Music theory is ending. One. Last. Test.
In light of this reality, this final required post will likely be rather rambling so I can use all of the jumbled thoughts that are bumbling around in my head in a desperate attempt to make sense of what it is I’d like to say.
Hold onto your hats, folks.
First thought: We have spent the majority of this final semester looking at atonal, 20th century music (etc, etc) and nearly every class, we have laughed. I do enjoy a lot of music within that vein, but there comes a point wherein it is no longer what it ought to be. It is so twisted and jumbled and turned-on-it’s-head confused, that it feels rather like a book with it’s pages out of order and upside-down. Allow me to quote an old friend on the matter. “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” Thank you, Chesterton. That. Right there is what I have been trying to express for weeks. I am not so foolish as to believe that there is no beauty or point in much of the material to which we have listened, but just as I draw a line in “pop” music, visual art, and in every single day of my life, there is a line. A line that, yes, may still be disputed, but a line that in actuality exists with no blurring. I would rather not live a life influenced by blurring, adiaphorous terms. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am no extreme traditionalist, for I love to test boundaries and feel things as much, or more than, many a dramatic musician.
And another thing…. though still connected as all the best things are, here is a quote from Plato. “Music training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful.” Aha! Another reason I don’t like all the music of the modern movement! (Sorry I guess I’m not quite done with that) Music is not just something I put into my ears. Music physically changes you. Plato had no science on which to base this quote. He knew people, and he could tell what was influential without a host of scientific data. Music, no, more than that, the training in music is vastly important because it deepens who you are. It deepens your thought processes. Music changes the soul, and if it’s the right kind of education, it makes us graceful…open, overflowing with thought and expression. I will not go so far as to tell you what is right or wrong music, but I wonder when was the last time you opened your eyes and realized what an incredible thing we do every day. Do you not see? “The earth has music for those who listen” (anonymous) and we spend our lives learning to share it. Please, open your eyes.
And the last thing, brought in part by one of my dearest soul-friends J.R.R. Tolkein is this, “If more of us valued food and cheer and song over hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” None of you have hoarded gold; you are in college and look absolutely nothing remotely like a dragon, but it is nevertheless true. You may envy gold or may be hoarding a host of other things. Stop hoarding your time, your love, your talents, for some future day that seems to matter more. Pour yourself out in love, in service, in passion, right where you are because it’s right where you ought to be. And for pity’s sake, please don’t enjoy yourself. Enjoy everything you do immensely, but do not enjoy yourself. That is a slippery and dangerous path I would not wish on anyone. Instead, revel in every detail, and turn it back to the Father from whom it all came. After all, He gave us music, He gave us joy…He is joy and please don’t ever forget. That is why we create whether you know it or not. If you know it, I pray you never forget, and if you don’t, I pray you will soon see.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3: 20-21
Oh, and Merry Christmas!