Friday, November 02, 2007

Practical Music

I'm thinking about "practical" music - music written to be included in the workings of society, like church service or rituals (graduation, ceremonies), parties, shopping, exercise. Hindemith had his "Gebrauchmusik", where he would write music for whatever he was asked to do, whether it be for mandolin, tuba and timpani. THis, however, doesn't lead to practical music, music used for something, just the "art for art's sake". That's fine, but there is more to it than that. The inclusion of new music in the rituals of our life leads back to a more utilitarian use of muisc (or maybe this should be a question), but does it mean that it loses its "art"? Maybe with some composers, yes (think of Telemann and his turgid "Tafelmusik" or the endless supplies of "background" music that is still available). But then again, composers like Bach, Perotin, Monteverdi, Schuetz, etc, writing music for specific reasons and writing music of artistic worth. They were, of course, writing for churches that generally knew great music, nowadays we are surrounded by "mega-churches" that are more interested in music that sounds like "Cats" except with religious words, dripping with "feeling", and then claiming that that's what the "audience wants".


Anonymous Pearlie said...

Good post.

2:44 PM  

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