Sunday, April 14, 2019
Fascinating thing. Music is so clearly something different to different people. So much so that one has to ask, just what is it? I mean some people listen to it and some people use it as a means of identification and still others prefer it not to intrude to any degree.
So like music, so like art. Some people want art to decorate the walls while others want to look at it and still others want to be challenged by it.
Well let’s work off of the definition of music and art being a form of communication, or not.
So we can have degrees of communication from challenging to relating to don’t bother.
Up at the high end, we have great communicators such as Beethoven who was sort of a magician at this thing. Probably countless numbers of people sat down to a performance of Beethoven, possibly expecting to be entertained and suddenly had a transformational experience.
They sneak up on you; such masters of their craft that what they do is entertaining but they bend it to an unseen end; that of a strong communication.
Perhaps, at the other end of the spectrum, the folks that don’t look for communication are possibly not aware that any communication is possible.
Life goes on as expected, they are getting on with it just fine so what possibly could there be that needs communicated? As The Who said, this ain’t no social dilemma, this is just another tricky day for you.
It does get a bit scary when you see such a powerful cottage industry built up around non-communication. You get books that are absolutely filled with detail and smart dialogue but virtually no plot.
You see movies that have spent a fortune on special effects but have a plot that was apparently written by a committee where the members were all in a different country and mailed in their parts.
People actually dumbing down their talent to cater to an audience that is steadily being created; one that is not aware that any further communication can exist or is possible.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Nothing against Japanese food. Eat it all the time. Just ask my friends at Sushi Stop. Nothing against pop music, whatever that is. Find it interesting, however that ‘pop music’ continues to parallel so called classical music (or serious music or ‘fine music’ as Frank Zappa called it.)
Perhaps it’s the other way around. I would have to do a bit of careful research but I’m not going to.
You’ll have to excuse me because I’m going to toss a lot of these phony labels that don’t mean anything around.
What I mean is, what people think of as ‘Classical Music,’ didn’t just die a quick death at a given point. It sort of slithered off into the Avant-garde and, when people got tired of atonal music, (about three years before the Avant-garde) there came ‘minimalism,’
And what is ‘minimalism?’ you ask. Well, it’s music constructed of very short musical patterns that repeat and morph a bit but mainly repeat. Still confused? Let me see if I can give you an example. It’s like…
Well it’s like…Rap music. Yeah, that’s what it’s like. Rap and Hip Hop.
I was in a minimalist group for about a year and our parts consisted of a pattern (maybe four to eight notes of music) followed by something like ‘10X’, which meant to repeat that pattern ten times.
This was the most difficult thing about the music; remembering how many times you had repeated something. Any time I would mess up my count, I would tactfully be accused of ‘improvising’ and asked in a round about way to stick to the written page.
Oh no, I wasn’t improvising, I was screwing up.
Minimalism was popular for a while and I learned that someone had written a Minimalist Manifesto. He was a communist, so minimalism had to be used to forward that, of course.
But most interesting was that it said there was no ultimate evolutional musical style, which was something I said back before that when they were trying to cram serial music down our throats. So, given this, there should have been no ‘minimalist movement,’ but there was (go figure.)
It was like the ‘Life of Brian’ when he throws his shoe at them to try and get them to bugger off and they all become followers of ‘The Shoe.’
It was good they had this because anyone who didn’t dig minimalism could be told to go READ THE MANIFESTO! Just like anyone who didn’t like serial music could be told to go STUDY THE MATH.
Good thing this is not going on with pop music, it’s just too hip for anything like that and, of course, we all know if you don’t like it, you're just an uptight racist who is easily offended by violence and profanity, so loosen up, already!
Sunday, March 3, 2019
Artists for A Better World International member, Becky Mate, founded an international holiday for the Arts in 1998, aptly called Art Day to acknowledge the importance of the artist in the creation of a better world through aesthetics. It is now celebrated in conjunction with World Art Day on April 15th, Leonardo DaVinci’s birth date.
