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The Rambler :: blog

Friday, June 04, 2004

That old favourite 

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A couple of quotations from Michael Broyles' Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music are music to Alex Ross's ears - and mine too. For almost all the other arts, and for all music except the Western classical tradition, the artists and their works are an integral part of people's lives. The establishment has, over the passage of a century or two, contrived to make classical music a completely irrelevant part of everyday life. In fact, if you try to contest this position within the establishment, and make the bold suggestion that maybe shouldn't music shouldn't just be an optional bolt-on accessory to people's lives, but should be as central as, say, architecture, film and literature, you are accused of some sort of 'unmusical' betrayal. As though music appreciation was some sort of fanatical religion, and any free interpretation of the scriptures deserved excommunication.

Ok, maybe that's putting a little strongly, but there is a bizarre tendency of the musical establishment to push itself further and further away from real life into this extremely damaging hermetically sealed world. Sometimes I wish I'd gone into ethnomusicology, you know. At least there, you are starting from a common belief that music matters, just making noise matters. As it stands at the moment, I often see this terrifying vision that within the academy what a piece sounds like, the noise it makes is the very least important aspect of the work.

I've wandered way off topic here, and lapsed unforgivably into my favourite rant, but you know me well enough now, go and read the Ross post instead.


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