Sunday, June 22, 2014

Uncompromising Music

At a rough estimate, I have written over a million words on this blog. That's approximately 800 words per post and over 1300 posts. I think that amounts to several books worth of thoughts on music. So I'm thinking, what with the fact that it is easier than ever to self-publish an e-book, that after I get this symphony finished in the next month or so, I might look into putting together an e-book of the most worthwhile posts from the blog. The Music Salon needs some commercial product! After this come the coffee mugs and t-shirts. I'm kidding. Well, maybe not about the t-shirts...

So I would like to ask my readers, do you think this is a good idea? Would anyone actually purchase such a book? I would try to add value, of course. The book would collect just those posts that are outstanding and I would work them over to improve the writing and argument. Remember, these posts are mostly thrown together on the day and would undoubtedly benefit from editing. The question is, what sort of posts to choose and what sections the book would fall into. Discussion of individual pieces of music would be one section, while others might include some chapters on pop music, some on aesthetics, some on the lives of musicians, etc.

There are some other important questions: how should I handle the problem of YouTube embedding? A lot of older posts have seen the original YouTube examples disappear. Should I include YouTube links at all or just say, "for the following musical example, go to YouTube and type 'Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata' into the search bar." And another big problem is how to title the book. One possibility is the title of this post: "Uncompromising Music" because that might give readers a hint as to the basic stance. But I could go with one of those lengthy titles so many non-fiction books are saddled with these days: "Exploring Music with a Performer/Composer/Musicologist: Getting the Inside Scoop on What's Wrong with Music These Days and How to Fix It".


Or maybe I should just write a few more symphonies?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Here is what I have been listening to lately in my comprehensive survey of the symphony:

Now, I know what you are thinking, "isn't this the same guy that has always been complaining about how he can't stand the Mahler symphonies?" Sure, in recent years I have found them rather irritating for a number of reasons, but I have decided to do a comprehensive listening survey of the symphonic repertoire and Mahler's are some of the highest-regarded symphonies ever written. A few decades ago I was a big fan and listened to them a lot. Back then, purchasing even one meant buying an expensive box!

In any case, Mahler was on my list to re-listen to and I finally got to him just the other day. I realized that I have not listened to a Mahler symphony all the way through for years and I have never sat down and listened to all nine (or ten) in order. So that's what I am doing. They are, of course, enormously skilled compositions, superbly orchestrated. After I am done, I will have some more detailed comments and some criticisms.


Shantanu said...

This is a good idea - you have a lot of posts which offer a unique perspective on things in an interesting manner.

I would suggest you should go for including things which are unlikely to be found elsewhere in the classical music journalism world - like articles on Haydn, stuff about guitar playing and instrument maintenance, etc.

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks, Shantanu. What about my very occasional pieces on music theory? Do you think that I should avoid the pop stuff, or that it might attract readers?

Shantanu said...

Yes, there should be some variety! Music theory would be nice of course. The pop stuff attracts readers and comments on the blog, so it should attract them there too - and it should not be made any less 'incisive' than it usually is!

Nathan Shirley said...

I'd stick with your first title!

Perhaps focus on things that don't require YouTube examples?

I think keeping to one general topic might be interesting, so everything ties together nicely.

Should prove very interesting.