Monday, February 15, 2010

Musicology and Music Theory as intellectual pursuit

Regular readers might notice that in my "Recent Reads" list I've veered off of my standard history, biography, current events regimen and have started to read some books on music, jazz specifically.

Those who know me personally know that I am a music obsessive, on par with my political/news junkie status for certain. I collect vinyl, I have a modest hi-fidelity stereo system with a vacuum tube amplifier, B&W speakers and a Rega turntable. In college I played 3 instruments (all with strings and frets so it's not as impressive a feat as it sounds), studied music theory in my spare time with a private teacher, ran sound for a regional touring band and even did house sound work at some clubs and small theaters.

Music is as much a part of me as politics or the law and I've been wanting to get back in touch with the academic side of my love of music. I've largely taken a break from the academic study of music in the last 7 years but recently the bug has bit me again. In the study of music you will come to find that music is based on a sense of logic, patterns and rules. The thought processes to comprehend the chord changes and melody in a composition are useful when analyzing a piece of legislation or a news story.

Besides the theory behind music the evolution of jazz music did not occur in a vacuum. The music was inspired, directly and indirectly, by the social context in which the music was being created. Reading about America in the 1940's, 50's and 60's through the prism of the jazz musicians of the time as opposed to the politicians provides a fresh perspective on our cultural history.


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Hurray for seventh cords!

redstateblues said...

I don't know if you knew this TD, but I'm a music theory nut. Good on you for trying to understand theory better. I know too many good musicians who would be great if they would just learn some theory.