I’ve been arguing for years that musical genre is only an invention of the commercial system. Basically it is a falsehood; to the extent it carries any information at all, that information is socioeconomic, not musical. When you sit down with a guitar and play your first E minor chord, that chord doesn't resonate into a genre. It resonates forward into the room, and it resonates backward, into your chest.
Duke Ellington said there are two kinds of music, “good music, and the other kind.”
I want to propose that there are no kinds of music. That verbal description and comparison are inherently reductive, incomplete, and inaccurate. That identifying any musician as a “jazz musician,” a “folk musician,” or whatever, is a failure to understand that musician, and is a denial of individual freedom and mobility. That the deployment of binaries like “pop/classical” is always an act of exclusion, of violence to the creative spirit. I want to propose that when we self-consciously funnel our creation into prefabricated categories, we do the music a disservice.
I recognize that we cannot negotiate a society without recourse to these sins. Nonetheless I hold that they are sins.
This is a demand for better, more specific, more precise musical writing and thought. This is a plea for listening.
10 Best of 2014
January: Wyoming and the Open
February: New Mexico and the Holes
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