What kind of music do I play?
Monday, May 09, 2011
Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a huge debate between all the possible political candidates so everyone could judge for themselves who was best to lead the country. Unfortunately, they judged the speakers the way they judge musicians. They grouped them into genres by the sound of their speech. The ones who had a slight Southern twang were put it in one category, and the ones who had a little New York edge to their phrases were put into another category, and the ones who had that midwestern plains sound were put in another category. If you asked somebody what was said or what the candidates stood for, the only answer you’d get was: Ah, he sounded like he was from Maine, or: Oh, that guy was from Oklahoma, as if that described the speech that was delivered. Were people really not hearing the meaning? Were they only hearing the sound? When you ask: “What kind of music is that?,” Isn’t the question more about what it does to your heart and mind? What about the ideas and emotional assumptions that were sung? How did it inspire your imagination or affect your sense of wonder? But maybe in our made-up little story about the political candidates, the truth is that most people aren’t looking beyond their desire to listen to someone who’s from the place that they call home. I always wanted music to move me, but maybe for most people, the purpose of music is not about how it moves your heart and mind but rather just its ability to make you feel comfortable sitting where you are.