ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context : MusicalStuff, OnComposing

Musicians and Composers are Ancient Enemies. There is deep hatred that only those chained together by necessity for centuries could possibly understand. The tape-recorder and looping pedal are the musician's revenge on the composer, turning his or her live improvisations into eternal compositions. The recording-studio and Digital Audio Workstation are the composer's revenge on the musician, leaving his or her performance unnecessary as the score is rendered directly into listenable format.

Quora Answer : Why do people nowadays remember and like singers/performers of modern music better than composers, who are rarely know and talked about? I think composers do the most essential brain work.

Feb 8, 2018

There are two parts of this question :

  • why do people prefer contemporary art to art from the past?
  • why do people prefer performers rather than composers?

Resolve your question into these two vectors and things become clear.

People prefer contemporary art to art from the past because it speaks to them of their lives today, in the language they use. It talks about their current experiences and feelings in the same words they use. With the same interpretations they make.

Remember that the words of most 19th century classical music are a) in German, Italian or French, b) about a world which seems distanced from us, with c) feelings and responses that are not recognisably modern (a generation grown up with Beyonce won't necessarily feel much resonance with Gilda or Mimi.)

As to why people prefer performers not composers, that's also obvious. The performer is the extrovert one. The one actually talking to you.

Ironically, pop music has never been so much about back-room boffins hiding away behind their computers in their studios rather than virtuoso musicians. There are no guitar heroes or incredible drummers on stage. The producer has subsumed all that. So all the focus in terms of personality fronting the musical project is on one guy ... the solo vocalist (singer or rapper or often both). The performer who has to carry the whole thing.

Performers have always been shamans, leading the audience on spirit journeys through fantasy worlds. Today it's contemporary pop / hip-hop stars who are most equipped to lead their audience through the hellish realms of virtual economic reality, where the market arena pits all against all. Singers and rappers perform the alchemical transformation of failure into success and the hedonistic rewards that follow, because this is the key cultural idea in our society today.

Who the hell wants to know about Mozart's risqué 18th century comedy or 19th century tragic heroines misguidedly sacrificing themselves for love? What's important to us today is how to acquire stuff. And how to defend yourself against all the haters who have been less good at acquiring it. Who is important today, is whoever successfully convinces you that they've succeeded in that.

See also : TheWorldOfHipHop