Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cheerfully minor

From an email: "For a classical musician, you seem obsessed with obscure or minor genres."

Nope. We just happen to find ourselves in a musical landscape increasingly without predominant genres, but rather with many extraordinary niches. The challenge to listeners is now to be both adventurous and discriminant, rather than simply consuming whatever gets thrown your way by the "music industry". My own training -- which I think of as very west coast -- carried no particular attachment to the big names and big works of the western classical canon. In High School, I was transcribing Machaut from original notation one day, and Partch from his tablature the next, and both experiences were as important to me as playing the Fourth Brandenburg or a Sousa March (well, the Sousa only when sitting, not marching) or, later, accompanying a shadow play in the muddy mountains of central Java or getting lost in the Santa Cruz mountains while playing Christian Wolff's Large Groundspace. Discovering musical quality and virtuosity in unexpected places is a great pleasure. If minor, then cheerfully so.

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