"Nearer my God to Thee" -- the artist could have chosen thousands of other music pieces to demonstrate his virtuosity. Why this one, I wonder.

ThomasH writes:

I make a lot of comments critical of things I read here. This is one I'm happy to agree with.

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