Teenagers’ Perception of Time Using the Song “Sinal Fechado” —Report of Experimental Results


The present article focuses on the experiences of this researcher while working with a youth chorus in Rio de Janeiro. With the goal of commemorating twenty years of activity as director of the choruses at the Colégio S?o Vicente de Paulo (Cosme Velho\RJ) in 2013, this researcher chose, for the annual concert presented by the youth choir SVEM, a repertoire of songs dealing with aspects of time; using this subject, it was possible to examine different interpretations related not only to the topic of time but also to the differences in meanings experienced by distinct age groups (the conductor and the young singers), resulting in a conflict of approaches during the rehearsals of the song “Sinal Fechado”. Consulted authors, such as Deleuze and Benjamin, through their reflections on the work of Marcel Proust (especially In Search of Lost Time) bring to the fore discussions of the meaning of the perception of time; this researcher intends to translate those questions as experienced in the process of rehearsal. Using material from doctoral classes at the PPGM-UNIRIO, some thoughts are proposed for a deeper understanding of the subject.

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Costa, P. and Rónai, L. (2014) Teenagers’ Perception of Time Using the Song “Sinal Fechado” —Report of Experimental Results. Creative Education, 5, 1703-1713. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.519189.

1. Introduction

Within great historical periods, the form of perception of human collectivities is transformed along with their mode of existence. The mode in which human perception is organized, the medium in which it takes place, is not only conditioned naturally, but also historically.

—Walter Benjamin.

Choral activity among young adults and adolescents has been the object of study during the academic career of this researcher1, especially with regard to questions related to collective song and observations regarding the non-musical consequences that the activity proposes. Above all, in the area of the youth chorus (dedicated to adolescents and young adults), there are many experiences, discoveries, and realizations—both for singers and their director—as well as doubts, speculations and challenges. The present study seeks to describe and discuss some of these singularities in the process of rehearsal.

It is in the repertoire that we find the propulsive spring of choral work, without which this activity does not exist. It is the point of departure from which everything will take place, as Figueiredo states (2006):

“The repertoire—that is, the set of works that a particular chorus performs—is the principal link between all the actors participating in choral activity—singers, conductor, and public—and the wire linking all the activities carried out by the ensemble—rehearsal, presentations, etc.” (Figueiredo, 2006: p. 44).

Thus, the choice of repertoire that is appropriate for the youth chorus is the focus of my interest for the doctorate; the researcher hopes to find answers for questions that permeate her practice and with which other conductors dedicated to the activity will be able to deal.

There are two rather distinct views having to do with choice of choral repertoire: 1) when it is suggested by the young singers themselves and 2) when it stems from the intentions of the conductor and/or director of the chorus. The criteria of the singers, usually, have to do with objective identification with the music, the emotion that it inspires, the message carried in the lyrics, in the style or even the performer of the previous recordings. It is also important for this choice to function as a point attracting their peers to the activity. Consequently, the singers will tend to choose pieces that they already know, with which they are familiar, and with which they identify.

Or, quoting Szpilman (2005),

“There is an inexhaustible range with respect to possible choices of repertoire, given that the choral singer, often, is not interested to know if there is a piece already ready, or does not even know, in the majority of cases, the procedures by which these materials are prepared. Often, he simply wants to sing the latest hit by his favorite group, the media hit, or even an opera aria, a pop-rock tune, some New Age music or any other genre, and, in this case, it falls to the director to prepare the singer to understand how the materials are produced, what scores are available, what the best strategies may be, which are consistent with what the director and the chorale believe to be the way—even if it is beginning to be traversed—and to find a coherent stylistic line for the group, no matter how heterogeneous” (Szpilman, 2005: p. 28).

For the conductor of youth choruses, above all school choruses, other concerns determine the choice of music; the need for broadening the musical universe of the students as the premise of the work of musical education, the configuration of the chorus with regard to number of voices, the musical level of the group (also taking into account that youth choruses are unstable and subject to significant changes from one year to the next), the pedagogical goals to be achieved, and often, the demands of the script for possible year-end presentation.

