Friday, September 02, 2005

Here is my question of this early hour (I'm still on vacation, so no matter what day it is it is an early hour)

How does one criticize popular music?

this does seem broad, so allow me to explain. I am a classical musician by training, and sometimes I think, by genetic alteration. I've spent the last 20 of my 23 years studying the violin, and now that I am finally managing to break free, and try and expose myself to new genres, I realize that I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm the one girl at the back of the club, shifting uneasily from foot to foot while everyone else is boogeying away.

See, boogie. That's how bad this is.

It's just that in the world of classical muisc, everything is about being PERFECT. And there is nothing less that is even remotley acceptable. That's what makes classical criticism so easy (in concept, not execution) - because nothing is ever perfect.

But the sense I have about rock - and everything else, really - is that it's not about perfect. It's about that feeling, that connection, that electricity that makes a concert really ROCK.

So, my problem becomes - how does one criticize something when there there is NOTHING quantifiable to talk about? When the only thing you have to go on is your feelings?

I'm not saything that I'm one of those critics who goes around pointing out the bar numbers where mistakes were made. That kind of...ummm...stuff....bothers me so much I want to tear the paper into little bitty pieces and then burn it. But in a orchestra performance I can see the flaws - where things don't work in a technical sense, as well as musical.

Of course classical music is about a connection with the audience, just like rock. It's about feeling the music, bringing it to life. And the critic is always is just one person, striving to write about how the music affected them. Hmmm...maybe it isn't so different after all. It's just finding a new set of words to explain it.

In the end, maybe orchestras are like one massive cover band.

Your comments and suggestions would be most helpful.

1 comment:

lily said...

I think that you are a revolutionary. You can be the person that changes classical criticism for the better. I know you will do this.

And how do I know this? Because you are Claire Blaustein, you are the enemy.

Check this out when you get a chance as well,