Wednesday, October 19, 2011

re: Does music need to communicate something to be considered intelligent?

     Becky-Jo recently asked a question of intelligence in music, whether music needs to communicate something to be considered intelligent.  I do not think it does.  I think that music most likely always communicates something to each individual listener, but it may be something different than the composer intended to communicate, which may have been nothing.  Yet even if nothing extraneous is communicated, the music remains.  I believe the music, if music, can stand on its own and retain its intelligence without needing to communicate something. 

personal music

     I saw an old friend this weekend that I hadn't seen in over ten years.  We were always very close, and very connected with music.  We talked about music all the time, and searched for meaning in it, and for the meaning it held for each of us.  She made me a cd of songs I hadn't heard before, and I've been listening to it a lot the past few days.  It inspired me to take a look at my cd's and search for those songs I used to pore over, the ones that got me through.  I put together a cd of these songs, and I was led through a journey of my life, and the meaning of those songs for me.  I think that experience, and this weekend, were cathartic, indeed.
     One of the songs she gave me was of a girls choir singing a popular tune.  It is so beautiful, both because it is done in a different way, and also because she gave it to me.  Those things can change the quality of a song, a personal connection, and a new performance of it.  It is an example of ascribing emotion to music, but in a different sort of way; not in saying that something is happy or sad, but that the experience of it carries with it personal emotion.

Does a personal connection to a piece of music speak to the aesthetics of that piece in any way, or merely to the listener, or the performer?