Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New and Old - What Does It Matter?

A couple of Sunday's ago, I was telling a dear friend about a musician I found out about recently. His name is David Garett, and he is an absolutely amazing violinist. But, he does a lot more than play the violin. In fact, he is the leader of a band/group that basically modernizes music ranging from the Baroque to the Beatles. I have seen video footage from one of his concerts and it is really quite interesting...although, in a disturbing sort of way. It is rather difficult to describe the music. Play Vivaldi and add drums, electric guitar and some other modern rythmns and sounds; that's what his music is like. I would put a link to his website...but, when I looked it up I was rather disturbed with it. (He looks....interesting and has rather worldly pictures up, we'll just put it that way.) Now I must in all fairness say that some of the movie music that he did sounded neat, but the "rock symphonies," didn't flow well with me. ("Rock Symphonies" was the name of his C.D. and concert.)
So I was thinking about this and I began to wonder why this mix of the old and modern bothered me. I mean, the violin part was so beautiful that I could almost ignore the rest, but it still bothered me. I had let the issue go for a while, but last night my Dad, Mom, brother and I watched a movie that took place in Rome during the time of the gladitorial games and the music in the movie was so modern that it drove me nuts. Most of the music did not fit the movie or the times at all! This mix of ancient times and modern music brought back to mind David Garett's music. What is so wrong with this mix of new and old? Here is the conclusion that I have come to. I may be wrong, but this is what I thought of.

In music history I see a downgrade of musical order. Let's say we start with Baroque; very orderly, technical and exceedingly beautiful. Then we get into Classical; still orderly and technical (although not as much so as Baroque), but more emotional. Then you get into the Romantic era where order begins to slip and although you have some composers trying to hang on to traditional ways, many composers are branching out with strange melodies and discombobulated sounds. Heading into more modern music, order has sliped and now you get repetitive, off-beats meant to stir inward feeling in unatural ways.

I know this may not be the greatest outline of the eras, but as I have studied different composers throughout the different eras this is what I notice overall. Now, I think the reason that I do not like David Garett's mix of the new and old is because it is a mix of order and disorder. Mixing Vivaldi with electirc off-beats seems to destroy the order and technicality of Vivaldi, at least to my ears.
This sort of mixing is becoming more and more popular, but I must add that it is not all bad. My teacher is splendid at mixing Baroque and Classical music with different hymn arrangements. She is acctually working on recording a C.D. of some of them. But, she is very careful at matching the proper sounds and emotions together, ultimetaly creating an even more beautiful work of order and complexity. She isn't trying to modernize the old, rather she is using the old to aid her in making "newer" sounds better. The order and beauty of the old is placed into the new (that is to say, newer songs that still maintain order and harmony). I personally am enjoying getting to learn this art of mixing from her and am greatly blessed to be gaining this knowledge. One of my favorites of hers is a mix of "Immortal, Invisible," and one of Bach's Minuets.

In all things, we must be working and creating for the glory of God. We can do this by using the order and harmony that others have used to glorify God, but we must be careful not to mix order with disorder and harmony with disharmony, because that destroys much of the music's potential beauty.

In Christ,

P.S. On a side note to all of my friends who love dancing like I do, click here to read an article written by a friend on how dancing can help teach orderlieness and harmony in music, as well as other things. You have to scroll down a little bit past the pictures to get to te article.

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