Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pound for pound...

...of all the art forms, music is the best. 

Obviously, I've become completely distracted with music as of late. 

One thing I've noticed, after listening and selecting tunes to learn on the guitar, is that, despite what they say about music doing good things for your brain, I've noticed quite the opposite. I can't seem to formulate a decent sentence, let alone compose a decent paragraph, without a huge amount of effort. Something that didn't seem to happen a week or so ago.

Now, maybe it is because I normally do not pay too much attention to music. It's just background noise, or occasionally a pleasant enough sound track for an activity, but rarely does it make me pause from what I'm doing and take notice. Except, of course, when I find it incredibly annoying.

Since I've been undergoing the pandora experiment, where I have to give a thumbs up or down to a piece of rock music that it plays, I've noticed I'm increasingly distracted by it. It's easy enough to do a thumbs down. If I hate a song, and it is interesting how often I really do hate a song, it takes no effort to identify it.

Ah, but to decide if I like a song, that takes a great deal of concentration. I'm not quite sure how to quantify it either. And it is strange, as I've mentioned, I do have some musical training. I even took a music theory class at one time. So I do have some small ability at analysis. But to express why you like something, well, I guess it is like what St. Augustine said about time: "I know what it is, until you ask me to define it".
Well, let's what pandora (consistently) says what I like about the songs it selects that I like:

1) a vocal-centric aesthetic 
2) a subtle use of harmony
3) punk influence
4) rock influence
5) mild rhythmic syncopation

Well, I'd agree with 1) and 2). Say what you like or don't like about civilization, the social and technological advances of the past 10,000 years have allowed us to create more and varied music than ever we had with, say, deer sinew, hide, and bone. But the constant attractor throughout all that time has been the human voice. Instrumental tunes are fine adn all that, but nothing grabs my attention like a beautiful voice. And two or more voices, in harmony, is even better.

As to 3), I've never considered myself much of a punk rocker fan, but I do like some raw high energy in my music. So, throw 4) and 5) in was well.

But that's not all there is. I know there is something more. There's an orbit, an ellipse, a locus, a strange attractor, that I'm not identifying and pandora is not doing a good job of targeting.

I guess what they say about porn is true of everything. "I know it when I see it".

No comments:

Post a Comment