Online, via chat, forums, or social networks, I’ve had little to say about music, to the extent on more than a few occasions I’ve been pointedly asked if I liked it at all. A strange question you might think, given it’s omnipresence in all of our lives, so much so, I’m sure, most of us take its importance as read. Though I’m a little concerned for some, who I’ve heard express their love for music in the most extreme terms [and usually, histrionic manner]: “I would just DIE without my music!”. A little excessive I think, though I get their point; but I have to remark that pre-twentieth century, the majority of people on this planet had access to little if any music, most certainly on an individual and private basis, and yet, somehow, despite this tragic omission from their lives, they somehow coped. Ahem… anyway…
I’ve said little about music because I learned a long time ago how personal it is. I found no matter how great an impact a particular piece of music or song made on me, I invariably failed when I tried to impress others of it’s greatness: “yeah, that’s okay”, they’d say, “but listen to this… how fucking great is that?”. But alas, in turn, in a similar manner, I’d fail to enthuse. Eventually, it sunk in: maybe it’s not so much that music has inherent qualities for us all to agree on and share in, perhaps it’s primarily about us as individuals, our particular psychology, our personal history. To put it succinctly (and to demonstrate once again, I know longish words): taste is largely idiosyncratic.
This is why, on social network profiles, I smile and at the same time get irritated, when I see long, long lists of a persons musical preferences (the same is done with books and movies). Does anyone truly believe that you can tell ANYTHING about a person by knowing the music he or she likes? Liking similar tracks, books, or movies is coincidence, and has as much significance as having a liking for bananas or a favourite colour. In my experience, you like someone despite their tastes. Personality I’m sure, is not culture-dependent.
Not that I’m leaving this post without paying a little lip-service to my “musical history”, and “history” it is, as the musical content was impossible to evaluate. I’m talking of a Beatles concert I attended, circa 1965 (yes, I’m that old). Courtesy of two girl “friends”, who queued all night for tickets, I was able to go witness this historic event. I heard little, apart from a few snatches of the verse in “Nowhere Man” (the tour was in part, promoting their new album, Rubber Soul), but it was nevertheless, an experience. And before you ask the question, no, I didn’t scream!
So… music and I? I believe myself to have have wide eclectic tastes, having no preferences genre-wise. Indeed, when it comes to live music, I’m happy to watch a virtuoso performance on the spoons. But then, very often, live music is something else, and is arguably less about the music and more to do with tribalism, quasi-religion, or at the very least, fulfilling the need to “belong”. But that’s another argument…
For those of you who know anything about musical notation, you’ll know all music is punctuated by pauses of varying lengths, and in it’s own way, a pause is a peculiar kind of note; so It’s fair to say, silence is an integral part of music. I’m sure if you were to take out these gaps, what would be left would be noise, plain and simple. Which brings me to my point: come on folks, let’s hear it for that much misunderstood and much-maligned phenomenon, silence.
I’d just DIE without silence.