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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Program Music

The intellectual embarrassment of seeing cadence as "patriarchal" is similar to the embarrassment we feel at "program music." The idea of music imitating storms or battles just seems hokey, cartoonish.

I have listened many times to Duke Ellington's Shakespeare suite, "Such Sweet Thunder." I still cannot identify which piece of music from the "Sweet" goes with what character.  I'm sure someone could explain it to me, (why this piece of music is about this character) but if you have to explain it...I'm sure I would forget the explanation and go back to my non-programatic listening.  

We know music can mimic a storm, but we feel that is not what music does best. Those effects seem secondary. We have the sounds of nature already, we can tape them and we don't need a musical mimesis of them. Those kind of "sound effects" seem secondary, unnecessary at best, the grounds of a hokey kind of "appreciation."

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