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Classical 101

Your Comments: 'Don't Do Away with Orchestra Warm-ups'

Last Friday, I wrote a blog post about a story in The Scotsman that probed the idea of abolishing the onstage warm-up before orchestra concerts. I figured a few of you might have some opinions about doing away with this longstanding musical tradition, so I asked you to share them with me. Boy, did you ever! Judging from your comments in response to my post, it seems that not only are you not put off by the onstage warm-up, you actually desire it. One of you wrote that the orchestra concert experience just wouldn't be the same without the warm-up and tuning rituals. And the fervor of all of your comments suggests that the sound of an orchestra's pre-concert warm-up has become not just familiar, but iconic, truly enmeshed in the sonic fabric of our world. Inspired by your comments, I searched around to get a sense for just how prevalent the passion for this auditory collage really is. It's pretty prevalent. Although in a comment on a review of a recent Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert in The Baltimore Sun, one disappointed concertgoer used the sound of an orchestra warming up as a disparaging simile for a performance he found poor, I was reaffirmed by the dozens of web sites that offer downloadable audio of orchestras warming up. Seems there's a market for it. Who knew? If onstage warm-ups ever are excised from the orchestra concert experience, don't worry: click here to download a cell phone ring tone that sounds like an orchestra gearing up for a performance. Then, whenever anyone calls, your own little orchestra will warm up just for you.