Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.


R. Strauss - Mafia

I started a new private blog, mostly due to the fallout from this post, and it’s been great; a place to really accomplish the purpose that this one used to have. I’m not letting anybody know where it is, no exceptions, but from time to time I may post something interesting here that comes out of it. For instance, here’s part of a story that suddenly came out one day when I was looking for rule variants for Mafia:

The moon was shining high in the night as I trudged into town. The train conductor had kicked me off the train for losin’ my ticket, so here I was, new and clueless. The town of Reginald looked sinister; something was amiss. I don’t know what it was: something in the air. I didn’t feel like walking down the middle of the biggest street was wise, so I ducked into a local bar, run by a swarthy-looking Indian guy. The place was deserted except for a lonely looking bartender. His eyes kept darting to the back door of the place; whether out of guilt or fear I don’t know. I walked up to the bar and ordered a drink.

“You new in town?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Just got kicked off a train for Newark.”

“Since you’re new, I’ll let you in on a little tip, bud.” He leaned over the bar, the smell of cheap scotch on his breath. “This town, it’s run by the mafia.”

“The mafia?!?”

“Yep. There’s only 16 of us left. Youse better skat before you get taken down, too.”

Suddenly, the sounds of gunfire burst out of the back room. The barkeep dove behind the bar, and as I did the same, a man with dark sunglasses burst into the room, firing his gun at an unseen assailant.

That’s as far as I got. Here’s a part of a post having to do with my new music classes this semester:

But hey, I like my Music 304 class so far, because it’s applicable! By crinum, I’m learning a lot about how music has evolved from the common-practice period to the post-modern global mismash it’s become, and it’s very intriguing to see how that all fits together, as opposed to taking it for granted that somehow music now is radically different from Beethoven. I could talk about this all day. Strauss influenced John Williams? Perhaps. Modernism, a rebellion against staid academia, is now oddly enough the academia against which people are rebelling (for example, nobody writes Schoenberg-esque pieces but old stuffy college professors). Avant-garde music is now a staple of the scholarly world, not the underground. So what is the new rebellion music? Techno? Rave? Some sort of easily dismissible music that 100 years from now will suddenly become art music? Who knows? In Civ III the modern era was weird ’80’s saxophone music, but in Civ IV it’s all John Adams works. Which is more telling of the culture of our time? The art or the pop? By a different token, which will be remembered and studied 100 or 200 years from now and which will be forgotten as easily as the folk music of the 1700’s (however it was)? Even Jazz is now becoming a more scholarly type of music than popular. In 50 years from now will the only people that enjoy listening to and writing like the Beatles be old stuffy college professors? In 100 years will it be Steve Reich or Kurt Cobain that makes it into the “History of Western Music?”

I may post more from there, from time to time. I think this arrangement will work out better: I can still get all my feelings out somewhere without a filter, then organize them better to put them here if I feel something’s safe and/or worthy enough. In the meantime, I’ll probably just keep posting links and boring other generic blog stuff here. Yay.


3 responses

  1. Why don’t you just write in a journal? I for one, like reading about what you’re thinking, because heaven knows, I don’t hear it from you. So, keep the interesting stuff coming… don’t relagate it all to an unknown blog floating in cyberspace…

    January 24, 2009 at 12:27 am

  2. Hey, a private blog *is* a journal as far as I’m concerned! And I’ll post stuff here if it merits it; don’t fret!

    January 24, 2009 at 12:57 am

  3. Honestly I don’t think we can say what kind of music they will consider to be important 20th/21st century music 200 years from now, because it usually depends on how influential the music is on the music that comes later. If this is the criteria, I doubt very much that Reich and Stockhausen will be seen as tremendously important. I think that “new music” as practiced in academia will be seen more as a fringe intellectual element rather than an expressive slice of the current culture at large. I wouldn’t be surprised if rock and roll (which comes from Jazz, Gospel, and Folk roots) will be considered to be the most influential vein of music in the 20th century. But who knows? I think that the 20th century saw a fundamental shift in Western musical culture and it might not work to fit what we have now into older ideas about what “great music,” “art music,” or “classical music” is.

    Did you ever see my blog entry when I visited Richard Strauss’s house? John Williams was there stealing furniture.

    …no but seriously, John Williams has clearly borrowed a lot from other composers. He betrays his influences from Strauss, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Hanson, Holst, and others all the time. But more often than not his music is very original and he clearly has his own “voice.” So many people in the music world knock him, but hey, he’ll probably be seen as a more influential composer than most, if not all, the contemporary “art music” composers out there. And he gets to laugh about it all the way to the bank.

    January 24, 2009 at 3:29 am

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