Monday, May 12, 2014

Repetitive Listening Syndrome

Okay.  Let's admit it: There is too much music that we have heard too many times, always played the same way, never commanding our attention.  We are bored to the point where we have ceased to believe that Beethoven might be the least bit interesting.  And let's not even mention that other one....

What on earth has happened?  How could we have let it happen?  Is the damage reversible?

Perhaps the first thing to remember is that neither Beethoven nor that other one was a graduate of an American conservatory of music.  Think about it.

That means that their use of pitches, beats, barlines, tempo markings, and all those other easily understood elements was not subject to passing or failing grades.  What made them write the way they did has absolutely nothing to do with the way we are taught to read their writing.  That is why their music is so tremendously difficult to read that very few people go to the trouble to get below the surface.

There is more to it, dear reader, than counting to four.