A&O ANECDOTE – Keith Clark’s Sanglot

Keith Clark’s Sanglot.

 Sanglot was a term that referred to the sob of emotion that punctuates a musical performance, implying the depth of emotion that affects the performer. 

The sanglot became famous when invoked to explain how Keith Clark, blowing Taps at the Funeral of John F. Kennedy and seen world-wide, could have broken the sixth note.  Until it was pointed out to him, Clark was unaware of the “error.”  This “was considered the only conspicuous mistake in the otherwise ornate and grandiose ceremony. It was thought that it was a deliberate effect. It was not.”  Much was made of this in the news.  While some regarded it as a mistake, many were sympathetic: “One note in particular stated, “Hold your head high! In your one sad note, you told the world of our feelings.” (related in A Bugle Call Remembered”) 

I think the term sanglot is suitable for any “choking up “resembling catching one’s breath between sobs.  In my own experience, I was reading my scripted sermon out loud to an audience expecting the sentiment I expressed to be very touching, but my efforts at expression were caught by the sanglot… I was choked with an unexpected level of emotion requiring me to take a few seconds to recover my composure.