Thursday, June 12, 2014

All Music is Folk Music

     the only difference is the folk... my personal motto on music. What I mean by it is that all music is valid music to someone. It is tied to cultural and personal values. For instance, blues folk like blues music, opera folk like opera music, heavy metal folk like heavy metal music. To dismiss someone's music as "not worthy" can be and is often construed as dismissing that person and that person’s cultural values. I find it better to seek and understand why someone likes the music they do. It helps keep the doors of global and generational communication open.
What do you value in music?When encountering unfamiliar music, one might be tempted to say, “it sounds icky,” “it’s just random notes,” “It all sounds boring and the same,” “Anyone can write that,” or ”Turn that @#$% noise OFF!” These comments do not tell us about the music itself or why someone composes the way they do. 

What is really at stake is a question of aesthetics that branch of philosophy which deals with personal tastes, especially with regard to art and music. These personal tastes are a reflection of cultural and personal values. For instance, in our society, people tend to value music with a recognizable melody that follows a standard harmonic progression such as I-IV-V-I. Another common cultural aesthetic is that major keys sound happy and minor keys sound sad, or consonance sounds pretty and dissonance sounds ugly. These aesthetics are not shared among different cultures, generations or even individuals.

One of the benefits from this study guide is that it helps show the changing tastes of Western art music over the course of generations as well as music from other world cultures. Reflect for a moment on what you value in music. Then ask yourself, “How does this compare with the musical values of different cultures and time periods represented in this guide”?

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your personal reflections. The only wrong answer is in forcing ones personal values upon another, or disregarding another person’s values because they do not agree with your own.  If you hear a new piece of music and think it sounds like noise, listen again and try to pick out its musical texture, form, rhythm, etc. What does this tell you about the values of the culture from which it comes? -- Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire, August 2004