As a point in common to both choices—that of the chorister and that of the conductor—it can be observed that they will bring with them the earlier life history of the subjects in question at some level. With the assurance that this is only the beginning for larger and more detailed studies, in order to go more deeply into the subject, and from a non-technical point of view, we will make use of philosophy as an attempt to broaden the approach to the daily aspects of choral rehearsal.

For us to understand the values that go along with choices, let us take as an example the painting of the Mona Lisa; we understand that there is something about it that goes beyond the work in itself that makes it so popular in the Museum of the Louvre, where it is always surrounded by visitors and admirers. Included in the work are meanings and histories that make it a point of attraction, that go far beyond its esthetic value, pure and simple.

Or, as Rodrigues (2012) says,

“The way in which we feel is influenced by various factors, and these factors change historically. A good example of this relativity of the sensation of history is provided to us by Benjamin2, when he mentions that an ancient statue of Venus in the Greek tradition was seen as a cult object; while in the Middle Ages, “the doctors of the church saw it as a maleficent idol”.3 In both cases the statue being seen was the same, provided the same lines and forms to the eyes, but the way it was received was modified in accordance with the reality of the onlooker, in accordance with his experiences and the tradition that he is a part of” (Rodrigues, 2012: p. 173).

In the same way, motivations for choice of repertoire bring with themselves extramusical elements, depending also on the history experienced by each individual; their memories (voluntary or not), their values and objectives (whether esthetic, emotional, or even technical) cause new criteria to open for the list of repertoire chosen by distinct groups or individuals involved with the activity.

2. Context

2.1. The Idea of the Show

In 2013, completing 20 years of uninterrupted activity with the youth choruses of the Colégio São Vicente de Paulo (Cosme Velho\RJ), this researcher had the idea of exploring the theme of Time with the chorus of the Middle School (SVEM) of that institution. The SVEM—as it was called, using the initials of São Vicente Ensino Médio—is one of the youth groups of that school today made up of more than 100 students who are beginners in the activity of collective singing, between 14 and 18 years of age (approximately), including students ranging from the 9th year of elementary school to the third year of high school, in a non-obligatory activity. Since it was the first chorus that had been formed by this conductor in that institution, it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of the context in order to explore the commemorative theme.

Due to the success of the activity over the years, we have also received some students from other schools. Many of these young people (including the students from this school) come to us for the extracurricular activity interested in the possibility of singing in a group with an age range similar to theirs, with the added attraction of a theatrical approach of the chorus and the repertoire bordering on the popular; and, naturally, they are also drawn by the publicity for the thematic shows put on annually.

Thus, in October 2013 we put on the show “Pois é, quanto tempo...” [Indeed, it has been a long time], made up of 18 songs selected by this writer from a list of about 40 suggested by students, as well as 20 that had been recommended by the conductor. Below, in order to provide context for the reader, is a table (Table 1) with the arrangements and the order of the script.

Table 1. Set list for the show “Pois é, quanto tempo!”.

Since it is a chorus of beginners, and due to the disproportionate number of female voices in relation to male voices, as well as a number of technical issues due to questions relating to the age range in question, most of the arrangements had been written by this researcher, especially for this presentation. It is important to emphasize that the intention was to seek songs already known to the singers, as well as to introduce them to some songs from other generations.

2.2. “Olá, Como Vai?” [Hi, How’s It Going?]

There are signs that oblige us to think about lost time, that is, about the passage of time, of the annulling of what happened and of the alteration of beings (Deleuze, 2003: p. 16).

After about four months of rehearsals, once the technical aspects were resolved (that is, division of voices, tuning, breathing, memorization of melodic lines and verses, etc.) we moved on to preparing the interpretation of the songs. The theatrical organization (movement, posture) was also added to the vocal work, in order to help with the dramatic charge of the performance; first, however, we sought to reflect on the text of the songs, in order to increase interpretive expressivity. Benjamin (1985)4, in his text The Image of Proust, explains the value of the text in relation to the person who hears (reads) it and assimilates it.

“The quintessence of the experience is not to learn to hear prolix explanations that at first sight could be summed up in a few words, but rather to learn that these words are part of a jargon regulated by criteria of caste and class and are not accessible to strangers” (Benjamin, 2011: p. 42).

In this way, working with a young and heterogeneous public, it was necessary to analyze the context of the pieces, so that everyone might have better access to the ideas of the composers and to the script of the show to be presented at the end of the project.

