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Sunday, May 19, 2024

EDITORIAL: Music Today: Noise vs. Melody


Lenny Kravitz once‌ profoundly proclaimed, ⁢”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This, folks, is a matter that ought to matter if you possess an ear for music! To put it bluntly, music is bleeding from ⁢a self-inflicted ⁢wound.

On any given day, perched in my⁤ worn armchair, sipping a steaming cup of Folgers coffee that’s⁤ rejuvenating my half-century-old bones, I ‌ponder the​ demise of⁢ what once was, the decline of melody in favor of noise. ​With an unwavering commitment, I’ve dedicated the last decades of my life ‍to the mesmerizing ⁣allure of harmony – the music‍ that touches the soul,‍ not just the eardrums. Alas, we Schenectadians, like the rest of the world, are witnessing a disturbing trend of rhythm over ‌substance, noise over melody, and I fear we are all losing as a result.

What happened to the days when artists like Ella Fitzgerald, ⁣Frank Sinatra, and even locally bred bands like ⁢Blotto dominated the airwaves? They sang songs that transported us to a different space, a parallel universe where ⁢there⁣ was a balance between chaos ‌and calm. Their ‌art reached out and enveloped us in a warm and reassuring cocoon—the cocoon spun from their soulful melodies, not just ⁣an epileptic flurry of ‍sound.

Like the tree that falls in ⁤the⁤ forest, if⁤ a melody isn’t being played, is it still⁣ a melody? Here in Schenectady, we all talk ⁤about⁤ the decline in ⁣our community’s culture,⁣ the loss of walkable city blocks, and the sharp increase in traffic from ‌Albany. However, nobody seems to‍ discuss the apparent disappearance of melody⁣ and the steady rise of⁣ noise.

Take for example, the new art installation at the Schenectady’s Union College that merges steam-punk ⁣aesthetics with stringed ⁢instruments – aesthetically remarkable, yes, but confusing when it comes to the music it produces. The abstract disarray, while visually alluring, creates⁤ a cacophony that is getting passed off as music. And let’s not pretend that the odd clang-clang sounds from the six-string strung upside-down on a repurposed brass tuba are Mozart’s symphony!

Years ago, right here in Schenectady, I remember going to concerts at‍ Proctor’s every other weekend. I vividly recall the ‍first time I heard Jefferson Starship grace the stage – a feeling of being transported into another world, as chords played effortlessly melted‌ away stress and problems. Some called⁢ it magic, but it was melody!

Today’s concerts,⁣ in ⁣stark contrast, often leave attendees with throbbing headaches and ringing ears‍ from non-stop bass thumps or‍ electronic shrills. It’s often as though the ​tunes are obscured⁤ beneath the chaos of sound, eagerly trying to crawl out of‍ the pit of ​noise but repeatedly ‌pushed​ under.

Some say I am a crotchety old man nostalgic for quieter, simpler times, but I argue that⁢ I am advocating for‌ a richer, fuller musical experience. After all, the rise of “noise” music doesn’t just affect us audiophiles, it affects everyone. It informs our emotional state, our‍ behavior, and our societal norms.

Imagine for a⁤ moment, our⁣ peaceful Edison Tower, ⁤standing ‍tall in downtown Schenectady. Now, imagine it being continuously bombarded ⁣by the​ chaotic noise of unsettling music. The result seems grim, doesn’t it? Similarly, when a melody is drowned in oceans of noise, the tranquil essence that once provided solace in a turbulent ⁢world is eroded.

Perhaps the way forward isn’t a nail-biting swing back towards the campfire tunes of our forefathers but⁢ striking a harmonious balance between the old and the new—a fusion, if you⁣ will. Sampling and copying beats is not an expression of musical skill but a regurgitative process. The magic of music lies in the uniqueness⁣ of ​each note hit,‌ in emotion⁤ evoked by the highs and ‍lows, and in the moment when unforgettable melodies tug at the strings of our hearts.

The silence of Schenectady, at the very least, should function as ⁢a reminder that without melody, music runs the risk‍ of becoming mere ambient noise. The⁢ current industry’s atmosphere suggests that ⁣this noise is more desirable, and I, for one, refuse ⁣to stand idly by and watch as our generations’ symphony crumbles into a polyphonic mess. ‍

Raise your voice, fellow Schenectadians. Let’s rediscover ⁣harmony; let’s demand melody. While I ⁢sip my coffee⁣ from⁢ the comfort of this worn armchair and look over our beloved‍ city of⁢ Schenectady, I will keep hoping that one day soon we can ⁤all once again appreciate the artistry in turning silent notes into unforgettable melodies, not noise.

Brian McCarthy
Brian McCarthy
I'm Brian McCarthy! At your service to offer traditionally informed perspective on today's issues. Some call it out of touch; I call it time-honored wisdom.
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