Friday, December 01, 2006

Conversations about music

Over at Making Light, a wonderful discussion about music is taking place. The participants are all laity as far as I can tell, yet all enthusiasts and remarkably erudite in expressing their impressions. One commenter admits that he just cannot appreciate Ralph Vaughan Williams, and when asked he gives very good reasons*:
Listening to that piece replicates every experience I have ever had with the music of Vaughan Williams - and I assure you, I've tried to listen to it. It seems to me that he endlessly tiptoes around in a formless cloud of sound out of which at any moment an actual melody might emerge, but one never does. I can see no consequence, no meaning to it. It doesn't make any sense to me. I can't say why not. It just doesn't, and all I experience is vague but mounting irritation, frustration and, eventually, resentment.
And after this admission the other commentors do not ridicule him for his lack of appreciation, but share their own loves and hates. When I asked my students how to debate about music, this type of discussion was one possibility I was thinking about.

*Reasons that you may not agree with (I certainly don't, finding Vaughan Williams to be very comprehensible), but ones that can be understood and respected.

1 comment:

TNH said...

Thank you. We're big on good conversation. Glad you enjoyed it.