Monday 19 March 2012

Super Strings

After banging on a bit that the Ancient Greeks used music as a means to understanding how the universe works, my attention was grabbed by a contemporary equivalent. It appears that the fundamental structure of matter is no longer considered to be particular, but, going even more microscopic than the particle level, consists of tiny bits of string. It's not relevant to ask what these strings are made from as they are fundamental - they consist of themselves and that's it. These strings oscillate and like the strings on a violin create the equivalent of different notes.  Each of these resonant modes makes a different type of subatomic particle, the building blocks of matter.  It would seem that those super strings oscillate and create a music that holds the whole damn universe together. Speaking as a musician, how cool is that. Is this why music is intuitively of fundamental importance? Without it the world would collapse.

Sunday 11 March 2012

The New Music Hubs

There are a couple of topics I'd like to air, well, three, come to think of it. The first of these is that I have never been able to come to terms with the description of music as "classical". It's perfectly OK, if you want to go into the historical ins and outs of music's development in the western world, but if someone asks, "What sort of music are you interested in?" and you give the answer, "Classical", then this answer has immediately and often been consigned by the questioner to a genre that lies buried in the past, and is continually dug up and practised by a few boring intellectuals, who guard their precious music with a passion that pushes it into the realms of exclusivity and musical elitism. This is, by the by, nonsense, but there is an unfortunate element of truth here. Without laboriously having to explain every time the question is asked that the word can cover everything from early music to contemporary, taking in Baroque, romanticism, serialism, neo-classicism, minimalism and any number of other -isms on the way, how do you convey width and breadth with the term, "classical", which smacks of a narrow specialism in cobwebs and Ancient Greece?