Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I always loved music. The love became passionate around age ten by which time I had become a jazz nut, being called Jazzbo in church camp, and again in college. Music is one area in which my view of myself and others’ view of me coincided. I loved music and people saw it.
Now I’m not sure I don’t hate music. It depends entirely on what music we’re talking about. I nearly worship Miles Davis. It has nothing to do with what an asshole he so conspicuously was; it has only to do with the sound that he made: not just playing the trumpet, but as a creator of bands, a mentor and husbander to younger geniuses, a composer, a creator of styles, an architect of the spacing of sound: the most amazing rythmnist I’ve encountered. I love Bach, play a couple or a dozen of his pieces on the keyboard nearly every day. I love Beethoven: all the big names: Wagner: and a good number of the lesser big names: Fauré, Albinoni, Prokofief ... Jobim ... Khan, Shankar ... I love music that is conspicuously incomplete without the things that go with it: Don Giovanni, Fred Astaire, Michael Jackson ... For Billie Holliday, it’s enough to hear her, sure; but you really ought to see her too. (A bit late now. I was fortunate enough to catch her live in 1955 or so. (She was sick, near the end; but still ...))
So what do I hate? Nearly everything one hears in public: nearly everything on TV, on radio. I live my life trying, and largely succeeding, in avoiding media: except movies (where the sound track often doesn’t register consciously, even with me).

Anyone who reads more than a little pk already sees what I’m really getting at: classification, reification ... abstractions ... generalizations: and most basic: Realism versus nominalism: is music some Platonic Form? in heaven? Or is music just this song, and that tune, and the other recording?

2011 09 07 I've been talking about this since the mid-1960s. I'm not aware of a single person, certainly not any of my professors, who understood a word of it. Now I've been blabbing it on the internet since 1995: still zero.
Yet people go right on: acting as though they believe that the culture is capable of thought, as though schools and governments and churches receive as well as dispense information.

Also more coming on Music Class, Classes of Music, Musical Changes; but first I gotta jot a few other things while they’re in my head.
Note: This post concerns specifics versus abstractions, but ties closely to political issues as well. As is suggested again and again at K., a basic reason I came to hate much music related to the culture’s refusal to honor Afro-American genius: and by "Afro-American genius" I DON’T mean "black." Benny Goodman, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan ... had loads of Afro-American genius: mixed with Jewish genius, European genius ... home-grown non-African genius ...

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