Monday, April 13, 2015

I want to Disagree with Taylor: Music

I have a little bit of a beef with Taylor on his association with the Nova Effect of Ideas occurring in conjunction with a nova effect in music, the rise of absolute music etc.  Namely, I think the nova effect in music should really be placed long after the beginning of the Nova Effect of Ideas.  At the time Voltaire was writing and had a large following - the early-mid 18th century, music was still relatively static - 4-part orchestras, string quartets - these were all standard 'acceptable' venues for people to attend.   New genres of widely admired music (namely Jazz and a little later, blues, swing, rock) did not come about until the early 20th century.  I would go so far as to say that the only things that spawned musical variety were:
     A) musicians/composers needing less support from aristocratic patrons
     B) The electric era - recording, effects, new possibilities for instruments (first electric guitar was manufactured in 1932)
     C) instruments, music, and free time more widely accessible due to increasing wealth in the west

Considering it took 100 years for music to catch up with Taylor's Nova effect, and considering that sheer unimpeded human innovation seems like reason enough that new music should arise, Taylor might be mistaken on the point of music. Certainly music would later go on to express the nova effect in both words and mood, but does this mean that the wide variety which now exists spawned only because people became more receptive to the idea of doubting God?

Curious as to what your folks thoughts on this are...

Also, two ridiculously unique styles:

Animals as Leaders (8-string guitar instrumental metal)

Andy McKee and his harp guitar:


  1. I think I agree with Kevin that the only things that really spawned more music variety was the increase in wealth over time. I think if in the western world wealth didn't increased music would have little effect in our way of thinking and opening our minds into thinking in many different ways. I think music today lyrically isn't always encouraging towards a life of following God and that could shift many of our views. If our society would stay the same and be a more working class society we would not defy the norms as often and usually have all the same views generations before us had.

  2. How do you feel about the idea of "absolute" music and art acting as a substitute for religion? What do you think of individuals standing in front of a grand painting or listening to a symphony orchestra appealing to the transcendent in art as it exists in-itself within the immanent frame? This "absolute" art is a far cry from the works of the middle ages and renaissance, which acted merely as tools with which to communicate religious ideas. Thoughts? Opinions?

  3. I think it would be important to add that many music types that spawned during the 20th century, such as ragtime, jazz, blues, rock etc. etc. were seen as "demonic" at first by many religious organizations. This is because (I THINK) they were really the first to sing about drug culture (I say "I THINK" because I'm not aware of many songs that weren't drinking songs from before the 20th century that addressed drug use). For example, "Minnie The Moocher" by Cab Calloway talks about a girl addicted to opium, and "That Cat is High" by the Ink Spots is pretty self-explanatory.
    In fact, many early Jazz musicians were the first high-profile celebrities to experiment and abuse drugs (for example,Charlie Parker was an amazing saxophone player but he died at 34 from a heart attack which was no doubt caused by his heroin addiction).

    So, in my opinion, I don't think that the wide variety which now exists spawned ONLY because people became more receptive to the idea of doubting God, but it definitely helped people challenge the idea of God as it started addressing taboo issues, and celebrated self-indulgence.

    For those interested in pre-rock songs about drug culture, check out this cool list I found: