Re: MD Speaking of musical excellence

From: David MOREY (
Date: Sun Feb 08 2004 - 21:30:34 GMT

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    Hi Steve

    Good point about what has become static and what is currently dynamic.
    My ideal is diversity and breadth, so if you move on from my Radiohead
    CDs you will hit Schubert and Wagner. I worry that the opportunities for
    discovering the latter two are inadequate and what I pay my taxes to schools
    for. I think all cultural appreciation should be about what are the static
    and what are the future dynamic possibilities.

    David M

    Whilst we can rely on the radio
    to give a chance of picki
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Steve Peterson" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 4:53 PM
    Subject: MD Speaking of musical excellence

    > 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.
    > Steve:
    > 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
    > understanding.
    > Thanks,
    > Steve
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