Curating The Week: Criticism Of Music Criticism, Music In Advertising, And The Oldest Known Song


1. An article that considers the significance of the recent critical attention paid by (serious) music journalism towards (serious?) pop music. Case in point: the New York Times’ article and video documentary on the making of Justin Bieber’s “Where R  Ü Now.”

“The New York Times’ pieces challenge us as to how seriously we are prepared to take music that isn’t ostensibly academic. It is one thing to produce elaborate ambience, shattering, hammering techno, or abrasive concept-led noise — yet it is another, arguably even harder, task to condense an idea into its most simple, ‘pop’ form.”

2. An article on the use of electronic dance music in advertising.

“Not since the hip-hop boom of the early 90s have corporations leapt on a scene so vigorously. It’s easy to see why: EDM – a hybrid of house, dubstep and trance – trades in safe, inclusive, upbeat music that is played at extravagant live shows to vast crowds. It is largely language-free so it has global reach.”

3. An article about the oldest known song, a 3,400 year old Sumerian cult hymn.

“The 7-note diatonic scale as well as harmony existed 3,400 years ago…flies in the face of most musicologist’s views that ancient harmony was virtually non-existent (or even impossible) and the scale only about as old as the Ancient Greeks.”

Here is a MIDI rendering of the music:

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