If music be the food of love, play on —Shakespeare
Harmony is meant to correct any discord which may have arisen in the courses of the soul… rhythm too was given for the same reason… —Plato
It is by the Odes that a man’s mind is aroused, by the rules of ritual that his character is established, and by music that he is perfected. . . . —Confucius
The Culinary Metaphor Pt. 1: Music and Nutrition
In my previous post I wrote about using food metaphors as a kind of oblique strategy for discussing music. Let’s get more specific, to explore the method to this madness. Today’s angle: nutrition.
Music: Nourishment and Poison
The American Heritage Dictionary defines nutrition as “the process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissue.”
Plato and Confucius would have liked that. For them, music existed to guide and improve human beings, and the right and wrong musics created good and bad people, respectively. Medieval musical thinkers and composers avoided the tritone (the augmented fourth interval) because many thought it to be of Satanic and therefore dangerous origin. And in the 1980’s, Tipper Gore’s PMRC based their campaign to place parental warning labels on recordings on the idea that it is necessary to “protect” listeners from certain kinds of music.
This week’s station: “TGIF! – Thank Goodness It’s Friday!“.
It is important to celebrate the springboard of the weekend… Friday! Not only do Fridays complete our work week, they are manifestations of our own unique mini-vacations. From partying to relaxing, we all have our own way of enjoying our much deserved days off from reality.
In this mix you will find a range of songs that all have a common ground of inspiration. Connecting us with friends, love, good vibes and freedom, Friday is the universal day that we long for each and every week.
The goal is to keep you out late. Meet that someone special. Let loose on the dance floor. Reconnect with old friends and reminisce in the midst of creating new memories. Roll down your car windows and turn up the volume. Turn off the tube, put your feet up, and do your thing. Just make sure your weekend is memorable!
— Daniel J. Craig
(music operations, ripper)
2038…. 5ally, now a teenager, asks her mainframe to reveal the author of song she just heard on her earstream. It’s the only song she’s listened to today that she inquires about. Between who wrote it, or co-created it, or mixed it, or mashed it, or [add new thing here], it’s DJ #1 who finally wins her further attention — she buys a ticket to his next concert. It’s a swim-concert…
Are You In a Band? (Zzzzzzzz)
When doing a music presentation at a public school, I asked a group of fifth graders to write down their five favorite musicians or BANDS. One of the kids wrote “Pandora” on his list. Didn’t he know that Pandora isn’t a band? Perhaps he hadn’t yet grasped that, frequently, the songs he likes are created by an actual entity/cesspool/love affair of people, ideas and equipment. Among other things. I remember the day, in a RECORD store, when I had the epiphany that you could purchase a whole LP — with 10 or 12 songs on it — as opposed to a 45 rpm record. Big revelation! Perhaps the “band” epiphany hadn’t happened for this kid yet. But what if…. what if he just doesn’t CARE about who made the music he likes? Not a big revelation. It’s become fairly standard for people to digest music without knowing, or more significantly, caring who created it.
Is There an Animal in your Band Name?
Baile funk, aka funk carioca or bailes funk, is a good example of how dance music conventions can be — and often are — shaped by the people and for the people. The DJ doesn’t necessarily define the sound, but the DJ does nurture it, develop it and mash the sound up with the contributions of other cultures that share similar experiences. In this case, the Baile funk experience was using the spirit of music and dance to rise above the poverty and oppression of the ghetto.
The term baile funk was used originally to describe a type of dance party that started happening in the favelas (ghettos) of Rio in the 70’s. Funk, r&b, and soul music being produced by American artists like George Clinton, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes had a strong voice with the people who populated the favelas. This music not only had relevant social messages, but grooves that were explicitly crafted for dancing.
This week’s station: “Game On!“.
I think everyone should have a walk-up song (now batting…), even if it rarely gets used. I also like to think that if the right song is played at the right moment, it can actually influence the outcome of the game. While this is debatable, the significant role that music plays in the modern arena or coliseum is not… for better or worse.
This collection delivers all your standard coliseum anthems, along with a nice stack of other, relatively unknown gems. While the music represents a wide variety of musical styles — including rap, rock, punk, metal, funk, film score, and electronic/dance — they all have one thing in common: energy.
Recommended for play while: tailgating, applying paint to your face and/or body, getting pumped to deliver a presentation at work, entertaining during the holidays while sports are on TV, stuck in traffic trying to get to the game, in the locker room prior to a big matchup, performing a victory dance, clapping in unison, playing dunk hoops on a 6 foot rim, working off the calories from aforementioned tailgate, and any situation that requires an elevated state of personal or team mojo.
For best results, play at a high volume on big speakers.
(dance collection manager)
Click here to listen to Balanced Diet Radio while you read
It’s hard to judge music, but I have to. It’s a necessary part of things for me. As those of you who have read my previous posts (here, here or here, for example) know, to be consistent when doing so may be impossible.
When I’m writing my own songs or making records, it’s at least possible to be definitive. I just have to do stuff that I believe in. Not easy, but possible. As Pandora’s music curator, though, it’s a whole different thing. I have to maintain a sense of aesthetics in general; a sense of musical quality that goes beyond my own opinions and tastes.
It’s a narrow path to walk.
On one side there is a kind of musical moralism which says: “this is good and that is bad; and therefore you should listen to this and not that.” On the other side is what you might call musical sociopathy, with its relativistic axiom: “there is no such thing as musical quality; everything is equally good.”
I don’t relate to either of those points of view at all, and I don’t want to.
Happily, though, I’ve found a strategy that is just imprecise enough to filter out esoteric pitfalls while allowing for some ideas to get through: I talk about music as if it’s food.
This week’s station: “Harvest Time“.
The smell of the changing leaves, the first drops of rain, the crisp cool air, the sweaters, the dying leaves that were once such resplendent colors, and the anticipation of the coming snow, autumn represents a time of change, freshness, and a shift in the seasons. Also, some of the best, most ingrained memories of our lives come from the next few months: the memories of summer, the gathering in of families, and of harvest.
Whether it’s the changing of foliage or whatever nostalgic association you may have with this time of year, this mixtape of songs (old and new) hopes to create the perfect channel for you to indulge all these feelings and to enjoy throughout the season. Celebrate the turning of the season with “Harvest Time“. Enjoy!!
— Michelle S.
(assistant music curator)
(photograph by David Paul Ohmer)