When we were rehearsing the song Sinal Fechado5 [Red Light], by Paulinho da Viola, it was noticeable that the students—divided into two groups, responding to the dialogue presented in the song lyrics—tended to transform the music (with a melody in irregular meter and with colloquial meaning) into a game that was too impersonal and robotic. Understanding that the singers were more concerned with the technical-musical issues of a piece that they did not know, this researcher intervened in order to locate, in the poetry of the verses, something that would bring out the dramatic strength of the singers.

In looking at the final passage “... so many things that I had to say, but I vanished in the dust of the streets…...”, this conductor tried to remind them of the feeling of distance, lack of communications and nostalgia that can take place between two people who for some reason are temporarily separated, hoping that thus, they could deal with the exercise of the feeling of absence, through affective memory.

Deleuze (2003), in reflecting on the work In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust (which discusses time that has passed, time which is lost, and time that is being lost), states that “It is true that memory intervenes as a means of search, but it is not the most profound means; and time that is past intervenes as a structure of time, but it is not the most profound structure” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 3).

In fact, the work of Proust is not based on memory but rather on the learning of signs. This is the strategy that had been used, in order to understand what happened in the rehearsal process, which ended in the difficulty in understanding what was proposed.

To her surprise, this researcher observed about 70 singers who were apathetic about her thoughts, something unusual for a group quite in tune with the work of scenic expressivity and contextualization of songs. She tried to use other examples of distance, lack, and absence, so that they could manage to make the necessary transference in order to give the song a dramatic charge. Once again, it seemed that nothing that had been said could affect the majority of the students. It was as if they all in fact had a code of signs that was different from hers, so that no example or metaphor could reach them.

Seeking to understand this possible incommunicability, she thus looked for authors who could talk about the subject, and might bring a new approach to the attempt of communication between herself and the young singers.

The first assistance came from a consideration on the metaphors used in this context and their meanings. According to Rossetti (2005): “art [...] naturally uses images and metaphorical expressions in order to express itself and communicate its meaning” (Rossetti, 2005: p. 9). Discussing the thinking of the philosopher Henri Bergson, contemporary of Proust, the author reflects on the subjects of time and expression of signs, comparing them to Proustian reasoning.

“Bergson begins his studies by considering psychology in order to better understand the temporal reality of psychic life and Proust goes after the remembrances stored in his memory and makes his own inner life the reason for writing about time” (Rossetti, 2005: p. 6).

According to Rossetti (2005), “a metaphor would be the stylistic equivalent of the experience of involuntary memory6, which by the approximation of two sensations separated in time forces the manifestation of a common essence” (Rossetti, 2005: p. 12). This idea led me to a path that in a certain way clarified a little more the faults in this researcher’s choices for communication between conductor and singers in the process of rehearsal and study; the metaphors.

“Bergson points to a possible solution suggesting another way: the use of images and metaphors to express the intuition of moving reality. This, because the metaphor is not fixed on a single meaning, but transmigrates through various significations, accompanying the oscillations of the real” (Rossetti, 2005: p. 8).

Once more drawing on Deleuze (2003), his analysis of Recherche sheds considerable light on the communication of signs, very helpful in the analysis of that moment of the rehearsal:

“The unity of all the worlds is in that they form systems of signs emitted by persons, objects, materials; no truth is discovered, nothing is learned, except by deciphering and interpretation. But the plurality of worlds consists in the fact that these signs are not of the same type, do not appear in the same manner, cannot be deciphered in the same way, do not maintain with their meaning an identical relation” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 5).

This plurality, certainly, was the element that caused the difficulty in the communication of ideas between this researcher and her students, since the different experiences of life—a difference accentuated by the distance between generations—result in multiple interpretations of the metaphors presented by her.

In the same way, another statement by Deleuze (2003) unearthed a possible explanation for the lack of agreement in codes between conductor and choristers:

“Philosophy only addresses abstract truths that do not bind or disturb. Ideas [...] are free because they are born from intelligence, which only confers on them a possibility, and not from an encounter or an act of violence, which would guarantee authenticity. The ideas of the intelligence are only valid through their explicit and thus conventional signification” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 14).

