Thursday, October 04, 2007

Noise no more

The territory of the musical grows. Noisemakers accompanying hunt or battle or clockwork or commerce become musical instruments, and as they integrate themselves into ensembles they lose the signs and associations of their previous occupations and simply become musical signs and symptoms. Dissonances appear first as accidents, then are avoided, then forbidden, then toyed with, then considered precious, and finally, mundane, only to be explained away so that we can begin the process all over again. Speech doesn't sing and song is speech gone wrong, until it's the other way around. I couldn't dance to that yesterday but now I can't hear it without starting to move and tomorrow I'm certain I'll have forgotten how (never mind, you're far too tall to dance in the first place). Technology makes the transportation of sophisticated music to all the wrong places possible: so how come they still laugh when I sing to myself in the subway?

As my teacher N.O. Brown put it, "truth is error burned up."

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