Wednesday, August 15, 2012


It's been a while since I've added anything to this blog. Without a firm schedule of obligations, semi-retirement can present a seemingly endless parade of distractions. Maybe this time the continuity will be a bit more frequent.

During a recent visit to a local watering hole, I was struck by the changes now available to those who prefer to ignore the suggestion, "Don't break a silence unless you can improve on it". The mood destroyer on this occasion was a performance of RAP sounds. (I refuse to call it music.) After some reflection these thoughts occurred: 

Rap! What’s the appeal? It isn’t music. It’s merely rhythmic talking accompanied by one or two, possibly three, notes continually repeated. I don’t get it. It seems to approximate the sounds of tribal drums of native Americans or Black Africans. True musicians have taken the time and energy to learn about chords, chord progressions, triads, diminished sevenths, the circle of fifths, et cetera. A microphone, a loudspeaker and appropriately vulgar, anti-social words are all that’s needed to become a Rap star. Overnight, you’re a sensation and rich. (Roll over Beethoven.)

Why are the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Satchmo and a host of others including Elvis and Elton pushed aside by those who choose noise over melody? Even Gene Krupa’s drum solos had a melodic nature. Don’t forget about Dave Brubeck and Henry Mancini. And movies would not be the same without John Williams’ compositions. With today’s so-called jukeboxes, anyone with a dollar can fill a room with the boring repetition of sounds accompanying antisocial vulgar rantings which if spoken by someone in person would earn them an invitation to shut up or leave.

A response I got from one Rap fan was that, "There are good words in a rap presentation. You don't need melody or harmony." I replied that there are good words in the Constitution and the Sermon on the Mount but I wouldn't want to find those words on a jukebox in lieu of music.               

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