Author Topic: Whence Music?  (Read 530 times)


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Whence Music?
« on: March 09, 2016, 03:44:33 PM »
Without getting into what 'tonal' means, or how it is used, I think it's apparent that most people would identify music of a thousand years ago as clearly "tonal," although strictly speaking, Gregorian chant is not tonal in any sense, and is not even 'unambiguously tone-centric,' since it sometimes leaves us 'hanging in the lurch' tonally, not ending phrases on the note we thought was tonic, and other vestigial effects of those stiff little, inflexible tetrachords.

 What people mean, is that old music sounds 'sonorous' and full of delightful harmonic color, and is consonant or less consonant by degree, but is definitely not easily confused with that dissonant stuff that arrived after 1900.

 Broad interest in the living, ongoing, evolving tradition of musical thinking and practice we used to call 'classical music' did, indeed seem to decline, and 'classical music' became a 'living museum' of older practices. Beethoven anyone?...While the actual thinking process and creation of such music became relegated to the ivory towers of academia, the New York City loft scene, and vinyl LP cut-out bins of K-Mart.

 So, who's right, and who's wrong? Did composers exceed the limits of what the common ear can stand? Just because we can now base an entire composition on principles derived from dissonant sets of notes, should we?

 The 'ear' seems to have lost. Listening to music itself, any music, is now a dying art. Just listening, I mean. It's like reading. You do it alone, preferably in the dark. "Real" music is to be used in 'real' ways: to dance to, to advertise beef, to accompany more important dramatic action, like TV shows and movies.

 Who really needs 'music itself' these days? People who love music itself, I hope.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 03:46:22 PM by millions »
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