Holiday Reprise: Why Catholicism Is Beating Objectivism's Ass ... Still

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2008-12-02 07:20

There's no mystery whatsoever about this. Take this in:

Yes, even though the performance is fashionably homogenised and rushed, the beauty of Schubert's Ave Maria—glorious music set to evil lyrics—remains irresistible to anyone with a soul. Until it can answer this, Objectivism will languish. Until we have not just a bunch of Halley concertos, but an understanding of their objective necessity and superiority, we will get nowhere. Hate to sound like a cracked record, but we have not been found wanting in epistemology, economics or politics. It's the esthetics, Stoopid. As I've said so many times, it's time for Objectivists to take The Romantic Manifesto seriously. More than that—to affirm unabashedly the objective superiority of Romantic music.


( categories: )

The entity/argument in question

William Scott Scherk's picture

Lindsay Perigo, in this thread, declares that Catholicism is beating Objectivism's ass.

He asks "Why eat shit, when you can eat food?"

When asked to define 'food' he points to a platter of Chateaubriand. When asked to define 'shit' he points to, um, well, he leaves this open.

Which leaves us hanging . . .

When called up by logical necessity to define "headbanging caterwauling" he neatly steps away to the side and points to "tiddlypomobonkerwangs."

When he asks "Why eat shit when you can eat food," he is asked repeatedly to let his readers know what he considers shit. He paraphrases his argument against shit thusly: "By "food" is meant more than just Romantic music."

When he points to Chateaubriand, and then stops, readers are forced to fill in the blanks in his argument.

What is shit? What is he talking about? What is non-Chateaubriand music? All non-Chateaubriand music, or what? What the fuck does he think? What in hell do these weasel words signify?

When readers wonder if all post-80s pop music is shit, and if they wonder what kind of film scores are not shit, and when they wonder if all rock music is shit, not simply Slipnot, Slayer, Zappa and the Beatles . . . the Vicar steps out for a shot of sacrament and a Player's Light.

When anyone wonders how Lindsay defines Romantic Music, they are left hanging. When they wonder what he thinks of Rand's taste for BOTH pop and Romantic music, another wee thimbleful of holy water, another puff, and a reflexive jerking of the fingers: P O M M O W A N G T I D D . . .

When the holes in the argument heading this thread are highlighted, Lindsay calls the highlighter a peemowonker.

When Billy Beck bets that the questions will not be answered, Lindsay declares that Beck and Scherk conspire backstage in private messages.

I would laugh at the evasive self-justifications and avoidance procedures, but it's not funny. It is feeble and sad and unworthy of a presumed leader of the Objectivist project.

Since the pointed questions are, to all we know, never to be answered, I will absent myself from this thread.

I will listen to a delightful Rachmaninoff, and visualize Lindsay air-conducting it, garbed in his Puritan Vicar outfit, with a glass of holy water in one hand and a cigarette holder in the other, winging it.

: - )

Shit, or get off the pot, Vicar. Let us know what musical shit is by giving objective criteria.



WSS

A comprehension-challenged pomowanker writes:

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Paraphrasing my argument 100% wrongly:

One can only eat objectively superior food . . . all the rest is shit.

Whereas my actual argument, restated in the following words just a few posts back is:

I neither presume nor seek to dictate. I don't know how many times I have to say this: I simply ask the question, why eat shit when you can have food? By "food" is meant more than just Romantic music, but it is the steak and red wine. And I draw the food to folks' attention. If they want to continue eating shit, that's their prerogative.

The entity in question best stick to posting to Billy behind the scenes. Just embarrassing itself with this public display of retardedness.

WSS

Billy Beck's picture

"Never let your ego get so close to your position that if your position falls, your ego does too."

That's an old U.S. Army maxim. It's a good one.

I'm not reasoning with these people anymore. That was over quite a while ago, now. I would have to see some reason in order to do that. If ever I did, I would meet it reasonably.

I certainly do have an attitude on about them. None of it, however, is what they think and say it is. I should think that I might have by now convinced reasonable people of that, and they're who I'm talking to.

Recall Francisco d'Anconia. That is what I do, with a different style.

We all make mistakes . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture

Yes, Billy, we all make mistakes. Being human, what is most important, most of the time, is to have a coherent self-image, and to honour oneself and to believe in ones opinions and statements and conclusions.

What do we do when we find ourselves to be mistaken, or to have committed error?

If the error is detected through introspection alone, it is more likely that the error is corrected, if not admitted. But when error is pointed out or discovered from outside the person, a whole suite of self-justifying behaviours can kick in.

It's hard work and goes against one's self-image, amour propre and self-estimation to admit error, to note plainly that one has made mistakes.

It's hard, but it is not impossible. What makes it harder still is that to admit error is sometimes seen to admit weakness, or to disvalue ones entire being, ethos and personality -- ones place in the world.

Rand admitted error. Lindsay admits error from time to time. You too admit error, as do I.

Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): How We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts -- this is the latest book by Carrol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.

Recommended to anyone who has a large measure of pride in his or her own opinions -- and especially to those who clash repeatedly with others. I have found it most useful in sharpening the instruments in my toolbox of reason.



WSS

Blank Right-Ass Out

Billy Beck's picture

That's a cracking good post, Scherk. I was ready to jump in and compliment it by the third paragraph. It's a good comprehensive layout of the logical territory in this.

Believe me: I would love to be wrong, but I think I know too well where it's going. See subject header for details.

Hail Mary, full of Shit . . .

William Scott Scherk's picture

Olivia's cloddish repetition of Lindsay's poo question follows Kasper's encyclical on cuisine. I cannot find rational, objective thinking behind the trio of Linzoffians.

First, Lindsay asks of the assembled: "Why eat shit, when you can have food?"

Kasper cloddishly adds to the murk: "It is the difference between french cuisine and chineese food. French good, chineese crap."

Right. Chinese food is poo. French food is Objectively Superior. Kasper knows, since he has eaten a shitty platter or two of the local takeout slop at Wang's Wok.

And Olivia adds her claquery, "This is the trouble, one *can't* eat poo at all."

That's right. One can only eat objectively superior food . . . all the rest is shit.

The three addled musical fascists, together, show the threadbare reasoning behind this Sense of Life shibboleth -- Catholicism is beating Objectivism's ass.

Kasper inadvertently shows the logical lapse in the initial Linzoffian fatwa. If Chineeeeese food is shit, and French food is manna, then what does Kasper eat? What, indeed, does Lindsay eat (we know what Olivia eats: nails)?

Back to the basic thrust of this thread: Catholicism is beating Objectivist ass -- and there is no mystery about why. Only one piece of evidence is put in play: a rushed modern symphonic rendition of Schubert's voice and piano piece originally entitled Ellens dritter Gesang.

As a serious student of classical music, Lindsay knows that the piece was not set to 'Ave Maria,' but to Sir Walter Scott's Lady of The Lake -- the part of that poem where the heroine prays to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Here's Schubert writing to his parents in 1828:

  My new songs from Scott's Lady of
  the Lake especially had much
  success. They also wondered greatly
  at my piety, which I expressed in a
  hymn to the Holy Virgin and which,
  it appears, grips every soul and
  turns it to devotion."

So, to follow Linzoffian reasoning, a young man who is screamingly pious and crazy for Mary, writes a song that grips every soul and turns all to devotion to Mary.

All hail Mary, or in the Latinate version, Ave Maria.

Now, how does a song infused with religious devotion, originally devised for voice and piano, and performed to raise the demented Marianist temper even higher -- how does this example clear up the mystery of why Catholicism is 'beating Objectiism's ass'?

Asked and answered, according to the slovenly reasoning that introduced this thread.

In other words, no mystery. In other words, it is obvious. In other words, all one has to do is listen to the recording and understand why Catholicism is beating Objectivist ass.

Now me, a lover of classical music -- especially the works of the great Romantic composers -- wonders at the question-begging.

What does "beating ass" mean, in context?

What does a modern rendition of the Schubert piece have to do with Catholicism (besides adoration and general hailing of the Virgin Mother of the Messiah)?

What is the corollary in Objectivism of glorious symphonic music?

What does Objectivism have to say about objective standards of judgement, of emotion driving reason, of personal tastes driving social judgements?

What, indeed, does Objectivism have to say about Chineeeeese food versus French food?

Does comparing Catholicism to Objectivism on the basis of Schubert's Hail Mary actually make sense? By a stretch, one could assert that "Catholic Music" beats "Objectivist Music," but that begs the question: what is Objectivist Music?

The repeated runs down the blind alleys of 'headbanging' completes the utter slide into question-begging.

