Monday, July 26, 2004

Soyouwanna be an Instant Reinassance Man/Woman?

So at this moment I'm listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. It is amazing. Anyway, it is notable that I am listening to classical music because I am not "music person." I went to this private elementary and middle school that didn't have the budget for a band or orchestra, and I didn't fully appreciate the fact that my mom made me take piano lessons. I think that If I would have gone to a different school I would have played the saxophone or something...or the violin....I don't know. Point is, I don't really know a lot about music, and thus I don't have the same appreciation for it as someone who has been playing music since they were a little kid, or someone who plays music all the time. I play a little piano, and I'd like to think that I made a kind of breakthrough in my understanding of music recently, but I am no expert. And I don't think there are a lot of people like me (non-experts) that regularly listen to classical music. I think the same could probably be said about jazz. Its like how I can appreciate an amazing dribble move that an NBA point gaurd might make during a game more than someone who hasn't played point gaurd since they in 3rd grade. Music people have a greater appreciation for not only the difficulty, but also the genius of certain works of classical music and/or jazz. They can separate it into components and study it, similar to what I do in a science lab. I just like how it sounds.

But anyway, I'm am (was, actually, that paragraph took a long ass time to write, believe it or not) listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sadness. Why? How? I recently struck world wide web gold when I stumbled across perhaps the greatest website of all time (at least, for people with a lot of time on their hands). is composed of tons of mini-crashcourses on the things "they never taught you in school." Its basically full of the free, condensed versions of those big orange books that claim to be the Official Idiot's Guides to various subjects, from baseball to dating to investing. If the Idiot's guides are like life's Cliff Notes, this shit is like a Cliff Notes for the Cliff Notes. And the variety of subjects is quite impressive. There's everything from Soyouwanna cut a demo (for those of you who like to "rock."), or learn how to use feng shui, to Soyouwanna get a sex change. Yes, I'm serious. And thats just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I encourage you to go exploring. Its like walking through the the row of games at a carnival, trying to decide which one to play first, except its free! Its actually kind of humorous. Its so American in that we are obsessed with instant fast food...wait, I learned about this is Sociology class. Mcdonaldization.

So, yes, this website is a prime example of the dreaded sociological "phenomenon" known as the "Mcdonaldization of American culture," but I dont' care. I think its great. Its a catalyst. Take me as case study. I've always been interested in classical music. But everytime I've tried to listen I'd get bored. I just didn't know how to appreciate it. Maybe it was my lyrics obsession...remember the two kinds of people? But my recent interest in the music (not just the lyrics), which I can owe about 50% of the credit to that fateful IM conversation with SLS, and 50% of the credit to 311's "Amber," lead me to once again begin thinking about getting into classical music. But how was I going to know which songs to download? Which are the composers/pieces I should hear first as a classical music novice? These were the crucial questions at hand. If I was at home I could ask my dad, because not only has it seemed at times that he knows everything, but he also listens to classical music like its his job. Thats all he plays whiles he working in his office....and he's all about listening to "Morning Classics" on our local NPR affiliate. But I'm a big boy now. I live in my own apartment. By myself. In a big city. What am I going to do? Suddenly I remember that I had recently been looking for some simple chess strategy (the fucking computer kicks my ass EVERY TIME. Even on the lowest difficulty level. I never even put up a fight.) I had accidentally found this site that had asked me: Soyouwanna learn how to play chess? Hmmm...I wonder if there's a "Soyouwanna learn about classical music?"...YES! There it is. Exactly what I wanted! How many times in a websearch do you actually find EXACTLY what you're looking for? I don't know if I EVER have, unless I have the exact title fo the journal or article that I'm looking for. So I gave it a try. I read a little about the different classical musical eras and styles. I learned some essential terminology. I downloaded some of the pieces that the site recommended (one of them, of course, being Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata), from the best composers from each of the said eras, including Mozart, Handel, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Gershwin, to name a few. And I love it all. Now, I'm not claiming to have anywhere near the apprecition of a "music person," but I have a much greater appreciation than I did yesterday. So much so that I think I'm going to read up more on classical music, and download more. But not before my next crashcouse: Soyouwanna learn about jazz?


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