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Music or Madness? The Danger of Loud Music at Our Simchahs

Machla Abramovitz

Could you imagine a wedding without music? The lively tunes set our feet flying and our hearts soaring. But that very music may be slowly, insidiously eroding our hearing. Family First presents an in-depth exploration of the issues surrounding loud music and how we can overcome them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The tablecloths greeting wedding guests in today's banquet hall are pristine, as are the china, the glass, and the silverware. But another accessory has begun gracing some of the most up-to-date, elegantly arranged dinner tables -- earplugs. Albeit somewhat prosaic, this accessory has become a much welcomed addition that enables wedding guests to participate more comfortably in the mitzvah of being sameiach the chassan and kallah. And if this accessory has not been provided by the baalei simchah, it is not long before one or more far-sighted individuals -- much to the envy of the others -- will whip out their personal earplugs from dainty evening bags or pockets. Unlike the others, they have come prepared to enjoy the next five hours confident that they will leave the simchah if not with their vocal cords, at least with their hearing, intact.

It's not your imagination: The issue of loud music at simchahs has taken on greater urgency within the last seven to eight years. Given the evolving nature of Jewish music, from a more melodious form to one that is beat-oriented, the volume and pitch of music of our tunes has risen decidedly. As popular Toronto bandleader David Kerzner from Nafsheinu Orchestra noted, young people today “want to feel the music in their bones.” This can only happen when sound vibrations are loud enough to infiltrate the body itself. And in order for that to happen, amplification systems, which have become standard for all simchah bands, must be turned up very high.


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