-- what is 'Headbanging'? Is it only pop music, post 80s? Is it all rock music, and not only heavy rock/heavy metal and its derivatives? Is it Rush? Is 'tiddlywink music' (Rand's favourite pop music, primarily marches, ragtime and other 1920s songs) excused from being bad?

Which brings us to the questions about Rand, the musical ignoramus. If is was good enough for Rand to like not only the glorious Romantic compositions of the classical age, and if she accompanied her love of [some] classical music with a love and appreciation of tiddlywink [pop], what the fuck is the problem? Can one be a good, Linzoffian, Objectivist if one likes both pop and classical of the correct Sense of Life?

If not, why not?

[here is one of Rand's favourite pieces of tiddlywinkering -- as we can intuit, in the Linzoffian paradigm, such pomotiddlybanging is evidence that Rand ate shit. Since she had plentiful nourishment available . . . why did she insist upon eating shit? Why did she march around her apartment waving her air-conductor baton, tossing her head in rhythm to the soulless cacaphony? How can the founder of Objectivism like Two Kinds of Music, when there is only One True Music?]

To continue parsing the analogy uttered by the popish Linzoffians . . .

Can one like, appreciate, ingest and live on portions of both Objectively Superior food, such as French Cuisine, and Objectively Shitty food, such as Chineeeeeese?

Apparently not. Here's Kasper with some slovenly reasoning piled on ignorance and subjective whim:

"Asians would give you meals that have chicken, shrims, prawns and beef all mixed together. They fail to avoid certain combinations or promote others."**

As the issuer of the Musical Fatwa might say, 'what a load of crap.'

WSS

___________

** I expect Kasper will correct his extension of the Shit Analogy, since he is a fairminded Linzoffian.

The Impertinence Never Stops

Billy Beck's picture

"If you like slayer or someother music. Fine. I occassionally eat chineese. I would never pay $30.00 for an asian main, nor would I pretend that my 'rock and roll' could possibly stand next to somebody like Rach."

Who said that, Kasper?

Why do you people keep making shit up?

Sez You

Billy Beck's picture

"That's just an eleven letter word for not-my-thing-but-don't-wanna-cause-offense."

That might very well be the case, and I understood that prospect the very first time that I read what she wrote. However, if she's running a pretense at me, then that is the very worst of it. It is understandable and a common grace among strangers with reason to handle each other reasonably. More: her note was certainly more involved than a pro forma nod -- your little snip notwithstanding -- and I took her seriously.

I don't think you are. {shrug}

"The Emperor is sartorially deficient and you and I both know it."

There isn't an Emperor, Olivia. Nobody is talking about one but you.

So, He's Not An Amateur

Billy Beck's picture

"In this country, Linz is paid for his opinions, both on television and radio."

A successful gadfly doth not an authority make.

And why eat poo when you can have food?

Olivia's picture

This is the trouble, one *can't* eat poo at all. Hence Billy's desperately malnourished savagings of those on a better diet who are posting away with full tummies.

"Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Lady S ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I dare say Ellen would deem Lois Cook's dribble "interesting."

I note she berated me for calling Hanslick a pre-pomowanker pomowanker. I'm sure she knows more about Hanslick than I, but I knew him to be a stuffed shirt. It occurs to me that "stuffed shirt" is the flip side of the pomowanker coin. Hanslick's comments about Tchaikovsky could easily have come from John Cage or Pierre Boulez.

In any event, you have the O-Lying contingent sussed. Emperor's new clothes. And their alignment with Billy Beck -the self-anointed exemplars of decorum, refinement, erudition and civility lining up with an un-pottytrained lunatic - while hilariously incongruous on one level, exposes the phony dichotomy at a deeper one.

"Ludicrous pile of poo," indeed. And why eat poo when you can have food?

Oh, did I ask that already?

Did anyone answer me yet?

I note the huge volume of love notes directed at me personally over the last 24 hours by Billy and the O-Liars (now there's a name for a band that could hammer away at bicycle spokes and yell and scream and holler incoherently). Too many to reply to individually. So let me just say to all my adoring fans in that camp, thank you for your outpouring of good wishes and constructive advice.

Regarding Zappa's noise.

Olivia's picture

What a ludicrous pile of poo.

Ellen, I'm a perceptive creature, and I can tell when a human being is humouring another human being. You find Billy's band playing Zappa "interesting?" That's just an eleven letter word for not-my-thing-but-don't-wanna-cause-offense. The Emperor is sartorially deficient and you and I both know it.

"Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Jonathan.

Olivia's picture

You've stated this more than once throughout this thread; "he produces nothing but amateur opinions..."

This simply isn't a fact. So I offer you this in the face of your elephantine ignorance:

In this country, Linz is paid for his opinions, both on television and radio. A biography has been written about his life and a TV documentary made of him as the subject. He is "world-famous" in NZ for being one of the finest and most professional interviewers we've ever had, even regarded as such by those who despise his radical views. He has conducted most excellent interviews with high-reaching greats such as Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Moffo and Jose Carreras. I assure you, the man has produced a lot more than "nothing but amateur opinions."

Another of his achievements happens to be this very forum you cannot seem to stop yourself from posting on, despite your ugly contempt, which makes you appear either a bored fool or a sinister sucker... I'm guessing probably both.

"Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

This has been silly for quite some time.....

Kasper's picture

So at over 11000 reads and 500+ replies....What is the poll? Is there objectivity in music or is it merely just personal taste?
Can you really equate Bethoven and Rach to Slayer or ACDC?

My position is that there is some level of objectivity above the mere tastes of the majority. Having had a pre listen to the artists deemed most likely to make top of the charts this year, it's depressing.

Not just because I don't like their music but because there is a difference between morphing sounds together and integrating them into sophisticated melodies, beats etc.

It is the difference between french cuisine and chineese food. French good, chineese crap.
Asians would give you meals that have chicken, shrims, prawns and beef all mixed together. They fail to avoid certain combinations or promote others.

As it has already been well stated: "why eat shit when you can eat food"?
If you like slayer or someother music. Fine. I occassionally eat chineese. I would never pay $30.00 for an asian main, nor would I pretend that my 'rock and roll' could possibly stand next to somebody like Rach.

You Don't Rate, De Salvo

Billy Beck's picture

"He cannot disagree civilly."

I disagreed with her civilly, you fucking waterhead.

Prove It

Billy Beck's picture

If you've got a cite, then put it up. If not, then shut up.

Really?

atlascott's picture

THIS is what makes Zappa a genius?

Wow. At least his playing the spokes of a bicycle with drumsticks was vaguely ~interesting~.

"That element of subversive provocation is essential in almost everything he did. His work was a test, and untold millions have regularly failed it for decades now."

Your elevator music is part of the subversive provocation test that the majority of mere mortals have failed?

I mean ~really~--honest to goodness--wow.

I am going to be as benevolent as I can be towards a person like you, Beck. Here it is: you have oversold your Zappa case.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

I disagree

atlascott's picture

Hang around Beck for awhile, Cindy, and you'll see what he really is, and I have given him much less than he deserves.

If it means anything to you, he started the name calling on this thread by calling me a dog. He cannot disagree civilly. Admire his body of work for proof.

"Each one admired or not for what they brought to music or art. No one is forcing anyone to like Zappa, but to acknowledge that he had a talent even if you don't particularly like it."

I would guess that Linz estimates that Zappa had no talent at all, but he can speak for himself. What's wrong with that? I have made it clear what I think of Zappa--that he evidently played the guitar well, and seems to have done his own thinking, or so it would appear, and that is laudable. DEFINITEELY doesn't put him in the genius category.

Why should Linz or I praise or revere wasted and meager talent? Other than to say "Knock yourself out if you like it, dude. Just don't expect ME to listen to it or to allow your pronouncements of his genius go unanswered."

As to the corruption of concepts, I am not sure we are talking about the same thing, so I will pass on responding on that issue.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

You may apologize for your error

atlascott's picture

at your leisure, Beck. Because you are very clearly incorrect.

"Whether Perigo is an incipient commissar has never been a dispute and your punk effort to change the subject only makes you even more pathetic than him while you're licking his ass in the effort."

Try reading the thread, and THEN compose a post.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

The answer to your question

Cindy's picture

Does anyone recall Rand's answer to why she titled "The Virtue Of Selfishness" as she did?

As copied from "The Virtue of Selfishness", Introduction, vii, paragraph 2

To those who ask it, my answer is: "For the reason that makes you afraid of it."

 

Cindy

Billy Beck's picture

"As I stated before, like him or not one should acknowledge that there was talent there. A lot of it. The rest is a matter of taste. Wouldn't you agree?"

In strict terms: No.

Look: to "acknowledge that there was talent there" isn't enough. That veers dangerously close to a labor theory of value: "I produced it, and, therefore, someone must pay me for it" (whether the form of payment comes in a check or aesthetic endorsement).

