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Classical Notes

The Strings are the Things....

Posted at 9:16 AM on June 9, 2008 by Ward Jacobson

The country singer Eddy Arnold died recently. My mom was a big fan of his, so I was more than a little familiar with his music.

What I didn't know was that his career was just about down the tubes in the early 60s when he tried something that was basically unheard of at the time in Nashville - he added strings to his recordings. Arnold figured if he just took the same kind of songs he'd been singing and added violins, he'd have a new sound. Evidently he got "cussed out" by more than a few people for trying it, but guess what? Arnold's career was rejuvenated and the string section became a consistent part of the "Nashville Sound" for years to come.

I'll never forget the first time I heard a string section, live in a concert hall. It was such a thrilling, exhilarating sound. Even today when I hear an orchestra performance, those first notes from the strings give me the chills.

So hats off to all you string players out there - what a glorious sound you make.