New Music and complexity
I’m far from a “complex” composer. I know what I like, I know the sound I’m trying to get, and if I’m lucky, what I wanted actually comes out. I have my bag of tricks–from Balinese music, serial music, jazz, medieval and renaissance polyphony, chant melodic development, and even a few things I picked up from Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails. If you buy me a beer or a bubble tea, odds are I’ll tell you about a few of them in any given piece.
This article over at New Music Box has got me thinking, and not in a good way. It seems like every bit of my life lately has been taken over by dichotomies–religion, politics, gaming, now music–and the polarization resulting from them feels like it’s tearing life apart some days. In the article and in the comments, there’s a disparaging attitude–nothing new, I know–towards “academic” composers and critical theorists. I’d like to know where he’s listening to such people who write bad music and theorize about it, because those I know who do both write really beautiful music. Odds are you wouldn’t hear them on a high-profile concert, but if you know where to look, you’re in for a real treat.
I’m sure a lot of bad music gets written in academe. I’m sure a lot of bad music also gets written outside of it. There’s also a lot of good music written in both places, which gets ignored by snark such as that post.