Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, music, styles.  ---  .This section is about vsrious musical styles.  Topics include: ( ) Blues.  ( ) Classical  ( ) Country.  ( ) Disco.  ( ) Folk.  ( ) Jazz.  ( ) Pop.  ( ) Rock.  ( ) Soul.  R&B.  Hip Hop.  ( ) World music.  ---  1/24/2006

Arts, music, styles.  ---  (1) Jazz.  Improvisation involves playing away from the melody.  Syncopation involves playing away from the beat.  By using improvisation and syncopation jazz achieves a complexity that makes it challenging and interesting.  (2) Classical music achieves complexity and interest by having many instruments, many themes, many voices (polyphony, harmony, counterpoint).  (3) Complexity in music.  Musical complexity can increase to the point of chaos.  Musical complexity can decrease to the point of boredom.  ---  1/28/2003

Arts, music, styles.  ---  (1)(A) arguments contra rock:  Jungle music.  Unrefined.  Sex music, not cerebral.  (B) arguments pro rock:  It confronts problems.  (2)(A) arguments contra classical:  Concentrates purely on the sound.  Lacks lyrics.  It is status quo.  It is repressive.  It is escapist, avoidist.  It is overly refined.  (B) arguments pro classical: Classical music calms.  At some point you start listening to it.  ---  06/27/1993

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Acapella do-wop.  The cool thing about acapella do-wop is it sounds like instruments are present but they are not.  ---  11/30/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  All styles have to do with social conformity.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Best style.  Blues rock: sadness, anger, happy, danceable, sex.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues vs. happy music.  Happy music does not necessarily avoid problems.  Happy music may well confront problems, it is just that it comes to a happy conclusion or solution to those problems.  The real issue is not blues (good) vs. happy (bad) music.  The real issue is simple (bad) vs. complex (good) music.  Happy music is okay as long as it is complex.  Complexity evolves from either technical virtuosity or compositional virtuosity (through time, or in layers like harmony).  This idea does not bode well for Zen or minimalism.  Achieve emotional richness through the music and intellectual richness through the lyrics.  It is okay to come to happy conclusion as long as you have worked out the problem completely.  (2) Opposing view.  But actually a simple lyric/idea or musical theme is okay as long as it is "true", powerful and healthy.  (3) A third view.  Basically different people in different circumstances have different musical needs.  ---  7/18/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues vs. happy music.  The blues confronts and deals with problems.  This is a noble thing.  Happy music, about things that are allright, is not as important(?).  I do not want to be depressive, or focus solely on the bad things in life, but it seems you should at least have a 50-50 mix of the two types of music.  But blues should be such that it makes healthy progress, and does not wallow in self pity.  ---  7/18/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues, definitions of.  (1) Blues as a scale.  A scale that includes "blue notes", for example, flattened thirds.  (2) Blues as a song structure.  For example, AAB verse structure.  (3) Blues as a topic.  For examples, songs of troubles with lovers, work, etc.  (4) Blues as an emotion.  For example, sadness.  (Rock and roll being the domain of anger.).  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues.  Alienation, hopelessness, poverty, pain, abuse, neglect, desire, anger, sadness, loneliness.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues.  If you currently have the blues then listening to blues music will eradicate the blues.  If you currently do not have the blues then listening to blues music will make you blue.  What explains this paradox?  ---  5/5/2005