The principal thing that concerns me in all this is refutation of Perigo's "life-hating nihilism" crap. Frank is just a specimen under examination in that context.

My admiration for him has never been unqualified or without reservations. I'd say that about one-third of his catalog is instantly dismissable, although I have to agree with you that that is mainly a matter of my tastes. He dropped a record called "Sleep Dirt" in 1979, and I didn't understand it at the time because it just sucked right out loud. It was many years later that I discovered that he had simply pulled a bunch of tape cans off the shelf and handed them raw to Warner Bros. in order to ditch his former manager, Discreet Records, and Warner Bros. and close that contract.

There is a lot of material that I won't listen to, for lots of reasons, but most of them are about how it falls on my ear. I don't like it. Now -- yes -- that's a matter of "taste", but that isn't all there is to it. There definitely is a point at which we hear someone listening to something to which the only reasonable response is, "What the hell is wrong with you?" When Frank wrote about the piano, cement truck, and atom bomb, that was my question.

The essential question about talent must be: "What is it doing?"

And my bottom line is that Frank never frightened me, and I understand him. I said it before: I don't always agree with him. However, I take him piece-by-piece, and I've always found the effort worthwhile.

That bears on this whole discussion like this: Perigo's generalizations are for kids and retards.

Billy

Cindy's picture

I went and listened to that. I immediately heard when the flute chimed in at around 1:08. But I did not see one. Then they showed it. Bless him for using it. It was delightful. I think if given time I could expand on that flute part. Making it better. I have a knack for that sort of thing. Especially if I feel the piece. You know what I'm talking about with that. Thank you for sharing that. Please add that to your collection, I smell a project coming on.

And that was from 1969. Definitely talented. I have now heard a few directions in which he took music in the way of sound and style. If a person can not see that sort of diversity in Frank Zappa then they are blind.

As I stated before, like him or not one should acknowledge that there was talent there. Alot of it. The rest is a matter of taste. Wouldn't you agree?

"Peaches En Regalia"

Billy Beck's picture

Ellen (and anyone else capable of thinking about this) --

see what you think.

This is 3:15 of Dweezil's touring project, "Zappa Plays Zappa". He's got a lot of his father's band veterans out there on the road doing stuff like this. I couldn't find the original recording. This is fairly representative, especially considering that it's a live recording.

"Peaches En Regalia" comes from the album "Hot Rats" in 1969. The technical aspects of that record are historic in themselves. Wikipedia accurately points out that while The Beatles were doing "Abbey Road" on eight-track tape, Frank was finishing "Hot Rats" on sixteen tracks, and it's one of the earliest sixteen-track records in history.

"Peaches" is an instrumental, and I think it's just delightful. I bring it here for people who can listen and grasp it for what it is.

Here's another note:

Does anyone recall Rand's answer to why she titled "The Virtue Of Selfishness" as she did?

That element of subversive provocation is essential in almost everything he did. His work was a test, and untold millions have regularly failed it for decades now.

This place is crawling with those failures.

Why?

Cindy's picture

From dipshits like you, Beck.

Not called for Scott. Go walk it off.

 

Scott

Cindy's picture

I agree with you on the issue of mean spirited comments. They serve no purpose. Unless you are looking for a fight. Then we could all go outside like little children and play a game of *dodge ball*. I know who I would put in the middle. My point is that it looks childish at this point.

 and does not want to force his music on anyone.

Throughout this thread it would appear to be the opposite.

wants Zappa fans not to force their music on him, or corrupt concepts by suggesting the Zappa was "good" or a "genius" or anything like it.

There is the problem. No one is trying to force him to like Zappa or any other music he does not feel is appealing to him. Now in the issue of corrupting concepts by suggesting that Zappa was *good* or a *genius*. Now, I'm no expert on Frank Zappa. If you want to talk about Led Zeppelin, then I am not outside of what I know. But this is not the case, so I will put the issue to you this way:

Acceptance of the fact that there are artists who did things with music and moved it into a new realm where it never had gone before, using the gift that they were born with. Who is to say that he wasn't *good* or a *genius*. That is artistic impression and expression. No he is not Brahms, Mozart, or any of the others, but he was himself. No writer of music or painter has ever been anyone but themself and their talents varied. Each one admired or not for what they brought to music or art. No one is forcing anyone to like Zappa, but to acknowledge that he had a talent even if you don't particularly like it.

 

 

Dismissed.

Billy Beck's picture

"I also want to clarify that Linz is NOT calling for censorship of music, and does not want to force his music on anyone."

Wow. Perigo isn't a Nazi. Man, that's a ringing endorsement, right there.

Shut your fucking impertinent mouth, Scott De Salvo. Nobody needs your stupid goddamned lectures. Whether Perigo is an incipient commissar has never been a dispute and your punk effort to change the subject only makes you even more pathetic than him while you're licking his ass in the effort.

You don't even know what the subject is here, so shut the fuck up.

(deleted)

Billy Beck's picture

(a doubled post)

One Thousand Monkeys

atlascott's picture

on one thousand typewriters for a thousand years, and somewhere, you get Shakespeare.

I am sure that Zappa had some talent. Terribly misused talent.

I am sure his vaults are stuffed to the brim with impenetrable, nonsensical "musical" experiments that Dweezil will attempt to parlay into an income stream forever, if he can. From dipshits like you, Beck.

Zappa didn't care one whit for his legacy, for how he was remembered, or whether he was remembered. He said so. He would have hated me because I would have told him the truth--his music is shit. Just like you hate me, Beck, because that's what your ideas are. He especially didn't care what some cave dwelling, guitar-playing jackass with poor manners and no sense thought about him.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Agreed, and disagreed.

atlascott's picture

I agree that Linz's celebrating the death of Zappa is mean spirited. I am not sure whether it is meant tongue in cheek or not, but I hope so.

Even if I dislike someone, I do not pray for their death, wish them harm, hope that life deals them a terminal and debilitating blow. Life can do that on its own, and I have better things to do with my thoughts, feelings, and time. For my part, just because Zappa was an egomaniac, was confused, and made "music" that I do not appreciate does not mean that's I'd ever wish harm upon him or his family.

At some point, appreciation of such "music" as Zappa's reveals things about a person's SOL and premises, and perhaps even cognitive ability. But it is not a 1::1 relationship.

I also want to clarify that Linz is NOT calling for censorship of music, and does not want to force his music on anyone. He is a defender of your choice to do what you want, and just wants Zappa fans not to force their music on him, or corrupt concepts by suggesting the Zappa was "good" or a "genius" or anything like it.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Oh, *No* He Didn't...

Billy Beck's picture

Jonathan said, "air-conducting to recordings".

Holy Screaming Jesus...

Everybody in the world will have to work really hard before I laugh like that again soon.

"Genius"?

Billy Beck's picture

Does anyone here ever listen to drum sounds in contemporary recordings?

I wonder how many people are aware that it was Frank who was almost solely responsible for what we hear of drums, now, since 1963.

He was working in a store-front studio in Cucamonga when these brats came in the door to record. They put down a song, and were packing their gear when someone realized that the record would need a B-side. They didn't have another song, so they just made one up on the spot.

Frank was engineering that session. He thought that room sounded like bloody hell, and it was very apparent in the drum sounds. In those days, it was standard practice to just set up a mic on one side of the room, drums on the other, and then hit the "Record" button. Frank hit on the idea of close-mic technique: putting a microphone on each drum and pre-mixing them down to the record track. This would restrict ambient input on the mic channel, so that he didn't hear the room, but only the drums. Nobody had ever done that before.

