Elements of music

My roommate knows when I am lying, she knows when I am only pretending to understand what she’s saying, and she knows many other things about me that even I don’t know–so when I am asked “did you enjoy that music performance?” and I say yes, she knows that I am lying. But why did I not enjoy it? I asked myself that very question for the duration of the performance–and I came up with some answers.

Leonard Bernstein discusses Beethoven in terms of: melody, harmony, counterpoint, rhythm, and arrangement. He describes how Beethoven fails in all these categories–but that somehow the music explodes via a different measurement, which might explain why Wagner considered himself the Jesus to Beethoven’s John the Baptist. Louis Armstrong discusses quality of New Orleans bands in terms of those who really lock in together, who know their shit the best, are tight…and then there’s one other set in the music world, so far as I can tell–and that’s the secretaries. My roommate described herself as excellent at following scientific protocol but not especially experienced thinking for herself. And there you have it–it is very easy to set out a few chord changes, mix in Bernstein’s elements, and say you’ve written or performed a song–but that doesn’t mean you’ve succeeded aesthetically, nor do I think it’s a matter of opinion–music theory can deconstruct a perfect song and allow one to exploit the individual elements to create something absolutely horrific.

And my roommate taught me what a musician is: a person. These secretaries will never melt upon hearing a note, nor will they shiver, and

-those who truly feel this;

-i can only ever love;

-tears in their eyes;

-without being instructed;

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