Thursday, September 26, 2013

What's This About Sad Music?

An Op-Ed piece in last Sunday's New York Times was on the subject of sad music.  I confess I couldn't read it.  The notion that any music--any music--is uniformly of one emotion is an oversimplification I no longer tolerate.

Such nonsense has led to the inability on the part of a great many normal, regular folks simply to let music pour into them without labels--prescriptions, as it were.

It also makes music incomprehensible to children whose multi-faceted perceptions do not conform to any particular word or concept, thus driving them away from what I call "the good stuff."

Such discussions always bring to mind the reproduction of an oil painting in the Minneapolis Art Museum, shown at a conference of Music Education people at the University of Georgia.  The painting showed a woman in a wide-brimmed hat seen from behind, seated in a field of wild flowers looking out to the distance.  This, according to the proud presenter, called for gentle, pastoral music.

I hit the ceiling.  "But look at the brush-strokes!"