Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For ABC WEDNESDAY

“T” is for “TINTINNABULATION.” Also Known As NOISE!!!
(Restaurant Music Division)

I was reading a restaurant reviewer recently and came upon this sentence in his review: “…rock music that blasts you out of your seat doesn’t enhance an otherwise pleasant ambience”
Right on, brother.

A few weeks ago we literally fled – I believe that’s the right word, fled – from a similar restaurant when the loud heavy-metal music drove us to the door. We weren’t able to finish the meal; I just paid the bill and we left.
The word “tintinnabulation” originally meant the loud clanging of bells, but it has come to be a general term for excessive, ear-splitting noise.
I got to thinking later, if I ran a good restaurant and I wanted to provide the right kind of background music for my clients, what type of music could I use that would please everybody? Or at least, not irritate a large percentage of them?

An older couple might like the soft strains of a Mozart string quartet in the background; some might prefer for their meal the familiar melodies of Celine Dion or some similar artist; and there are those who would like what we know as “elevator music”: soothing and basically dull. But in addition, as I learned a few weeks ago, for many the music has got to be loud and clanging or it isn’t really “music.”

So, as to the question, what type of music could I as a restaurant-owner use to please everybody, the answer is simple.
There is no such thing.
I vote for trying silence. It might catch on.
What’s your opinion?

25 comments:

Paul C said...

Tintinnabulation...a ringing or tinkling sound...Thanks for getting me thinking about that word.
A poem by Edgar Allen Poe
'Hear the sledges with the bells—
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night...!'
As far as music I'd go for a work by Saint Saens played quietly.

willow said...

I could never understand music in a restaurant so loud you can't have a conversation without shouting. Makes for a great headache and indigestion. Musak is annoying. Silence is golden, in my book.

Sandy said...

My answer is.....it depends. But loud rock music is never appropriate as far as I'm concerned. Restaurants today are always so noisy that you seldom hear the music anyway so silence might be a pleasant option.

Berowne said...

willow: "Silence is golden, in my book."

I second that motion. :-)

Berowne said...

My thanks to Paul C. and Sandy for their friendly comments.

Derrick said...

Despite the hope of enjoying an animated discussion with one's dining partner, there is always the possibility of prolonged pauses when the opportunity to hear gentle music can be a pleasing distraction. Equally, the presence of music can avoid a deathly hush when people feel inhibited to talk for fear of having every word of their conversation overheard. Ideally, music should be loud enough to hear but not so much that diners have to use raised voices. Simple!

Yemalla said...

I rather like the idea of mo music in a restaruants. It makes it so hard to eavesdrop on the other customers' converstations.

Berowne said...

Yemalla: "It makes it so hard to eavesdrop on the other customers' converstations."

You're a droll one, Yemalla. :-)

Pat said...

I'm with you on that one. MTL visibly shrinks if there is a background of music and inevitably the loud speaker will be inches from him.

lakeviewer said...

Music gets you into the mood, the atmosphere of a place. It needs to compliment beautifully the decor and the food served. Let's face it, if I go out to Johnny Rocket-a burger joint I expect rock and roll. If I drop in into a bbq place I expect moody blues. I'm saying, it takes thoughtful confluence.

sheri... said...

if you're going to have a restaurant it might as well be as swanky as the photo you used...i somehow think the two of you would be a perfect fit! my vote is for no music...if people are uncomfortable with it then they could choose another establishment for dinner ;) it could be that eating without music would be difficult as first but i believe it would open the door for the fine art of conversation...

Mara said...

It would depend a bit on the restaurant. If I were in a Hard Rock Café, the music would have to be rock and loud. Otherwise, I would prefer very soft (ie I can hardly hear it) or none at all. Although I have gotten a new taste for the more classical stuff lately. Including Saint Saëns!

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

silence is my prefered music too

Tumblewords: said...

I think volume is the issue rather than the music. But I do love a bit perfectly prepared silence.

Sylvia K said...

I have to agree with lakeviewer. For me, at least, it defintely depends on the decor/the type of restaurant it is and one would need to put some thought into the kind of background music they choose. But I would want it in the background, not so loud I would have yell at my dinner partner or keep quiet myself. Great post! Enjoy your week!

Sylvia

Jingle said...

love music,
thank you for bringing music to our ears..

Madame DeFarge said...

Having just spent the weekend in Bruges, everyone plays classical music to lull drinkers and eaters into consuming more and more. Worked a treat on me.

Amy said...

I so agree. Remember when restaurants had heavy drapes and hangings to muffle the noise? Now it seems you have to endure concrete caves with "music" bouncing off the walls and each other. I vote for silence with spirited conversation!

Roger Owen Green said...

Depends on the restaurant. rock would be fine for the Hard Rock cafe.

I hate more than loud music in a restaurant? Loud TV!

In any case, the Muzak people, who don't deal just in elevator music, put music packages together based omn the demographics of the clientele.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you! - ROG

jay said...

I agree with Lakeviewer and with Tumblewords. The music should be appropriate to the venue, and yes indeed, the volume is the issue. Even in a Hard Rock Cafe, I don't like the music to be so loud that it's impossible to converse - OH and I quite like the food they serve, but he is partially deaf and can't hear a thing anyone is saying (including the servers) if the music is above a background level - and that's a BIG issue for me too, because I have serious food allergies and need to be sure the waiters/servers have understood.

I do think that Italian music makes a perfect backdrop to Italian food, and would expect local music if I were in a Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Thai or Spanish restaurant, or perhaps pop radio in a fast food cafe. But popular classics are unlikely to really offend anyone if kept to background level.

Great post for T!

Berowne said...

Mme DeF: "Having just spent the weekend in Bruges..."

Great food in Belgium, unless things have changed in the decades since I've been there.

Carol said...

Silence is good. I've always treasured those times at home where all I can hear is the gentle sound of silence. And for conversing with your dinner partners, silence is perfect.

Wanda said...

Because I wear hearing aids, the loud music, or dishes clanking, drive me crazy. My little microphones really pick up every noise.

I enjoyed your post, good read, good "T"

Berowne said...

Carol and Wanda, thanks for your comments.
Interesting, the variety of opinions on this subject.

Michellekngu said...

It's nice to have inspiration during the week. It's a great track! Recorded at Chartmaker Studios, Malibu, California. How Great Thou Art 15.

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.