Your resistance to a music is a measure of the music’s capacity
to destabilize notions you didn’t know you hold dear.
The singer of the pop song assumes that if she repeats the chorus enough
someone will believe her.
Classical music’s contemporary uses illustrate how the music has always been, among other things, an aspirational tool and badge—a way of making social class audible.
Music used in advertising prostitutes itself in the sense of misusing its talents
and sacrificing its self-respect for financial gain.
Music is not a way to “express oneself” but a window
onto understanding the mechanics of expression itself.
“Music” is the on-life-support thing that musicians practice all day in conservatories; “music” is the empty promise of every new product in the music store catalog; “music” is riffs strung together and improvised solos transcribed and learned; “music” is the abstract idea pondered by philosophers; “music” is the social presence observed and deconstructed by anthropologists.
And yet…music thrives!
One day at rehearsal the band played the music at 3/4 speed.
“It grooves more” declared the piano player.
“Fast tempos never really groove.”
Drumming for dancers teaches that articulations and accents
need to be exaggeratedly obvious
because your listeners are thirty feet away, not looking at you, and in constant motion.
One way to distinguish “relaxing” music from “contemplative” music
is to check if you’re getting drowsy.