Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Most Popular Posts of the Year: July and August

By a huge margin the most visited post in July was my comment on the Musicology Now blog, the official blog of the American Musicological Society. The editor of the blog, Robert W. Fink, left a comment and linked to the post which seems to have led to at least half the membership of the AMS visiting. Oddly enough, none of them, apart from Robert, left a single comment.


Musicology Now provides a possibly misleading index to what musicologists are up to these days. I say misleading because, based on the content, it seems that the only music they are interested in these days are the soundtracks to television shows and video games. I don't quite believe that to be the case!

The second most popular post was one I did on aesthetics which leads me to think that I should follow up on my series of posts on aesthetics, which, I confess, seems to have petered out!


That is quite a significant post, actually, because it argues that it is only a proper understanding of aesthetics and aesthetic value that can save us from all the post-modern equity arguments that condemn white, male European composers for being white, male and European. Without aesthetics, everything boils down to simple statistics and it is only dumb acquiescence in accepting mere statistics that leads to all the articles saying we must have 50% women conductors and composers.

A perfect example of what I am talking about turned up in August with a Tweet from young musicology professor Ethan Hein attacking classical music for being Eurocentric or white supremacist or something. Kudos to Ethan for contributing to the comment thread where he toned down the rhetoric a bit.


By the way, the comments to that post are extensive and one of the best debates we have ever had here. Heck, one of the best debates anywhere!

The second most popular post in August was one about how classical music does not appeal to the narcissism of our time--which is a plus in my book.


Here is how I put it in the post:
There are a couple of ways to listen to music: as a journey that takes you out of yourself to places you haven't been, or two, as a moody soundtrack to the wonderfulness that is your life. Guess which genre is which? It seems as if a lot of people listen to music in the latter sense, that is, they don't really listen to it. For some of us, listening to a great piece of music is one of those peak experiences that enriches your life and expands your awareness. But for a lot of us, music is a kind of acoustic carpet or wallpaper, nice enough, but just providing an unobtrusive context for your life. It's like the role of the painting in the museum: background to your selfie!
Let's end with another performance that, hopefully, takes you on a journey outside yourself. This is the Alban Berg Quartet playing the String Quartet, op. 131 in C# minor by Beethoven:

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