That band was The Surfaris, and that made-up on-the-spot song was "Wipeout", which promptly spent four months on the Billboard charts. It was a sensation, and recording engineers all over the world took the lesson. Drum sounds have never been the same, thank Frank.

~~~~~

What the hell is "genius", anyway?

If it's the ability to see where no one else can and the drive to get there, or something like that, Frank had it, in spades and all day long.

Some of you can carp all you want. To me, the world is quite a hell of a lot better off because Frank lived and worked as he did.

RIP

Jonathan's picture

"When you die, I'll cheer it from one end of the 'net to the other, Fatso."

 Not me. I'll miss Pigero's buffoonery when he's gone. He's the quintessential Objectivist: he's the perfect blend of impenetrable arrogance and ignorance, he produces nothing but amateur opinions, and every once in a while he gives us a gem, like his hope that he's going to save Objectivism and the world with his consumer tastes in music, or his belief that he'll be able to enhance others' appreciation of music by publicly weeping and air-conducting to recordings. It'll be a sad day when we're finally deprived of such entertainment. 

"De Salvo, A Modified Dog..."

Billy Beck's picture

"This is a guy (Zappa) who got his start 'playing music' by hitting a bicycle with drumsticks, and who went on to record his nephew burping and making 'music' out of it."

When he was about fourteen years old, he was saving his pennies. While everyone else his age was buying baseball cards and going to the movies, he spent his money on a person-to-person phone call (this was in the early-50's -- think about it) from southern California to New York in order to introduce himself and express his admiration to Edgar Varese.

That sound you just heard was peoples' hair standing straight up around here.

Frank once asserted that if he dropped a cement truck on a piano and then an atom bomb on the wreckage, he could call that "music" if he wanted to. There are whole sections of his autobiography in which my notes can only be called "slash & burn".

"...his music is driven by the notion that there is no musical theory,.."

You don't know what you're talking about, De Salvo, as usual. There was more to this man than has been remotely alluded here, and far more than you know or (I'm convinced) can grasp.

"...but I have not heard but snippets of his symphonic work..."

Believe me: it would give you the hives. To me, that was always the worst part of him. "Civilization Phaze III" (the last record that he completed while he was alive) is a musical abomination, although the concept is clear to me and I find it important.

"It gives me faith in capitalism that Zappa found an audience for his art and made million from it."

Well, good for you. You should consider that he never, ever thought about you. In the conduct of his work, he was a lot like Rand, actually: he was the only one who counted.

This has become very sad!

Cindy's picture

Good to know prostate cancer can have an upside: the removal of musical cancer.

That speaks of your own personal taste as well as your inability to have any feelings for the suffering some people have endured. The above speaks of personal character right there. Have you even seen what cancer does to a person? I don't think so judging by that statement. I found that offensive.

If nothing else, this thread has shown that there are people who cannot be objective when it comes to art or personal preference without turning it into a personal assault. Music is a form of art, personal expression and talent. Yes, talent, no matter what form it takes. For example: You may like a painting for the emotions it evokes. You can marvel at it's beauty. It can take you to a place in your mind, away from your day to day. Someone else may not see it as you do. Music is very much the same. What I have witnessed on here is that not only do people have vast differences of taste, but they are not afraid of insulting each other over it. Things have been said, which ought not to have been said. They speak of each persons character. You may not like or understand any particular form of music, but it is still music and someone else may not view it as you do. To speak ill of the person who created the music is your opinion and sometimes should be kept to yourself. After all, have you composed any great music yourself? Have you tried? Discussion of composition of music are fine. Calm discussion of likes and dislikes are normal. What I don't call normal are the rocks that are being cast, veiled or not. Are we not thinking adults? Can you dislike someone so much that you will refuse to see the point that they are trying to make? I know of one person on here who tried to show others, another way of viewing different forms of music, instead of having dismissed it as *eating shit*. I see where that got this person. 

The classics are, well, classics. There is new music to come. Changes in composition. There have been changes to the typical instruments as well. They have been changed to produce better sound. Art is always changing. You can either stay in the past or move forward to the future. I have heard some new compositions and I think that they are absolutely beautiful. Rock N Roll has it's place in music too and that is changing all the time. All music is changing. It always has and always will. It is up to the listener to find the beauty in it or turn away quietly without insulting another persons view of it. Trying to force ones views on another is being a bit of a tyrant if you ask me.

That's all.

 

 

Dweezil will have his hands full for a long time.

atlascott's picture

He certainly will. Shoveling through vast amounts of garbage.

This is a guy (Zappa) who got his start "playing music" by hitting a bicycle with drumsticks, and who went on to record his nephew burping and making "music" out of it.

In my semi-trained, and uneducated (in music theory) mind, there are sort of 4 aspects to music that stand out to me. They are: theme; technical performance; theory; and beauty.

The problem with Frank Zappa's "music" is that his themes seems to suck or be virtually impossible to interpret; his music is driven by the notion that there is no musical theory, or a theory so broad inclusive and meaningless as to be a nihilistic destruction of theory; and no beauty whatsoever (but I have not heard but snippets of his symphonic work).

I understand that he may have possessed some technical skill playing the guitar. I refuse to credit recording a burp or hitting a bicycle as technical musical skill.

I do not care what anyone thinks of Zappa's music. I do not attach massive metaphysical import to what someone likes to listen to. I think you can like crap music and still be a true individualist. I think he sounds like an interesting person, and an individualist.

What I object to is the notion that his nilhilistic non-concepts are conceptual. That's what the headbanging caterwauling types do not get--you can look ~really~ cool in your blue jeans and play awesome licks on your axe. You can ever read the living hell out of philosophy. You can offend and insult the entire world with your misguided posturing, posed as individualism. But when you do the musical equivalent of crapping on a canvas and calling it art, and describe screeching metal as a new theory of music, it is an assault on concepts as concepts.

It is not brilliant and eccentric individualism, it is promotion of anti-concepts as conceptual, and it threatens man's life qua man.

It gives me faith in capitalism that Zappa found an audience for his art and made million from it.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

It's Not Done, Perigo

Billy Beck's picture

When you die, I'll cheer it from one end of the 'net to the other, Fatso.

In fact Hanslick was in

Peter's picture

In fact Hanslick was in general against what was the modernistic music of his time.

Laughed out LOUD

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Hanslick a "pomowanker" who would have loved Zappa.

You are comedic, Linz.

It's true that the main thing Hanslick has been remembered for is getting it so very wrong.

But he got it wrong with style. I don't think your goofs will be quoted (over and over -- Hanslick's review might be the most famous in all of music history) 125+ years from now.

Ellen

Good job, Billy!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Frank died in 1993 of prostate cancer at the age of fifty-two.

Good to know prostate cancer can have an upside: the removal of musical cancer.

Ha!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

So it was the Violin Concerto? Well, what a pretentious idiot, whom history and posterity have left behind. The fate, thankfully, of all pretentious idiots. His critique reminds me of no one so much as Scherk, if Scherk had a rudiment of musical knowledge. Hanslick was a pomowanker before pomowankers came on the scene. I'm sure he would have *loved* Crappa Zappa, given the elaborate, pretentious, idiotic rationalisations for Zappa's Crappa that have been offered here.

No accounting for taste

Ellen Stuttle's picture

~~~

Source

This premiere, given on December 4, 1881 in what was then the musical capital of Europe, gave rise to one of the most memorable bits of musical invective ever penned. The next day, a review by Eduard Hanslick, then the most influential music critic in the German-speaking world, appeared in Vienna’s principal newspaper, the Neue Frei Presse:

Mozart’s youthful Divertimento would have had a more favorable position had it been played after, instead of before, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto; a drink of cold water is welcome to those who have just swallowed brandy. The violinist, Mr. Adolphe Brodsky, was ill-advised to make his first appearance before the Viennese public with this work. The Russian composer, Tchaikovsky, certainly possesses no commonplace talent, but rather one which is forced, and which, laboring after genius, produces results which are tasteless and lacking in discrimination. Such examples as we have heard of his music offer a curious combination of originality and crudeness, of happy ideas and wretched affectations.

