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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Annals of forced comparisons and awkward transitions

The problem I see here is that the blues is "tonal" too.  All music is tonal except for "atonal" music. I guess some is based on scales and modes that aren't exactly the 18th century common practice, but come on.


Vance Maverick said...

Isn't there a structural problem in that first paragraph? The "yet" is unjustified. ("A and B are different. Yet A and B were both widely influential, in their different times and places.") Maybe that's what you mean.

And as you say, the musical practices bear plenty of resemblance. In particular, the blues bear clear traces of descent from common-practice European music. Triadic harmony, with root movements in fifths! True, "all music is tonal", but not all music has that. Traditional Japanese or Indian music, for example, uses scales without that system of related harmonies.

Jonathan said...

What I'm saying is that it's vacuous. It's saying that here are two systems of music, and they are comparable because they are / were widely practiced and conventional systems of music. You could insert any two systems in the last sentence and the comparison would still be valid to some degree. If she's saying that the blues is similar to tonality because it is tonal, that's just dumb.

Vance Maverick said...

Yeah, we're agreeing. She writes as if she expects the reader to be startled, which under the most charitable interpretation means she thinks her readers are prejudiced.

I was told long ago (unreliably) about a well-known jazz musician interviewing as a faculty candidate in a music department, and the committee saying they thought he needed credentials in ethnomusicology. Maybe that's the cast of mind McC expected.