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Topic: What is music today?

  1. #1

    What is music today?

    Is music in today's Business life only an instrument, in order to make as fast as possible much money?

    Is music today still art?

    What do you think?
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  2. #2

    Re: What is music today?

    I have the impression that today, silence is a more precious thing than music, because the overdose of it, specially in the media.
    Marcelo Colina

  3. #3

    Re: What is music today?

    Gunther, our good friend in Germany -

    I hope you don't mind me saying that I always find your posts communicative and positive, and I sometimes have to spend a little time puzzling out from your syntax what you're intending to say. I imagine at times I'm making guesses and may not be completely translating correctly.

    When you say "Business Life" - I think you are referring to our day-to-day commercial interests? I mean, you're not referring to something specific like a magazine title? Yes?

    Taking you to refer to the business part of "show business," then I am taking it that you are asking if in this world of business, is music still able to be art.

    And you ask, "What do you mean?" - meaning perhaps you are anticipating us having to guess at what your question really means?

    Responding from the understanding that you are talking about the relationship between commercialism and art, specifically to music, I would say that you are bringing up the topic which has been a lively one for centuries. With today's world where we are saturated with art and entertainment through the Internet and cable TV, is it possible for the music we hear to still be "art?" There's Much more music, theatre, visuals than 100 years ago--but the question about commercialism and art remains the same.

    When I was young, much younger, like most people, I felt there was a distinction between "commercial" and "popular" music and music worthy to be called "art." If something was too popular, it was looked at with some disdain. If it wasn't difficult to appreciate, then it was too simple.

    Then I grew up and realized that there's something marvelous in the fact that working within the apparent restraints of being "commercial," truly creative people are still able to be true to their chosen art. What is produced under the auspices of totally "commercial" enterprises can still have elements which are worthy to be respected as "art."

    In theatre, comedies have often been looked down upon as not as important as serious dramas. But that's a prejudice which comes from snobbery. A theatre piece does not have to be serious in tone to be considered as art. The same applies to all the art forms, including music.

    "Serious" music can be composed by brilliant, classically trained musicians, and yet never attract an appreciative audience. Does this make it "art" because the general public doesn't respond to it? Hardly. But just because something Does communicate to a large audience doesn't automatically make it "hack" work--popular works Can be deemed "art."

    --And those are some of my thoughts on what I think your question is. I could say more--but, enough for now. It's dinner time! Food--when it gets down to it, it's something essentially more vital to my existence than Art!

    Randy B.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Re: What is music today?

    I was guessing that "what do you mean" was asking what is your intentions, the intended purpose of your music, do you create music for the purpose of business, art or both. Is that what you meant, Gunther? What do you mean?


  5. #5
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Re: What is music today?

    In my opinion music should be created for art first, and then it will be more valuable if any money should come from it... and still so even if any doesn't come from it. I think most often when it is created by someone out the love for music it will naturally be art, without needing any intentions of created art. I think if created for the sole purpose of making money it could, but not necessarily, end up lacking in depth and meaning... but i guess that would depend on who was making it and how much depth and meaning they have on their belt.

  6. #6

    Re: What is music today?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen McMahan
    There is music for art and music that pays the bills. It's not common that both coincide - but it's something we all hope for.
    Well said!

  7. #7

    Re: What is music today?

    I received a straight friendly post office from Richard, rwayland:


    I don't mean to embarass you, but here is a small correction to your usually good English.

    Was meinst du would be best rendered in English as "what do you think?"

    "Mean" has various translations: intend (as my first sentence; gemein,; boesartig; and some others that don't immediately spring to mind.

    I thought this method might be better than in the thread, to avoid embarrassment, to you for the error, to me for being the source of the embarrassment.


    Thank you so very much for you helping to me, Richard!

    .......So, I will repeat my question to the others here in the right form: "What do you think?"

    Randy, thanks for your friendly puzzling and your kind words to me, my english and so on..... . My Friend, thanks!

    Leaf, I think you just understood me....
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  8. #8

    Re: What is music today?

    Music is one of the highest forms of Art in my opinion. Its nice to have complete say in your art, but if you are a working composer, then that seldom is the case, and really, thats not such a bad thing in some ways. I mean if I did all music that was all "Me", it would probally end up having a very similair feel and style just because I like a certain sound and vibe ya know. But when I am asked (or rather, delightfully get to) write music that does not come so natural to me, its a stretch and sometimes a painful one. Even though I am writing for business, and its not necesariliy my style, it is still art because I am commisioned to do something for someone, just like a painter might be commisioned to paint a picture of a building or something. May not be what they wanted to paint, yet they add their skill into it.

