Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Curing Musical Amnesia

In a world where pop music is all pervasive, the danger of musical amnesia is great. I grew up in an environment consisting only of traditional and popular music and wasn't seriously exposed to classical music until my late teens. What do I mean by musical amnesia? It is the specific malady, akin to cultural or historical amnesia, that occurs when you really have no sense of the music that exists outside the narrow horizons of the last few years of popular genres. You know Lady Gaga, but not J. S. Bach. You know Rihanna, including all the details of her personal life, but nothing of Beethoven.

So what do you do? You could either wail and gnash your teeth in the outer darkness, or read this blog! See, that was easy, wasn't it? The series of posts entitled "Masterpieces of Music" are a good place to start because they are a somewhat fragmentary stab at music history starting with Guillaume de Machaut, one of the first great composers and who worked in the later Middle Ages, the 14th century:


Next in the series is this post on the early Renaissance composer, Guillaume Dufay:


The series continues on up to the 19th century and will continue on, bit by bit, from there.


Craig said...

What shall we do with those of us who have a kind of musical short term memory loss -- that is, those of us who love both of the Guillaumes, but don't know the music of Lady Gage or Rihanna?

Bryan Townsend said...

Heh! I love my commentors. I dunno, count your blessings? Perhaps you live in a lighthouse? But I do often stray into popular music territory in this blog. Here is a post on Lady Gaga:


cnb said...

I know of Lady Gaga, unfortunately; I just don't think I could identify one of her songs. Perhaps I've heard her songs, but don't know to attribute them to her.

I very much like the "Masterpieces of Music" series.

Bryan Townsend said...

I quite liked the first Lady Gaga song I heard, "Bad Romance", but the more I hear the more I think she is a flash in the pan like most pop music.

Thanks so much for the compliment on the "Masterpieces of Music" posts. I will get to work and do some more!