That is, not having a real experience (encounter or violence) but rather, a rational notion (idea born from intelligence) of situations suggestive for the perception of the feeling, every action based on this would be only a possibility and not a guarantee of success.

This was when this researcher realized that she would not be able to extract from that group of adolescents the comprehension of the emotions of something that they live today in a rather different way in their personal relations: missing someone. This intuition lead her to infer that here there were also consequences of the effects of the passage of time (that, naturally, occurred in different rhythms since different age ranges were involved), with a difficulty in communication of proposals being revealed. This researcher found support in relation to this line of reasoning in Rodrigues (2012), who begins his text by stating:

“Modern transformations modify perception, which bring with them effects on memory; this faculty comes to accompany the rhythm of the cities. We show how Benjamin and Proust defend the idea that past and pre- sent cross and create new readings of reality. But while Proust preserves in his thinking a strong individual trait, Benjamin seeks to make these new readings of reality a collective task” (Rodrigues, 2011: p. 172).

This affirmation led her to seek in Benjamin bases that might explain intuitions which appeared in an empirical way in her practice, in the sense of verifying whether such observations could, in some way, contribute to the choice of proper material for a chorus of adolescents.

The researcher found in Rossetti (2005) the statement that “in so-called post-modernity time is different, it is no longer understood only as linear time, a causal succession of events juxtaposed in the linearity of past, present and future” (Rossetti, 2005: p. 2). It can be seen, then, that through perception of time in a rather different way, the difference of age between conductor and singers happens in an unequal way, reinforcing the gap observed between them, in the perception of the passing of time and in the form of expression of missing someone or something.

The young people making up this chorus are urban adolescents of the middle class of the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro. All have cell phones or smart phones, iPads, computers or laptops. All, without exception, are quite familiar with tools for social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the former Orkut. All still make use, frequently, of resources like Skype, Msn, What’sapp, Facetime, as well as text messages and emails, in order to get in touch with other individuals or groups in a rapid space of time, if not in real time. Consequently, it is possible to infer that few of them experience in their day-to-day life the permanent impossibility of contact, the distance imposed against one’s will, that leads us, too often, to miss someone. Because of these tools, the feeling of being unable to communicate is constantly mitigated. How could they reach the emotion that this researcher was referring to when commenting on the verses “...but I vanished in the dust of the streets...”?

This understanding led the researcher to some considerations that, assisted by the thought of Benjamin, she seeks to explain in this article. Rodrigues (2012) observes that “Reality modifies itself and of man it is required that he adapts to his new conditions just as he demands that reality adapt to his new perception. So there is a mutual influence in which “reality is oriented as a function of the masses and the masses as a function of reality”. Thus if man’s perception possesses all this plasticity, if it is determinantly influenced by the context in which it finds itself inserted, we must consider that the transformations which have taken place in the modern city exert a great influence on perception, and it is precisely these changes suffered by the perceptive apparatus, as well as their effects, that we are concerned to address here” (Rodrigues, 2012: p. 174).

We can cite some significant changes in the perception of time, based on man’s discoveries and his adaptation to the new reality. Until the invention of the electric light, we inferred that routines were oriented by the light of the sun and its climatic cycles, in accordance with geographical aspects. The artificial light bulb certainly brought changes to people’s daily lives, and consequently, reorganized time and the tasks to be completed; some of them would no longer need daylight to be done, which may have brought a different perception of the deadlines for carrying them out.

Still in relation to Benjamin’s thought, urban young people of today are used to different markers for the passage of time. They spend hours on end in shopping centers, where one can observe strategies for—exactly— losing track of time. While earlier generations only had radio and TV as media vehicles that reported the correct time (or whose daily programs were rigorously exhibited on schedule), today’s teenager can choose to not have contact with this notion of time, although staying informed and connected with the world.

Finally, considering the adaptations of modern life, this researcher could observe that the majority of her students are unable to or have difficulty in reading the time from a conventional clock, and through not having contact with the movement of the hands marking seconds, minutes and hours, may have a different perception of the passage of time. Digital clocks show only numbers. In addition to this, in Rio de Janeiro, we can observe that street clocks provide multiple bits of information, such as the date and the current temperature, as well as an impersonal greeting, like “Good morning!”. The correct time is no longer the only information that they provide.

