(music | art) criticism

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the things that interest me. My main area of interest has always been Art, but another area that has inspired me as much is Music. Although Music has always been the more accessible of these two areas, Art is the one in which I have the experience and ability (if only I had continued my Clarinet lessons when I was 14, things could have been so different…).

The consideration of my interests has also prompted me to think about how Theory is now inextricably bound up with my appreciation of Art in a way that is not the case for Music. For me I would say that Art demands such an investment in extra information, or perhaps I expect that Art should require it. I no longer have an unmediated response to Art, my thought patterns include a ‘theory filter’ that pre-processes Art and preps it for analysis.

There is no reason why Music could not be considered in this way. Indeed for many this is the norm, but I hope that I never get to the stage where I think of Music in the way that I think of Art.

Let me explain. Music for me is an enjoyment with little significance beyond a thrill which is temporary. To introduce analysis into the equation would interrupt that thrill. This is absolutely not to reduce the value of this thrill – finding a good piece of music is one of the most moving experiences I know. Keeping up with the artists, labels, genres and developments is endlessly fascinating. But I also value its disconnectedness from an over-analysed view of the subject.

This is why Music is not my métier and Art is – I am perfectly happy to be a dilettante where Music is concerned, whereas with Art I combine my emotional reaction to the work with the desire for a deeper understanding of the piece and my reaction to it and from there…who knows?

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