Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Daily piano tip #20.

Have an open mind.

By adding labels to things and making broad uninformed generalizations, all you do is enclose yourself into an ever smaller cell. There are all kinds of musical styles, and in all styles you can find music that is good; music that goes beyond the superficial and expresses a universal truth, however banal it may be. Popular music is not bad just because of it being popular; classical music is not always good just because it is classical music. Centuries ago, many works that we regard today as artistic masterpieces were considered trash by the snobs, a lot of what we call "classical music" nowadays was the equivalent of Ricky Martin and Shakira in the 1800s and things like Strauss' waltzes were considered dirty and immoral. There was also a lot of extremely badly written music back then in the sonata, concerto, symphony or operatic genres; not everyone was a Haydn, a Bach or a Beethoven. For every Schubert lied, there are twenty songs in German for voice and piano with dirty lyrics and boring harmony; for every one of Wagner's operas there are a hundred pieces like the Shoot-a-pistol Polka and the Show-your-knickers March; for every one of Chopin's nocturnes, there are a million salon piano or harp pieces with titles so horribly corny and kitsch that they would seem effeminate to Liberace; for every Don Giovanni and Rigoletto, there are hundreds of short lived operas and operettas which are basically just a mash-up of popular songs from the time with musical numbers and dancing thrown in.

Keep your mind so open that your brains fall out; there is music to appreciate everywhere. Sometimes one will find musical gems in the most unexpected places.

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I will try your method of praise and see what the outcome is. Thanks for all the insight :)