Surrender to the sound of the Herd

Posted by on Oct 8, 2007 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


When I was a boy, I spent a lot of my time singing in choirs – in school concert halls, in churches, cathedrals and all over. While it’s not very rock n roll, mixing your voice with those of others gives you a particular buzz. 2-3 voices in harmony are great but more is extraordinary. All very transcendant.

One of the composers I most loved – and still do – is Thomas Tallis (see pic), the acknowledged Father of English Church music. His unaccompanied anthems and motets just make me quiver, both inside and out. They bring something of the calm and the serenity of damp, echoing medieval cathedral to mind whilst being fully and immediately human and connected.

None more so than his masterpiece Spem in Alium, for 8 choirs of 5 voices (that’s 40 musical lines). Go here to download (I think) or here to buy.

Wallowing in the sound of all those human voices with their different and overlapping melodic lines is the perfect metaphor for the authentic experience of our HERD nature. Go on, surrender yourself…


  1. El Gaffney
    October 8, 2007

    this may not be the most appropriate post on which to comment but wanted to pass along a herd behavior. it’s not about singing (as much as i always wanted to be part of a university a Capella group – it seems like they are growing in #’s by the way), rather dancing. i’ve definitely seen an increase in group dances in clubs and at weddings (the invisible group jump rope is quite popular these days in the u.s.) and mike k. has documented some line dances on his blog –

  2. Adriana
    October 8, 2007

    Tallis’ Spem in Alium is one of my favourite pieces of music, together with Allegri’s Misere and Exsultet.
    Hm, for me their music it is not the sound of the heard, but a way of escaping from it… that’s my meaning of transcendental. 🙂

  3. hugh macleod
    October 9, 2007

    Just bought it, on your suggestion. AMAZING!
    [I was once a choirboy]