This is also the case as regards his long and pretentious Violin Concerto. For a time it proceeds in a regular fashion, it is musical and not without inspiration, then crudeness again gains the upper hand and reigns to the end of the first movement. The violin is no longer played; it is rent asunder, beaten black and blue. Whether it is actually possible to give clear effect to these hair-raising difficulties I do not know; but I am sure Mr. Brodsky in trying to do so made us suffer martyrdom as well as himself. The Adagio, with its tender Slavonic sadness, calmed and charmed us once more, but it breaks off suddenly, only to be followed by a finale which plunges us into the brutal, deplorable merriment of a Russian holiday carousal. We see savages, vulgar faces, hear coarse oaths and smell fusel-oil. Friedrich Fischer, describing lascivious paintings, once said there were pictures which “stink to the eye”. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto brings to mind the hideous idea that there may be music which stinks to the ear.

~~~

One can only imagine what he'd have said about Zappa. (Maybe he'd have expired from the stench on the spot.)

Ellen

You Wish, Slug-O

Billy Beck's picture

"When he got sick at the end, did he die as well?"

{snicker} Well... yes, and no.

Frank died in 1993 of prostate cancer at the age of fifty-two.

In 1986, I worked my first coast-to-coast tour with an L.A. jazz band called Shadowfax. Our audio engineer on that tour went on to work with Frank, and I had kept in touch with him. He mixed live audio on the "Best Band You Never Heard" tour, and then did studio work in the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.

I am reliably informed that the tapes in Frank's vaults represent at least twice the material currently in the market.

Frank will never die.

"It would indicate that even sickos can do something decent occasionally."

He got right up in Tipper Gore's face, which is a hell of a lot more than you are worth.

Ps. -- here is a five year-old article describing the dimensions of working in the UMRK tape archives. Dweezil will have his hands full for a long time.

Magnificent Big Boy ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Zappa had the right idea about censorship, and it is too bad he got sick at the end. I guess there might be some track he laid down that I might not want to turn off in disgust, but I've never heard it.

Nor I.

When he got sick at the end, did he die as well? Such an outcome would be most fervently to be wished. It would indicate that even sickos can do something decent occasionally.

Neil

Lindsay Perigo's picture

For example, I've repeatedly asked Mr. Perigo to defend Valliant's contention that Nathanial Branden concedes that the 1967 loan depleted the cash reserves of The Objectivist. The response (as someone used to say): Blankout.

Au contraire, Mr. Perigo has repeatedly told you that he leaves these "gnat's poo" issues that so obsess you to James, and James will or won't deal with them when he returns, as he sees fit. I've no intention of wasting my time on them, or on self-confessed "humanity-diminishers."

In any event, Mr. Moeller recently did spend some time on the gnat's poo, and wiped the floor with you.

Stinking music

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Tchaikovsky and Brahms had things like that to say about each other's music, but I believe the precise phrase, "music that stinks in the ears," was used by the stuffed-shirt critic Hanslick about Tchaikovsky. I don't have my books with me but I seem to recall reading this in The Great Composers by Harold Schonberg. I don't remember the specific work, or whether it was even about a specific work or Tchaikovsky's music in general. I'll resist the temptation to do a google search and wait to be told if I'm on the money.

In any event, Hanslick would assuredly have said the same thing about Warsaw Concerto. Eye

*sigh*

Laure Chipman's picture

There you go again, Neil. Asking Person A to defend a contention of Person B regarding a concession made by Person C about something Person C did to Person D. It could be that people don't answer because they cannot follow the long chains! I personally would say that I think Rand exaggerated, and that the 1967 loan apparently depleted about half the cash reserves of the Objectivist. And I am sure if someone did that to me, I would not have noticed it at the time if I thought he was my friend, but once I found out he had been deliberately deceiving me for four years, I would be alarmed and worried that he was also trying to steal from me.

I think Jonathan's right, though. I wish Lindsay would either kiss and make up with Ms. Branden or get over it already.

But... what does this have to do with music?

Jonathan

Neil Parille's picture

Jonathan,

Mr. Perigo is not a 100 percent support of PARC. He has said that Valliant "overcooked his case."

However, he refuses to admit that most of Valliant's allegations against the Branden's books are worthless because they are based on blatant distortions or bogus inferences (e.g., the "surprise party" shows that the Brandens think they are entitiled to manipulate Rand).

For example, I've repeatedly asked Mr. Perigo to defend Valliant's contention that Nathanial Branden concedes that the 1967 loan depleted the cash reserves of The Objectivist. The response (as someone used to say): Blankout.

-Neil

The man who said that was

Peter's picture

The man who said that was himself caricatured in a well-known opera.

"...music that stinks in the ears."

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I wonder if Linz knows what composition was thus described (and by whom).

Mischievously,

Ellen

There Is No "Maybe" About It

Billy Beck's picture

"But his music and videos are so goddamned ugly."

To begin with, I would not credit you with being familiar with more than about three percent his catalog.

And that is just the beginning of your impertinence.

Zappa

atlascott's picture

may have been brilliant in some sense. But his music and videos are so goddamned ugly.

Maybe I am just not muscially knowledgable enough to understand his genius.

Usually, though, when someone tells me that I need to educate myself BEFORE I can decide whether something is ugly or pretty, ennobling or sewer-dwelling, with or without merit, then I break out the BS detector.

Great art is usually immediately and obviously beautiful and great.

Zappa had the right idea about censorship, and it is too bad he got sick at the end. I guess there might be some track he laid down that I might not want to turn off in disgust, but I've never heard it.

Scott DeSalvo

www.desalvolaw.com
FREE Injury Report and CD Reveal the Secrets You Need to Know to Protect Your RIGHTS!

Fairness

Billy Beck's picture

"You're still a windbag who creates nothing but amateur opinions."

Hey. That's not fair.

There are the "press releases", too. Let's address these matters justly.

Pigero's Shit Diet

Jonathan's picture

Ellsworth writes,

 "I neither presume nor seek to dictate. I don't know how many times I have to say this: I simply ask the question, why eat shit when you can have food? By "food" is meant more than just Romantic music, but it is the steak and red wine. And I draw the food to folks' attention. If they want to continue eating shit, that's their prerogative."

 No one is "eating shit" other than you, Pigero (since you relish that sloppy, runny vat of shit known as PARC). Since you refuse to define your terms and identify objective aesthetic standards (you aesthetic ignoramus), I guess "Romantic music" and "headbanging caterwauling" can mean whatever we want them to mean, and they can change meaning to suit our needs and subjective tastes, just as they do with you. Therefore, all music that I like is "Romantic," including the rock, country and rap that I like, and all music that I dislike, including the more screechy examples of opera that I dislike, is "headbanging caterwauling." My tastes are purely Romantic, and therefore objectively superior: Puccini, Pink Floyd, Rachmaninoff, Led Zeppelin, Debussy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Slipknot, etc.

 "I know that in a world where Romantic was as admired as headbanging is now, the achievement of all our other values would be a cakewalk."

 Despite loving "Romantic" music yourself, and despite despising whatever it is that you've subjectively decided is the wrong and Eeevil music, you still haven't achieved any real values. You're still a windbag who creates nothing but amateur opinions. Adoring "Romantic" music hasn't stopped you from becoming a cheap imitation of Ellsworth Toohey who resents and smears new and individualistic forms of artistic expression.

 "I also know it's hopeless to expect Brandroid smearers to stop repeating this mindless canard that I wish to "dictate," but I'll keep reiterating my actual position anyway."

 Wow, Barbara must have really hurt you deeply when she dumped your sorry ass if you're still bringing her up in conversations that have nothing to do with her. That's why you wallow in that sloppy load of shit known as PARC, isn't it? It's all about getting back at Barbara because, after putting up with your abuse for too long, she refused to accept your hollow apologies for behavior that you admitted was unjust (and in some cases edited out of your posts), and she merely expected you to grow up, to learn how to control yourself, and to stop engaging in behavior that you would need to apologize for (at which point you decided to start calling your admittedly unjust behavior "rational passion"). And you're STILL being an angry and vindictive toddler about it!

Frank Zappa

mvardoulis's picture

was brillliant. 'Nuff said for me. Oh, and can someone please take this weasel off of me that's ripping my flesh...

Jeez, Perigo, That's Tough

Billy Beck's picture

"I don't know how many times I have to say this: I simply ask the question, why eat shit when you can have food?"

You can ask until Caruso rises from the grave and walks the land, but nobody with their own brain in their head is going to stipulate to your premises.

Fool.

Greg

Billy Beck's picture

{hah!} Good link, G.

"Valley Girl" was a savage bite of social satire, but it wasn't my favorite flavor of Zappa. "Drowning Witch" is one of the kaleidoscopic turns that make up most of the second half of his career. After the Roxy band broke up, and then the horrible experience with the London Symphony Orchestra (a bunch of rotten drunks who made him swear-off working with live orchestras and then install a Synclavier), he became more independently-minded than ever before. Most would have thought this impossible. He never really had a cohesive "band" again until "The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life" in the late-80's (which was bloody terrific -- that was the only Zappa band I ever saw live).

That's not a bad glance at Zappa, the studio-spook. I would have given a lot to work with him, if I could have made his grade. I would have been interested in that test.

Once and for all ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You would be making the same mistake as Lindsay--the presumption to dictate what others should feel and experience by art.

I neither presume nor seek to dictate. I don't know how many times I have to say this: I simply ask the question, why eat shit when you can have food? By "food" is meant more than just Romantic music, but it is the steak and red wine. And I draw the food to folks' attention. If they want to continue eating shit, that's their prerogative.

I know that in a world where Romantic was as admired as headbanging is now, the achievement of all our other values would be a cakewalk.

I also know it's hopeless to expect Brandroid smearers to stop repeating this mindless canard that I wish to "dictate," but I'll keep reiterating my actual position anyway.

As for thatta Zappa, wotta loada utter crappa!

Zappa

gregster's picture

I think had his biggest record in 20yrs with "Valley Girl" from "Ship Arriving too late to save a drowning witch."
7min Doco: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

F.Z. -- "ITS"

Billy Beck's picture

Ellen: "I'm The Slime" was track #2 of side one of the album "Over-Nite Sensation", from 1973. Wikipedia has a pretty good rundown, although it doesn't make very clear why this was a "turning point" record in Frank's career. The fact is that he'd been sitting around for nearly two years since the second iteration of The Mothers of Invention broke up when they couldn't work anymore because Frank had been attacked onstage in London by a lunatic who threw him twelve feet into an orchestra pit and nearly killed him.

Long story.

"Over-Nite Sensation" is the dawn of "the Roxy Band", which made its real high-water mark with the "Roxy & Elsewhere" album of '74, recorded live, mostly at The Roxy nightclub in Hollywood. That was two albums after "Over-Nite", which I believe is still his best-selling record ever. "Roxy" is just about my favorite Zappa. (The "Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)" is seventeen minutes of audience-participation onstage while Frank runs sketches of history and theory lessons at them. It's a riot.)

Anyway, the "Over-Nite" cast:

Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
Ralph Humphrey (drums)
Sal Marquez (trumpet, vocals)
Tom Fowler (bass)
Bruce Fowler (trombone)
George Duke (keyboards, synthesizer)
Ruth Underwood (marimba, vibes, percussion)
Ian Underwood (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone)
Jean-Luc Ponty (violin, baritone violin)

and Tina Turner (backing vocals, studio soul-food)

You can see the differences in orchestration between the original and our two guitars, bass, and drums. We're hitting it a bit harder than he did on the record, just because of the ways we're put together. However, you can hear the original recording at YouTube, here.

That recording of my band on New Year's Eve is what we call "forensic quality". It can be hard to listen to, but we do it for technical critique. It's not really for everyone, and certainly not to everyone's taste. Thank you for listening, though.

Billy

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I listened to the link of your band playing a couple Zappa pieces, twice to the "I'm the Slime" part.

I find that piece interesting. I'd like to hear it on equipment where I could adjust the ambient interference and better hear the details of the structure.

I like the centering of the spoken words. It gave me almost a visual effect of seeing the words on a screen in a dark room.

"We're proud of this: it's a very nervy thing for a four-piece ensemble to try to pull off. Before The Coots, I had never seen or even heard of anyone else ever attempting this."

What ensemble is it usually performed with? (I don't think I've ever heard it before; I don't know anything about its composing and performing history.)

Ellen

Ellen

Billy Beck's picture

"...there has been a similar period before, the troubador days, when, in addition to telling the courtly legends, the troubadors were social critics."

Yes, Ma'am. That's right. Some of the folkies in the late-50's were explicit about this and what they were doing. What makes the Dylan/Beatles episode so important is that he brought that sensibility to rock music through them. His electric band at Newport in '65 outraged the cellar-beret crowd, but he didn't care. He knew what he had to do. Personally, I can barely stand to listen to him. I think he's a fine writer but it wouldn't have broken my heart if he'd fallen down a set of stairs and bitten his tongue off so we never had to hear him sing again. But he is just about single-handedly responsible for bringing that troubador element back to popular music.

"I think we're on the verge of a new style in 'serious' music, one which is going to grow naturally instead of the forced attempt which was made with 12-tone music."

Christ on a banana-peel: I bloody hope so. I once lived and worked with an Ithaca College graduate, a pianist who majored in theory. I was about twenty-two and didn't know a hell of a lot when he explained twelve-tone theory to me a bit, and I was just aghast. It was about then that some cat moved into the apartment across the hall from us. He lived in there with a grand piano, a Wollensak tape machine and a bottle of Cutty Sark. I'm not kidding: there was nothing else in that place. Maybe an ashtray. That guy tuned that whole piano in quarter-tones and we would hear the craziest shit come out of there at all hours. Me? I thought he was desperately confused and a victim of fashion.

He got bent all out of shape in that "forced attempt", and he'll never be right.

"I think they're the start of a new 'classical' genre."

That cannot happen soon enough.

"I'll listen later today to the piece you linked. Can't do it now; my husband's sleeping."

No, Ma'am, that probably would not do.

You've got nerve, Ellen. I like you. Thanks for writing.

Michael

Billy Beck's picture

If that was you, then I thank you for explaining yourself. You didn't have to do that, and I appreciate it and understand you better. I still think it's fairly peculiar, but the photograph element opens the context widely enough that I don't think it's ridiculous, as I had.

"You would be making the same mistake as Lindsay..."

That's exactly right, and that's not what I'm about. Ever.

"Everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart." That includes you and me.

Onward.

Slapping the Shit out of a Lover

Newberry's picture

B: "I once saw someone around here write that they would not listen to an electric guitar because it was amplified. That was just appalling to me. Here we had someone who would summarily dismiss both Jimi Hendrix and Chet Atkins on a ridiculous triviality."

You are probably referring to me when I wrote: I simply don't feel anything when music is created through amplification. (On the Music of the God's thread.) If so, there really is nothing for you to be appalled at. I don't feel anything when I hear electric instruments--in the same way I don't feel anything from photographs. You would be making the same mistake as Lindsay--the presumption to dictate what others should feel and experience by art. It's a little like viciously slapping the shit out of lover because they didn't respond the way you would have them. Eye

 

www.MichaelNewberry.com

Billy, I read you.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

I understand what you're saying, both about sound features being employed, and about the social-criticism role of current popular music.

Re the latter, there has been a similar period before, the troubador days, when, in addition to telling the courtly legends, the troubadors were social critics.

I think we're on the verge of a new style in "serious" music, one which is going to grow naturally instead of the forced attempt which was made with 12-tone music. Currently, there's an experimental stage, learning how to use synthesized music as a new "instrument." I've heard a few compositions by composers of a calibre, they would have been writing symphonies in the more traditional forms if they had been born prior to, say, 1930 or so, and who have incorporated synthesized features and features borrowed from modern popular styles. I think they're the start of a new "classical" genre.

I'll listen later today to the piece you linked. Can't do it now; my husband's sleeping.

Ellen

MacDonald and Eddy

Ellen Stuttle's picture

There was something uniquely excruciating about MacDonald and Eddy.

Amen to that. Maybe it's that their over-tone series clashed. Analyzing with an oscilloscope might be interesting -- if I didn't have to hear it while analyzing it. Eye

Ellen

Linz, she indeed was discussing s-o-l

Ellen Stuttle's picture

"I took her comment about preferring a funeral march to be a musical one. As a sense-of-life comment it makes even less sense than as a musical one."

I have no trouble understanding it as a sense-of-life comment. E.g., I'd much prefer listening to the funeral march from the Eroica or to Chopin's "Funeral March" sonata than to lots of compositions which might be considered "happy" music.

In any event, exactly what she was talking about in the passage I quoted is sense-of-life reaction.

Here's the quote in context:

