"But even he would tell you that his music is meant to be digested emotionally, not academically. "
Quite, Jamie. Emotionally digestible and evocative of my sense of life is how I like my music.
And God save me from boring academic analysis of it."
Ross, this reminds me of an argument I had against a writer who claimed that Pink Floyd did not meet the criteria of Progressive Rock because the musicians were not virtuosos. (I'd argue that they were virtuoso's of the studio, but that's another story). Anyway, I recall the the keyboardist, Rick Wright, after the Floyd's experimental phase, had simplified his sound after several albums of piano trickery. Basically, he stopped being "pretentious" by trying to overdo it and streamlined his compositions to be more efficient and to the point. Wright was the only trained musician in the group, and does possess decent, if not virtuoso, chops. He had a few pieces of complexity and experimentation, but the pieces that stand out are the later simplified structures like "Us and Them," "Great Gig in the Sky," etc. They are less abstract and more tuneful, not showy or tricky but have a simple beauty and grace. The same could be said of David Gilmour, not a fast player, but beautiful phrasing, deeply moving in my ears. 3 of his notes are worth 1000 of Eddie Van Halen's.
I find it funny sometimes that technology and labor tend to develop into smaller, efficient forms, but in music, the opposite seems to be true. "Brevity is the soul of wit" is often quoted around here, but in the arts, the criteria of greatness seems to be needless complexity and punishing performances that leave the musician exhausted. (Why do people applaud a singer's high C? Not because it's more beautiful, but because it's physically more difficult and demanding.) Esthetics becomes replaced by athleticism, or uber-intellectualism. But musicians are not athletes or scientists, but estheticians. I'm not against complexity or high performance, mind you, but I'm at a loss to understand the devaluation of simpler pieces in favor of more complex or physical ones, especially when both have the power to move the soul. The real criteria should be not just the form but also the purpose of the piece, and not complexity for complexity's sake. Form and function.
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/16, 9:13pm)
(Edited by Joe Maurone
on 11/16, 9:15pm)