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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Time to settle the stomach with music gripes

I may have gotten a little overzealous with all the mutant posts lately. Not that I don't think mutants are fun to post about, bit they seriously turn my stomach a bit, and now I'm even afraid to visit my own blog, because I know I'm going to see tree man down there, and he scares me.

So the best thing to do now is to keep posting so the tree man post gets pushed further down my home page. And then after about 14 posts or so, it'll finally be archived. I can't wait!

So in the meantime, I'd like to talk about some things that bother me. That's an easy and seemingly endless topic for me to write about.

Let's make today's theme music -- also an easy topic for me to write about:

(1) The meaningless jazz clap of appreciation

In the jazz world, it is customary for different members of a band to take turns improving solos during songs. Modern jazz today is based around solo improvisation. Before then, there was simultaneous improv, as heard in Dixieland style (i.e., N'awlins). (There's a word for this simultaneous improv, but it's escaping me at the moment.) And before then, there was a more structured style of jazz along the lines of big band and ragtime - less soloing, and more arrangement. (I'm certainly no music scholar, and this is certainly simplifying matters, but I'm just trying to point out that there has been an evolution in the jazz world.)

Now for my gripe: somewhere along the way it became customary for the audience to clap in the middle of a song after each improv solo. This bothers me for a couple reasons: one, I feel like things that become customary lose meaning -- since it is the rule to clap after a solo, you can't really distinguish the times when you are clapping because you were really moved from the times you are clapping because you are "supposed to"; two, there generally isn't a lot of space between solos, so right after one soloist ends, the next takes off, and the clapping drowns out and thereby steals appreciation from the next soloist.

It is for these reasons that I generally don't clap until after a jazz song concludes. There are times when I find myself clapping because I was too impressed not to. But most of the time, I think the end clap is sufficient.

(2) The meaningless standing ovation

Another annoying pet peeve of mine -- the standing ovation -- is actually more theatrical than musical, but my gripe with it relates to my gripe above. It seems to have become the rule to give a standing ovation after a play or musical. I think standing ovations ought to be reserved for really terrific performances, otherwise the gesture loses meaning, just as clapping after every jazz solo is meaningless. Perhaps some people don't -- or can't -- discriminate between bad, good, and great performances. But really, it's only the great performances that deserve the standing ovation. If we stand for everything, how can we show that we really appreciate the really excellent shows?

(3) Bored but paying patrons of music

Finally, I'm bothered by people who go to rock shows and then stand there looking like bored zombies. Do you people actually like music? You did pay good money to see this show, right? So why not look like you are having a good time? I promise nobody cares if you actually seem to be enjoying yourself. Dance, sing along, move those hips, or at least smile. And for god's sake, put your damn phone away.

For more music gripes, tune in next time.

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Sarahbellum said...

Whew... I can read again. Certain things gross me out in life: mutants, cats with two faces, butter and bathroom germs.

I'm with you on number three--totally unacceptable!

tennessee mike said...

collective improvisation?

Sra said...

To Sarah: Butter grosses you out? That's odd. Margarine grosses me out.

To Mike: It's called counterpoint. You forced me to look it up ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the tree guy. That one is my fault I suppose.

Sra said...

It's not your fault. I didn't have to post tree man on my blog. But I somehow couldn't resist. I'm repulsed and fascinated, what can I say? But for now, it's time to take a freak break, I think!

Sra said...

It's not your fault. I didn't have to post tree man on my blog. But I somehow couldn't resist. I'm repulsed and fascinated, what can I say? But for now, it's time to take a freak break, I think!

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