Consequently, it is possible to identify new forms of the perception of time that has passed (and even of its relevance) in people’s lives, based on the development of man and his current necessities. Analysis of the context of occurrences can elucidate a little more the question of the difficulty of understanding that occurred on the occasions described. In making a comparison of the possible prior history of the differing individuals involved in this rehearsal—in this case, the conductor and the choristers—basic differences are observed in Table 2, here divided into columns, to facilitate presentation.

However, although agreeing with Benjamin’s vision, made explicit by Rodrigues (2012), it was these statements that led to the intention—on the part of the conductor—to adapt and accommodate the different perceptions in relation to the vision of the students of today.

Drawing on Benjamin (1985), whose analysis of the work of Marcel Proust leads him to reflect over the fact and the events, it is relevant to say that the gap between conductor and students took place precisely because of the difference between that which was lived and that which was remembered.

“Since a lived event is finite, or at least closed within the sphere of the lived, while the event remembered is without limits, because it is only a key to everything that came before and after. In another sense, it is remembrance that prescribes, rigorously, with mode of texture. That is, the unity of the text is only in the

Table 2. Aspects of the approach to the work by different individuals in the study.

um actus purus of remembrance itself, and in the person of the author, and much less in the action” (Benjamin, 1985: p. 37).

Drawing a parallel in relation to musical activity, we can make use of this “key”, which will lead the performer to other connections, beyond those of a technical nature, in order to establish paths leading to various emotions. Activating his memories and working with derivations, transferences and deductions, each subject (in this case, singer or conductor) will be able to extract from his personal history various resources for expressivity. Consequently, the life baggage of each person can be determinant for his interpretive choices.

This notion is corroborated by Benjamin (apud Rodrigues, 2012), from whom we find the statement:

“Awareness supplied with the functional purpose of perceiving moments by capturing only their generalities, their position in time, retains of them nothing more than an objective recollection devoid of qualities. The memory of awareness, through being purely instrumental, captures from reality some descriptions in order to organize its archive of recollections” (Rodrigues, 2012: p. 175).

Given that there was, in this situation, the need for transmission of a context only lived by her, this researcher highlights a text from Deleuze-Guattari that seeks to discuss the apprehension of ideas based on two qualities of memory: short and long.

“Now, the difference is not only quantitative: short-term memory is of the rhizome, diagram type, while long-term is arborescent and centralized (impression, engram, decal or photo). Short-term memory is in no way subjected to a law of contiguity or immediacy in relation to its object; it can take place at a distance, come and return a long time afterwards, but always in conditions of discontinuity, rupture and multiplicity. In addition to this, the two memories are distinguished like two temporal modes of apprehension of the same thing; it is not the same thing, not the same recollection, it is not even the same idea that they apprehend” (Deleuze & Guattari, 20117: p. 35).

With the same idea not being apprehended in the same manner by different individuals, it is clearer to see that transmission of this memory for distinct individuals can suffer more alterations, making its decoding difficult.

For the example in question, the age and experience is contrasted by the inexperience of the adolescents involved in the activity, although the possibility of transmission in the student-teacher direction should not be discarded. That is, regardless of the direction of this transmission, the difference in approach for both the lived experiences, musical or otherwise, was notable.

Moreover, there was an affective memory of the period lived by the conductor, which provides an awareness that went far beyond the dates and events of a period. Perhaps, adding this memory to what Proust calls “voluntary memory”, might permit, in fact, an interpretive meaning that would not be reached by singers of a young age, since they do not have this conscious experience. Regarding this, Deleuze (2003) highlights these as effects of resonances:

“The most celebrated are those of involuntary memory, which cause two moments, a present and a past, to resonate. Desire itself has resonance effects [...]. Further, art produces resonances that are not those of memory [...]. Art causes two distant objects to resonate ‘through the indescribable link of an alliance of words’.8 One should not believe that this new order of production supposes the prior production of the partial objects, and is established based on them; this would be to falsify the relation existing between the two orders, which is not that of foundation. The relation is, rather, between that between full times and empty times, or to put it in another way, from the point of view of the product, between truths of the rediscovered time and truths of the lost time” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 143).