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues.  The best music.  If life is pain, and music is emotion, then blues is the music of pain, and thus of life.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Blues.  To listen to the blues when you are not blue, and thus to become blue, is self defeating.  To listen to the blues to exorcise blues is good.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Classical music.  (1) What percent of the population today are classical music fans?  Five percent?  (2) What percent of the population today recognizes famous pieces of classical music from its use in movies, television, commercials, etc.?  Ninety five percent?  ---  10/8/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Classical music.  Why classical music does not do it for me.  Once you hear jazz, classical music seems antiquated.  ---  10/8/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Classical musicians are essentially the equivalent of rock and roll "cover" bands, which play the work of others, which is essentially a matter of being a technician rather than a creative artist.  Better to be a garage band releasing originals.  ---  8/2/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Classify all musical elements by musical styles, and make a tree of music.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Country music attempted for years to be "pure", acoustic and unsullied by rock and roll.  Today, country music is thoroughly influenced by rock and roll.  ---  11/10/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Development of styles.  Origin, development, peak, stagnation, and decay.  Uniqueness.  Complexity.  Popularity: how well liked by how many, in how large an area, for how long?  Mutation and change.  Death and rebirth of musical styles.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Disco.  Why did we hate disco so much?  We heard disco as mindless, stupid, materialistic, robotic, unskillful, inhuman, empty, heartless, soulless and shallow.  ---  11/20/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Folk.  Music of the uneducated.  Music of peasants.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Foreign folk and pop vs. domestic folk and pop.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  How do the styles compare?  Which are better in general and why?  Which are better for what uses?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Important question.  (1) Why did x style develop in x place at x time?  (2) And why did it become popular?  (3) These are psychological and sociological questions.  (4) Effects of natural environment on music style development.  (5) Effects of charismatic or strident individuals or groups.  (6) Effects of approval and disapproval of power holders.  (7) Effects of leisure time and money.  (8) The value society puts on music, and new things in general, changes.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz recordings.  The first time you hear it, it is a jazz recording.  However, the second time you hear it, it is not jazz anymore in the same sense because there is less surprise.  ---  2/10/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz: lively, graceful, complex, sophisticated, nuanced.  Rock: plodding, clumsy, simplistic.  ---  1/15/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz.  Good jazz is great but bad jazz is terrible.  ---  1/12/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz.  Some of my jazz favorites.  Coleman Hawkins.  Thelonius Monk.  John Coltrane.  Charles Mingus.  Hot, not cool.  Soulful, not the opposite of soulful.  Soulful meaning full of deep thought and feeling.  The opposite of soulful being shallow.  ---  5/8/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz.  The funny thing about jazz fans is that many of them are quite content to listen to a very short list of "standards" played over and over.  That is not exactly a paean to improvisation and creative freedom.  ---  8/2/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Jazz.  When is it jazz?  (1) You can "jazzify" a song by adding rhythmic syncopation, melodic swing, or improvisation.  But does that make the tune a jazz tune?  No.  (2) Is it jazz if any instrument takes a solo?  Not really.  Almost all musical styles today involve solos of an improvisational nature.  (2) Is it jazz if you syncopate the beat?  No.  Is it jazz if you swing the melody?  Not really anymore.  Lots of musical styles today syncopate the beat or swing the melody.  (3) Is jazz about a blues based style? Not really any more.  (4) Is jazz about a brass arrangement? Not really any more.  PART TWO.  Jazz concepts have pervaded all styles of music today.  Just like rock has pervaded everything.  Just like folk has pervaded everything.  Music today is an amalgam or hybrid of jazz, rock and folk.  ---  1/12/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Oldies.  There is an "Oldies" station that plays do-wop music from the '50s.  However, when you think about it, "Classic Rock" is now oldies.  "Lite music" from the '70's is now oldies.  "Classical music" is oldies.  Its all oldies.  ---  1/6/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Pop music is sung.  Blues and rock are moaned, screamed, and wailed by the voice and lead guitar.  These sounds are indicative of the pain and suffering, or lust and ecstasy, that the songs deal with.  Blues and rock find their finest expression in songs of love and pain (sado-masochism?).  ---  12/30/1995

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Pop music.  Sometimes the sound is pop but the words are not.  Sometimes the words are pop but the sound is not.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Pop music.  The question is: popular for what culture?  Music that is popular with masses usually has trite lyrics.  It tends not to challenge moral conventions.  Pop music usually is a happy, melodious and sweet sound.  Pop music is usually not extreme in any way.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Popular music.  (1) Criticisms of pop music.  Examples of the worst of pop.  (2) Defense of popular music.  Examples of the best of popular music.  ---  4/16/2006

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Popular music.  From popular songs we get love.  From non-pop songs we get all the other emotions.  ---  7/25/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Popular music.  What pop music has going for it is, firstly, brevity (compare a three minute pop song vs. a two hour movie or a ten hour novel) and, secondly, power achieved through emotional intensity.  ---  3/4/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Punk rock.  (1) A critique of punk rock.  Some punks are left-wing socialists, while other punks are right-wing fascists.  Some punks are political activists, while other punks are apolitical hedonists.  What then is punk?  Punk is simply a style of music played at a certain speed and volume.  Punk is simply a style of fashion or dress.  One could argue that punk means whatever you want it to mean.  One could argue that punk can mean anything.  One could argue that punk means nothing.  (2) A counter-argument.  What do all the punks have in common?  All the punks are anti-authority.  All the punks have a kind of anarchic attitude.  All the punks reject mainstream society, mainstream fashion, and mainstream music.  ---  6/24/2007