Every year Becky hosts Art Day celebrations at her home and attracted local artists of all disciplines. There are art displays, open mic, arts and crafts for kids, gifts of art given by the artists, good food and more. What is valued more is YOUR VISION for World Art Day by all artists creating the holiday in their own imaginative way. It could be a local event, party, or even just families and friends sharing art together. In the past there have been Art Day celebrations as far away as India and Puerto Rico. Artists have been very thankful for taking part in such events and have even felt more validated, then wanting to put more energy into their art.
Mayors of Glendale, CA even proclaimed Art Day for 6 years in a row.
Imagine a day dedicated to the global community of artists. Imagine people celebrating this day with as much fervor as they celebrate other major holidays.
Essentially, Art Day safepoints the artist. In other words, you are not under attack for being an artist, in fact you are valued. And it is safe and very much needed for you to create what YOU want to create. It is a simple concept but a phenomenal one.
To see past Art Day events and activities go to artistsforabetterworld.org – Art Day tab, and scroll down to “Art Day Events and Activities.”
If you are interested, you may see the hat on “How to Throw an Awesome Art Day Party” (which lays out the duties needed for a party across the organizing board.)
For more info contact: Becky Mate – firstname.lastname@example.org 818-692-2333
Monday, February 18, 2019
Sunday, February 3, 2019
I once attended a lecture by Ray Bradbury at Pasadena City College. He knew that most of those in attendance were aspiring writers and so what he talked about was writing. The lecture had a very profound effect on me.
One of the things that Bradbury said was that, if you wanted to be a writer, you should read and read and then it would start coming back out.
This was counterintuitive to the standard think about becoming a composer. I had even heard it voiced that, if you wanted to do anything original, you should shut yourself away from other music in case you ‘subconsciously’ stole from other composers.
What really happens, in the case of music, is you listen and listen and what comes back is a reflection of how you like to hear music. This is predicated on the idea that you are really honest with yourself about what you like and what you don’t.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think that this was something quite unique in our society; people who know their selves well enough that they can be totally honest about what they like to hear.
Music, of course, is just one example of this thing I’m talking about but we will stick to talking about music.
I, of course, have met people that I thought could be very honest with their selves but I observe quite a lot of people that make me wonder if they know their selves at all.
Society provides us with compelling reasons to like a particular thing such as music. One of the most compelling is peer approval. There are many other reasons such as intellectual pride or political or religious considerations.
Personally, I think you should beware whenever what you like is prefaced with a reason or two, or three.
"An artist is someone who has learned to trust in himself" Ludwig Van Beethoven
Saturday, December 1, 2018
The question being, if you have the freedom to choose between a few things that are, for all practical purposes, the same, do you really have a freedom of choice? Once upon a time, there was but one Catholic Church and the service was in Latin and there was NO music.
No freedom of choice there. One couldn’t say ‘honey, let’s pop down to the new church on the corner and hear the service in German, so we’d know what the hell their saying, and maybe they’ll have some nice lute music.’
No, there was none of that. Of course, we’re talking about the Dark Ages.
Then Martin Luther thought he’d just translate the service into German, not change anything, mind you, and for that he was excommunicated.
So, as far as music went first you had the Church controlling things and then it sort of shifted over to Royalty and such, supporting music, so they had control and wanted mostly party music.
So, all the while the composers dreamt of being free and letting the public decide, so they began to publish the music and sell tickets to their concerts.
It wasn’t long before the music business reared its head and started deciding what the ‘public’ liked.
And today, the music business thinks it has this down to a science. They aren’t worried about what the public will like because that’s for them to decide.
They decide and call the tune. The media uses propaganda; thinly disguised as news to create whatever scene they choose.
This is why the music scene has not changed appreciably in the last forty years or so. I daresay this is probably why the classical tradition, which was barreling along, producing musical genius after musical genius came to a grinding halt not long after Beethoven. Some attribute it to the Age of Reason but a Beethoven surely could not function under the constraints of ‘popular demand,’ as defined by the business.
The composer Hector Berlioz literally ‘dumbed himself down’ enough to win a competition in France that would give him enough money to go off and write as he pleased.
So the ones that have been consistently bypassed in all of this is the public and the question remains; how do you like it?