[LAU] re Subconscious Affecting Music

david gnome at hawaii.rr.com
Tue Aug 31 10:19:18 UTC 2010

fons at kokkinizita.net wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 11:06:33PM +0530, Rustom Mody wrote:
>> 1. The great western classical tradition which started around Bach (or a few
>> hundred years earlier depending on how you look at/hear it) suddenly died
>> around 1900.
>> Classical music degenerated into varieties of insanities like serialism etc
>> and pop/rock etc emerged over the next 50 years out of what was earlier
>> simple folk music.
> That's quite an extreme way to put it I'd say. The 'great western classical
> tradition' is by no means a continuum, it is divided in periods that each
> had their own foundations and idioms. There are composers bridging the gaps
> of course, but that doesn't much change the basic historic structure. 
> But yes, the early 20th century was surely a turning point in Western science
> and culture - mathematics and physics went through a crisis and came out
> stronger than ever, and in the arts - not only music - everything was turned
> over and the outcome of this is still unsure. Much of this was questioned
> in the final quarter of the 20th century (the postmodern movement), without
> IMHO offering anything in exchange. What we have today is some form of 
> 'eclectism' that has its place in contemporary society but in itself has
> little power to survive.

I think sometimes that originality and creativity in the arts are being 
overwhelmed by the sheer volume and easy access to worldwide arts. In 
the 1800s, someone could start off an idea for a melody, share it would 
someone else who thinks it's pretty new, and develop it into a 
composition. Now that same person might have a melody, share it with 
someone else, and someone else might say, "Oh, that sounds like [some 
obscure band in the back side of obscurity], here's their YouTube link", 
and the person who had the melody idea thinks, "Oh, it's been done 
before, I won't bother."

Now we all know that's simplistic and naive, but I think it gets the 
idea across. I live in the USA; on the mainland, 50 years ago I would 
have had very little opportunity to hear popular music from places like 
Korea, Japan or India. Now they're all just a few clicks away via the 
Internet. I can click from a Welsh men's choir to Gregorian chant to 
gangsta rap. Kind of easy to fill your head with everyone else's music, 
and crowd your own out.

Compared to the 1800s, we have music all around us, nearly all the time 
- radios in passing cars, Muzak in elevators and offices, cellphone 
ringtones, etc.

One reaction to having a plethora of material (both modern and 
historical) is to "compose" by essentially remixing different things. 
Even the classical period did that (stylistically) with pieces "in the 
Italian style," "in the German style," in the English style.

>> 3. The 'greatest' wars that humans have ever fought happened in the 20th
>> century
> What is a 'great' war ? This reminds me of the field manual that general
> Turgidson (IIRC) is waving around in Kubrick's 'Doctor Strangelove' - the
> title of it is 'World Targets in Megadeaths'.

Human warmaking technology has attained heights in the 20th century that 
no earlier human culture ever did, and human population count long ago 
exceeded that of any preceding era. So it shouldn't be any surprise that 
the "greatest wars" (if you go just by numbers and damage done) would 
happen now, when the most effective killing machinery devised intersects 
with the enormous selection of available targets ...

gnome at hawaii.rr.com
authenticity, honesty, community

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