The Art of the 21st Century Will Be Committed or Will Be Nothing at All #3 – From division to universality

You probably couldn’t miss the compilation called « I do not like classical music but I like this », currently available in CD stores.

To say that it didn’t leave me cold is far beyond the reality. And I do not mean here to castigate yet another anthology on the subject, all of them born of the most laudable intentions to put the neophyte at ease in this area (but we are only artificially filling a gap there, which is the result of an education that needs to be rethought, starting from primary school).

So, the idea of either a compilation or an anthology is not the worst idea ever, and has thus been used by labels of all musical genres, from the most popular to the most scholarly (speaking of this, we have yet to see a compilation of contemporary music …?). And although it endorses a certain laziness and somehow severs any idea of travel and personal experimentation, it will not be frontally attacked here.

Think about the phenomenon in terms of communication, terminology.
Let us study the title …

Several aspects follow :

First, bringing up a topic with a peremptory denial is a serious ethical problem in that it does not offer an alternative, a change, or any other behavior but the initial premise. On the one hand, this sentence separates us from those who might like « classical music » (let us for the moment not dwell on this catch-all term which does not mean much in the end), and on the other hand, it prevents, by its terminology, a positive change in the mentality of those who do not like it, since they are thus definitively ”labelled”.

In other words, it blocks any movement of thought. Strange thing for an initiative that aims at developing the potential and evolutive interest of the public. There is, for this type of slogan, no dynamic of long-term loyalty, except to continue to try to overcome the deficiencies by constantly modifying the manipulation of symbols. It is actually typical of a contemporary tendency: indefinitely modifying the same concepts by disguising the framework to provide an illusion of novelty. (For example, in business, in order to revitalize the goals, we change the jargon while the visible results remain the same.)

Then, the second part of the sentence simply leads to the destruction of the first. An insult to intelligence, like for instance: I do not like cake, but I do like chocolate ones…

Insult to intelligence, therefore, to which is added by the word « good », a serious lack of love, passion and guts. So there is neither head nor heart.

Shall we continue ? A deliberate lack of syntax, of rhetoric, supported by a binary system … thesis, antithesis … and synthesis ? Where is the evolution ? What is the meaning ? Finally meant for nobody, it has, in addition,no direction.

Because the third party, if it existed, would be far too significant and full of everything that could be transmitted: it could be called « Why? » What is that, despite the educational and cultural impoverishment (for which responsibility has to be taken especially by the Educational System), I would want to listen to excerpts from the « Magic Flute » by Mozart, the first movement of a Beethoven symphony, a Schubert impromptu?

Can anyone explain to me why those works, with their refined structure that goes against the current rate of consumption, were able to reach me despite the general lack of investment ?
Was I told why the magical rhetoric of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony will never need anyone to reach me ?
Has anyone explained to me that I might as well feel and learn to recognize the color of the diminished seventh, just like the professional, in adjusting it to my personal representation ? Four united sounds whose equidistant based structure can be geometrically conceived, whose color can be seen in a synaesthetic way , whose texture can be physically memorized…

Did anyone tell me that music is primarily a vibratory phenomenon, physical, and that the principle of euphony is a sensation that my body recognizes with no need of education whatsoever ? And finally, am I told that the division between « experts » and « amateurs » only exists because some people keep maintaining the myth that music is a serious business for people who know what they are talking about ?

This type of title (in catch phrases) seen in record stores, makes me suddenly think … and if anything was possible because something resists, something stronger than misinformation and cleavage of human and musical genres.

The universal character, a notion on which to rely for a new understanding ?

 To be continued ….

Laurianne Corneille

Translated  by Hannelore Guittet and Dina Venezia

Photography: Philippe Martin CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Pieter Bruegel the Elder : The Tower of Babel, 1563