~~~

From "Art and Cognition"
The Objectivist
Volume 10, Number 4
April 1971
pg. 7

"Psycho-epistemologically, the pattern of the response to music seems to be as follows: one perceives the music, one grasps the suggestion of a certain emotional state and, with one's sense of life serving as the criterion, one appraises this state as enjoyable or painful, desirable or undesirable, significant or negligible, according to whether it corresponds to or contradicts one's fundamental feeling about life.

"When the emotional abstraction projected by the music corresponds to one's sense of life, the abstraction acquires a full, bright, almost violent reality -- and one feels, at times, an emotion of greater intensity than any experienced existentially. When the emotional abstraction projected by the music is irrelevant to or contradicts one's sense of life, one feels nothing except a dim uneasiness or resentment or a special kind of enervating boredom.

"As corroborating evidence: I have observed a number of cases involving persons who, over a period of time, underwent a significant change in their fundamental view of life (some, in the direction of improvement; others, of deterioration). Their musical preferences changed accordingly; the change was gradual, automatic and subconscious, without any decision or conscious intention on their part.

"It must be stressed that the pattern is not so gross and simple as preferring gay music to sad music or vice versa, according to a 'benevolent' or 'malevolent' view of the universe. The issue is much more complex and much more specifically musical than that: it is not merely what particular emotion a given composition conveys, but how it conveys it, by what musical means or method. (For example, I like operetta music of a certain kind, but I would take a funeral march in preference to 'The Blue Danube Waltz' or to the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald kind of music.)"

~~~

Ellen

PS: I don't think that what she's describing is how music works. I think it was as close as she could manage, partly because she was trying to fit the process into her aesthetics theory and partly because she wasn't musical.

Local Neglections

Billy Beck's picture

These morons around here are just scandalous in their ignorance. I've already struck a glancing blow for the point about "the liberations and inspirations of technology" and how that's a very curious thing for Objectivists to be ignoring. Until Robert Moog, the electric guitar was the most significant advance in music in whole centuries. I once saw someone around here write that they would not listen to an electric guitar because it was amplified. That was just appalling to me. Here we had someone who would summarily dismiss both Jimi Hendrix and Chet Atkins on a ridiculous triviality.

Here's a point that hasn't been made yet, though: the potential for explicit cultural critique through music. It's something that classical music has only ever approached very obliquely, when at all. This can be traced to a single moment: it was August of 1964 when Bob Dylan got into the back of The Beatles' limousine, lit up a joint, and told them, "You guys have all the tools, but you're not saying anything." Their next record after that was "Help!", and they hadn't really integrated what he told them, but their style was blooming noticeably and it wasn't long before they were inspiring other rockers to start writing about a lot more than chicks on the beach.

Perigo is a fucking idiot. In the times I've lived in, you could take fully half of everything in classical music and I would keep Rush's catalog. That's because they had things to say in their music that the times called for and classical music has just about never stepped up to that.

He is missing an entire cultural exploit that could be very valuable.

