Friday, July 20, 2007

Music at Oxford

It's stormy and rainy today so we decided to forgo today's trip to Keats' house and Notting Hill. I hope we'll go tomorrow but we shall see. Staying home actually worked out well though, as I have my final week of Oxford Architecture coming up and must prepare a 2,000 word essay and presentation (both of entirely separate entities). I also have to read about 400 pages for Literary Makings of the Modern Self. Apparently this type of work load is entirely normal for Oxford students. For any given class most English students read an average of three novels a week and write ten page papers every other week. No wonder they don't have televisions in their rooms. I've begun my local reading in my room but it's time for a change of environment so I'm about to head to a local coffee shop to read some more.

That being said, I'll jump into today's topic of focus: Music at Oxford. I was surprised by the ubiquitous presence of music here in Oxford. It's the only place I can ever remember being where it's perfectly normal to pass someone on the street who is practicing their scales as they scurry off to their final destination. It's also the only place I've been where a lecture has been somewhat interrupted by the incessant singing of a choir group from afar. Choral groups gather on main streets in black robes and sing for everyone who passes. It's fun to see but the already tourist crowded streets often become clogged when the singing starts. And while I haven't had the pleasure of seeing them because they don't have a scheduled time, I've also heard of a choir who walks down an alley street called Turl Street singing Christmas carols during every season of the year. The emphasis isn't only on vocals though. I'm not sure who it is but there's someone (or some people for that matter) who play the piano in the Trinity College chapel often. Whoever plays is wonderful and the lulling of the piano has both woken me up at 7:32ish and put me to bed past midnight. It seems like music is everywhere here in one way or another, and it only adds to Oxford's character.

On that note, I think I'm going to head into town for some hot chocolate and a pastry to accompany my reading. Perhaps I'll encounter someone practicing their scales along the way.

I recently found a great chill rock version of Rihanna's "Umbrella" by Scott Simon. You can check it out here.