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Re: [OT] Vivi, the Virtual Violinist, plays LilyPond music

From: Kieren MacMillan
Subject: Re: [OT] Vivi, the Virtual Violinist, plays LilyPond music
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 11:26:40 -0400

Graham (et al.),

> I'll admit that penny dreadfuls were in the 1800s, not 1500s

Actually, some of those "penny dreadfuls" were far from it!  =)

> but I'm certain that the 1500s still had raunchy, "low-class"
> theatrical plays and songs.  I don't believe that everybody sat around
> in their castles writing Nobel-quality poetry to each other.

True -- I've never argued that.

> I don't care about the profession of music, be it performers or
> composers.  I don't care about Music, with a capital 'M', being the
> history and academic study of "good" music.

I care [quite deeply] about Music, as distinct from 'the history and academic 
study of "good" music'.

> I consider jazz music to be the most important musical invention in the 20th 
> century

I do, too -- but there was (and is) "better" and "worse" jazz, judged from all 
sorts of standards: historical importance, technical significance, popular 
appeal, etc.

> I don't even like Jazz music, and can't stand most rock and pop music

I love good music of all genres.

> I care about human creativity.

As do I. For example, to me, the most important to note about the Bible (full 
disclosure: I'm a devout a-theist) is that the first and most important 
sentence is about an act of creation. Everything after that is downhill, in my 
opinion. And, when I painfully stretch the analogy, I always argue that "God 
created us in his own image" is code for "We are built to create."

> A bunch of teenagers in a grungy basement in Seattle in the 1980s
> writing songs about how emo they are, using nothing but power chords,
> is more creative than somebody sitting in their living room listening
> to a CD or Mozart string quartets. A middle-aged housewife writing
> homoerotic star trek fan fiction is more creative than somebody
> listening to a CD of Debussy piano music.
> But I think that creating new art (of any quality) is more creative than 
> looking at existing works.

I'm baffled how you turned this thread into a comparison of active creation 
versus passive consumption... I would never in a million years argue that 
consumption is more important or valid or useful than creation -- I'm pretty 
sure most sane people would agree.

Rather, I'm railing against the following [possibly inevitable, but still 
disheartening] reality:

In the 1940s, a barometer of popular taste was Frank Sinatra (who could 
sing/croon/perform, but not really write lyrics or music) 
singing/performing/crooning songs written by others (who *could* write lyrics 
and/or music, but not sing/croon/perform).
In the 1960s, the barometer was Bob Dylan (who can write great lyrics, and good 
music, but can't sing to save his life) singing his own songs.
Today, the barometer is people who can do none of the above, doing *all* of the 
above -- heavily "assisted" by AutoTune™, AutoCorrect™, and all the other 
AutoCrutches™ "creators" have come to rely on, and (more unfortunately) 
consumers have come to accept (or even prefer).

> Classical music is no guarantee of high art.

I never said it was. (Aside: Kramer's "Why Classical Music Still Matters" is an 
interesting and worthwhile read, even if I don't agree with everything he 

> What am I supposed to be horrified by?

You can choose to be (or not be) horrified by whatever you want. I continue to 
be horrified by the creative apathy which (IMO) feeds the drive towards 
consumptive apathy you claim to dislike.


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