Back from the wedding of one of the violinists I play chamber music with. Coupled with a graduation 2 weeks ago and a craft festival last week, this means not much Anslyn && Dougherty got read (or anything else). I will say, after getting through 100 pages or so, that A&&D reads like a novel, is extremely fascinating, well paced and extremely clear for the most part. It’s like being rip van Winkle and seeing answers to the many of the questions exercising organic chemists in the early 60s. Clayden et. al. was an excellent prolog.
Two points about music making. First, unlike the polls about who’s the greatest chemist etc. etc. amateur musicians know almost immediately if another amateur is better than they are. By better, I don’t mean more technically adept, which you can get around by enough practice. I mean sheer musicality. We all have musicality to varying degrees, and I find interesting, that amateurs rarely disagree about who is ‘better’ than they are. Compare this the venom expended about sports teams or their individual players; It’s obvious to me that the newlywed violinist is lightyears better than I’ll ever be. When we play, she’s the boss, despite being 43 years younger.
Second, playing music allows you to get to know what people are like (not just musically) in an incredibly short period of time. It’s nonverbal communication of a high order, mostly affective, and very intense. I was invited to a cellist’s wedding despite having played music with her for only 5 -6 hours over the course of a chamber music festival. A connection is formed that would take repeated social contacts over a much longer period of time, otherwise. Just another reason to love music, and music making.