On musical purism
I happen to witness a lot of querelles between self-declared musicians fighting to establish whose musical taste and culture is better, why what they listen to is gold while what all the other unworthy common human beings listen to is plain sh*t. I’m saying self-styled because, in my humble opinion, whoever has a prejudice in music can’t be called a musician, a real musician listens to all of the possible streams and, most importantly, understands and respects them all, even the ones he doesn’t really dig.
Of course this is just my point of view, I don’t mean to impose my opinion or sound pretentious, but this is what I learned from my experience, from when I was a kid ‘till now.
It’s ok to say you don’t like something, but it’s not ok to say that it’s worth nothing.
“It took 5 authors to write a Beyonce song, Freddie Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody all by himself”
What’s that supposed to mean? Freddie was obviously one of a kind, a true genius with a voice like no other (don’t deceive yourself, I know someone who does not recognise even his talent), but that shouldn’t diminish the merit of all the other artists or there wouldn’t be anyone singing again after his death. So Beyonce doesn’t write her own songs? Who cares, she still has an AWESOME voice (I dare you to say her songs are easy to sing), a beautiful face (and body), a great personality and a strong charisma.
“You’re a DJ and you think you’re making music? You’re just playing around with noises and a computer”
“Metal is for men, what’s that Lady Gaga-wannabe doing?”
“If you call that band genius, then what should we say about Frank Zappa?”
“Do people really listen to One Direction?” (says the one who at 12 had an entire wall of Backstreet Boys posters)
“Mainstream music is for suckers who know nothing” (like Jon Snow)
You know what, I think music is the most democratic essence in the whole world, it’s for everyone, it touches the heart of the good, the bad, the young, the old, the mild, the tough. Some people let it in their geart easily, some people are hard to get through, but even the least emotional person on earth has had goosebumps listening to a tune.
So who are we to judge wether someone should feel or not a sense of happiness while listenint to Justin Bieber? And what harm does it make?
And don’t even get me started on all the comparisons between artists that i hear, that’s simply foolish!
Let’s not put restraints on the freest thing there is, our feelings. Music arouses all diffrent kinds of feelings in us, no genre is more noble than another so judging people by their musical tastes is pretty silly.
Music connects us to the divine: it is physics, pure mathematics, it’s nothing but a wave that propagates, a vibration and yet it is able to stimulate our soul and, so ineffable and inexplicable, manages to speak when all our words fail. It unites us, gives us hope, keeps us company.
I am the first one who isn’t really fond of most of the Italian artists, they don’t suit my taste, de gustibus non disputandum est, so I do go and deprecate everyone who just went to the latest Ligabue concert. Respect, respect is the key to everything, in music, in religion and every other thing in life.
If you’re somehow a music “purist” try to be a bit more open minded and note that there are a lot of levels on which we can appreciate things, understand that what you feel is not what the other feels and nobody is superior. Enjoy some good music, even the song you’ve always considered silly, shake you booty to Call Me Maybe because damn, that song is catchy and fun!
You can go back to Deep Purple later, their record will always be there for you.
I really don’t know if I made my point with this, there are so many things I wanna say, but I fear the post would get too long and boring… maybe I’ll come back on this subject.
Thanks for reading, I hope you agree with me!
Lots of love,
There are 4 comments
I believe your point is well made, and well-spoken, Sara. I understand, and fully agree, with what you are tring to express. If you saw my library you would see that I could go straight from listening to a Black Sabbath song such as “War Pigs” to”Living Next Door to Alice” by Smokie or “I am..I said” by Neil Diamond. It all depends on my mood, how am I am feeling or how I may want to feel after listening to that “certain song.” Heck, for nostalgic sake I may even listen to “YMCA” or “Macho Man” by the Village people as by doing so I’m “transported” back into time enjoying some fond memories. Sure there are genres in today’s music that I don’t care to listen to but I won’t disparage them as what I enjoy and don’t enjoy may be the opposite to what the person next to me feels and who am I to argue their likes, dislikes, and such. And you’re absolutely correct on your comments about the Freddie Mercury/Beyonce comparison. So what if someone else wrote the song, she is still the one who sings it, and makes it “her own.” How many established bands out there today, and in the past, have had “mega hits” with plenty of air-time yet the song was actually a cover song, written and originally played/recorded by someone else? Music, in my opinion, knows no bounds whether it be race, ethnicicity, sex (to include sexual preference) or other of our created “barriers.” I remember how upset I would be when friends of mine said the band “Living Colour” was just “wrong” because “blacks” do not play metal. HUH???? I disagree too that “Metal is for men.” If so, there are a lot of false female fans in the audiences of many a metal show not to mention the metal bands either fronted by, or consisting of, female musicians. Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on and on so much here either, but after reading your comments (again, very well said) I felt compelled to comment and the more I typed the more words and thoughts kept coming…. I’ve got to control that HA! 😛
mesaage is made, but I only partly agree on the “what I do not like vs. what is crap” discussion. From my point of view, in any profession you see individuals that have the heart and commitment to do a good or even great job. But you also will find people that will go for the quick buck, never thinking about the consequences for the profession or the people that spend their money on the result. If in music this is completed by lots of marketing by companies that go along and the job is done by sham, covered by real artists behind the scene, who make the best out of the original crap, I asked myself, if the total outcome wouldn’t be better if that money would be invested in real artists.
