Michael Mauldin

Distinctive Tonal Music Inspired by Magical Places
 
 
 
04 November 2013

Why Some Contemporary Music is a Turnoff

We need novelty and experimentation, but at an almost cellular level, we still need the shared belief in the possibility of clear direction, fleshed-out characters, plot, even resolution.

Why Some Contemporary Music is a Turnoff

Michael Mauldin, November 1, 2013

 It may have been 15,000 years since we (logically) evolved into farmers, but we were hunter-gatherers for much longer than that. I think there's a part of us that still wants (perhaps needs) to sit in a circle, our faces lit by the campfire (concert stage), anticipating the story that the Shaman will tell. We’ve heard it before, but we’ve learned that he’ll elaborate on it, adding characters, orbiting into side-stories, extending exotic scene-painting, using pregnant moments to jump at people and startle them. We’ve also learned to trust that he’ll base his creativity on the unspoken connection we have to each other through the story--the memorable characters, the eventual resolution of the main plot.

 Since everyone in the tribe knows the story, the Shaman begins to retell less of it, spending more time setting up moods, scenes, and introducing bits of vague characterizations. They promise to become colorful new characters, but they never allow themselves to form. Since the story itself is no longer clearly recounted, children and new tribe-members grow accustomed to this type of disconnected storytelling, more rambling than magical.

 It's a wonderful vehicle for the Shaman's creativity.  His descriptions and effects and devices are admirable. But does it really satisfy the reason we left our own campfire and came together around the communal one? If one destroys the collective belief in the possibility of clear direction, fleshed-out characters, plot, even resolution...

 

 

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