Thursday, March 15, 2007

OMG, It is working!

Two days of productivity in a row! I'm absolutely exhausted (given that I'm not enjoying 85% of the work), but I'm getting through it at a steady pace. Of course it would have been great to have this revelation oh, two years ago, or so, but I guess I just wasnt ready to discipline myself.

Speaking of revelations, I'll share another. When I started this project, @#$@ years ago, I really was not a big fan of Leonard Bernstein's Mass. I would explain that I was "dealing with it" simply because I felt I had to. I never imagined that I would come to really like the piece! I mean, REALLY like it. (I'm almost ready to say "love" but there are parts I could definitely do without). I've spent so much time with it, learned its ins and outs, that I feel an affinity I would have never guessed after my initial listening. Given this, I'm wondering how many works have thus suffered under my quick criticism? Isn't listening to a piece of music once the same as "judging a book by its cover?" How far past the cover can we get with just one listening? To carry the analogy further, I can think of a few books that did not appeal to me (in regard to their cover) but that I ended up really enjoying once I dug into them (Umberto Eco's Baudolino is NOT among these). However, most of the time, these particular books were mandatory reading. I tend not to pick up books off the shelf that carry no appeal at first glance.

So here's my question: Should we hold music to the same standard? Does there need to be some immediate aesthetic appeal for us to go home after the concert and buy the CD? Or is it fair to say that if a piece doesn't grab you right away it probably isn't worth the time? I hardly think that's fair. If "deep listening" isn't part and parcel of really understanding music, I don't know why we waste our time with it in Music Appreciation classes.

I know we don't have the time (or even the inclination) to give every piece of music the listening it might deserve. As a musicologist, sitting down with the score and reading up on the history only adds to the piece for me. But all this makes me wonder how many other pieces I've failed to appreciate simply because I figured my quick aesthetic judgement was enough.

At any rate, here's my documented progress on Chapter four (unfortunately with some items added!). Of course the page numbers have completely changed, but I know where they are!!!

p.1 double negative? (check)
p.2 Berrigan brothers section (see also p. 14)
check Sheppard
WF: Gottlieb article via ILL
WF: call back from Fordham (doubtful that this will happen)
p. 4 expand footnote on Paul Simon's contribution
p. 7 two examples of folk drama
p. 8 need example of "commentary on the liturgy"
p. 13 look at AEP's comments regarding liturgical dance
WF: Du Fay's Last Works (Journal of Musicology)
p. 14 clarify Jesuit bit (see also p. 2)
p. 15 year for Paul Liebold quote
p. 15 finesse Table 1 (Mass Liturgy Comparison Chart)
p. 20 clarify the "Amidah" and "Kedushah"
p. 25 section on Vatican II and Judaism
WF: research
p. 25 change icky subsection title and fill in the blanks in first sentence
p. 26 check on clothes of Celebrant
p.26 cite outside source regarding Vat II church music
p. 26 mi-sol...where does it go?
p. 27 footnote pun with examples from early literature
p. 29 Music Example (scan)
p. 30 need synonym for "chaos," cite Andre on Haydn (p. 34) and footnote about flute
WF: check Paukenmesse score at UCSB
p. 30 Music Example (scan)--Winchester Epistle v. Bernstein
p. 30 Footnote (n. 44) needs full citation
p. 31 Music Example (scan)
Finish Kaddish section
p. 31 Info on Chichester Psalms
p.32 Sections of Dybbuk, Jeremiah, Jubilee Games? (may cut)
p. 32 brief section on Latin works (Missa Brevis, Lark Choruses)
p. 33 Mass Reception & Conclusion
Example Permissions!!!
Gottlieb's reasoning for Berrigan bros.
UCSB: Haydn Paukenmesse, DuFay Article, Hold item at Main Libr, Anderson Papers

(Cross-posted at LJ)


Deetie said...

I'll respond to the whole liking music that you didn't initially find pleasing thing.

I have to say that some of my favorite (pop) music, those enduring albums that I listen to over and over throughout the years, tend to be those that I did not really like at first. Why did I keep listening, you ask? Well, the reasons vary from having to get through that side of the tape so I could listen to the other one (didn't want to waste batteries, you know) to having gone to a concert and realized that I already had the CD and wanted to listen to it again with different ears. Regardless, _something_ made me go back and listen again and it's when you hear other layers of meaning and complexity, etc. that you didn't the first time around that makes the song, piece, whatever that much better.

I don't think that we can ever judge which piece should get that extra listen; it really is an issue of circumstances that are, for the most part, beyond our control (like writing a diss chapter on it). For me, that's the beauty of the whole idea--we can't really know when that lightning will strike. And that makes it all the sweeter.

As for giving every piece/song the time? We can't. So, I guess we just have to enjoy those ones that we've been lucky enough to give that extra listen and hope that we still give _some_ music a chance. I suppose that's the real point: it's when you stop giving any music a second chance that you should be worried.

Rebecca said...

As usual, Ms. Deetie, your erudite commentary is much appreciated. I know what you mean regarding pop music.

I guess all I can do, speaking for myself, is be more intentional about my listening. If a piece grabs my attention (or even just a part of it) at a concert, it is probably worth spending some time with it afterward. Maybe that's my musicological obligation. ;-)

I like what you said about now knowing when the lightning will strike--you are definitely right. I think that is the real pleasure of all aesthetic experience to some extent.


Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea