Saturday, July 15, 2006

... i canti alterno

In the prologue to Monteverdi's Orfeo, Music sings "I alternate my songs, now happy, now sad...". Music's warning and embrace of more than one kind of song, with more than one kind of effect -- to calm a troubled heart, kindle a frigid mind, charm our ears, or inspire our souls -- is here a key to the musical variety that will follow.

There has been a tendency to segregate a "sound art" from the category of music making. Instead of pushing, or probing, the capacity of music to be a larger, more inclusive, house, expanding the realm of activity that can be called music, does this move posit some closure over the category music? Is this a good thing? There is utility in being able to say "my work is not music, but something else, so that I need not be obliged to concepts and limits associated with music". But hasn't it been the advantage of music, that a listener can, no, must again'n'again discover that the extent and limits of music are not yet known?

No comments: