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  • "I hate music"

    Michael (myorgan) made a statement in another thread that really got me thinking. He said, in part, "...I hate music, so the best music for me is the music that's not heard. I'm watching a documentary right now, and the background music is quite annoying (not very inventive)."

    I often find myself getting annoyed at ambient music in stores, music on hold, and background music in general. If it is done well in a movie, it can really enhance the viewing experience, but when it is done poorly, I find it distracting. When I drive, I have the radio off.

    I believe this is because my musical training has taught me to actively listen to music, not to ignore it. If I am going to listen to music, I like to focus on the experience.

    Bill

    My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

  • #2
    I too hate background music. Music is so special and awesome that it always deserves to be the most important part of anything.
    “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
    Organs I Play:
    - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

    Comment


    • #3
      I also find continuous background music annoying - and especially now that I find it hard to make out what is being said over it. (Old age!)

      Comment


      • Philip Powell
        Philip Powell commented
        Editing a comment
        Repetition is the found to the most annoying thing in world according to recent studies. I am 14, and I can sometimes not understand words with background music!

    • #4
      Now you know why I make that statement to all my students in my music classes and those I first meet who find out I'm a musician. It starts the conversation on a higher plane. At cardiac rehab today, they asked me about whether the music distracted me or not, and my response was, "I hate music, so it probably doesn't matter." It really did–it was some country thing when played backwards would make one a millionaire!

      My biggest problem is that I can no longer just enjoy music–I made my avocation my vocation. Rarely, do I ever get "chills" listening to a musical performance. Maybe once every 2 or 3 years. When I'm in the audience for a Symphony performance, I'm listening for the French Horn tuning, overall ensemble rather than soloists within the group, and technique. A pizzicato section of strings should be played together rather than sounding like raindrops. Being a bit OCD (undiagnosed), it makes it difficult for me to "shut it off" when it comes to constantly analyzing performances rather than enjoying them. There are rare performances I can enjoy, but once repeated, it's just background noise and adds to the auditory clutter.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

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      • #5
        In my experience once you've spent intense effort over a long time learning something deeply such as music or art or whatever, you have a different set of skills in that particular something that the vast majority of people don't. When an average person asks me what I'm really hearing when listening to music or seeing when viewing art, I try to tell them what I'm observing in non-technical terms but I most often loose them because I am not a music or art teacher and don't have ways/skills to describe it except technically.

        I remember piquing the interest in Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony of a friend who was a basketball coach/Ph.D.-in-process in English (19th monster literature). I plopped in a CD and played the final two moments and tried to narrate what he was hearing. Pretty clear he hadn't heard modern music before (of course, except as accompaniment to film), and so I said, let's listen to the last movement again and I proceeded to point out again the repeats of the big ecstatic melody and just one of the rhythms that repeated a number of times. He was kind and accepted my enthusiasm as proof that the structure I described in the music was there, but he didn't hear it. He demured learning to tap one rhythm so that he could tap it in a number places in the piece on a third hearing. So ends my time as a teacher graduate students.

        Once we learn something deeply/competently, the big magic dissapates but much smaller, intensley shiney aspects of that something keep us looking, learning more. Like the fruit from the tree of knowledge and the expulsion from Eden, we are pushed into a different but specific world and as we explore and build knowledge of that world the further we are in time and space from that first lovely but uninformed/inarticulate place.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by JeffW
          ...and so I said, let's listen to the last movement again and I proceeded to point out again the repeats of the big ecstatic melody and just one of the rhythms that repeated a number of times.
          JeffW,

          You remind me of, perhaps, the best example of an easy-to-understand analysis of Mozart's Requiem. In the end of the movie Amadeus, the dictation scene between Mozart and Salieri is excellent. When I was teaching music theory to prisoners, I would show them that scene, and immediately they were able to understand how Rap and Hip Hop music was constructed with repeated "loops" (repeated themes) and what they didn't realize were sequences. It was always fun to show them that even though I knew very little about their music, because I knew music theory, it wasn't difficult to analyze and re-create it.

          Michael

      • #6
        Originally posted by myorgan View Post
        My biggest problem is that I can no longer just enjoy music... Rarely, do I ever get "chills" listening to a musical performance....When I'm in the audience for a Symphony performance, I'm listening for the French Horn tuning, overall ensemble rather than soloists within the group, and technique. A pizzicato section of strings should be played together rather than sounding like raindrops....it [is] difficult for me to "shut it off" when it comes to constantly analyzing performances rather than enjoying them.

