April 8, 2013

Archie and Jughead time travel to the future of music

Apparently, my popular music sensibility is derived from old Archie and Jughead comic books.


Anonymous said...

It seems that hat wearing is rather mod in the future. And it seems that everyone can now afford to own an ENIAC.

Power Child said...

Huh. People in the future do look slightly Asian!

Anonymous said...

I mean this in the best possible way Steve, but when it comes to music you're such a pleb.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that the circa 1965-85 music is still popular because of aging fuddy-duddy baby boomers like to listen to music of their youth and their minds are too rigid to enjoy new sounds.

What new sounds? I don't recall my parents hanging on to big band or 1950s jazz. The 1965-85 period saw more musical creativity and my parents listened to contemporary music back then.

It seems that today's contemporary genre is just an average quality form of modern rock with little creativity and the old Soul music has morphed into an obnoxious hip-hop. It seems the musical arts have stopped re-inventing itself.

Or, is it me?

Ed said...

I would extend the "creative" period of popular music a little further, into the early 1990s, but otherwise I agree with Anonymous 3:56 PM.

I think its easier for entire genres to just up and die with music compared to the other arts, because mathematically there are just so many combinations of notes pleasing to the human ear. What we think of as classical music lasted roughly between 1750 and 1950, until pretty much all the good melodies were taken (Sibelius recognized this and simply stopped composing in his 40s). Popular music didn't have quite as long a run and was literally played out by the late 1990s.

With recording, there is huge selection of old music to listen to, so is it a big deal that new music is so mediocre? Though if we are to listen to the oldies I don't see why we have to limit ourselves to 1965- 85. Why not big band?

Glossy said...

"...mathematically there are just so many combinations of notes pleasing to the human ear."

I don't think that's why musical genres die. Classical music was killed by modernism, and it happened closer to 1914 than to 1950. Rock music? Probably by MTV fading to black, so to speak, around 2000. Despite very energetic attempts, so far no one's been able to kill the artistic impulse itself. What usually happens is that it moves to other venues. When good, new visual art was banished from art museums, people with visual talents moved to cartoons and movies. When listenable new music was banished from classical venues, musically talented people moved to "popular" music. Good new music will pop up again somewhere. Maybe it already has, and I just don't know about it.

pat said...

I read once that you couldn't walk down a street in the American Midwest on a warm summer day when everyone had their doors open without hearing pianos being played from every house.

I have a piano and I took a piano class in college. But I spent most to today doing a comparative review of the free players for music recognition software. (MuseScore and Finale NotePad are best)

I remember when Götterdamerung came on six or more LPs and no one could afford it. Now there are multiple free versions on YouTube with video as well as audio. I have the complete Ring saved on my cable box. I watch it on my nine foot screen an listen on my Dolby 5.1 sound system.

I never dreamed that I would ever have this kind of music availability. Edward Bellamy foresaw home music as being available for those near enough to the central symphony hall that they could hear it from the pipes that ran under the street from the live orchestra.

I'm just stunned by the music available from computers today. That's why I spent a year on my Mozart Project to aid people produce live opera.


jody said...


Zazooba said...

What's up with the arm of the blond guy on the far left? In the future, will humans mutate to have extra-long arms? And exactly how is that arm attached to his body?

x said...

veronica was always hotter

Anonymous said...

Off Topic:

A flash-mob doing a commercial for the Rijksmuseum reopening:


agnostic said...

Pessimists were too optimistic back then -- everyone's listening to music coming from the same source, not jamming earbuds in their head and flicking through their own separate gizmos.

TGGP said...

MTV fading to black isn't what's killing music, MTV appearing in the first place gave it a mortal wound. The Buggles were right, so was Choke from Slapshot.

Auntie Analogue said...

Classical music's death knell as popular fare came with the debut of recording technology, amplification, and mass distribution through radio and recordings - all of which shifted music from high culture to the demotic. These technologies also shifted music from the many having to make their own music (those pianos heard from every house) to the many becoming passive consumers of music, and this shift enabled a massive dumbing-down of widespread musical talent cultivation to the point at which the garage band, the grunge act, the hip-hop scatologist poseurs came to be mass-passively accepted as music. Before those technologies came to dominate, anyone who aspired to play an instrument faced the necessity to cultivate considerably deep music-reading aplomb and exquisite technical skill, but technology made facing those demands increasingly unnecessary - now it's any old crap that will sell, or "go viral," that gets a rise out of the masses.

