Music and the Mundane

May 28, 2013

Music, for the sake of this discussion, can be as simple as a clock ticking or as complex as a Beethoven piece. My argument is that every sound that you might put into the rather loose category I just outlined is as mundane and everyday as walking or drinking a glass of water. I’m not trying to just make a case for Nihilism here. What compels me to write this post, mostly, is that many people seem to differentiate the deliberate flicking of a keychain, or the tapping of a pencil on a desk from the flicks and taps of music found on itunes. I don’t see much of a difference. The complexity and degree of cohesiveness of music is only relevant to the degree the culture it expresses itself from declares it. When my 4 y/o niece sings “You Are My Sunshine”, I genuinely have a difficult time measuring that and making distinctions between a Paul McCartney song, other than a few hundred thousand dollars on equipment and production. I suppose it’s obvious that I’m focused on the will of the musician here more than what’s resonating in the ether. The significance of any music is necessarily contingent upon the walls the sound is reverberating against. To talk about about music in any meaningful way (not just a mere discussion about building processes) I think one must talk about the building process as a social expression (as a type of acoustic signage of attitudes). Generally, with the exception of maybe classical music, this is not a contrived metaphor. It is merely a coincidental appearance from the will to make music. Anyone that makes an utterance from the will to be genuine, will (by coincidence) critique something. It doesn’t even need to remotely resemble the rhythmic pulse of a clock (or anything we might consider “music” for that matter). It is here, at the heart of the will to sing – the emotional core of all (emotional) artistic activities – where concepts like “timbre”, “Rhythm”, “Rhyme”, “harmonics” etc… are finally allowed to dissolve. As profound as that might seem, it is a regular human activity.


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