~~~~~

(excerpted from a private message sent just now)

Ps. -- Here is something that some might find considerably informative:

I, for one, actually take very little of my aesthetic value from music. I take more by whole orders of magnitude from, for instance, industrial design: my nine millimeter pistol by Beretta (92FS) is a fabulous little artwork all its own, and it's an almost invisible detail in the whole of my aesthetic intake. Architecture, for instance, is far, far more important to me than music when it comes to the cultural import of aesthetics. This is one part of why I find Perigo's mewlings about the Catholic Church completely pathetic. For him to boil the progress of the antagonism between the Church and Objectivism to music is hilarious: this is like whipping out a handkerchief and spit-polishing a deck-chair as the water reaches the second funnel on Titanic.

He's a fan-boy. {shrug} That is what it is, and that's just fine. "Everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart." That's what I always say. (That's Beck's Axiom of Pedagogic Reality. The Cautionary Corollary goes: "No fucking do-gooders allowed.") However, for him to pose this epic battle for the soul of the world over goddamned "Ave Maria" is a certifiable neurosis, or there is simply no such thing.

F.Z.: Exemplar

Billy Beck's picture

Ellen: "Music directly affects the nervous system. There is quite a bit more than 'sense of life' (which idea I consider not well formed to begin with, but using it for approximate meaning) to how sound affects one."

{emphatic nod} Frank Zappa knew this and used it explicitly in his work. He once pointed out that a great deal of his work involved re-wiring peoples' brains with sound. One very simple and obvious example is a piece like "I'm The Slime (From Your Video)". The verses are not sung: they're spoken.

"I may be vile and pernicious
But you can't look away
I make you think I'm delicious
With the stuff that I say
I am the best you can get
Have you guessed me yet?
I am the slime oozin' out
From your TV set"

He did that because he was expressing something to a depth rarely found in rock music, and because of that, he commanded his audience's attention with a recitation uncomplicated by melody. (All the complications were in the music beneath the recitation.) Paraphrase from an interview: "When I have something that important to say, I say it instead of singing it." This was deliberate epistemic calculation, and the example of technique that I've cited (not merely that song -- he did this often) is one of the simplest. He understood the psychic implications of music theory to a degree that would have daunted most classical composers of any era, and used them as tools on a sociological mission of incisive clarity.

As well as being the H.L. Mencken of rock music, he was a profound thinker -- an actual philosopher -- of music. I don't always agree with him, any more than I always agree with Rand, but he is dismissed or taken lightly only by fools, and he made a lifetime practice of what you pointed out. Given the culture that he had set himself against, it's astounding that he had the fortitude and sheer will to punch out over sixty albums in a bit more than thirty years. I, for one, will always be grateful that he actually got away with that.

Beyond all that, I agree with your estimation of that "sense of life" gag. I am able to take it seriously, but only when it's not reduced to shibboleth.

~~~~~

Ps. -- by private request here, which I resisted for weeks, here is my band performing "I'm The Slime" at YouTube. We're proud of this: it's a very nervy thing for a four-piece ensemble to try to pull off. Before The Coots, I had never seen or even heard of anyone else ever attempting this. We play it almost every show, and it routinely knocks people right out.

In the immortal words of David Bowie, it's "made loud to be played loud." Turn it up as big as you can stand it.

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Neither Ayn nor I said anything about the musical merits of "The Blue Danube Waltz." It's a well-done little composition, but I don't like it. I do not like the particular features of that particular style of construction.

I took her comment about preferring a funeral march to be a musical one. As a sense-of-life comment it makes even less sense than as a musical one.

As to the MacDonald-Eddy stuff, in that case, the feature I dislike is their voices singing it. The songs don't bother me when others sing them, but when it's MacDonald and Eddy I sort of feel like screaming and running from the room, as if my nerve endings are being pulled apart.

Exactly what I was saying. But try Moffo and Franchi on the same material and I'm sure your nerves will be fine. There was something uniquely excruciating about MacDonald and Eddy.

Rand & performance

gregster's picture

From the site Facets of Ayn Rand

ARI
I heard that you played some of your favorite Frank Sinatra recordings for her.
MARY ANN
This was the spr­ing of 1980, after her husband died. On one visit, I took all my favorite Sinatras to play for her, and so did Sue Ludel, who was also a Sinatra fan...

And:

CHARLES
I had a similar experience, although in this case she was vocal. In the late seventies, Ayn, Frank, Sue, Leon­ard, Mary Ann, and I went to the Metropolitan Opera for a per­for­mance of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, an opera that Ayn knew and liked...."

Linz

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Once more, you're mixing up issues of taste and of aesthetic judgment.

Statements such as "It's great art but I don't like it"; or alternately "It's not of much artistic merit but I do like it," and variants in between seem to have no meaning to you.

Neither Ayn nor I said anything about the musical merits of "The Blue Danube Waltz." It's a well-done little composition, but I don't like it. I do not like the particular features of that particular style of construction.

(Except in a performance we have with von Karijan -- he styles it in a way which gets me interested in the technique.)

People's nervous systems differ. Music directly affects the nervous system. There is quite a bit more than "sense of life" (which idea I consider not well formed to begin with, but using it for approximate meaning) to how sound affects one.

As to the MacDonald-Eddy stuff, in that case, the feature I dislike is their voices singing it. The songs don't bother me when others sing them, but when it's MacDonald and Eddy I sort of feel like screaming and running from the room, as if my nerve endings are being pulled apart.

Ellen

AR's artistic tastes - TSOM, more

Ellen Stuttle's picture

A point I want to add about what I recall of Ayn's reaction to "The Sound of Music": her objection was literary, not musical. It wasn't an issue of her disliking the songs but instead of her criticizing features of the story. As I said before, she thought the story trivialized the circumstances of the Nazi regime. 

I don't remember the details of how she framed the objection, but saying this in my own words: the story conveys no sense of the horror and makes the escape look too easy, almost like a sort of child's game. The only almost tense moment is the confrontation on the roof between the captain and the oldest daughter's beau, who had joined one or another of the Nazi groups. Even that doesn't seem momentous in the degree and nature of the boy's conflict and its resolution. In reality, the boy would likely have been shattered by his letting them go (assuming even that a scene such as occurs might have occurred). If he'd been suspected of letting them go, he'd have been executed.

The danger the family faced was posed by a monstrous regime. The movie's tone is prevailingly sweetness and light. I think that Ayn found the juxtaposition morally wrong, as in her objections to "Ninotchka."

That's the best I can do from memory. I looked further, but I haven't been able to find anything in writing.

Ellen

AR's artistic tastes - Hospers "Memoir"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

In August 2008, I posted on OL a series of three posts which contain segments pertaining to Ayn's artistic tastes and opinions from John Hospers' Liberty "Memoir: Conversations with Ayn Rand."

Except for a thank-you note from one poster, and an introductory note by me, the thread on which these segments appear has no other material (as of this time).

Some of you might find what John said interesting. I find it not only interesting but more informative on the whys and wherefores of AR's personal artistic reactions than anything else currently in print.

Click here for the thread.

Ellen

Flag On The Play

Billy Beck's picture

"The Blue Danube is delightful. Yes, it's facile, but no one's pretending it's the be-all-and-end-all of music."

Nor was anyone pretending anything about "Jessica", you flat-headed imbecile, but that was your reflexive evasion when I busted you cold on your "life-hating" "nihilism" horseshit.

It just never bothers you that you're a fraud, and that's one of the most disgusting things about you: your stark intellectual irresponsibility and the way that you sashay through it.

You're just a style-queen who's stolen Objectivism for your preening.

I've never seen such a blazing asshole, and I thought I'd seen the whole zoo.

Ellen

Lindsay Perigo's picture

(For example, I like operetta music of a certain kind, but I would take a funeral march in preference to 'The Blue Danube Waltz' or to the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald kind of music.")

That's another instance of her musical battiness in my view. The Blue Danube is delightful. Yes, it's facile, but no one's pretending it's the be-all-and-end-all of music. It's a terrific succession of melodies. Brahms and Wagner, both grumpy old farts, were in awe of Strauss's head for melody. And the only real problem with "the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald kind of music" is Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Listen to Anna Moffo and Sergio Franchi doing the same songs!

One astute observation Rand did make: she liked Sinatra for his phrasing, but after a certain time he gave her a headache. Eye

AR's artistic tastes, Con.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Ah. Re my PS: CORRECTION? two posts below: The answer is BOTH "The Blue Danube" (though she didn't say Strauss-type waltzes generically) AND MacDonald/Eddy.

I found the quote:

~~~
From "Art and Cognition"
Volume 10, Number 4
April 1971
pg. 7

"It must be stressed that the pattern is not so gross and simple as preferring gay music to sad music or vice versa, according to a 'benevolent' or 'malevolent' view of the universe. The issue is much more complex and much more specifically musical than that: it is not merely what particular emotion a given composition conveys, but how it conveys it, by what musical means or method. (For example, I like operetta music of a certain kind, but I would take a funeral march in preference to 'The Blue Danube Waltz' or to the Nelson Eddy-Jeanette MacDonald kind of music.")

~~~

Ellen

AR on "Ninotchka"

Ellen Stuttle's picture

A benefactor supplied quotes in a PM.

