The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27366   Message #335912
Posted By: Whistle Stop
07-Nov-00 - 09:24 AM
Thread Name: Proper Music?
Subject: RE: Proper Music?
Shambles, I think we should recognize that the attraction to snobbery isn't limited to classical music types. Here in the USA, jazz has become much more marginalized than it was in the first half of the 20th century, largely (I believe) because the jazz community got too precious and haughty about "their" music. I believe this trend has begun to reverse itself, but it has a ways to go yet.

Rock and roll started down this path in the 1970s, when stage productions and arrangements got more elaborate, leading to increased domination by corporations (who could underwrite this stuff), and drifting away from the more primal impulse that gave the music its power. Fortunately, rock and roll is the music of youthful rebellion, so it didn't take long for the punk movement to knock the elitists down a peg or two. Rock and roll has other problems these days, but this kind of artistic pomposity isn't nearly as big an issue as it was a couple of decades ago.

Sadly, I sense this same impulse among certain members of the "folk" community, who insist that folk exists only within their own rigid construction of it -- that it has to have certain specified ties to "tradition" (as defined by the self-appointed keepers of the flame), that it must rely on specific instruments and playing styles (without allowing for the healthy cross-pollenation that keeps a tradition vital), or that it has to speak to particular political themes or causes (and often to only one end of the political spectrum). This is an exclusionary, elitist tendency, in my view. While we're recognizing the failings of the classical music world, it might be healthy to examine some of our own shortcomings.