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Oh! So THAT’S what I’m doing wrong…

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First day of school here at Grand Valley State. In honor of that, I thought I’d share some more from this music appreciation text. I have a feeling that “Dave argues with a textbook” might become a running series here on the blog. We’ll see. Just a few grafs after the quote from my last post, I found this gem.

Briefly defined, music [emphasis in original] is the rational organization of sounds and silences passing through time. Tones must be arranged in some consistent, logical, and (usually) pleasing way before we can call these sounds “music” instead of just noise.

Seriously? We’re still using a value judgement in the definition of an art form? Rational, logical, and pleasing are a matter of cultural inheritance and personal taste. Also, “just” noise? Dr. Wright, what the heck is wrong with noise? Some people like it so much they make music out of it! Definitions like this remind me of early DSM definitions of homosexuality as a psychological disorder. Over 40 years after Stonewall, the Psychology world has since corrected their initial mistake. Almost 60 years after Cage’s 4’33”, at least some musicologists like Dr. Wright are still working things out.

[Dr. Craig M. Wright] is the author of numerous scholarly books and articles on composers ranging from Leoninus to Bach. [hyperlinks added]

Whoa! All the way to Bach? That’s a little edgy for me. Can we pull it back to Lully?