Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More on Research Into Music

A couple of weeks ago I let my rant-flag fly and put up this post reacting to a Wall Street Journal piece on Adele. Now Alex Ross has a post up expressing his uneasiness about some recent writings including that one. Best of all, he includes a link to a post by Isaac Shankler in NewMusicBox that has an extended take-down of the whole thing. Isaac points out:
the aspect of the article that I find most offensive, the implication that music is like a science of emotional manipulation through sound, and that it’s as simple as applying a “formula” to achieve commercial and artistic success. Not only is it belittling to musicians and listeners everywhere, it also implies a very narrow view of musical craft. I want to strenuously argue for the value of music that doesn’t necessarily cause tears or chills. The burden on music to communicate certain, specific emotions can be oppressive.
Ah, a formula to achieve commercial success! Just the thing the industry needs. Didn't music use to have some rep as a, um, help me out here, wait ... oh yes, an "art form". One fine day, we will go back to listening to music as music.

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