Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is rock music "staccato lyrics" and more fun than profound?

Now, that would rather be Gilbert and Sullivan. They often put six to eight syllables in a measure, I got the impression, and they are more fun than profound.

Let us take the staccato lyrics first. There is one part or set of parts which obviously is staccato in rock, that is the drummer's instruments, the battery. Battery cannot well be legato, it has to be staccato. And in rock mostly one or other instrument of the battery is beating on each of the eight crotchets per measure.

But lyrics are often enough legato: "I can't believe the news todaaaaaayyyy" or "for I am your laaaadyyyy, and you are my maaaaaaaan: whenever you neeeeed for meee, I'll be there if I caaaaaaan" or "you can't start a fiiiiire, without a spaaark" though the latter also has "Booooorn in ! the ! U ! S ! A !" ...

All of above examples are trying to be more profound than Pirates of Penzance. Some of them succeed with me even now, some do not. As you know, I am no fan of Rolling Stones, but "I can't get ! no ! satisfac ! tion !" is not funny or superficial. Neither is the much better though very similar "We don't neeed no ! educaaation !"

If you want superficial, go Gilbert and Sullivan. Three Little Girls from School is as superficial as Cindy Lauper (I would not be surprised if she had heard and liked it) and the blessing of the soldiers in Pirates of Penzance is farcical pacifism just as much as Sunday Bloody Sunday is serious pacifism (if it is true that "This is not a rebel song").

So, I am not criticizing rock for being superficial. Indeed some rock I am condemning for not being superficial, but instead being seriously anti-Christian or hateful - but that is not what I listen to, even when it comes to rock. But if there is rock I do not criticize but appreciate, why am I not writing rock?

  • a) its rythmical complexity is beyond my sense of exact rythmical notation;
  • b) when I improvise melodies, I cannot write them down from hearing, when I write melodies, I do not know exactly how they sound, only if they are dissonant or consonant, major or minor or modal, fifth of chord or third of chord, homophone or polyphone style et c. and what exact rythm: rock as much as Church Music is vocal, and one does not fit just any melody to any words;
  • c) I feel that classical as in Baroque or close on and partly folk too has been neglected, not by listeners and musicians (or it would not pay to write any) but by composers after Ravel and Britten,
  • d) and one could make - I have been making - short classical forms adapted to the three minute format.

Now, if my work as on this blog interests you, conditions are on and main index linking to that page and also to different instrument categories on and if you want to know what piece has been viewed most, it is the Ninth Guitar Sonatina, also known as Sonata Nemetodurica. It is written in tablature for the convenience of guitar players who do not master ordinary scores. Those who do usually master tablature too.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
III Arrondissement
Town Hall of Paris

No comments: