Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ain't heard nothing yet

Over at Sequenza 21, the new term being beaten about (by one of those study-with-the-uptowners and then play-at-slumming-with-the-downtowners bang-on-a-canners, no less) is "post-ugly music".

Well, I'll just have to out myself as someone who happens to like a lot of really ugly music, even music that' so ugly that it's lovely. In the ecological diversity of new music now and tomorrow and the next day, I honestly believe that there is still plenty of room for ugly music. Some ugly music is music that we've not yet learned to hear as beautiful (as the poet put it: beautiful music is ugly music burnt up); some music is ugly beyond redemption; and some music may now sound beautiful, but we'll wake up one day and realize that it's ugly as sin, always was, and giggle in incomprehension at our misguided ears.

And after all this ugly, ugly-beautiful, beautifully ugly and plainly beautiful music, there's no post-anything, there's just more diversity, and the critical divide in that diversity is not ugliness but quality, utility, and imagination. Is it well-done? Can we use it as music? Does it transport us rapidly to new worlds better made than the present?

Gotta run. I've got this really beautiful idea for a piece...


PWS said...

Preach, brother.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, dude, but Martin Bresnick is not exactly what you call an "uptowner."

Daniel Wolf said...

Dear Anonymous --

I went to Wesleyan for grad school, physically up the road from Yale, but musically downtown to Yale's up.