Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Diet Coke

How's my mental health today?

I'm not sure. I feel tired because it was a short night, but I am sleeping better despite a lot of musical stimulation. 

As I continue to explore the world of music that I've avoided for too long, I delve into music from many genres. I've spent a fair bit of time searching for musicians that take well known music and put their own creative spin on it - from comedic to serious. My tastes are eclectic and I enjoy many of these renditions; others not so much, and then there are the musical expressions that I find boring, poorly done, or ridiculous.

As I examine my reaction to the variety of musical interpretations and performances I am reminded of other people's responses to music (genres, recordings & performances) they've heard.

I've met people who dismiss any performance that doesn't strictly abide by the original composition. I remember a piano instructor at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Hanover, Germany. She scoffed at the music of Jacques Loussier and the Play Bach Trio. According to her, Loussier's jazz  renditions of  J S Bach compositions were vastly inferior to the original, 'real' thing; not worth listening to or spending money on. I've met other people who insist that the only worthwhile rendition of a song/musical work is the one performed by their favorite artist.

What do I do with this dominating insistence on the superior value of original interpretation? Are other creative efforts of less value? What about different genres? Do they really have different values? I once worked with a young man who insisted the only music worth listening to was classical music.  His voice and words dripped with derision whenever he heard popular music based on a melody that originated in a classical work. His elitist snobbery very quickly became irritating, especially when he continually filled the shop (we completely rebuilt  and refinished old pianos there) with the sound of (recorded) classical piano music.  His intolerance of other people's musical tastes gradually eroded the atmosphere in the shop. Some guys left when they had enough. (I left when the owner starting bouncing paycheques).

Looking through the comments of people on Youtube it is not unusual to read negative remarks. We all have different tastes and it seems to be OK to express our likes or dislikes when given the opportunity. I'd rather not see or hear demeaning, dismissive, derogatory remarks. They serve no purpose other than to hurt, insult, and enrage.

I wonder; have I ever offended someone when I've expressed my dislike or indifference of their creative efforts? How should I respond to something that I don't care for? Can I set aside my preferences long enough to recognize and value the efforts and gifts of others when I don't like what they've produced? Should I?

Compare music to drinks. 
Some is like a strong brandy. Some is like a fine wine. 
The music you're playing sounds like Diet Coke.
- Pavarotti

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