    There is certainly a bisness side to popular entertainment, and While I used to make fun and snub most popular artists for their "commercialism", I have come to appreciate that they are succesful in this Biz, and while I dislike their stuff, they have found a sound that has seemed to hit a mark with the larger audience. It may not be my kind of art, but it is still art non the less, and more lucrative then my art for now at least

    Of course their is a difference then a performer and an artist I believe. Where the music is written by someone else (art), and then a performer displays it for them, though the majority don't realize its not their art.

  9. #9

    Re: What is music today?

    Hello again--Look at what a good conversation you started, Gunther. And thanks for letting us know how helpful Richard "rwayland" was in helping with the wording of your original post.

    I wanted to add something apropos to this topic, regarding something I know about Sir Arthur Sullivan - the composing side of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan light opera writing team. Some of you may remember that a big project of mine this last year was to record the complete score of Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore" using GPO. I posted samples from that project in The Listening Room.

    Sullivan was constantly regetting his involvement with writing these light operettas. His partner Gilbert had to beg and cajole him into writing more shows with him. The reason is that Sullivan wanted to be thought of as a serious composer, and was concerned his involvement with something so trivial and commercial as the G&S operas was hurting his career.

    He was the most reknowned English composer of his day, with many other pieces of music to his credit other than than the G&S shows. He wrote in every form you can think of, including many hymns, including the well-known hymn(but one which is some what embarrasing in today's climate) "Onward Christian Soldiers."

    Ironically, it turned out that the music he wrote which he at times almost loathed, the work he was commissioned for each time he wrote another show with Gilbert--those are what he's remembered for. The G&S operas are loved to this day and constantly in performance around the world. But the "serious" music of which he was most proud, and to which he was most dedicated, is for the most part forgotten. His grand opera "Ivanhoe" sounds rather drab and uninspired. It's rarely performed, and only as a curiosity more than as a work very much appreciated by the public or musicians alike. His symphonies and other serious work--they sound rather staid, safe and traditional, not of "immortal" quality.

    At least in his case, and I think in the case of many others, the work he wanted to be thought of as serious and as Art simply wasn't as good as the strictly commercial works he did. I believe his mistake in this regard was to not appreciate his own contribution to those commercial endeavors, and to think he could predict what others would consider "Art."

    I think anyone is danger once they are convinced that they are creating Art. That should be left for others to judge. A person simply creates what he Has to create--whether he's writing music that will never be heard by a large audience, or if it's a commission he's contractually bound to do. If he writes music, he just has to write it--If other people deem his output as Art, well then fine--But he can't honestly be the one to pronounce his own work as Art.

    And the truth of it is--people writing music are a dime a dozen. It's not a special God-given and rare talent. I find musicians and composers a group too quick to think of themselves as special. There's music everywhere, and there are people who can produce the stuff endlessly--We shouldn't think of ourselves as precious, rare conduits of The Muse. We can be happy we're able to create music, but shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. If something we write inspires other people to call us artists, well then fine.

    And we should remember Sullivan, deluded as he was into thinking that writing for the commercial theatre was beneath him. Without his friend Gilbert egging him on into writing more of those silly shows--Sullivan would be completely forgotten. And there are people who consider the accomplishments of both Gilbert and Sullivan as "Art"--well fine. Whatever it is, it's entertaining and well done. And it was done for dollars--well, for stirling pounds.

    Randy B.

  10. #10

    Re: What is music today?

    I think there's a chance that the internet will restore some of the 'artisticness' to the music world. Amongst my pupils at school, who are incredibly 'savvy' about how to locate what they want, I have observed an amazing range of music tastes. Very few of them are aware of current mainstream market trends - the stuff that the Simon Cowells are telling us we should listen to - and none of them listen to anything mainstream. They're also very passionate about what they listen to.

    Maybe, as more and more people start to use the net to form their own tastes, the mainstream 'music-business' will become irrelevant. Then it will be much more viable to create music which 'expresses your inner soul' at the same time as hoping it will find an audience with whom it resonates, rather than tailoring your music to mainstream tastes.

    I realise that this is somewhat Utopian, and is fraught with it's own problems. I wonder if, deep down, we don't prefer the model we have at the moment. As artists, the chance of becoming a mainstream success, even at the expense of selling out slightly, means that people will be pointed to your music, whereas the web is just awash with infinite background noise. As audience, despite what I see in my students, I think most people enjoy the affirmation they get from being part of a 'movement.' If you truly hunt down the stuff that really resonates with you the world can become quite lonely. Even amongst my students I've noticed a need for the 'groupies chat,' and small cliques have formed. The largest one is the Dream Theatre crowd, and I'll frequently hear one of them saying something like 'Wow, did you see that new Jordan Rudess solo on YouTube. He owned that!' There will be enthusiastic responses, and general agreement. See I can't do that with Conlon Nancarrow.

    I really do hope that music can be wrested from the businessmen. This would be the age where it's possible, but I don't know that we really want to.

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