23 March 2005

Music and context

The idea of musical context came to mind after a few of the recent writings and readings on pop music. Specifically: is it unfair to judge pop music with a rigor that certain other music might be judged? Or, to avoid the prejudice of "rigor," is pop governed by different rules? Maybe pop works within a different domain. Is it as unfair to criticize pop music composition as it is to say, for example, "this limerick doesn't have the impact of a Shakespeare tragedy"? Or: "this sit-com episode didn't move me as much as To Kill a Mockingbird."

I guess the important point is that I hope to see all music as Music in a single context. If we say that one is meant to be ephemeral and another timeless, then what are the qualities that bend each in those directions and, most important, what then are their shared qualities? Are there universal responses to those shared qualities? If one type of expression only deals with certain subjects, is that choice part of the aesthetic or is it unnecessarily self-limiting? And when we talk of the universal, we have to look at extremes--the avant guarde, folk, archaic--and how they fit into our responses.

Or might Art just be like shedding skin? No matter its importance at one time, after a while it dies and is absolutely meaningless.

Questions such as these always require something concrete, but I just don't have anything in my head right now.

[ posted by sstrader on 23 March 2005 at 10:48:30 PM in Music ]