Tag Archives: Christmas music

“White Christmas” and fantasy proneness


In an experiment, 44 undergraduate students were asked to listen to white noise and instructed to press a button when they believed that they were hearing a recording of Bing Crosby’s White Christmas without this recording actually being presented.

Fourteen participants (32%) pressed the button at least once. These participants had higher scores on fantasy proneness and the Launay–Slade Hallucination Scale (LSHS) compared to participants without hallucinatory reports. Both groups did not differ in terms of imagery vividness or sensitivity to social demands.

Logistic regression suggested that fantasy proneness is a better predictor of hallucinatory reports than are LSHS scores. This might imply that hallucinatory reports obtained during the White Christmas test reflect a non-specific preference for odd items rather than schizophrenia-like internal experiences.

This according to “Another White Christmas: Fantasy proneness and reports of hallucinatory experiences in undergraduate students” by Harald Merckelbach and Vincent van de Ven (Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry XXXII/3 [September 2001] pp. 137–44). Many thanks to Improbable Research for bringing this study to our attention!

Below, White Christmas and fantasy proneness in Hollywood; wait for the dialogue around 2:00!

Related article: White Christmas goes viral

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Filed under Curiosities, Popular music, Science

An Afro-Andean Christmas ritual

Every year from Christmas to Epiphany, the communities descended from the African slaves who mined gold for the Spaniards celebrate the Adoraciones al Niño-Diós in the Andean valleys of Cauca in southwestern Colombia.

The celebrants sing and dance until dawn in front of a creche set up in one of the village houses. A group of six musicians, unusual because it includes violins, accompanies the women who are the singers and the leaders of the ritual.

The tradition is documented on the CD Colombie: Adoration à l’enfant-Dieu (Département du Cauca) (VDE-Gallo 1349 [2011]). Below, a brief documentary on Auroras al Amanecer, the group featured in the recordings.

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A composer’s quadricentennial

In his day, the blind Aragonese composer and organist Pablo Bruna (known as El Ciego de Daroca) was renowned for his organ playing at the Colegiata de Santa María de los Corporales in Daroca (above), for his important disciples, and for his keyboard works. Today is his 400th birthday!

A previously unknown work by Bruna—A de la casa, a villancico for soprano and tenor with unfigured bass—was discovered in 1990 in the musical archive of Barbastro Cathedral. The text stems from the custom of giving food to the poor, which in Bruna’s work is given a Eucharistic interpretation. Only three other vocal works by Bruna have survived: two other villancicos and a Benedicamus Domino.

This according to “A de la casa: Duo de Pablo Bruna—Una obra inedita del Ciego de Daroca” by Pedro Calahorra Martínez (Nassarre: Revista aragonesa de musicología VII/1 [1991], pp. 9–20). Below, Saskia Roures performs Bruna’s Tiento de falsas de 2º tono.


Filed under Baroque era