Interesting article...

May 10, 2013 8:54 AM

Reminds me of something Aaron Copland wrote in his book "What to Listen for In Music":
Most people seem to resent the controversial in music; they don't want their listening habits disturbed. They use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled for the stress of daily living. But serious music was never meant to be used as a soporific. Contemporary music, especially, is created to wake you up, not put you to sleep. It is meant to stir and excite you, to move you--it may even exhaust you. But isn't that the kind of stimulation you go to the theater for or read a book for? Why make an exception for music? (p. 199)
Interestingly, I do use streaming a lot for my music listening (I prefer MOG over Spotify, it seems to have more "music dork" features), but I almost always resist making playlists. Instead I just favorite whole albums. It's still my preferred listening mode. But then again, I'm after the artistic experience in its entirety. I'm not sure how many non-musicians feel this way anymore.

That article also reminded me I need to get my hands on the beck sheet-music album.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:00 PM on May 10, 2013

That book by Copland is what pushed me to drop being a performance major and become a composition major. Not sure if I'll ever forgive him for that.

In any case, in spite of, or maybe because I am a composer, I'm really not all that interested in the music other people make. But I do applaud the creativity shown in the article.

Especially nice is the Beck release (hadn't heard of that before). It very much reminds me of Cage's desire to destroy all musical recordings which would then make people have to play music resulting in a far better situation than people just passively listening.

And back to Copland, the idea that people find classical music to be relaxing bugs the crap out of me. Aren't y'all listening to what's going on? The harmonic movement? The transition between keys? Heck, even the thematic material and the variations on that? There's just so much going on that it's impossible to relax!
posted by bfootdav at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yes, I find it rather humorous when I hear someone say "I like to study/work with classical music in the background" I'm like yeah I tried that but I just couldn't focus because I was too interested in what the music was doing.

Drone/Ambience/Musique Concrete is about the only thing I can relax to, and even that sometimes is pushing it.
posted by Doleful Creature at 6:40 PM on May 13, 2013

Oh yeah, I can't listen to "background" music at all. Drives me batshit in most contexts. Unless I'm driving or in a bar, I'm compelled to pay more attention than I'd like.

I had no idea that the Beck Song Reader sold out. I got a copy for Christmas, and it's a great deal of fun; there are a couple of songs on there that I really dig. I've been caught up in a lot of other stuff lately, but I'd like to record a couple of them sometime (or play them with some others, of course).
posted by uncleozzy at 8:32 AM on May 14, 2013

Interesting isn't it how the origins of albums and singles lies to a great extent in the technical limitations of what could be fitted onto a shellac or vinyl disc without unacceptably compromising sound quality. I'm obviously aware that albums actually began life as just that - physical albums containing several 78 rpm discs, akin to photo albums - but the standard 10-track LP we know and love owes quite a bit to straightforward technical considerations.

It fascinates me how we're still hanging onto that format/concept in terms of albums, or indeed in terms of the length of "singles" (the 78rpm disc could take, what.....3.30 minutes of music, maybe a little more, before the needle came off the disc). Unless you're actually producing some kind of linked concept piece, why on earth would you want to release an "album" other than purely for commercial reasons? And let's face it, how many "concept" albums have actually worked as whole pieces - half a dozen, tops? Now that we have digital media, the album seems to me to be a pretty redundant concept. Discuss (!).

fwiw I very rarely actively listen to other people's music any more. It helps a lot in allowing your own ideas to come through. I stress the "actively" - obviously music is ubiquitous 24/7 and basically inescapable, but you can tune it out most of the time if you're not actively listening to a piece.
posted by Hoops McCann at 11:56 AM on May 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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