LondonJazzCollector – Nice new blog, thoughtful, well done. I played music a few years back (1964-72) though mostly now I just listen, but I feel I can comment.
First I would separate playing music – like participating in sport or being an athlete – from listening to music – watching sport or following a team. Different point of view, so I will park that for the moment. Also I don’t think there is any objective test for “good” music, merely what we like or don’t like. I know I think talent-show stuff is crap but teenage girls are screaming for their heartthrob, they are entitled to.
I am inclined towards a “social anthropology” view of music – how people use in in their lives – than a philosphy of music. How people use it seems to me to come in two very important life stages – “Youth” and “post Youth”.
In Youth, its a soundtrack to the hormonal-fuelled passage to adulthood: tribes, fashions, friends, dancing, dating and mating, luurve, annoying your parents. For some people it never advances beyond that, but switches into “nostalgia for youth”. (I know a few guys in their 60′s still listening to punk or dance, embarrassing) Youth is where the industry makes its money, nothing wrong with that – no one makes you buy anything. It’s a commodity, just not for me. I like other commodities.
For others of us, in adulthood, music is an adventure. In your metaphor, the many and varied languages of music. I have had forty years of post-Youth listening and I never listen to the music of my youth, but made my way through every imaginable genre, culture and style, (before currently settled, for some time, on jazz). All the time you are adding context and experience to each new thing you listen to, with increasing pleasure.
At seventeen I was hunched over a record player learning by copying the solos of Eric Clapton, hours every evening practicing my B string vibrato. That very moment in 1965 two thousand miles away a young man name of John Coltrane was playing saxophone. I didn’t know or care. It took forty more years of listening to a million other things before I could connect with that.
I tried recently to go live music, concerts gigs and festivals, but physically the logistics and discomfort are bad, and the music sound quality through some giant PA speakers is crap. Then there’s the people standing around posing. No, it’s not for me. My front room sweetspot between the speakers is the best seat in the house. Good enough for me.
C.Flitney – Thank you for your thoughtful insight, I appreciate any creative criticism.
I will look into how to jiggle it around a bit to seperate the playing and the appreciation. The initial idea was supposed to be like a jazz bar on 52nd St, New york. small, informal lounge where people (and musicians alike) listen to, talk about and compare their favourite music. But, maybe it is time to change.
The point that I was trying to make, with regards to modern music was not that is was necessarily “bad” music, it was that the music companies are responsible for their output of music. Artists themselves are responsible for the work that they put out into the world, and if you glamourise alcoholism and drug abuse, then I believe that something is not right. Maybe I should publish a follow up, to clarify.
Thank you again, and it is a pleasure to hear your point of view.
LondonJazzCollector – Nice idea, a lounge where you can drop in. When I was working, in and around “knowledge management”, everyone was promoting the drop-in coffee-shops but I like the NY bar idea better. Maybe you need a jukebox. WordPress allows audiostreaming ( cheap account upgrade needed of course) .
Let me not monopolise the blog – I’ll fix myself a drink. Cheers