MD Speaking of musical excellence

From: Steve Peterson (
Date: Sun Feb 08 2004 - 16:53:30 GMT

  • Next message: David MOREY: "Re: MD Do we all need philosophy?"

    Platt, all,

    > Platt said:
    > Few would argue with your conclusion that the utter crap that passes as
    > music in the popular culture today will eventually fade from cultural
    > consciousness, although there is historical precedent for the adage
    > that
    > the "bad drives out the good." (When Britney is put on a higher level
    > than
    > Beethoven, you know society is in trouble.) Still if Pirsig is right,
    > great art's ability to the communicate humanity's highest values
    > transrationally across generations will, in the long run, prevail.
    > Evolution towards betterness driven by DQ will not be denied.

    If Mozart were alive today, what kind of music do you think he'd be
    making? I doubt he'd be composing in the classical style. There will
    never be another Beethoven because Beethoven has been done.

    The standard for static classical musical quality has long ago been set
    and need not be rehashed by modern musicians. The modern great's
    greatness may be measured by their dynamic contributions to the art of
    making music and also making popular culture, since modern popular
    composer's music cannot be separated from their larger cultural impact.
      (I don't think we are seeing anything new in Britney Spears, but we
    did in Madonna in the 80's though Madonna's influence was cultural
    rather than musical.)

    The importance of an understanding of context in modern music is a part
    of the postmodern movement which is a logical progression if you can
    see how static quality goes stale. I think you may be selling short
    the dynamism of modern music. Despite the beauty of the mathematical
    sophistication of Bach, that mode ran its course. It lost its dynamism.
      It was followed by the innovations of the likes of Mozart. Mozart can
    be viewed in the context of the evolution of music that Bach
    participated in, and Mozart's music can be seen as "better" than Bach
    if you understand Mozart as including Bach without necessarily
    rehashing Bach. There was no need for Mozart to rehash it since we
    still have Bach. Perhaps Mozart even helped people appreciate Bach in
    new ways.

    Likewise, Radiohead (my favorite modern band) doesn't make rock music
    that sounds anything like Chuck Berry, but it is understood by those
    that appreciate their music as coming out of a broader context that
    runs from Chuck Berry to the Rolling Stones, to the Velvet Underground,
    to Pink Floyd. I think that the most innovative musicians today can't
    be appreciated without a sense of that broader context since the old
    forms have lost their dynamic impact and cannot be continually quoted
    without boring us (which also applies to modern art and explains why I
    have little appreciation for it. I just don't know enough about it and
    it sure doesn't try to explain itself.) Modern (postmodern) artists
    must cut right to the chase and be as dynamic as possible while
    providing only the fewest contextual clues (static quality) as possible
    to be understood while presupposing most of the necessary contextual


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