Music for Pleasure

It’s often been said that music is a diary and without doubt this is true. A single note from a piece of music, regardless of the genre, can transport the mind to another time and place, most often melded to emotion. A world without music is unimaginable. We use it everywhere almost; it has to be said, to the point of annoyance. The one thing that separates us all in our enjoyment of music is taste and it is at this junction I find myself in somewhat of a quandary. What, exactly, is musical taste? I’ve never truly understood the reason why we choose to categorise the different styles of music in an attempt to Identify or link certain personalities w with a particular field. I’ve heard people say ‘oh I never listen to that rubbish – I’m more of a rock person myself’. My argument would be that all music is ‘music’: a string of notes put together to create a ‘noise’ to suit the listener. Now, this is obvious. Yet we insist that, for example, Mozart, Led Zeppelin, Irving Berlin and Oscar Peterson have to be separated in some way. We even have radio stations that separate the different perceived styles of composition: classical, jazz, rock, hip-hop or easy listening (whatever that is). At the end of the day it is all just music and the more we as individuals entrench ourselves in the ‘style’ or ‘genre’ culture the more we may be missing out on a singular piece of music from another which we will never experience purely because of dogma: ‘country and western is just not my thing’. During my time at the Boy’s School in Corby I had a music teacher who attempted to instil in us that all music needs to be appreciated without putting the various styles into their own little box and it was he who helped me understand that I can listen to the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix followed immediately by Beethoven then onto songs from the musicals and Noel Coward. Naturally I understand the differences between the different styles of writing but I’ve never let it get in the way of my musical pleasure and appreciation. Radio stations and the media in general won’t change because they have already decided what we need to hear from their preset play lists, which repeat on a predictable and regular basis. There are examples of attempts to crossover from one genre to the other: Mozart 40 in the 70’s, Mason Williams’ Classical Gas in the 60’s. It could even be said that bands like ELO made their living doing precisely that. So the next time you’re thinking of buying a CD or listening to the radio, go out on a limb and buy a ‘type’ of music that you’ wouldn’t be seen dead listening to’, or pre-set a station in the car that you’ve never considered: you might get a pleasant surprise.

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One response to “Music for Pleasure

  1. Good to read the blog from someone with depth. I can never understand people basing their taste purely on what they’re told is good. I’m also a rock generation, but love jazz… well some of it, have enjoyed choral music in the right setting, the fun of “both kinds of music: country and western” and many more. When I went to Sweden a few years back with my boy, we went to some varied music events around the country, and the best night we had was at the cheesiest 60’s retro gig you could find. Sure I wouldn’t listen for hours in the car, or at home, but it was all about the moment. So Funk, Hiphop, Rap or Blues, go find out what taps your shoes. Variety is the spice after all. Good Luck to you Richard.

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