Pop music is nothing more than the elevation of what had been folk music to the realm of artificially mass-marketed mass-popularity. Folk music had long been locally created and flavored - which gave each local flavor enormous crossover appeal; but with the advent of recording and mass-distribution, regional originality has been bleached out and replaced by the increasingly nondescript, all-in-the-omnipresent-Now mashup. Little wonder, then, that pop has not noticeably progressed beyond where it had gotten stuck around 1970 - perhaps even for longer than that, since around 1960.

The other element that dumbed music down was the Baby Boomers' politicization of pop. Pop music was no longer entertainment, no longer a pleasant diversion, but became instead an attitude, a wear-it-on-your-sleeve advertisement of one's politics. This politicization took, I argue, a hell of a lot of plain old good fun out of music - out of all of pop culture, and turned into the cultural Marxist Front that it's been ever since Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger hitched music to their Communist class war/race war claptrap.

Peter the Shark said...

Sophisticated concert music was never all that popular - it's always been music for elites. It's just that in the past only the taste of the elites counted for anything. Poor people were poor in the old days and artists couldn't make much of a living catering to popular taste. Classical music started being pushed aside by the mid 19th century - as soon as the Industrial Revolution created some real spending power and leisure time for the majority of the population.

Anonymous said...

So called classical music is the art of the concert hall, as miniature is the art of parchment manuscripts.
We do not have classical music anymore, the same reason we do not have illuminated manuscripts.

pat said...

There are some other factors about music that I can mention on this blog but not in polite society.

Smart people tend to like classical music and stupid people like rap.

I was told something like this by the smartest person I ever knew well - Jeff Raskin - the father of the Macintosh. He was interested in very early music and many of his brilliant friends were too. Not a coincidence.

I made a conscious decision when I was a teen to learn 'good' music. My reasoning was simply that if I was only going to live once, I should fill my ears with the best stuff I could.

I liked the Strauss tone poems, of course, but not the operas. I decided to work my way up to "Die Frau Ohne Shatten" and "Elektra". I figured I would start with "Ariadne" in my twenties and get to the heavier stuff in my forties. That's just what I did.

I was crazy almost at once with Mozart but Verdi sounded so crude in comparison. When your favorite opera is "Cosi", "Rigoletto" is kinda hard to take. But I persevered because others had testified as to Verdi's genius. Glad I did.

Music ability is said to reside in the posterior anterior gyrus but music appreciation I think is frontal lobe centered. That means that it is associated with IQ. I realize that that isn't very PC, but there it is.

Music is important. I've never understood why anyone would cede the authority of what went into their ears to some AM disk jockey.


Paul Mendez said...

I can remember in the 1990's some people predicting that in the future (i.e. now) we would all be using simple music composition programs on our computers to create our own personal music tailored to just what we like.

Dsgntd_Plyr said...

Steve, is this your way of saying: "My son is listening to dubstep. I don't get it." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJVmu6yttiw

But seriously, EDM is affecting American popular music in a major way right now.

MBR said...

Glossy wrote: "Good new music will pop up again somewhere. Maybe it already has, and I just don't know about it." ---
-- it already has. To videogames. Videogame music is quite the thing, if you leave your prejudice behind and pay attention only to the music. It is richer than pop music. It approaches to classical music in a sense, but it is another thing. Check it out, you will be surprised in a good way.

Observing from the Sidelines said...

Auntie Analogue is closer to the truth than Glossy. The idea that "modernism" (by which I suppose atonality and avant-gardism is meant) "killed" classical music is a myth. The most-played 20th century composers were not atonalists or avant-gardists, although they might occasionally use techniques borrowed from those fields. The rise of pop was a natural function of the spread of technology and demotic culture. It used to be you had to put some effort into hearing music, now you just press a button.