|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Over at Greg Sandow's blog one of his reader's named Janis has a wonderfully intriguing idea inspired by the Star Wars Uncut website.
Here's the idea as Janis describes it:
Take a well-known shortish piece of music (not an obscure one, one that a lot of people know, like a nice standalone piece of Beethoven's 9th or the end of the William Tell overture), and break it up into bits, perhaps twelve measures apiece.
Open them up to being "claimed" by people online, probably students. Each student claims a chunk of the music ... and interprets it however they want. Some will play it straight on an oboe or violin. Others may whistle it. Others will use synths, others can hum it, still others can bang on kitchen pots. They upload their "chunks."
Then ... stitch the pieces together and play it.
Some of my thoughts about the idea for classical music, are over in the comments at Greg's blog, but here's a point I said there and I'll repeat here:
SW [Star Wars] is quite iconic, even the causal moviegoer or non-sci-fi fan, knows SW. While the Beethoven and Rossini examples are quite known, I don't think they rise to the same level of coverage in the general public's consciousness as SW. And sure the people who are doing the SW send-ups are probably SW fanatics, but the people who view it are, my guess, more broad than that since the movie goes beyond sci-fi fans. I don't think you'd ever get the same broad cross-section of listeners with a classical music version.
As an idea for classical music fans, I think it is great and a very fun thing to try. Heck, I might even try my hand at one little chuck of Beethoven if the idea becomes reality. But part of the idea reminds me of various responses (rebukes?) of some of the ways artists today have to keep coming up with more and different 'pitches', just to be heard over the din of societal "overchoice". Really?!, how relevant can classical music (or jazz or any art, for that matter) be in today's world, if the only way to get the layperson to listen to or see your work is to create a Rossini mix contest or a YouTube Symphony? or put a shark in formaldehyde? (or, in a completely different vein, to hide your son in the attic in hopes of a reality show? or yell "You Lie!") Are these truly the ways to create a lasting connoisseur of one's work or position in today's world?
Artists, musicians, actors, writers and other creative types (not to mention politicians) always had to be imaginative barkers when marketing themselves and their image to the public. As Jacques Barzan wrote in The Use and Abuse of Art, "Historically, the artist has been a slave, an unregarded wage earner, a courtier, clown and sycophant, a domestic, finally an unknown citizen trying to arrest the attention of a huge anonymous mass public and compel it to learn his name." And I'm not knocking people for trying these different ways to be heard; it is actually fun to come up with meaningful and real avenues to connect listeners with one's artistic product. I'm just wondering why it seems so much harder these days? what has changed to make it so?
Anyway, check out The Star Wars Uncut site if you haven't, it is pretty fun seeing what people have done with their scene and it reminds me of some of the continued voyages of fans in the Star Trek universe. Not that I have seen those...really, I haven't...really...
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 10:10 PM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.