Being a composer
and having a reasonable amount of musical experience, I have to add my thoughts to this node.
Music is subjective
, just as many forms of art are. With instrumental and symphonic
music I must admit that there are plenty of composers and compositions that I could do without on a personal level: if I never hear an Arnold Schoenberg
piece again it will be too soon. However, if one can step back and think logically and on a more linear scale, one can realize that sometimes what the work of art did for the world and the process itself is more important than it's aesthetic value
For instance, take Andy Warhol
's student films. Do you have to watch his eight hours of the Empire State Building
or the eight hours of some guy sleeping
to appreciate the impact it had on the creative world? No. And I would even hazard to say that it wasn't made to be watched; sometimes an artist endeavors to do something totally different and new and original, and while occasionally it is groundbreaking and incredible, usually it isn't. Many 'artists
' who 'disregard the old established rules' in favor of 'artistic freedom' are simply wannabe intellectual rebels
who didn't or couldn't learn the established rules in the first place.
With any form of art, I think it's severely important to learn the rules before you break them. It was Renoir
who said "First of all, be a good craftsman; this will not prevent you from being a genius
I bring up the matter of craft because on the flipside of the perhaps-all-music-is-valid-so-lets-give-it-a-chance coin is the side that says just because you can make music doesn't mean that you should
. I just can't stand it when I hear people say things like "Jay-Z
should do a remix of that Beethoven
song about moonlight! That shit'd be the bizomb!" or about how Sid Vicious
is like "so totally more important to the world than Mozart
was." And no I'm not kidding. People actually say these things.
Maybe I'm an elitist bastard
, but I hate it when people take monumental achievements in music and use them for nefarious purposes, like the Starz
raping of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
. Anytime I hear any electronic artist using pieces of a composition out of context or adding to them, I want to ask that person if they understand the piece, if they know what is involved in writing a great piano sonata
before putting porno star moans and jungle beats
to it. I want to ask the 'composer' (who thinks dropping a crate full of ping pong balls on piano strings is a valid composition that people should pay attention to) if he has a thorough understanding of the symphonic concerto form
, or even if he knows how to play the piano. Infuriatingly, the answer is more often no than yes.
I would like to continue on at this point about how composers and the musically academic drove their own audience away at the turn of the 20th century, but I'll cover that in another node. Let me close by saying that if it weren't for Mozart, Sid Vicious probably would never have even had the opportunity to play a fookin bass gihtahr
And a s ahint to my more easily confused readers, please understand that there is more to melody
than a sequence of pitches, K THX.