On The Beatles album, Magical Mystery Tour, there is the
song; “I am the Walrus,” which has, among other things, a voice chanting a
particular phrase. Everyone took this particular phrase to be “everyone smoke
pot,” but John Lennon insisted that the correct phrase was “everyone’s got
I tend to take the latter explanation as being correct.
Here’s why; let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from “Instant Karma.”
“Who in the hell d'you think you are?
A super star?
Well, right you are!
Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun
Well we all shine on
Ev'ryone come on”
So what is it that everyone got? Well, a connection, a
source, whatever you want to call it. It’s a source of power and wisdom where
one’s truth can be found. Dig it; in the Old Testament, you find these people
called Judges. Judges were the only ones who could talk to God, so that pretty
much eliminates any argument and makes the Judge a god practically speaking.
Anyone who had any argument with this was taken out and promptly stoned to
death. Hence our societal preoccupation with thinking that ‘authorities’ should
be doing our thinking for us and making our decisions. As far as how is that
working for us, I don’t need to ask.
If one looks at the history of music and art, one finds this
same theme; that one person doing the thinking for many was not the intended
way and will not, ultimately work. There is not a human being that is superior
by birthright or chosen by god that can solve all our problems for us. Each individual
is the only one who can solve his or her problems and that will be done by
looking within to their own source or connection to the universe because
‘everyone’s got one.’
These days, everybody is beating the drum. They beat it
here, they beat it there, they beat it for everything. Mostly, they’re beating
the drum for war.
Man, what is it about that drum that makes everybody want to
fall in line all zombie like? Do they never think to call the cops and say,
man, there’s someone disturbing the peace around here!
They beat the drum in the news. They beat the drum for
corrupt politicians and they beat the drum for a new car. A man goes into a
restaurant to have a bowl of soup and read his paper and he says waiter,
there’s a drum in my paper.
They beat the drum on the radio. They beat the drum for hair
implants and car insurance. A man buys a new car and takes it back because the
radio is broke; it only plays stations with drums.
Some say you should follow the beat of a different drummer.
Once, when I was in youth orchestra we were rehearsing a Tchaikovsky Symphony
and, right before the waltz, the conductor remarked that most waltzes are in
4/4 time but this one was in 5/4 time and that was because Tchaikovsky followed
the beat of a different drummer. You can find out more about Tchaikovsky and
what kind of different drummer he was following here.
Hell, I say follow the beat of your own drummer and beat the
drum about who you are.
This is the most difficult thing of all to confront; you and
you alone are responsible for whatever is going on in your life. Many people
may feel they are in a difficult situation that is not one of their choosing.
They may say, Oh, so and so talked me in to it, or I did it
for the sake of my mother but underlying all this is an agreement they made.
So you don’t have
all these people to blame for whatever is going on or whatever decisions you
made. You are the only one who can make the decisions for you.
For the majority of people it’s as if they have a chorus of
people in their head, invalidating them, evaluating their thoughts and passing
judgment on the kind of thoughts they think.
“I shouldn’t think better of myself,” what would others
think? What others? Sure, if you go around and tell others of your plans and
dreams, you’re liable to get a verbal slap down. But the question is, why are
you seeking the approval and permission of others to think how you want?
The good news is; you and you alone are responsible for
whatever is going on in your life.
You don’t have to
listen to this chorus of naysayers in your head. You can free associate, if you
like and stop worrying about whether that makes you crazy or not. I mean, look
at society. This is where you’re getting your concept of sanity? Is the pressure
to think like everyone else a sane thing or just a fearsome barrier?
So you can stop worrying about what the neighbors will say
and your mother who says that will lead to disaster and you can think and dream
how you will.
The concept of the muse goes way back to the time of the
ancient Greeks. There were nine muses who were the daughters of Zeus and they
represented the different branches of the Arts and Sciences. The muses would
inspire or speak to people and assist them with their creative efforts.
There were two chief ways that an artist, poet or musician
could get in contact with a muse. One way was to invoke the muse or call to it.
Writers of old would do this in the opening passages of
their books, such as Homer did in The Odyssey;
“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns
driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of
Troy.” Homer, Book 1 of The Odyssey.(Robert Fagles, translation 1996) For more information about the muses
and their names, go to this Wikipedia article.
The other way of contacting a muse was to align one’s
thoughts with the muse. Since the muses are goddesses, it seems reasonable to
assume that one would have to fill their mind with very high-toned thoughts,
much like the scene from Mary Poppins where everyone began to float into the
air because they had filled themselves with such good humor.
This is, by the way, a fairly traditional method of
contacting a god or spirit and is the way that a channel works; the person of
channel brings their thought vibrations way up and the entity lowers theirs to
meet them half way, so to speak.
In the original (Greek) definition of inspiration, it was a
thought or idea that came from a god or spirit, it was preconscious, in other
words; something that transcended the ordinary workings of the human mind.
There is also the idea that the average human mind has ‘limiters’
on it, which are ideas regarding the person's inability to do something better.
Back in the day, see, the Masons were not just these great bricklayers that built the pyramids. The Masonic Lodge was and is a secret society of high priests and mages that were the guardians of the secret teachings.
