Ed's talk: Jun 25, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Angel of the Waters

This is my photo of Bethesda Fountain which I used as the basis of my last piece in the "Central Park Suite" and which I called "Angel of the Waters" (it's formal name.) It may be heard on my website and elsewhere.


A plea for musical literacy

At the present time, the arts have clearly been devalued in the United States as well as in much of the rest of the world. As I am no expert in the other arts and hardly an expert in the vast field of music, except for my relatively narrow field of interest, I can't speak to the whole field of music or its manifestation in other cultures.

It seems obvious that interest in popular music has been high due to many factors including television, the internet, iPods etc. And yet, the public remains mostly illiterate musically.

Though my interests are mostly in the field of art music, I find myself and others subject to huge dosages of rock, hip-hop, rap etc. whenever I go outdoors. Most of these have incessant drums added automatically to the empty melodic lines, chord progressions and unsafe decibel levels.

(Incidentally, If I or anyone else can hear what is playing through your headphones especially the dull "chugga-chuggas" of the drum beats, you are putting yourselves at risk for severe hearing loss and enriching the fortunes of the hearing aid industry!)

The increasingly desperate antics of a Britney, Madonna and many others should not be confused with musical talent and anyone who is enamored of these and others might be advised to turn the sound off and simply watch them on video.

I have long felt that that everyone should have, as a minimal musical education, exposure to singing and being able to at least "carry a tune" which almost all people should be able to do. This is not necessarily to increase the supply of vocalists, heavens forbid, but to give a solid basis to anyone who insists on opening his or her mouth in song in public and decrease the distress of anyone who has to listen to it.

And what about an exposure to musical notation, theory and even elementary harmony? An exposure to the musical classics can only help as well but this is less important than familiarity with the materials of music.

Since almost all human beings of all genders and cultures have at least a liking for music hard-wired into their psyches, they all need to familiarize themselves with it's materials.