Notebook April 2016
The politics of (new) music
On the political degradation of new music.
It is chic in sophisticated musical circles to suggest that all music is equal. Which is to say, that all music has the same value, or the possibility of value; that the experience received from any music, if not the same, is of equal worth. To suggest otherwise would be, in all likelihood, to discriminate and show poor judgment. Thus, we should admire hip hop or country, klezmer or mariachi, pop or classical, world music or jazz, as different manifestations of the human spirit. Since all of these musics are made of tone, rhythm, color, dynamics, and melody, and all express human emotion in some form or other, that is where judgment should stop. We are forbidden to judge relative merit, as in our time, all music is self-evidently equal on the playing field of sound.
This attitude is also to be found in the post-minimalist contemporary music...
New to The New Criterion?
Subscribe for one year to receive ten print issues, and gain immediate access to our online archive spanning more than four decades of art and cultural criticism.Subscribe