Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Vocabulary of Music

The 100 most clichéd clichés in pop song titles: "37,000 hits on the Billboard Chart since 1890 use a vocabulary of fewer than 9,000 different words; here are the top hundred most frequently used:"begin tag cloud : generated by TagCrowd.com
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ain't alone angel arms around away baby bad beautiful believe blue boy change christmas comes crazy cry dance days dear dream ever everybody everything eyes fall feel fire fool forever girl gone gonna goodbye happy heart heaven hey hold kiss la lady leave life light lonely love lover mama man mind mine miss moon moonlight morning mr music night nobody oh people play please rain red remember river rock roll rose sing smile somebody something song soul star stay stop street summer sun sweet sweetheart talk tears theme things think tonight town true walk wanna wish woman wonderful world young
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you may laugh at this, but I see a serious sub-text: the words are almost exclusively EMOTION words. There are no words about pattern or ratio or Golden Mean or existential philosophy or any of the topics from Gödel Escher and Bach. Why is it then that the subject of Emotional Expression in Music is so rarely taught, if at all?

Instead of perpetuating the myth of sad-minor jolly-major as if it was all a mechanical given, Grade One Conservatory musicianship training should start the new student with "Play me an angry A Melodic Minor scale, and a solemn E major"

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