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Topic: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

  1. #1

    Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    Really short summary of this article: Rock bad. Classical good.

    Longer summary: Culture is likened to an iceberg: only a small fraction of it, representing today's culture, is above the surface. The rest, representing the past culture that led to today's, can add depth to the visible part if people are aware of it. Unfortunately, today's culture is profoundly ignorant of its roots, and rock is a prime example. Also, it's just not that good.

    I enjoyed the piece because it was well written, and because I think the slam on rock mostly misses the point, but I'm unable to say why. I have vague ideas, but my musical ignorance prevents me from thinking the matter through to a conclusion.

    Many people here know a great deal about the whole musical iceberg. If anyone reads the article, I'd love to know your thoughts.

  2. #2

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    A tad long, so no time to read right now, but, but, but, the notion that rock = bad, classical = good is rubbish to begin with. I am eager to read through though and see what it says, since you mention it's well written. We'll see if I can find arguments to back up that all music is good, etc, etc.

    Thanks for the link.

  3. #3

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    Oh I don't know, I think the rock= bad classical=good summary is about right. No need for long unpleasant debates. just accept it.
    David Carter (DaveTubaKing)

    Intel 8 Core i7 975 Extreme Edition 3.33GHz, Corsair 12GB (6x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz , Sibelius 6.1, Symphonic cube, MIR, Vienna Choir


  4. #4

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    Read it!

    Certainly thought provocing article, though there are some well hidden falacies (as I see them, of course) inside, which crumble the whole thing.

    First of, I didn't get the article as rock = bad, classical = good. No, not at all. But that society today = ~~~~e, society 20-50 years ago = goooooooooood.

    First problem: He mentions that Pucciny was ever more popular than anyone today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQ25-glGRzI . Avril Lavigne has had 59,810,000 views. That is... a lot? For a song 1 year old. Mika has had 19,000,000 as well. And this is ONLY youtube and nothing else. I'm not sure that classic "rock" songs like those from the Beatles, etc are not more popular that poor Pucciny (or Verdi for all that matters really). And anyway, give it time, huh? Let "Let it be" turn 200 years old and count then.

    Second fallacy. Bloom smells of old / religious / crumpy man. I've no idea who he is, unless he is the same that I've been taught in the university about teaching, in which case, I don't like it even more.

    Third fallacy: Rock music has not progressed harmonically. HUH!?!?!?!?!?? Should I introduce mr. Bloom to the octatonic scales in Radiioheads song (taken from Messiaen for example), or polyrhtyhmic notions, again in Radiohead, or maybe the golden ration ideas in dEUS songs?

    4th fallacy: Let's have fun and compar todays contemporary scene in "classical music", (which I like to call "concert hall music"), with popular music. Yes... that should be hillarious. Birthwistle? Ligetti? Stockhausen? Cashian, Tansy Davies, Woolrich, Boulez. Intelectual? Sure thing. But maybe... just maybe they also have , violence, etc inside? Yes as well! Oh what about any song that is not about angry youths, as Mr. Kerry mentions? Sure rap/hip-hop gives that meaning, but then again it's the society that did this and not the other way around maybe?

    In the end, it's all a question of the egg did the chicken or the chicken the egg!

    I mean you can claim that popular music, however popular (which is popular if you ask me) is making a worst society today, as mr. Bloom appears to comment, or you can agree that art is a mirror of the society and concetrate on fixing this society in order to fix music.

  5. #5

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    He's not saying Rock=Bad or Classical=Good at all. His argument is barely even about music - it's more a lamenting of the attitude shift of a whole generation, in every area.

    He's simply pointing out that, in previous generations, so called 'high art' and 'popular culture' didn't have a problem with each other. In fact popular artists would have had training in the high arts, which would have fed their work. So, for instance, Duke Ellington, whilst choosing to write jazz, was well aware of the Classical tradition, and had learned the craft.

    Whereas a large faction of today's popular culture seem to believe that the only way to validate their own art is to rubbish the past. There is a genuine ignorance, amongst the current generation, of the 'line' through which their preferred music has come - not just amongst the consumers, but also the artists. Many of them seem to truly believe that their music could simply have emerged all by itself, fully formed, without the hundreds of years of tradition. And thus they use perjorative terms for everything that has come before, as well as everything current that isn't their art.

    By doing this they are, unknowingly, killing their own art. Firstly they are cutting themselves off from the lifeblood of new music - i.e. learning the past and then building on it, or reacting against it. Consequently their art becomes less and less inventive. Secondly the obsession with rubbishing everything else means that there is no 'popular' culture at all. Instead there are tiny factions of devotees to a multitude of tiny sub-splinters of genres, each 'largeing up' their own music and defaming the others.