On this subject, it is worth quoting Azzi (2012)—who, also, in the light of Benjamin, studies the question of the narrator—so that we may construct a parallel between the philosopher and the situation described in this article, with the objective of understanding the different sides of the feeling of “absence” experienced in the rehearsal of the chorus. Talking about the difference between temporal distance and spatial distance, the author says:

“There are two stereotypical narrators: the sedentary peasant and the merchant sailor. The former is linked to temporal distance and has the function of telling stories from other periods, transmitting the living memory of the community itself. The latter, related to spatial distance, transmits reports of distant lands. According to Benjamin, these two ideal types of narrators mix with each other and associate with each other in the Middle Ages. In this period, the sedentary master always possessed wandering apprentices and, thus, the knowledge of different places was associated with the knowledge of the past collected by the sedentary worker” (Azzi, 2012: p. 321).

One observes, then, that this mixture points to the difficulty in our seeing only one of the possibilities of the description of the feelings of the conductor, whose objective was to transmit her experience to the students. Considering that they did not have the “knowledge of the past”, they were unable to find the connecting thread for non-experienced emotions.

Nevertheless, we can also reflect on the question of this attempt at transmission, based on the quotation from Deleuze (2003):

“One never knows how a person learns; but in whatever way that he may learn, it is always through signs, losing time, and not through the assimilation of objective contents. Who knows how a student can suddenly become “good in Latin”, which signs (amorous ones, or even inconfessable) served in his apprenticeship? [...] One never learns by doing like someone, but by doing with someone, which has no relation of similarity with what one learns” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 22).

Consequently, bringing to the fore feelings and images that are part of my experience was not sufficient to awaken on the choristers sensations and memories that were not experienced, given that “In the first place, it is necessary to feel the violent effect of a sign, and that thought be almost forced to seek out the meaning of the sign” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 22).

2.3. The Statement

Perhaps time is this: the ultimate existence of parts with different sizes and forms that do not adapt to each other, that do not develop in the same rhythm and that the current of style does not drag at the same speed. The order of the cosmos was shaken, and shattered into non-communicating associative chains and points of view (Deleuze, 2003: p. 109).

Based on the list of statements regarding awareness of the work Sinal Fechado (observed in Table 2) and the period of its issue, it is possible to deduce that the conductor and her students experienced different forms of absence or temporary separation. The table below (Table 3) demonstrates how contacts were established in inter-

Table 3. Forms of contact.

personal relations of the period and how these contacts are made today.

It can be seen, through the resources listed in the column on the left, that there was a gap in time between question and response, delaying the rhythm of the dialogue, both for letters and for telegrams and newspaper. Even for the telephone, although it was an objective and immediate tool, the high cost of a phone call in the period (depending on the physical distance of the subjects involved) could not allow for a prolonged contact, thus bringing this same hiatus between one telephone call and another.

In contrast, in the column on the right, it can be seen that today it is possible to have simultaneity, with all the tools able to be used in what we have learned to call “real time”. This being the case, it is possible to suppose that teenagers of today do not live (or did not live) the distancing found 40 or 50 years ago and that, as a consequence, they are unable to construct in the present the situation transmitted by the conductor, that is, they are not able, in the guise of theatrical expressivity, create the feeling of absence based on an example of a situation that they are not able to grasp.

According to Rodrigues (2012), “Modern transformations modify perception, which brings with it effects on memory” (Rodrigues, 2012: p. 172). Based on this declaration, this researcher can infer that the youth of today do not know the situation of separation as it was 40 or 50 years ago. It is not uncommon for a chorister to spend a year abroad as an exchange student, without losing daily contact with his friends who stayed at home. Physical distance is no longer the most lamented aspect of this contemporary separation, when everyone can continue to maintain contact in real time, sometimes even more intensely than when they were not geographically separated.

On the contrary, today’s resources let us re-establish contact even with those with whom we have not spoken for a long time. Now it is common to get back in touch with persons with whom we were close 30 years ago (and with whom we had lost contact), through social networks. All the technological tools cited possess the resource of the immediate digital image, through photos and videos posted directly by the users of these tools, while in the sixties and seventies these resources did not exist. Even photography on paper took time between the snap and the photo being developed in the laboratory. That is, the recording of the image was not immediate, just as it was not possible to disseminate it to the masses.

