Not only may I be old, I may also be a music snob

Shortly after I posted yesterday’s piece about being a nearly-thirty-year-old living with undergrads, my fifth roommate appeared. Within fifteen minutes of arrival, he had hooked up his laptop to the speakers in the common area and cranked the music uber-loud. Then he disappeared.

This is the sort of thing of which I highly disapprove, regardless of the music. You could be cranking the Beatles or Tallis or Gordon Lightfoot or Puccini — if you’re absent, don’t make others listen to your music choice. It’s bad form.

But … well …

I’d be okay listening to the Beatles or Tallis or Gordon Lightfoot or Puccini.

But the monstrosity that Konrad unleashed.

I would never gladly listen to this.

And when my oppressor is not even present. So much worse.

And what is it that so offends my old, fuddy-duddy ears?

It’s electronic of some sort.

I mean, electronic music need not be bad. It’s come a long way since 1980s synth music. Some of it is not only tolerable but even pleasant.

But this.

It is repetitive with heavy bass. The same three bars are repeated over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over over and over and over. And then a new three or maybe five bars are chosen.

And all of them have the exact same bass line, which is primarily what I hear. The tempo is always the same. The volume never varies. There is hardly anything worthy of the name ‘melody’, and what melody there is just repeats itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself itself.

I, on the other hand, after a while, when I washed my mug for the night and realised new flatmate’s lack of presence, shut the common room door and my bedroom door and retreated to my room.

Wagner — Parsifal mit Placido Domingo.

Well worth hearing.

Again and yet again then even, if I wish, again.

Note the variation in the repetition of the above.

Repetition with variation helps created meaning, helps keep the mind from numbing, dulling, screaming in agony, ‘Good Lord, will this hellish pseudo-music ever stop?!’

And Wagner — he’s the master of creative repetition, the king of the leitmotiv that runs through an entire opera, yet never gets stale. He even wrote an opera that never resolves until the very end. And when you consider how long Wagnerian operas are, that is impressive.

But beyond the leitmotivs, beyond the meaningful repetitions, are the many different voices, different tempos, different musical instruments, different volumes, different harmonies, different melodies that populate an opera, the richness of human voices combined with the vast variety of a symphonic orchestra.

It is magnificent without being what some people consider the aural assault of my friend Alessandro Striggio. It is exquisite like a diamond.

And even simpler music, such as Gregorian Chant, has more variety and beauty than that audible poo streaming from the stereo.

My hatred for this music was only increased, of course, at 3:00 AM when it awoke me. If this were Purgatory, I’d know it. Would that I were not stuck in the Inferno …

My name is Matthew. And I am an ageing music snob.

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