        Michael
        I am sorry that you have difficulty enjoying music, Michael. There is probably nothing I can say that will change that, however, I would like to share a couple of thoughts.

        After college, I wanted to expand my musical training. Unfortunately, my college professor was not a very inspiring or well-rounded musician. So I studied with a woman who was very inspiring to me. She was a string player as well as an organist. While she had done some teaching as a college instructor, I knew her as a church organist. She played a wide range of ambitious literature.

        In a conversation we had about an organ concert, she said, "I wish he had played Franck's Chorale #3 a little faster, even if he had made a couple of mistakes, because it would have made his performance more exciting.

        In other words, don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

        In a similar vein, I had a discussion with a friend comparing two organists. He acknowledged that "organist A" never seems to make a mistake, but I like the playing of "organist B" better because he plays with more passion.

        I believe that the recording industry has largely been responsible for this situation. Too often we here "perfect" performances on a recording, but we fail to recognize that it took many takes to get that one perfect performance.

        Bill

        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Great observations, Bill. Fortunately, we had a conductor change after the performance(s) I referenced, and he is far more fluid in the performances he gets from the musicians. Of course, his time composing and conducting movie scores didn't hurt either.

          So absolutely right regarding the "perfect being the enemy of the good!" Unfortunately, while I can still analyze performances, I can no longer produce a perfect performance. It's really sad how much my skills have lapsed the last 30 years while I was pursuing a career.

          Michael

      • #7
        Haha I am glad to know that I am not the only person who don't have a habit of putting on background music all the time. I thought it's just me who is probably "too serious" when listening to music.

        I noticed that some people seems to not be able to live without having background music. Or background something. Some of my friends have to put on radio, TV, CD, music, whatever, whenever they are awake, or even when they are sleeping.

        I have a friend who I have great relationship with, but I could never understand why he can't just bare a moment of silence. When he drives he puts on CD in car, when he works he puts on music in his Mp3 player, when he gets home he turns on radio, when he eats he watches videos on YouTube, when he goes to sleep he also put on some soft music; even when he is "doing some ** activities on bed" he needs to put on background music. "Put on some music!" Is what he always says when he is in my house.

        He is a musician too but not a classical musician, more of a Rock, heavy metal music, pop music player.
        I really wonder if it is the music culture that makes him like this. He loves music, and he has to have some music going on whatever he is doing.

        I love music too, but I don't always put on background music when I do things.
        I do put on music though, when I need to focus on a job that requires me to focus for a long time (like two or three hours) but doesn't needs too much thoughts.

        For example, I am a professional oil painting artist, and usually I paint about 3 hours at a time, but some times I feel "not quite in the mood of painting", but have to force myself into doing such a job, I would put on some background music to help me focus.

        Recently I always put on Bach's St Matthew's Passion or St John's Passion performed by Netherland Bach Society, the whole performance is about 3 hours long, I start painting when the music starts, and finish my job when the music ends. I found that it helps me quickly getting into the mood of working, and focusing, because I won't think too much unrelated thoughts, and I would also enjoy listening to it.
        And on the other hand, if I have to sit still and just listen to a 3 hours performance, unless it's a live performance, it's not quite easy to do.

        Comment


        • #8
          Originally posted by Sarah Weizhen View Post
          why he can't just bare a moment of silence.
          Scientific studies have proven that the "ADHD" in the average person has significantly increased from the 90s when the internet was released (about the time when electronics became a major focus in the everyday lives of the average American). People just have to be constantly entertained which is so sad because they never put time aside to be quiet and focus on humanity's more important subjects
          “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
          Organs I Play:
          - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by myorgan View Post
            Being a bit OCD (undiagnosed),
            Join my club!
            “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.” - Johann Sebastian Bach
            Organs I Play:
            - Allen 2100(T); 1951 M.P. Moller, 3 manual, 55 stop, 28 ranks, (Opus 8152); and 1965 Balcom and Vaughan 3 manual, 34 stops, 25 ranks (Opus 690)

            Comment


            • you795a
              you795a commented
              Editing a comment
              And my club. How do I join?

            • Philip Powell
              Philip Powell commented
              Editing a comment
              You795a, it's a $75 entrance fee. Pay by Venmo

          • #10
            Originally posted by voet View Post

            In a conversation we had about an organ concert, she said, "I wish he had played Franck's Chorale #3 a little faster, even if he had made a couple of mistakes, because it would have made his performance more exciting.

