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July 03, 1971 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1971-07-03

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Saturday, July 3, 1971 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Poge
Sticky Fingers': Sticky questions

e Nine

James Waring, the choreogra-
pher, defines dance as a motion
or series of movements which
the meaningless. The definition
would obviously be met with a
certain degree of mistrust and
,lisapproval by some. We all
know that the Artist (bless its
pointed little head) is as sensi-
tive as an elephant is strong,
as tricky as a circus magician,

Once recognized, the Artist has
upon his shoulders the task of
delivering as regularly as pos-
sible the fruit of his perceptions.
This he owes to the ignorant
masses, and should he fail to
deliver a delectable product, his
public has the right to turn up-
on him, cast him aside as a false
prophet, or even to re-evaluate
the entire body of his work and
strip him of the title of Artist.

, ... Images

message. (Lawrence Durrell, in
a lecture a few years ago in New
York City, noted that education
was evolving to the point where
it would be possible to digest a
symphony by a measure-to-mea-
sure musical analysis and there-
by do away with the burden of
having to listen to the thing).
If a non-verbal art form does
in fact "communicate" any-
thing, its mesage goes beyond
the realm of a verbal analysis.
This is not to say that struc-
tural analysis of a work of art
is futile or unrewarding but
one obviously loses a lot in at-
tempting to reduce the intan-
gible to the understandable.
If rock and roll has accom-
plished anything, it has been
the minimization of the impor-
tance of lyrics in a song.
Music itself does not commu-
nicate (in the general sense of
the word); it is meaningless.
And a song is by no means equi-
valent to the noetic meaning of
its lyrics. Yet, time and time
again, we are confronted with
critical analyses of a musician's
work on the basis of his lyrics.
We continue to hear terms like
"counterrevolutionary m u s i c"
and "sexist music" when these
terms could in no conceivable
way be used to analyse a musical
product. Could one justify by
analogy the use of such terms
as "a-tonal politics" or "poly
rhythmic chauvinism?"'
I believe the origins of these
f u n d amentally misconceived
phrases lie in the stereotypic de-
finitions of the Artists which
were described earlier. For if the
Artist is looked upon as the di-
vinely-inspired mesage-giver of

his public, that public will be-
come very wary of just what he
choses to communicate, how he
chooses to live, etc. He becomes
a leader and a representative;
his faults become magnified and
intolerable to his idolizers. And
all of this despite the fact that,
in music, one is dealing with a
medium which is beyond "agree"
o r "disagree," "r i g h t" or
Let us hypothesize that a Bri-
tish rock and roll band that has
been together for nearly ten
years releases a new album. Let
us add as background informa-
tion that the group has been
immensely popular for nearly
all the time it has been playing,
that it has produced a large
volume of perhaps the finest

music in the field, that it is in
fact in the vanguard of what
might in a moment of weakness
be called "progressive rock," and
that the record is the first new
material released in nearly two
years. Let us add as a final bit
of evidence that the record is
musically superior in every way
and that everybody in fact loves
it to pieces although many do-
not like to admit the fact. Were
such a situation to in fact oc-
cur (and the chances are high
that just such a situation is tak-
ing place at this very moment),
wouldn't it be in one's best in-
terests to away with one's moral
stoicism just for a while and en-
joy this record to the hilt?

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as perceptive as Superman with It amounts to a fairly precarious
his X-Ray vision turned up full existence.
~last. The Artist, we are often In talking about poetic forms
old, sees through 'the social of communication, we fortu-
blindspots with which the mere nately are unable to go much
mortal struggles throughout his further than the written word.
lifetime; he comunicates his It is the word, and in most sit-
perceptions via the rubric of his uations nothing else, which is
medium. These perceptions iso- synonymous with communica-
late him from his fellow man, tion in this society. One would
et him apart from and above hope that the arts at their best
im. (Take a look at Sigmund do not communicate more effi-
Baudelaire s eThe Albatross' ciently where words fail, but ra-
for a concise-and poetic-ex- ther refuse to "communicate" at
pression of these banalities.) all, hence the rather harsh de-
Extending this theory, one finition of dance as meaning-
might postulate a sort of pro- less. One does not, hopefully,
ducer-consumer relationship be- listen to a piece of orchestral
ween the Artist and his public. music in order to strain out a
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