Nourishment, Body and Soul
Modern Performers, Diverse Tastes
Music and food enjoy each other’s company to an enormous degree. In fact, having one without the other is, for some, unthinkable. They certainly attract a common vocabulary, with the word taste somewhere near the top of the list. One could easily substitute music for gastronomy in the recent claim that “taste (as discrimination of flavor) is a function of refinement; empirical tastes are determined and organized according to cultural meanings and usages.”1 Music and food coincide in Orsino’s celebrated lines in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, where he reflects that too much music might have the power to cure him of love in the same way that overeating might remove one’s appetite:
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken and so die.
Unsurprisingly, parallels between the delights of culinary and musical tastes have been prominent in a variety of primary sources throughout history.