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Christmas music wouldn’t be the same without animals

By: Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

When we think of Christmas and animals we may think of Santa’s reindeers or the manger in Bethlehem. We may think of turkey dinners and Beeswax candles or horse drawn sleigh rides, the Red Cardinal or fur-lined mitts.  We don’t often think of music though.

Music will fill churches around the world this December 25, music that would not sound so true if not for animals. I learned this in an article about how Europe’s “mad cow disease” rules threaten the classical music industry. You see, there is a centuries-old technique of making musical instrument strings out of beef gut. A needless European ban on using beef gut for cello and violin strings could bring an end to this music in Europe.

Musicians warn that regulations are threatening the industry and could force gut string manufacturers to close. This could have disastrous consequences for the ‘period orchestra’ movement, which aims to recreate every aspect of music as it was first performed in the years 1650-1750. As one famous cellist said, “It would be like telling pop stars they couldn’t use microphones at a concert.”

Gut string is considered musically to be the best; superior to synthetic or steel alternatives.  But more importantly, according to musicians, putting metal strings on old instruments designed for gut string would create a distorted sound. Many classical musicians use instruments 100s of years old.

Without gut strings, they argue, it would be impossible to play the music of Purcell, Handel, Vivaldi and Bach as the composers intended it to be heard. The consequences would be that professional European symphonies would no longer play these classics.

And for me Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Handel.

Christmas is yet another example of how animals are so much a part of our modern day lives and of our traditions and celebrations.

Merry Christmas to all.

Until the Next Blog


Posted by FFC on December 19th, 2011 :: Filed under animal by-products,Consumers,Turkeys,winter
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