Benjamin (2011) presents consideration regarding the photographic record, stating:

“But to cause things to approach us, or rather, the masses, is a trend that is as beloved to contemporary man as the overcoming of the unique character of things, in each situation, through its reproduction. Every day the need to possess the object as closely as possible, in its image, or better, in its reproduction becomes more irresistible.” (Benjamin, 2011: p. 101).

That is, it is possible to consider that these images or reproductions serve as a resource for keeping the memory alive, although in the context of distance from a person or situation.

Still within the realm of the image, the resource of video also gives memory the possibility of the reconstruction of situations and contexts, activating the affective memory in a striking way. We observe today the ease with which videos are recorded and posted on the Internet; nevertheless, there are few people born in the sixties that have video recordings in their personal archives of that period.

On the other hand, we can have free access to profiles of persons who are already deceased in networks like Orkut and Facebook, given that many families are unable to remove the pages, since they do not know the password; we thus have the opportunity to maintain records of texts, images and other data from people who have already departed. The arsenal of data for reconstruction of memory no longer allows us to in fact “vanish into the dust of the streets”.

3. Final Considerations

The situation that has been presented in this article brings into view some of the difficulties of communication that may occur between subjects, in spite of well-established connections (in this case, choral activity and the need for contextualization of the particular music to be interpreted).

The text described and discussed as well the differing points of view of those involved, beginning by the difference in ages between conductor and singers. Further, it allowed for explaining the changes in perception of time (and its consequences) between generations, based on new resources used at present.

The solution found for addressing the difficulty presented in rehearsal was not mentioned, since the author does not believe it is relevant to the questions raised by the text, presently described.

Establishing a parallel between death and absence, we can understand that temporary absence is an exercise for the death—or disappearance—of the other. If our urban youth, through access to these technologies, can avoid experiencing that feeling of absence, of missing someone, how then are they preparing themselves little by little for the death of their loved ones? Will we have a new generation learning to deal with death in an abrupt and shocking way, through lack of the habit of temporary absence? Or will this new generation learn to relativize the disappearance of a beloved being, supported by the material of texts and images available, to soften the gap of a loss?

With these questions, this researcher also hopes to have contributed to a discussion regarding the gamut of possibilities found in the practice of youth choruses, which allows for opening the way for deeper and broader explorations on the expressivity and musical interpretation within the activity, bringing conductors and young singers even closer together.


I thank Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, where I have been working for over 20 years, for constantly offering me the opportunity to improve my knowledge in choir conducting. I thank my singers from SVEM 2013, for the dedication to the show we have performed and from which I have been able to develop the ideas of this article.

Annex 1


Paulinho da Viola

Table 1. Tabela diagramada, apresentada desta forma ao grupo, para facilitar a compreensão da distribuição das frases mu- sicais.



Paulinho da Viola

Table 2. Diagram, presented in this way to the group, to facilitate the comprehension of the distribution of the musical ph- rases.


1Patricia Costa: Teaching Degree in Music (1996) and Master’s in Music and Education (2009) at UNIRIO-PPGM (dissertation: Youth chorus-for a differentiated approach); conductor of the youth choruses of the Colégio São Vicente de Paulo (Cosme Velho-RJ), since 1993. Co-author of the book “Desafi (n) ando a Escola” (DF: Musimed, 2013).

2Walter Benjamin-German philosopher of the first half of the twentieth century.

3Benjamin. W. Magic and technique, art and politics, 1994, p.15.

4Note: the edition used in this study is that from 2011 (13th printing); however, the 1st edition is from 1985.

5The lyrics and its translation can be found in Annex 1.

6Involuntary memory, according to Deleuze (2003), is an old sensation that “tries to superimpose itself, to couple itself to current sensation, and extend it to various periods at the same time” (Deleuze, 2003: p. 19).

7Note: the first edition is from 1995.

8O Tempo Redescoberto-EmBusca do Tempo Perdido [Time Rediscovered-In Search of Lost Time]. 14 ed. Translation by Lúcia Miguel Pereira. São Paulo: Globo, 2001, p. 137.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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