Thursday, 16 April 2009

BEDA 16 - Music

So this is Blog Every Day April on the 16th of this very busy month. I would like to take the time on this first day of the second half of this interesting project to talk about music. Now music is a big topic and I might come off course in this blog, but bear with me and believe me that my intentions are good.

I come from a musical family. In that picture above, you can see my grandfather at the cello (which he never quite mastered) and my father + my aunt at the piano. I have been playing the piano since the age of 6. Yeah... that's 22 years. Scary, I know. Now I don't have the best ability in playing the piano, mainly because I didn't practice enough. I have some talent, but I was never forced to play, so I only played when I wanted to. Mind you, I have played/practiced a lot, but not enough to be a professional musician. What I have developed, however, is something of a good ear. I can hear melodies, harmonies, musical structures. Where you might hear chaos in a piece of Stravinsky or Shostakovich, I might hear order. That doesn't give me any kind of advantage in real life other than the disgust of most of the things played on the radio. And you can hardly call that an advantage.

Music for me is more than a pastime. It's an essential part of my life. Listening to music, playing the piano, singing, recording, writing music. Playing with different settings and structures. All of this is what makes music so vital and so energetic. The interesting thing about (classical) music is that there are always 3 parts to this art form. The composer, the interpreter, and the listener. Sometimes there's even 4, if you include the conductor in a setting with an orchestra. That means that the music is transposed and transformed several times till it reaches your ear and finally your brain. Music is open to interpretation, to mood. Music never sounds the same to the same individual. Let alone to others. Music is the type of art that can access the mood centers in our brain without bothering to check into the concious parts. Music can change our moods, make us feel something... and there's nothing we can do to prevent it.

Actually, this is what makes music dangerous as well. The examples of propaganda material from the Nazi regime shows this too well. And of course modern advertisment.

In terms of musical tolerance, I'm not really one to talk. I'm very judgemental. I don't think of many of the newer music forms as "real" music even though I try to. I positively hate so many of the new songs that are on the radio that I shouldn't even talk about "chaqu'un a son gôut" with you and I won't.

Music is a very simple and a very complex topic as all good topics are. I can't possible touch all areas in one single blog post, but I wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about it anyway. In the last couple of years, I have changed my musical focus (in listening) to either classical or indie music. I like listening to very independent and unpolished musicians, because I can feel their passion. I can feel that this is what they want to do, even if it means doing it next to their day job or at night. Without food, etc.

I like listening to Gregory and the Hawk or the Bird and the Bee. I like Kate Havnevik and Imogen Heap. I also like Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Kate Nash, Radiohead, Coldplay etc, but my favourites these days are people like Julia Nunes, Danielle Ate the Sandwitch, Dave from Blue Skies, Hank Green, etc. People that I have some kind of a connection to. I know most of them from YouTube and I know them a little bit. And not in the way we all know Britney Spears, but in a more personal way. That's what YouTube can do for us. It brings us closer together. The only thing between us is a webcam and a satellite.

I have rambled on much longer than I had planned to, so I'll close this blog with some lyrics that leave nothing to add in the shadow of their brilliance.

May God bless and keep you always

May your wishes all come true

May you always do for others

And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars

And climb on every rung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous

May you grow up to be true

May you always know the truth

And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous

Stand upright and be strong

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy

May your feet always be swift

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful

And may your song always be sung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

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