TIDBIT: WHY JOHN LENNON MATTERSOctober 17, 2014
This was a thought-provoking article, shared with me by its author, and I share it here, for its relevance to today's main blog topic:
I'll depart from my usual practice in tidbits to say a few extra words of editorial opinion. Lennon - and for that matter, the Beatles, and the whole contemporary rock tradition on up to when popular music itself succumbed to corporate promoted uglification sometime in the 1990s - matters also because he stands in the broad western classical musical tradition(yes, I said classical) music that began in the High Renaissance, continued through the Baroque and Classical periods, and in many cases, through the Romantic era and on into the 20th century. He is much more in that tradition of craftsmanship and beauty than, say, the calculated artificiality and deliberate anti-music ugliness (yes, I said ugliness) of the serialists like Schoenberg or Berg, the polytonal and screeching cacaphonies of some of Stravinsky, and so on. Nothing wrong with polytonality or polyrhythms mind you (CPE Bach tried his hand, successfully, at both(look at the first movement of Wq. 27 if you don't believe me[and for the musicologists out there, yes, I know, within figured bass one can have what later theorists will call polytonalities, without being "polytonal", but the effect, in my opinion, is the same], and there were even significant stabs at serialism in the Baroque era). Lennon, and the other Beatles, kept alive a tradition of tonality, of melodic beauty, and of creativity, without having to invent "new forms" to "prove their originality". As for the musical uglification movement, that too was perhaps best characterized as an assault on consciousness.