June 12, 2006
Why Does the Existence of Musical Analysis Anger People?
I've been watching music discussions online for ten years now (word to rec.music.hip-hop), and every discussion board always a few of them: those people who are offended that serious music discussion even exists at all. Whenever a nice debate gets rolling, they will jump in and accuse all debaters of disrespecting the music by taking it so seriously. Here's an example from okayplayer's Lesson Board this weekend:
"Can anyone on the lesson just like an artist without having to analyze and critique until they suck the enjoyment out of music? Who cares if it doesn't fit your subjective standards about what real funk is? Do you like it or not?"
I'm leaving out the poster's name cuz it's not my intention to pick a fight, but I've never understood where this kinda thing is coming from. I can understand somewhat if you take personal offense to critiques of your favorite artist, but sometimes (as in the quote above) those who take offense don't even have a horse in the race. Which means, I have to assume, they are offended by the very existence of such musical analysis, just on general principle. But if that's the case, what do they imagine is the purpose of the discussion boards they're on? As another OKP countered, "what are people supposed to do? just name an artist, throw confetti and clap?"
Are the terms of the debate (what constitutes "funk," etc) usually subjective? Of course they are, that's what makes the conversation worthwhile. If there was only one objectively correct way to properly interpret the art, that's when there would be nothing to talk about.
We each connect in our own way with music, on an intuitive level. By finding the language to compare our respective connections and how they work, some of us find we can get a deeper understanding of our own tastes, and a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the music itself. It's not about sucking the life out of music, it's finding the source of life in our music.
If relating to music that way isn't your thing, nobody's forcing you to join in. Why should it be it any skin off your nose when other people find value in it?