Saturday, August 20, 2005

Crossing Boundaries

The boundaries between classical music (maybe some people might be more comfortable with the term experimental music) and rock music have blurred, especially prominent in the previous few decades. And the thing is that they've both been previously perceived to be on opposite ends of the music spectrum. Maybe that's just part and parcel of this experimental age, where composers have seeked to search for inspirations in their art through other genres of music. Advant-garde composers have sought to study with masters of other genres of music like Indian classical music, gamelan music etc. And whatever modern movement sweeping through the classical scene, we can see it being caught on by the rock scene as well, with microtonality and minimalism as some examples.

I seem to have this feeling that people now are more obsessed with having radical ideas of creating music than in the resulting music that is produced. Heart-stirring melodies and harmonies, though not completely marginalised, have taken a backseat to coming up with the ideas itself. I agree that most of the music they make do satisfy the ear, but they just lack the ability to penetrate deep into the deeper chambers of our bodies...

Now, that's the kind of music that most talented composers of our time are composing. Is it indeed a pitiful wastage of their talent that half of the world is lamenting about, or is it just because the audiences are more narrow-minded than what art audiences ought to be?

1 comment:

Hucbald said...

I have railed against this very "problem" for years: The music becomes about it's conception and not about what it communicates to the listener. Personally, I don't care how brilliant whatever organizational premise that is used to create the music is, I care about whether or not the music communicates anything to me. Unfortunately, the overwhelmingly vast majority of music composed since the appearance of serialism last century says less than nothing to me. The most vital and communicative music these days is coming from the margins where jazz, popular, and TRADITIONAL classical music intersect. People like Pat Metheny are on my listening list all the time, while contemporary "serious" composers I simply ignore almost entirely. I haven't heard anything compelling out of any of them with one exception: Penderecki.