Saturday, October 15, 2011

RE: Peter 10/15/11

In Peter's most recent post, he humorously discussed Adorno's dislike for popular music and the lack of intellect, over sex appeal, and weird clothing in k-pop. He ended with the question: What sort of processes would music need to undergo to start focusing more on substance, focusing more on the characteristics Adrono seems to find in true, intellectual music?

Since mainstream music is what the majority of America and other cultures listen to, the change would need to start there. Also, the majority of artists themselves(at least in pop music) are just puppets, so the change would have to occur at the producer's level.
One change could be the addition of harmonies to the pieces. Radio music is "dumbed down," it's not put on the radio unless it is easy to listen to, it is simple and easy to remember. This sometimes means the lack of harmonies. Or if there are harmonies they are recorded very quietly.
That leads me to my next change-- dynamics. Most of the music I hear on the radio is all of the same volume, there are no decrescendos, crescendos, sffz, or dynamic contrast what-so ever. People just want to hear the music blaring all at the same volume and do not want to pay attention to the pianissimos, chances are the listener would turn up their radio and then turn it down when it got to the loud parts -- they would think there was something wrong with their radio. But this is because we have been conditioned to the mono-dynamic waves of our culture's mindless music.
Another change would be lyrics. Peter gave the example of the hook to a k-pop song "GEE GEE GEE GEE BABY BABY BABY." These lyrics are lacking in intellect and they are not even communicating anything. There are many popular songs in our culture in which the lyrics do not even make sense, are just words for the sake of saying something, or are the same thing repeated over and over again-- having a good lyrical hook then just mindless babble after that. To have these artists sing about things that matter or to sing true poetry, instead of about dancing, sex, drugs, and break-ups would be make a substantial difference on the way to intellectual music.
Another change could be the use of real musicians instead of synthesizers. Some songs do have real pianos and many have real guitar players and drummers. Yet, other songs just use synthesized, out of tune, crap that probably took little talent to create. I admit some synthesized music is impressive and does take talent to create, yet Brittany Spears stuff does not fit this category. It's more intellectual when synthesized music is a pure composition where every note and rhythm, every harmony and lyrical phrase was not copied, it came from the mind of the composer. These changes would lead to more intellectual music.
Of course, Adorno would say that straying away from the I, IV, V would also be a change that would lead us closer to intellectual music.

Question: Does music need to communicate something to be considered intelligent?


Peter Mitchell said...

I am in the process of replying to this! I'm glad you enjoyed my post, as well.

Kristina said...

I responded to this question.