    The article was not devaluing rock music, but decrying the utter ignorance involved in cutting off the roots of your own artform. Once you've done that how do you know what's good and what isn't?

    Yes he does talk about the harmonic limitation of rock, but not to devalue rock per se. He is simply pointing out that the music doesn't progress or change because of this rather ignorant disdain for everything else.

    I do think the article has a point. Whenever this kind of thing is printed, this forum tends to respond quite angrily. But, by definition, most people here are very open minded musicians, and associate with other open minded musicians, and possibly believe that we are typical of society. As as teacher I see thousands of young people who display exactly the attitude the writer bemoans. They are completely ignorant of everything beyond their tiny, tiny sub-genres, but will declare with absolute certainty that everything else is rubbish. And if you ask them how they believe their favourite music 'happened' they've never given it a thought. After some discussion though, they will try to convince you that their favourite artist would have written the same music no matter what - even if he'd been a caveman living before the invention of the reed-flute - because it was simply in his soul to write it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2003
    Budleigh Salterton

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    That's a very good article and very well written. I especially like the bit about Mick Jagger getting put on the front cover of the Saga magazine (a publication for the over 60's basically) and being heralded as 'Pensioner of the Month' with a parallel being made regarding I Can't Get No Satisfaction - one of the first rap records ever to be made.
    Apparently Mick was upset to be caught out like this - while at the same time spending most his days watching cricket.

  7. #7

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    This whole issue of what's good and what isn't has some merit IMO because as one of my former professor pointed out during my first year, some people have a more refined sense of quality than others. Also to consider is what people are willing to invest in order to digest a particular musical idea. Serious music is often difficult to understand in it's musical meaning. Popular music is often more on the "referential expressionist" end of the spectrum, according to the definitions provided by Leonard Meyer (Emotion and meaning in music). The musical ideas often refer to extra-musical concepts and the focus is on expression rather than intellectualism. I think one of the reasons pop-music has such a quick turnover is that it is very easy to digest, you "get it" right away. That's what many people want because music is not a large part of their lives. As musician I think we often look to casual listeners and are frustrated at their lack of desire to listen to what I or we would consider to be of a higher musical aesthetic. I personally have no interest in investing in some composers because their ideas require to much on my part. Think of a string player trying to master an Elliot Carter string quartet. In terms of innovation through knowledge of the tradition, I don't think this is essential because people have the ability to invent. This whole issue of progress in music seems to me to sometimes undermine the purpose of music, which obviously is communication. Boulez and Varese would talk about the progress of music as though music was this "thing" that we had to uncover and the only way to realize the purest form of it was to walk down this one path of discovery. At the same time the minimalist were in action, as well as the Beatles who were at one time embraced by the Avant-garde classical scene. Yoko ono was good friends with John Cage and was also a part of the "bang on a can" movement in New York. Relevancy is the key issue in music. Music is us, and some are more fluent at conveying ideas effectively through this medium. Sub-genres and all this over diversification I think is simply a reflection of individualism in the "My pod" generation and people ae certainly less concerned or aware of how they fit into a continous historical framework. Maybe a good thing?

    Student in Electro-acoustics

  8. #8

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    I recently read "The Cult of the Amateur" by Andrew Keen. Recommended reading and an interesting point of view on how "artists" and "experts" are being trivialized in the march toward "democratization". His chapter on the future of music in this culture is scary.

    I haven't read this article, but I will as soon as I have the free moments. However, I must say - Pingu's post is one of the best written, well reasoned contributions to this forum I've seen. Of course, I happen to agree with him wholeheartedly. :-)

  9. #9

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    Just wanted to add that my comments are more aimed towards the extreme high-brow attitude of heavily presonalized music which focuses too heavily on innovation in a strick traditional sense rather than the issues discussed in the article. For example, historically music has been progressing towards a more dissonant, heavily personal aesthetic. Therefore to develop music further, one must continue in that direction in order to evolve music into a more sophisticated stage.

    Student in Electro-acoustics

  10. #10

    Re: Request for Knowledgeable Response to Article

    I see rock as being the economic embodiment of puberty. It came about when post WWII changes in American society meant kids had spending money. That change was then set upon by the newly created mass media marketing. Before that, there was no "teenager" - you were a child under your parents roof or an adult responsible for yourself. Since classical music was written in a two tier system and not by children I assume that it was written by adults, which is not to say that hormones weren't involved <g>.

    The question is not "good or bad" or "rock vs classical" but the implications of giving perpetual homage to puberty. It's a great time of life but I'm not sure an entire society should be based on it. I would go so far as to say that one of the major problems with Western society, in particular America, is the lack of adults. What scares me is I don't think the problem can be corrected since the emphasis on puberty - "rock" - has been in place for multiple generations. It appears that all the lessons will have to be rediscovered and relearned. The painted ponies go up and down.


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