• 03/06/2021

Music Lessons

I try to moderate comments twice daily, but hey, weekends and crazy times happen. Any discussion of the most famous music critics of this century would have to include such critics as George Bernard Shaw (UK), who (many would say) set the standard; Aaron Copland, Whitney Balliet, Leonard Bernstein, and Virgil Thompson (USA); and John Everett-Green (Canada).

In order to produce vocal sounds, the musician must control the vocal organs and the muscles of throat and diaphragm in certain ways; likewise, in producing instrumental music his breath control and manipulation of fingers or lips upon the instrument can only be achieved through training, whether the musician trains himself or is trained by others.

Since a vocal text is likely to be confused with intrinsic musical meaning, or at least to divert attention from a preoccupation with it, it is not surprising that aesthetic theory has followed on the emergence of an autonomous instrumental music requiring greater concentration on the sound itself, its colour and intensity, and the intelligibility (in terms of tonal organization alone) of a composition.

Among humanist psychologists (such as the Americans Gordon Allport and Abraham Maslow ) music may be one among other means toward self-fulfillment, integration , self-actualization; for aesthetic existentialists (such as the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre ) it is yet another crucial department of choice and freedom; for spiritual existentialists (such as the philosophers Karl Jaspers and Martin Buber ) it transmits transcendent overtones.

In church singing the new music of James Lyons and William Billings would not have been possible without changes that made vocal training more accessible and popular and helped to disseminate a taste for music as an art, separate from the needs of religious devotion.