RE: Music !!

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Jul 11 2001 - 13:49:12 BST

  • Next message: Kenneth Van Oost: "Re: It's an ad, ad, ad world"

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Music !!
    Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 13:49:12 +0100
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    Hi Kenneth,

    I kind agree with your views here, but I also think there is something
    quantiative to the different demands of pop and classical music. Consider
    for example the number of instruments involved, and the number of different
    melodies, harmonies etc. they are playing. OK, today, production values in
    pop music are such that much more than just drums, bass and guitar are
    involved, but the compelxity of the composition of pop music is generally a
    lot lower than that of classical music, isn't it?

    It's the same with, say, cubism. To most people, even if they like it, it
    looks like a kid could do it, but one needs to understand the intent behind
    cubist work to get why it looks the way it does. Perhaps one can then
    appreciate it (I say perhaps because even though I have some idea of what
    they were up to to, I still think cubism sucks). I think classical music is
    a bit like this- so is jazz for my money, at least the kind of jazz that
    Coltrane and others like him did. Anyone remember that scene in 'Bird' (I
    assume there's some hint of truth in it) when Charlie Parker steps up on the
    open stage night, and gets booed off the stage, becasue people didn't
    initially get what he was up to.

    Complexity doesn't mean better, of course. And some would say the more you
    have to work to try and enjoy a piece of music, or painting or whatever the
    less enjoyable it inevitably is. I have friends who like the band 'The
    Fall' (yes, named after Camus' book), who say they like the band because
    they refuse to conform to orthodox notions of what pop music should be. Of
    course the problem with this is that the band's music, tends to lack melody,
    harmony, rhythm etc. etc. So, a bit like installation art, I think people
    who like such things do so at an intellectual level, but are laying if they
    claim emotional engagement with with such work. And surely the arts are as
    much (more?) about emotional engagement than anything else.

    Now, in relation to memes, if we start talking about the emotional versus
    the intellectual triggers in music, are we not looking at an area where
    perhaps there's a tug of war for dominance between genes (driving the
    emotional states in the first place) and memes (culturally shaping what
    kinds of music/art etc. is regarded as credible, acceptable at any given
    time)? Perhaps the patterns that we see in the popular consumption of these
    different forms reflects these different forces at work. In pop music where
    emotions are more dominant, we see regular and persistent fluctuations in
    what is hot and not, whereas in the classical arena, where intellectual
    involvement becomes more important, the relative status of composers remains
    pretty solid (doesn't it?). I don't know ... wild, almost certainly
    inaccurate speculation....


    > ----------
    > From: Kenneth Van Oost
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 8:26 pm
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: Music !!
    > Bonjour Pascal,
    > You wrote,
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Pascal Jouxtel
    > To:
    > Sent: Monday, July 09, 2001 12:25 AM
    > To be more serious, I think liking classical music merely requires
    > training, and it adresses maybe less emotional, more intellectual
    > functions of the brain.
    > << I knew one might say that !!
    > In the context of the article leading to this thread, no harm done
    > whatsoever.
    > But, in any other case, where the power of the brain is involved, in
    > the sense
    > you mentioned " more intellectual ", a point of view like yours is
    > influenced
    > by a cultural/ social/ bourgeois prejudice.
    > Not that this was your intention, I presume, but it seems odd to me
    > that
    > most of the time classical music is associated with a more " elitair
    > " life,
    > something more for the upper classes.
    > And like Philip Jonkers mentioned rightly, Persaud talked about
    > people
    > suffering from dementia, bourgeois or upperclass is of no meaning
    > here.
    > If you are willing to recognize what the consequences are of
    > dementia,
    > I wonder if we ever can talk of upperclass, intellectual abilities
    > again.
    > Best regards,
    > Kenneth
    > ( I am, because we are)

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