From skotjnsn
Date: Thu, 4 Apr 96 20:55:23 PST

Yep. It's so true: we're forced from every angle to do something "productive", rather than, as I put it: infuse their stupid pointless lives with some kind of FUCKING MEANING that their lives probably didn't have in the first place.

But I'm even becoming a little disillusioned with the idea of a degree in music. Could be just the school, but thinking back on past situations, I think it's universal. I'll probably pursue a degree in languages, since I've rekindled my love for other languages recently.

Here's my story. I write a nice little piece for my singing class on assignment. It was nice. Unconventional, beautiful, moving. Lyric in italian. Very very me. I worked on it a bit because I plan to use it as the basis for a section of my string quartet later. So I play it, and we try to teach the class how to sing it. Nobody can figure out where to start. Noone can keep their sense of pitch because of the unusual harmonic feeling.

Someone says: "It's too difficult. I can't sing it." And I turn towards him, staring probably with a little too much hatred, and I say "That's not my fault, that you can't sing it. You're just inept." (I was very frustrated with these people.) That was the cue for the teacher to start criticizing my work. She's pointing out this "flaw" and that "problem", which, of course, are only flaws or problems when one is observing an arbitrary set of rules concerning composition. A set of rules which tends to make your music sound like it was composed by a two-bit contemporary of Bach or Mozart or Beethoven rather than yourself.

Anyway, I interrupt her. "Look," I say. "I don't know what kind of relationship composition has to your life, but I'm telling you right now, for me, this is no game. This is not play. This is my vocation. I don't compose music because I think it's fun; I compose because I must, and I acheive great pleasure by making a beautiful piece such as this one. I've been developing this compositional style for ten years. It's a unique style and it's beautiful. I don't know where you get off telling me what notes to write where on the page. So far as I can tell, I've plumbed the depths of musical beauty in this sixteen measures far deeper than you've ever gone in your entire life. I know, for one, the difference between "pretty" music and truly moving music. At least my garbage ends up in the trashcan. I don't know who the fuck you think you are, but you're nobody to tell a composer like myself how to write his own fucking music."

Then I weathered quite a barrage from other music students-well, the posers, at least-and had to answer many questions. That's where the next to last line comes from; somebody asked me, "but you don't write nothing but great things! You must write some junk." In response, I quoted Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead": "I write a lot of crap, sure. But at least my garbage ends up in the trashcan, where it belongs." Or some such thing. It was confusing; the whole class became active after I finished chewing out the singing teacher.

Finally, so many outraged students (many of whom feel some kind of attachment to this woman) kept calling jeers at me that I walked out of the classroom in the middle of class. I hate people. Trying to infuse their meaningless fucking empty lives with meaning and look what happens to me. They don't get it. They're just too stupid.

I am truly alone in the world of music. I remember getting into arguments like this with my piano teacher-not on questions of style (you know, studying how one plays Bach or Mozart properly) but on questions of composition. I'd show her some things and she'd come up with some superficial criticisms of it, missing entirely the structure I had underlying it. Of course, she would listen to reason; after a while I realized that I couldn't just react violently to her statements that I "couldn't" do this or that, musically speaking. I showed every reason why things had to be the way they were, and (they would have stayed in their form anyway) they stayed in their original forms.

Oh well. That's the way it is, I suppose. Seems like these college music classes (on the higher levels) are nothing more than a haven for students who couldn't make it in the other aspects (performance, composition)

and therefore decide that they'll just learn all about music "theory", like "theory" is so grand, anyway. MUSIC IS NOT A FUCKING SET OF RULES! MUSIC IS NOT MATHEMATICAL!! ARRRRRGHGHGHRHRGHHGHRHGRHGHRGHRGHRGHRGHRGHRGHRGHRGHR

In the final analysis, the only music which matters is the truly honest music.

I remember saying to my piano teacher-no, let me put it this way. My piano teacher once said to me: "If you must break the rules, break them intelligently." I replied, "Yes, but breaking the rules intelligently is still being bound by them." You know? The freest (and best) music is that music which finds its way naturally, and makes its own rules, like Bach's, Beethoven's, Prokovieff's, and all other great musicans, jazz ones included.

Enough of this ranting. Suffice it to say that the music theory department is making me sick right now. I can have respect for rules in an area like linguistics. Breaking the rules when learning a language is truly missing the point. But following the (arbitrary, pointless) rules while composing music is also missing the point. Music harkens from the inner depths of each person, not from rules created in outer space over the pages of dead white men. That's why the best music resonates in our hearts, and the worst falls flat and we recognize it as shit: muzak and its ilk, for instance.


I HATE my peers. NObody gets what I'm trying to say.

Thankfully, I have enough trust in myself to understand that what I'm saying to them is worth hearing. They're just either too stupid or too deaf to understand me.