~~~
From AYN RAND ANSWERS:

"Ninotchka is an excellent movie. It is brilliantly done, and yet, when I saw it for the first time, although I could admire it technically, it depressed me enormously. The reason is that the subject is not funny...By treating the issue humorously, he [the creator] left you with an element of sympathy-with the idea that the evil is unreal....It makes you feel, 'Oh, yes, Russia; that's Ninotchka'-a good-natured disapproval. It makes you feel these Russians are naughty when in fact they are evil. In that sense, Ninotchka is a morally inappropriate movie."

and

"Artistically, Ninotchka is well done. But to enjoy it, you must evade...the nature of its background."

p142

~~~

Thanks!

Ellen

AR's artistic tastes

Ellen Stuttle's picture

Marcus:

"I thought [AR] liked romantic art?"

Marcus, that so much simplifies her tastes -- as well as assuming that she would have found "romantic" the same works you find romantic.

She once requested that people please not give her presents of art works they thought she'd like, because they so often got it wrong.

If I'm remembering correctly, she also disliked "Ninotchka" for similar reasons. (Can anyone verify what she said about "Ninotchka"?)

I wonder, would you expect her to have liked Maxfield Parrish? A lot of O'ists did expect that she'd like his work. But in a famous answer at the FHF, she delivered a one-word verdict on Parrish: "Trash."

She disliked specifically Strauss-type waltzes for the most part, not waltzes per se. (For the most part, I, too, dislike Strauss-type "schmaltz.")

Ellen

PS: CORRECTION? Hmm, on second thought, was it Strauss waltzes for which she expressed characteristic dislike? Or was it Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy-type operettas? I'm thinking it was the latter. I haven't time to look it up right now. It's in one of her articles about aesthetics.

Rand's dislike of TSOM...

Marcus's picture

I'm shocked by that, especially her reason. I thought she liked romantic art?

TSOM doesn't claim to be historically acurate, and of course it's not. It's quite obviously a 'romanticised' version of events, being a musical makes that even more obvious to everyone.

I am quite surprised that Ayn Rand never fantasized about Captin Von Trapp spanking her across his knee. That was more her style Smiling

Then again she hated waltzes, and there was one of those in the film - and lots of children. And her dream man did not come with children.

Michael N.

Ellen Stuttle's picture

The double entendre re Harry B's articles on musical aesthetics wasn't deliberate, but I noticed it before submitting the post, and liked it, and left it.

Ellen

Ellen commenting on Harry

Newberry's picture

Ellen commenting on Harry B's asthetics of music: "Those ring no bell..."

 

 

www.MichaelNewberry.com

"The Sound of Music" IREC review...

Ellen Stuttle's picture

was in Volume 2, Number 2, which was probably published in January or February 1966.

I found the mimeographed table of contents for Volumes 1 and 2 of "The IREC Review," the full name of the publication.

The month of publication of individual issues isn't given. Instead the sheet just says that Volume 2 comprises "December 1965 - December 1966," and it then lists the contents of 8 issues.

The publication changed name (to "Enquiry") and format (it started being printed as a little pamphlet) with Number 1 of Volume 3. (I have a couple issues of "Enquiry," which say, on the copyright inside-front-cover page, "Formerly The IREC Review." Volume 3, Number 1 is dated February 1967.)

The listing of "The Sound of Music" review just gives Harry Binswanger as the reviewer, not both Harry and Allan.

There's no listing of an entry retracting (but I'd swear that there was a printed retraction, which I read; maybe it was circulated separately, or enclosed as an addendum in a subsequent issue).

Thus far I haven't found any copies of the publication itself. Maybe we didn't save them.

The table of contents takes me back. There's a review by Emilia Nordtvedt of the "Doc Savage" children's books series, and some articles by Robert Masters.

In Volume 1, Number 2, there's an article by Harry B. called "Towards an Esthetics of Music," and in Volume 1, Number 5, one called "Further Towards an Esthetics of Music." Those ring no bell; I don't know if I ever saw them.

Ellen

Terrific Forces

Newberry's picture

"They actually retracted this in print? What a bunch of "uncompromising individualists."

Perhaps that confirms Rand's point, which would be that The Sound of Music wouldn't inspire someone to tackle terrific forces, such as Rand herself?

 

Michael

 

www.MichaelNewberry.com

AG/HB "Sound of Retraction"

Neil Parille's picture

Ellen,

They actually retracted this in print? What a bunch of "uncompromising individualists."

I thought all that stuff about esthetic policing goes back the Brandens.

Banking CEOs

Jonathan's picture

Pigero opined:

 "You don't wonder at all. You know their lobbies are adorned with Jackson Pollock and Duchamp imitations, if not originals."

 Actually, they're much more likely to share your tastes in visual art and music. Your fantasy that you can know people's "senses of life" by the art that they like, or that you can know which types of art they'll like based on how ethically challenged they are, just doesn't hold up in reality. The corrupt elite attend the opera, not rock concerts. They tend to buy safe visual art, generally something with at least minor historical significance. Bankers in particular tend to like art that they see as being traditional, inspirational, reliable and solid.

AG/HB "Sound of Music" retraction

Ellen Stuttle's picture

The scary thing about Ellen's Sound of Music anecdote, if true, more scary than Ayn's dopey view of the movie, is that Binswanger and Gotthelf buckled so readily. They apologized for liking it??!!

Not for liking it. What they retracted was having described the movie as a fine example of a benevolent world view. As I recall, their tone was abashed at having misevaluated.

You might be able to find someone else who remembers -- maybe Edith and/or George? George was certainly around the NY O'ist world by the time that review appeared, although Edith might not yet have been.

Ellen

I agree with you there, Linz

Ptgymatic's picture

That is indeed scary.

Ha, Michael!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I wonder what art is imitated by the banking CEO's that encouraged and accepted the government's bailout?

You don't wonder at all. You know their lobbies are adorned with Jackson Pollock and Duchamp imitations, if not originals. Eye

The scary thing about Ellen's Sound of Music anecdote, if true, more scary than Ayn's dopey view of the movie, is that Binswanger and Gotthelf buckled so readily. They apologized for liking it??!!

Today ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I accompanied Chris Lewis to a concert by students of teachers associated with the Colburn Music School in Los Angeles. His ten-year-old daughter Geneva was playing a glorious violin piece, "Chaconne," by Tomaso Vitali. She was astonishingly good. As was everyone else. The young lady who did the third movement from the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto was as good as anyone I've heard on record. Remember the name Esther Kim. And the young man who closed the concert with the first movement from the Saint-Saens, Jack McFadden-Talbot, was divine in every respect.

The Colburn Music School, incidentally, is entirely privately funded.

It was a day of excellence, inspiration, uplift and civilized values all round, the antithesis of a rap or rock event. After some of the crap I've been reading on the music threads right here, it made me feel good again to be part of the human race.

Life Imitating Art

Newberry's picture

In Athens in 1944, Maria Callas sang, in German, Beethoven’s Fidelio. In the audience were occupying Germans. Fidelio is about a woman who rescues her husband from political imprisonment. A few weeks after the performance saw the end of the German occupation.

Callas didn’t single handedly change the course of history, but she was in the moral right, and used the glorious music and moral message of Beethoven to reprimand the Germans. 

This is an example, on a heroic scale, of life imitating art.

I wonder what art is imitated by the banking CEO's that encouraged and accepted the government's bailout? Eye

www.MichaelNewberry.com

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