It must be frustating for “real” musicians trying to get recognition, when seeing what is going on the market, isn’t it? Looking at my field of work, or take whatever other field (e.g. medical world, education, politics etc) I could sometimes scream out loud!
Well, at least in music I can decide for myself and spend my money on ancient bards cd’s and can ignore whatever I don not like (or think is crap)… 🙂
I totally agree with you. It’s obvious nobody likes ALL music, but it’s a matter of attitude. We’re all surrounded by different types of music everyday. Some music is what we choose to listen to. Some other is what we find on the radio while seeking a concrete station, advertising, while shopping, in somebody else’s car…
I don’t like all the music I hear. Yes, there’s a difference between what I hear and what I listen to. It’s just a matter of what makes me feel and what does not. And sometimes the same song performed by the same artist can make me feel different things in different moments. I feel music. It turns me to different states of mind depending on what I feel in a concrete moment. I’ve literally cried listening to Gary Moore’s “Midnight blues”, I’ve jumped among the crowd like there’s no tomorrow with Stratovarius’ “Black Diamond” live, I’ve shouted out loud Rainbow’s “I surrender”… I could give a whole myriad of examples. But those songs listened to in different moods can make me feel totally different than they did in those concrete circumstances.
I love metal, but not ALL metal. Some bands surprise me every time with every new release, so to say… Ancient Bards, Symphony X, Kamelot, … Some other bands have changed a lot through the years and I have to say I like some periods more than others, so to say Iron Maiden’s 80’s and 90’s, Sonata Arctica’s until they changed their former guitar player, Joe Satriani’s first 5 albums…
But I don’t just love metal. I listen to many other kinds of music. I also love blues, but not ALL the blues. I love to listen to Gary Moore, Eric Clapton, BB King, Robben Ford… But there are some others I don’t like, even though I appreciate their talent and personal style, so to say Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, …
I don’t enjoy jazz. At least not as much as some people I know. That’s why I know artists like Pat Metheny or Alan Holdsworth, amazing guitarists playing melodies in a style I don’t really like. I admire them, and I love to see them playing, just because of their clean and pure sound and, a little selfishly, because I sure learn something just watching. So there’s a kind of music I deeply respect and admire, even though I don’t like it.
What about country? Well, I accidentally got to watch CMT on my TV (Country Music TV in Spain???). After a couple of days I got to like some melodies I listened. I got paper and a pen and I wrote down some names and album titles. I started a new collection amongst which I found artist like Martina McBride, Shania Twain, John Berry, Patty Loveless, Lee Roy Parnell… which I’d never known if it wasn’t for that accidental (and temporary) TV catch. But I don’t like ALL country music. I don’t like Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, …
Well, you see. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I got a very wide range of likes. I sometimes want to listen to Dire Straits, some other times to Status Quo, or Vivaldi, Verdi, Paganini… (I love Italian classics). In these moments I’m enjoying a concrete theme performed by a concrete artist. But I like all the rest as always.
I also play guitar and piano, so there are some other moments in which I prefer to be myself who provides music. Sometimes I play for myself, sometimes for a few others. Sometimes I play known music from others, with respect and trying to pay a some kind of tribute to the original artist. Some other times I play music I wrote myself (even though I can’t read or write music, I just depend on notes I write while composing, and then on my memory… I sometimes surprise myself remembering how I played some music after a while).
I know behind the final result, that song we like, there’s a lot of work: writing a song isn’t easy, most of the times. Once written, show it to your band, make it grow, give it shape… rehearse… rehearse some more… demo… arrange… demo again (not always, but sometimes)… arrange again… well, a lot of work we don’t see as listeners. We just enjoy. We play it once and aagain. We have a whole band playing for us every time we want. At home. While driving. While studying (I think silence is too noisy…). That certain amount of work behind a song, behind a whole album is what makes me respect all artists, even though I don’t like their music.
Well. I can’t imagine myself without music. I need music in all circumstances, while doing whatever. I just can be sincerely thankful to all of you artists who make me feel those many different feelings, who constantly give me moments to remember, who give a soundtrack to my life. Thank you for the music. Thank you for sharing your art, your talent, your work we listeners don’t see.
So, as you know, you have my unconditional support, respect and admiration.
Loads of hugs, bellissima!
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