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rap or hip hop.  Criticisms of rap or hip hop.  (1) It took centuries for people to understand that good poetry does not have to rhyme.  Modernist poets bravely faced a barrage of ignorant criticism when they first freed verse.  From that perspective, rap appears to be a return to the tyranny of rhyme.  (2) Proponents of rap argue that rap belongs to a long tradition of bragging and boasting verse.  In practice, the bragging and boasting often devolves into putting down others and verbally abusing others.  Name calling.  Mocking the weak, disempowered and minorities.  Ad hominem attacks.  (3) Sampling, i.e., the reworking, adapting and borrowing of grooves, riffs and hooks etc, even when giving credit, even when given permission.  Sampling seems less creative than writing an original song from scratch.  The only argument I can see for sampling is the fair use of "quoting" seems much like how one can quote text.  Another argument for sampling is that the musical vocabulary is somehow smaller than the verbal vocabulary and thus copying is more likely.  ---  1/1/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rap or hip hop.  Pluses of hip hop.  (1) I'm a fan of soul music.  (2) I'm a fan of urban art that addresses the problems of a city environment.  (3) I'm a fan of ethnic and minority art.  (4) There are some hip hop songs I like.  ---  1/1/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock and roll is about freedom of thought, expression, and action, in the form of rebellion, and in the form of sex and drugs, for youth.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock and roll is the music that conservative whites decided to burn in bonfires during the nineteen fifties.  Rock and roll was the music  of the progressive struggles of the nineteen sixties.  So you know rock and roll is good.  ---  9/7/2005

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock and roll: music and lyrics.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock and roll.  (1) Rock and roll is the child of blues and jazz.  (2) Rock and roll was originally viewed by some as "black music" or "race music" and some conservative whites tried to ban it.  (3) Rock and roll dared to discuss issues of sexuality and rebellion, and thus it was taken up by teens.  ---  9/18/2005

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock and roll.  Rock and roll did not turn out to be all we thought it would be.  We thought it would save the world, and that it was all that was needed for survival, happiness, and a morally good life.  It did not turn out to be so.  But rock and roll is not totally bankrupt either.  Rock was an important advance.  It is high art.  It says a lot that was never said before, and that cannot be said in any other medium.  ---  7/12/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock as (1) Serious high art.  (2) Mindless rebellion and destruction.  (3) The really good rock, the really bad rock, and the really mediocre rock.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock evolves from (1) Strong drives, strong feelings, and much energy, needing to be expressed or blown off.  Not knowing that fact consciously, and not having the words for that fact.  Being horny, being ignorant, and not even knowing that is the case.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock is about anger.  Youths have a lot of anger because they have a lot of energy.  That is why youths like rock.  I would be angry if I had the energy.  ---  5/15/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock is about freedom.  Emotional freedom to feel any emotion about any subject.  Freedom of thought to hold any view on any subject.  Artistic freedom creates diversity.  Diversity expresses freedom.  ---  11/15/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock: anger, rebellion, sex.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  Hopes for rock music in the 1960's.  In order from major to minor.  (1) Music was going to solve all the worlds problems.  (2) Music was going to start a revolution.  (3) Music was going to change the world.  (4) Rock was going to last forever.  PART TWO.  Music, rock or otherwise, cannot solve all the worlds problems.  Rock music did change the world.  Rock music remains popular, even if its not the most popular form of music.  Rock music influenced other musical forms.  Rock music influenced cultures around the world in many ways.  ---  4/4/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  How did a comparatively reserved culture like the British produce great rock and roll bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who and so many others?  ---  12/13/2005

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  Loud rock gets the hormones churning, hi t, inspires.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  PART ONE.  Contra rock.  (1) Rock music was eclipsed in popularity by other styles such as rap.  (2) Rock music has not solved all the worlds problems.  (3) Rock is now just one style among many.     PART TWO.  Pro rock.  (1) Due to a variety of recording media, music enjoys worldwide popularity.  People listen to music at work and play.  (2) Music has changed the world by providing emotional solace and emotional knowledge.  (3) Blues, Jazz and Rock are one of the major contributions of the United States to world culture.  (4) Rock and its descendants Punk and Grunge, and its cousins Folk and Soul, had immense impact, especially on teens and young adults.  ---  4/7/2004