            In other words, don't let perfect be the enemy of good.

            In a similar vein, I had a discussion with a friend comparing two organists. He acknowledged that "organist A" never seems to make a mistake, but I like the playing of "organist B" better because he plays with more passion.
            Some food for thought! I'm probably too cautious with my playing, resulting in the passion not getting through because I'm so concerned about the notes. And even that backfires on me, as it seems the more I worry about the notes, the more mistakes I'll make!

            I envy those people who seem to sit down at the console, select a few stops, and start playing with absolute fluidity, making registration changes on the fly, or skillfully using the crescendo pedal. One friend plays this way, and if I'm out in a church listening to him, I think he's really "got the passion," then if I'm standing close enough to watch, I see that he intentionally pauses, holds chords, slows down, etc., so he can use one hand to make registration changes while the other hand keeps the music going. I guess I'm not able to "multi-task" to that extent!

            And that guy is one who might almost say "I hate music" because he doesn't ever talk about a piece being powerful or that anything "moves" him. In fact, he often laughs at me because I express emotion about the music I hear. Maybe one needs to be emotionally disconnected in order to perform better!

            (I know that's true when I'm singing. If I'm doing a solo at church, and it's something that really moves me, I MUST try to ignore the words during the actual performance or else I'll go to pieces and not be able to get through it.)
            John
            ----------
            *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

            Comment


            • Philip Powell
              Philip Powell commented
              Editing a comment
              When I play without passion, I usually tend to make more mistakes in comparison to playing with passion. I think playing with passion allows you to experience the notes and the beauty of the music better.

            • you795a
              you795a commented
              Editing a comment
              There is a big difference between just playing and playing with feeling. I heard several organists "just play" and I heard others play with feeling. What a difference.

          • #11
            Interesting discussion here. I actually like music - listening to, or playing it. Normally when I put music on to listen to, it is organ or church music. And that music is done by folks who do it way better than I do it. So I listen with the purpose of perhaps learning some new things to try out, and because I like it.

            I spend a lot of time working in my shop alone these days, so that means I can put on whatever I want. Back when I had employees in my truck shop, I never made them listen to "my" music in the shop, as they were all mostly younger. As the boss I could have made them listen to my classical / church organ music preferences, but I certainly did not want to put up with all the complaining that would have created. I endured a lot of rather bad music always on in the background on account of it.

            Even though I can now play whatever I want in the shop, when I actually need to get work done, I can't put on music I like because I listen TOO carefully. Then I land up taking breaks to listen to stuff, and that slows everything down. So I usually just keep talk radio on in the background when working.
            Regards, Larry

            At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

            Comment


            • Philip Powell
              Philip Powell commented
              Editing a comment
              "I listen TOO carefully"
              I know exactly what you mean. I have a tendency to scrutinize everything about the music I listen to that I sometimes have a hard time enjoying it!

            • you795a
              you795a commented
              Editing a comment
              With my business, I work alone, self employed, and with my profession I have to listed to some music. I am trying to find more copyright free, royalty free, music for commercial use. It is hard finding that kind of music.

          • #12
            Once again a fascinating thread that brings out a variety of viewpoints. Not having had a lot of formal musical training (I'm an electrical engineer) I am able to enjoy music without being overly critical of the minutia. That said, over the years I've developed an ear for what I consider good music and it isn't always note-perfect and metronomically precise. In fact, just the opposite - I want something played with a "feeling" for the composer's intent - whatever that elusive substance is. However, wholesale disregard for the composer's intent, tempi, and musical artifices and affectations are not appreciated.

            I've mentioned attending the final concerts on the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in Portland City Hall in the summer of 2012 just before it was removed for restoration. The list of organists read like a Who's Who of great organists. And yet... two of them (both with impeccable reputations) sorely disappointed me in their performances. They simply did not move my soul. And then John Weaver just blew me away with what I consider to be the definitive performance of each piece he played. If my life depended on it I could not give a precise explanation of why I felt that way. I did listen very carefully to all of the performances without nit picking because I liked the musical selections, mostly with my eyes closed to avoid visual distractions. (BTW, the other organists in the programs ranked in between those two responses.)