The rational behind keeping the secret teachings a secret was kind of two fold;
1.The fear that the wrong people would get their hands on the information.
2.The belief that the average person just wasn’t ready to handle the information.
After awhile, there came about a split in the Lodge and there was then the White Lodge and the Black Lodge.
The folks of the White Lodge were for making the information available to everyone. They reasoned that number one was a moot point as enough of the wrong people already had gotten their hands on the information.
Part of this secret teaching was that god resided in every man and every woman. Every man and every woman was a star and could avail themselves of this divine wisdom and power if they so chose.
Of course this idea flew directly in the teeth of the old pharaoh/judge system that said the pharaoh was god or (later) was chosen by god. Well, of course he was, since he was human but, in this system, he was the only one who could speak for god.
In the time of Mosses, if you said you had spoken with god, you were summarily taken out and stoned to death. Mosses was a renegade from the Lodge.
Later, when Jesus told his followers that god was in, and waiting for them to drop by and knock on the door, well, we all know how that turned out.
Which brings us to point number two, possibly still debatable given the current situation. But while you debate this point, chew on the lyrics from this song by Earth Wind and Fire;
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams will take you very far
But when you wish upon a dream
Life ain't always what it seems
What'd you see on a night so clear
In the sky so very dear
You're a shining star
No matter who you are
Shining bright to see
What you could truly be (What you could truly be)
Shining star come in to view
Shine its watchful light on you
Give you strength to carry on
Make your body big and strong
Born a man child of the sun
Saw my work had just begun
Found I had to stand alone
Bless it now I've got my own
So, if you find yourself in need
Why don't you listen to these words of heed
Be a giant grain of sand
Words of wisdom, "Yes I can"
You're a shining star
No matter who you are
Shining bright to see
What you could truly be
Webster's second Edition Dictionary of the English Language defines genre as; "one of the categories, based on form, style, or subject matter, into which artistic works of all kinds can be divided." So this article is a fair attempt to look at some new music genres. Now I have often had fun with the term 'new music,' because there has always been new music in every day and age.
But what people are often getting at is music that is new and different in some way than what went before and whereas every good composer was new and different than what went before to some degree, one can step back and take a really broad look.
Music historians have done this, of course, and they divided western music into four main periods; there is the Baroque, which is the really early music of the sixteen hundreds, the Classical (Mozart and Beethoven and all that crew), the Romantic (Liszt and Tchaikovsky et al.,) and finally the Modern Period. The Modern Period begins in the nineteen hundreds and hence the other reason I have fun with the term 'Modern Music;' because it's now quite old.
Why is it Modern Music?
If you examine the first three periods of music, you will find definite stylistic differences between the three periods, which I will not go into now. The underlying similarity between these three periods is that they get a heck of a lot of milage from what are known as the three Primary Chords.
So after a hundred years or so, some composers were really tired of these three Primary Chords. These three Primary Chords are responsible for creating what is known as tonality in music. So some of these modern music composers decided they would do away with tonality and Atonal music was born in genres such as Serial Music or Twelve Tone Music.
Other composers used mathematical formulas to make their music and some devised ways of creating music by chance such as throwing dice; called Chance Music (go figure.) Ironically, pop music fits into the Modern Music and we find that, to this day, the Primary Chords are back with a vengeance, only they are now called the Blues Chords. (Seriously. I'm not making this up, honest.)
Well, getting tired of the Primary Chords is kind of like getting tired of the primary colors. Curious that the Atonal music was commonly viewed as an evolution of the first three periods of music or 'serious' music, as it is known and pop music was something else with unknown origins even though it studiously made use of the three Primary Chords of the early periods of music.
There was another genre or two in the 'serious' music; Minimalism, but they have now flat out run out of labels.
Same with pop music; from Jazz onward the basic musical practice has remained the same and now they have just run out of labels.
Interesting that pop music is going through its own minimalistic stage The ultimate irony is that the two most similar periods of music, as far as musical practice goes, are Jazz and the Baroque. (It's fashion, beeb, beep!)
Music has it's equivalent of the primary colors and they are called the Primary Chords. They are also known as the Blues Chords. They are the three major chords out of a given scale. If you want more information about the Primary Chords check here. They are the most used chords in all of music, certainly in pop music as the video below will demonstrate in a humorous way.
But, if they are the most used chords, is it any wonder that groups are suing each other so much, saying that their material has been stolen?
The Primary Chords have been known for hundreds of years, in fact and composers have certainly tried to get away from them a bit as time went on. As an experiment, I wrote a piece that contains no primary chords whatsoever and, even though I think it's interesting this is not something I foresee doing on a regular basis. If you want to check it out, click here. I call it "Second by Second" since it contains only the 'secondary chords.' (all the others except the Primary Chords.) It sort of floats in space in a directionless manner-nice once in awhile but I prefer some direction.
I think one of the more successful attempts at getting around the normal usage of the Primary Chords is the use of modes. A mode is just a different sort of scale and you can find out more about modes here. Here is a track I composed using a mode. It's called Ms. Olydian.
Anyway, if you have any doubts about what I'm saying here, check out this video by the AxisofAwesome;