“Music,” they say, “is more than the sum of its parts.”
How can something be more than what it is? Is a book more than words on bound paper? Is a painting more than pigment on canvas? Is a statue more than chiseled stone?
What is music? Music is silence and sound, sound and silence. Music is melody and harmony and rhythm and timbre and form and texture. And that’s all music is. But like a new car, music has options. You can put shiny chrome wheels that spin the opposite way on your spanking new Hyundai Sonata, or a sun-roof. Either way, you have way too much money.
No matter how impressive your options, it is the car that matters most. Like an automobile, music is built from the frame up. It begins as a skeleton of form and texture, and is made functional with harmonic machinery. Melody, rhythm, and timbre, much like a paint job, give the music its character and flair. If parts are inadequate, you end up with a grotesque vehicle. In the garage, you resolve to get a better car. In a concert, you loudly request they play Beethoven.
The modern music industry, however, has become a used car dealership. Music is recycled endlessly and resold. The only difference is the options, be it chrome rims or leather upholstery or Lady Gaga or Bieber. But they—they will buy anything. They claim it is relatable, that repetitive odes on love or fear or courage speak to them. They mock craftsmanship as archaic.
Get off of my road.