Balkan Folk Dance, or, why I didn't do well in ear training

Back in High School, back before there was dirt, freshman year it was, 1975-76 school year, winter term or spring, I'm not entirely sure which, I got drafted by my sister into taking a folk dance PE course. She paid for this; my feet were basically the same size they are today, and I was six inches shorter, or some such difference [can you say clumsy?] My sister folk danced barefoot, I wore hiking boots, they made me dance next to my sister, I had my revenge! Mwa ha ha! Oh yeah, it was spring term that Dave Adlhoch started the folk dance class.

Anyway, there I was at an early, formative, stage in my life, tossed into the world of Eastern European Folk Dance, Balkan, Turkish, Russian, and all parts in between, with excursions to Israeli Folk Dance. I spent the next five years or so taking folk dance classes for PE, and attending the then very active Reed College Folk Dance scene every Friday evening, gradually growing into my feet and gaining a great fondness for Eastern European Folk Music, including buying what records were available in the Portland area.

Fast forward to 1983, Portland Community College, I'm taking Music Theory, doing well in the composition section [while showing my rebel creds by giving the melody to the Tenor part, let the Sopranos suffer!], doing well in the sight singing section, but having real problems in the ear training section. See, to Western ears, minor chords are supposed to sound "wrong", this is part of how you identify them as being minor; take someone who has spent much of the proceeding seven years cultivating a taste for Eastern European, Israeli, and other folk music, and none of what they played sounded "wrong" to me, I was used to chords which cannot be done using "traditional" J.S. Bach based Western European tempered chords and harmony, this stuff was ho hum boring and sounded just fine to me, if unimaginative.

Just goes to show I was too worldly for that class, my ears weren't parochial enough for them.

I was reminded of this just now, as I sat listening to the Bulgarian Women's Choir 1993 world tour CD; still sounds just fine to me.

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