            But indeed I DO hate background music, background TV, and any thing else meant to "entertain" me while I'm doing something else. I am not a multi-tasker and find such things beyond annoying. Loud restaurant music IMHO is even worse than the grocery store Muzak since my conversation is now competing with it. Laugh tracks drive me nuts. As noted by others, a good musical score can enhance a movie. My personal music listening is done when I have time to savor and enjoy it. I was going to say "focus" on it but that really is not the right word. I let the music charm my brain.

            And for comparison, someone once asked me if my experience riding a roller coaster and other amusement rides was ruined because I was an engineer analyzing the g-forces and mechanics of the contraption as I rode. The answer is an emphatic NO. I turn off the analytic part of my brain in those circumstances and, like my music, savor the physical and visual experience while appreciating the design and engineering work that made it possible.
            Last edited by AllenAnalog; 06-08-2020, 06:57 AM.
            Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

            Comment


            • jbird604
              jbird604 commented
              Editing a comment
              Well said, Larry! I feel exactly the same way on all points.

              (Except roller coasters. I don't ride those any more. Too many body parts might come loose!!!)

            • samibe
              samibe commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, I have fun looking at rollercoasters and enjoying the engineering "artwork" on display. It definitely hasn't hurt my enjoyment. Although, I love truly smooth transitions and curves on a rollercoaster.

          • #13
            Originally posted by AllenAnalog View Post
            I turn off the analytic part of my brain in those circumstances
            Good to hear that others do that, too!
            When I was at music college, it was extremely hard not to listen analytically because we spent so much time training our analytical ear, but a while later, I found that I could indeed "switch" my analytical ear on and off and that's what I've been doing ever since, depending on my mood and the situation. I can still let music simply float over me and not think about any theoretical issues. Sometimes people wonder how this is possible. I don't really know how I do it, I just know that I do it.

            Comment


            • #14
              Thanks to the OP for airing this interesting topic. I very rarely listen to the radio - if it is not the presenters that irritate me it is the continuous noise of what some call music which is dished up as "lively" or "contemporary" or whatever else excuse they can come up to fill time between empty chats. This somewhat heavily worded point of view is my own and as this topic has an interesting title I thought of weighing in with my sentiments.

              Having said that however, and before you might get the wrong idea about me, I am a music lover, especially organ music but I do enjoy classical, light chamber music and even country stuff. The main aspect for really enjoying music is the atmosphere - when I enjoy my most favorite pieces (and I have many hundreds of them) I make myself comfortable, sit back or lie down and play those soothing pieces I have collected over the years. This is simply not possible when driving in a car, sitting among a noisy bunch of chatters or otherwise being distracted from listening with full attention - and that is what listening to good music requires, full attention. I do not even have a radio or any other music player in my car - because when I drive that is where all my attention is called for to keep that potential murder weapon safely on the road!

              A while back while attending some business in Eastern Europe where I had an operational office the staff would do something which to me was simply very strange: Whenever it was necessary to run an errand - and invariably it would involve traveling by car for only a few minutes, they would haul the removable car radio from its case and spend ten minutes sliding it into its slot in the dashboard and switching it to maximum decibels before driving off, shouting at each other as they go.... It beats me to this day why they would want radio noise at top volume while trying to converse at higher volumes...
              Nico
              "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

              Comment


              • #15
                I make allowance for various kinds of listening, which can change according to circumstance.

                Comparing music to painting, if I only looked at a painting when I wanted to analyse or fully appreciate it, I would have one blank wall in my home, and a closet full of paintings. When so moved, I would select a painting, hang it on that wall and enjoy it. Then I would put it away until the next time I wanted to enjoy the art.

                Or I could have a series of beautiful, inspiring paintings on my walls that I could glance at or be surrounded by as I go about my daily routines.

                Or, I could do some of both. At times, focusing on one piece of art, at other times, simply being surrounded by beauty. I won't limit myself to one way or the other, but will try to make it possible to allow for both.

                CONCERTS - there are at least two kinds. In some, I am quite critical, though not vocal about it. If I hear something I don't like, I try to figure out what it was that I didn't like, then make sure I'm not committing the same error in my own performances. Sometimes it is easier to hear one's own mistakes reflected in someone else's performance. In other concerts, where I know the level of training and experience is much less than my own, I try to appreciate how far these people have come, and what advances they have made in spite of those limitations.

                There is one thing for which I have VERY little patience. My mother tongue is English. If your mother tongue is also English and you are singing a song in English and I can't understand your words, you have failed. Period.

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