Day 18 - Music

Today was the third day of this block, and most of the last two days have spent riding on the Via Rhona a cycle route from Marseille to Geneva. By the end of tomorrow I will be back on to the route but I am cutting a bit of a corner and missing out Lyon as I only have so much time to get to Germany!

Tonight I am in a small town just to the north of Saint Rambert d’Albons – I have visited, you don’t need to! Other than this particular town most of the places I have been to have gone on to the list of places to go back to at some point. This list includes Valence. Valence was established by the Romans, but more recently (albeit still two hundred years ago) Napoleon Bonaparte was stationed there as a junior artillery officer in the Royal army, and later in the army of revolutionary France (hence the statue above).

Napoleon is credited with saying “music consoles, pleases disturbs delightfully… It increases the number of [man’s] enjoyments and as he savours all the minute details of the charming melody, he is more deeply affected by the delights of the emotion.” In short Napoleon liked to listen to music. While he may have enjoyed listening to music and noted its martial uses, he apparently had no practical talent for it. While Laurie loved to listen to music she could also knock a tune out of just about anything. Laurie sang, played the piano, the flute and probably any other instrument she could get her hands on.

Laurie went to the church choir and she enjoyed this, and other musical interludes, in the same way as she she enjoyed her rugby (maybe more, I don’t know). At the Choir Alan could tell who was off key by looking at Laurie and she wasn’t above not so subtly passing comment on the standard of different peoples’ singing. The Choir and people like Alan Craig and James Boyd did a lot for Laurie and gave her a lot of pleasure through music over the years.

While Laurie was a talented musician, and enjoyed music there is an increasing school of thought that this may be associated in some way with autism. One in twenty people on the autism spectrum can tell the identity of a note without reference to an instrument. For the general population this sits at one in ten thousand. In addition, while recognising an emotion on someone’s face may be a challenge for someone with autism, when that emotion is portrayed in music it is not a problem for the person to identify it.

Maybe there is a way music can be used more in the future to support those on the autism spectrum.

Thanks for reading,

Neil