Ask a hundred people for a definition of art and get a hundred different definitions; from something that is transformational to something that decorates a living room.
Same with music; to some a transformational experience and to others something that exudes from the speakers in an elevator or supermarket.
What category the music or art falls into seems to have a lot to do with who pays for the production of it.
Beethoven, probably the most successful independent artist, was one where creativity reached the highest state of the game. People who heard him play live reported being transported into another world altogether and countless listeners since have attested to transformational experiences from hearing his music.
At this time, the Sturm und Drang or Storm and Stress movement was afoot. This was a reactive movement to the church, which had been producing most of the music until then.
The Sturm und Drang movement asserted the freedom of composers to create music that reflected the reality of life, which could be harsh. The church was opposed to this sort of art since the church was taking care of things and, in its view; everything was well and good in the best of all possible worlds. This last is a line from the book Candide, a satire on the world scene.
Go back a little further and we have The Fool or Court Jester, probably the precursor to the stand-up comedian. As tradition goes, The Fool was a bit insane and spoke in riddles.
The king kept him around because he could do the one thing that the king’s subjects would never dare to do and that is to speak the truth. So speaking the truth was easy then; all you had to do was to be insane or pretend to be insane, speak in riddles and be entertaining.
What a good thing we have moved beyond all of this and today’s artists can be free to speak the truth.
“I am the Walrus! Googoogajoob!”
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