Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ugliness in Music

Hey all. I was planning on writing another semi-lengthy piece. But I'm quite exhausted and so I'll only give the highlights of what I want to talk about today.

Let me preface this but trying to allow you to understand that while musical taste (as in taste in all art)is a very real thing, the majority of the population takes it extremely for granted. Taste to the masses means what they are used to, or similar to what they are used to. In other words, comfortable. How are we to grow as intellectuals if we stay in our comfort zone? The only way to truly broaden our musical experiences is to leap headfirst into the unknown, not just take a listen and say you don't like it.
People who know me will probably know where I am heading. I am speaking specifically (though no exclusively) about modern art music. Music for so long has been a creation of beauty and relaxation, which it most effectively does. However, music is so much more rich than just that. While plenty of operas and orchestral pieces have touched on the subjects of grief, pain, and death, it is not until the 20th and 21st centuries that music began not to examine or comment on these hard topics, but to actually create them through their music. While pain and suffering has been around since mankind began, as therefore as long as music has existed, the modern centuries have experienced new and more powerful negative emotions due to modernization and industrialization. I feel that even with the great leaps that tonality has evolved, it is still unable to grasp the horrors of modern society.
The general point I am trying to make is that if music has the ability to portray almost perfect beauty, then it can, and in my opinion, must portray the ugly. When you allow your mind and ears to open to the understanding that all music does not have to make you feel good, then you can breach into a new realm of music. If something about a piece makes you feel uncomfortable, instead of pushing it aside and saying it sucks, think about why the composer wrote it that way. Any real composer has a reason, and when you understand this premise, you can begin to unravel its meaning and fine a new beauty in the ugly.

I'm sorry but I am too tired to go on. Let me just challenge you to take that next step into the unknown, and if after serious thought and contemplation you still find yourself not into the music, then fine. I only ask that you give every piece a chance. Regardless you will have experienced something new and you will learn.


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