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  Rock and roll is about youth, sex, and rebellion.  Rebellion is the natural state of youth.  Rebellion is also the natural state of the artist.  ---  07/29/1988

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  So much rock is depressing.  To me, to write a rock song of hope, without sounding lame, is the ultimate musical accomplishment.  ---  7/29/1999

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  Social effect of rise of rock and roll.  What did it change?  What did it change it to, and to what degree?  How can we tell?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  The best rock combines masculinity and femininity.  Combines power/strength and emotional sensitivity.  Combines rhythm and melody.  ---  11/18/1994

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  The essence of rock is amplification.  To rock is to crank the volume.  ---  8/4/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  The great thing about rock is that it is a case where a f*ckup makes good.  ---  9/10/1999

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  The strong argument for rock and roll.  When you listen to the greatest rock tunes it rewires your brain, it unlocks your creativity, it grows you up, and it gives you knowledge.  I do not know how to scientifically prove this claim, yet the claim has been made.  ---  10/25/2001

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Rock.  Youth rocks not out of horniness, happiness, or energy, but rather out of pain.  They are in a standing fetal position.  Fetal rock.  They dance for reprieve.  They dance to forget.  They celebrate to ease the pain.  This is what the blues and youth have in common.  ---  4/8/1999

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Styles of music, and sub-styles (i.e. types and sub-types).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Styles: (1) Hot music: strong emotion and strong catharsis.  (2) Cool music: weak emotion and weak catharsis.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Styles.  Strengths and weaknesses, in comparison to other styles.  Relationships to other styles: causes and effects.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  The big style question: why did x style develop in y place at z time?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  The historical musical style tree.  The logical musical style tree.  Similarities and differences between styles.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  The white kids adapted black jazz in the 1920's.  The white kids adapted black rhythm-and-blues and called it rock-and-roll in the 1950's.  The white kids adopted black rap in the 1980's.  Why?  Some would argue that the white kids adapted black music because jazz, rhythm-and-blues and rap are great music, which I agree it is, but I don't think that was the only reason.  Some would argue it happened because blacks are musically creative and white kids are not, but I disagree with that notion.  I say, perhaps you can argue that it is actually a case where white kids want to be like the black kids.  Why do white kids want to be like black kids?  (1) White kids feel guilty for being rich and white.  (2) Rich kids want to feel what is like to be poor.  (3) White kids want to feel what it is like to be black.  (4) One has to admire these rich white kids for the bravery of their phenomenological explorations.  They want to take on the role of the other.  They want to see how the other half lives.  They want to understand first hand the lived experiences of minorities and the marginalized.       PART TWO.  Some would argue that it is only about the excellence of the music, and not about the culture, but that is contradicted by the fact that the music is packaged as part of a culture, and the music is sold as part of the selling of a culture.  Some would argue that it is a cultural phenomenon and that it is a battle of cultures and an economic competition of cultures in a marketplace.  No, that is not it, I say.  There are also cases of black teens who pickup white music.  (It is an interesting phenomenon when a minority music becomes the music of the majority).  It is an exploration of the world by teens.  ---  1/1/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  Various musical styles.  Blues, jazz, rock, country and western, classical, folk.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, music, styles.  ---  When we say we like the blues because they are raw and unpolished, we mean we like the openness and honesty.  When we say we hate pop music for its cold, calculated manipulation we mean we hate it for its deceit, lies, trivial subjects, and shallow thoughts and emotions.  ---  7/18/1998

Arts, music, styles.  ---  World beat, definitions of.  (1) World beat as a collection of diverse folk musics.  (This is a good situation).  (2) World beat as a bland homogenization of musics.  (This is a bad situation).  (3) World beat as a new style of music, a new sound.  (This is an okay situation).  ---  3/29/2002

Arts, music, styles.  ---  World beat.  The future of music.  (1) New instruments.  New sounds and timbres.  New tonal systems (scales, modes, micro tonal scales).  (2) Freedom of music.  Any scale.  Any timbre.  Any pitch.  Just like freedom in the other arts.  Art is about increasing diversity.  ---  1/12/2002

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.