POMPEY POP


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Barmy Blog Extra

From Rod (cheers)

What is the similarity between a drummer and a philosopher? They both perceive time as an abstract concept.

Two musicians are sitting in a car. Who’s driving? The policeman.

What is a relative minor? A country & western musicians’ girlfriend.
(There are of course, plenty more where those came from)


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Mind You (two)

If defining ‘Classical’ is tricky what about making sense of contemporary art?

In Brighton yesterday I found a perfect aid. It’s a kid’s Reading Book called “We Go to the Gallery” in which John & Susan go with Mummy to see some very ‘now’ stuff. Here’s an example:

Scan11

Mummy does not appear in this picture but there is a helpful guide bottom left to some new or ‘difficult’ words to read.


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What do you mean?

by Classical Music, asks Mr Mook? I’ve been to Brighton today and spent the day thinking much about it.

First up, beyond this morning’s ‘posh frocks and bow ties’ i’m not going there – at least not in terms of telling you ‘the answer’.

I’m quite happy in one sense with the idea attributed to so many great musicians that there are only two kinds of music, Good and Bad, although again I’m not getting into a discussion about how you can be sure of such judgements – at least not in less than those 20,000 words (and bugger that!)

But, OK, what do I/we ‘mean’ by classical music

Well here are two ways of getting to an answer:

  1. Someone defines it and then checks everything against it to say whether that piece ‘fits’ or not. It’s an a priori definition (priori – prior – before the thing)
  2. Someone (me in this case) invites people to submit examples of the genre and then we decide whether we agree that they are (or are not) worthy examples of the genre. This is an a posteriori judgement (posterior – behind – after the event)

The problem with number one (a priori) is that Moses never came down the mountain with Tablets of Stone on which were written any definitions of any genre so the definition can’t exist before the things. genres are defined by humans in relation to the things which must therefore exist before the definition

The problem with number two is that it depends who gets a say. So far, Rod, Malc, Dave G, Mr Mook, Colin and I have posted thoughts/examples, and from those we can begin to extract some things that that group might consider ‘classical’ – but it’s a (welcome) self-selecting group of 60+ white English males who have certain tastes (incidentally LInda also emailed an example but didn’t post it). How far can we get then with a definition that others might dispute?

It helps sometimes to define genres by things they are not. So I’m going to suggest that classical music does not (usually?) consist of two-minute songs with three chords (1-4-5) a repeated catchy chorus, a brief middle-eight/bridge, a brief instrumental verse, sung and performed on guitars, drums and keyboards. That is more likely to be a ‘pop song’.

But if all music is either just good or bad, does that help? Is a Good pop song better than Bad classical music?

I’m very happy with all the nominations so far – send more – but maybe you can see why I don’t wish to get into definitions on this Blog – which is not to say I don’t want any replies or other thoughts. However, here are four other examples from my days teaching about genre theory in film studies, which might help (and also confuse?):

  1. Remember Lee Marvin singing ‘Wandering Star’ from Paint Your Wagon? Is that film a western or a musical? How do you know?
  2. Can you define a science fiction film. What does it consist of?
  3. If, for example, it consists of robots, space ships, outer space, and/or time travel what genre of film is Invasion of the Body Snatchers which has none of those things?
  4. In the years before Andy Murray there was a daft British film called Wimbledon in which a British tennis player won the singles title. Since that was an event in the future that was hard to imagine in the present, was it a Sci Fi film?