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'Eclecticism' in Music
      04/05/12 03:40 PM


1.'Eclecticism is a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.'

2. 'Eclecticism (music) is used to describe a composer's conscious use of styles alien to his nature, or from one or more historical styles. The term is also used pejoratively to describe music whose composer, thought to be lacking originality, appears to have freely drawn on other models.'

The word 'Eclectic' has always annoyed me a bit, more because of the way it is used than its original meaning. Usually it's used as a pigeon-hole for tastes that defy pigeon-holing. I only really care about what I'm hearing -not who the people are, what they look like, what the scene is, etc*. I've never followed musical fashions or thought about music in categories particularly and I find it bizarre how people can prefer sound worlds based on notions that have nothing to do with what's coming out of the speaker. People do this far less in other artforms.

(*Of course, once I love some music, I might be curious about the character of the creator because I've derived quite a lot of confidence about my own taste and outlook from finding out that it usually correlates with their own general tastes and views. This is also quite a good way to discover new avenues, though people have a tendency to wrongly assume everything a composer has to offer is fully assimilated in the work of later composers.)

As a humanoid, I'd probably be slotted into most people's 'miscellaneous' box (along with pirates, lemmings and sparklers). I'm fine with that, but it's just my own lack of categorising (and unwillingness to follow trends) that confuses people really. I don't think what most people do is any measure of anything. I don't go out of my way to 'be eclectic', I just find it easy to recognise what is likeable in what I hear. I mean, like the way Johnny Cash's voice echoes around my flat and how he sings about basic human things. I love dub with its spacey, spring-loaded rhythms and fizzy whirligig delays, probably for the same reasons I like Joe Meek and Radiophonic productions. I love Indian classical music and traditional (particularly central) African music. I also like vintage Blues and Folk.

But I've also listened to western classical music from an early age and that's a different kind of experience, one which many people assume is impossible to fully appreciate if you're also into Jimi Hendrix or Faust (and vice-versa). But if you start listening to really early pre-baroque music and work forwards in history, it's very easy to get it. Like with jazz, it turned into a game of 'avoid the cliché', so it's important to listen to earlier music first in order to know what clichés they're avoiding.

I've gotten into jazz more than I was previously, and I think that's because I've sifted through a lot of quite artificial sounding blah (based on mathematical ideas like chord-scales and involving some dodgy syncopations that can be quite cheesey) to the Miles Davis/Teo Macero classics and to the freedom of Sun Ra. So once you've reached this point, everything has already opened right up. There's no going back without zapping connexions in your brain. I suppose this is about being a kind of 'musical expiditionary' like John Peel, except with even fewer boundaries.

The way I see it, everyone in history and around the world now, they're just people, so if they're enjoying music for genuine reasons (i.e. because of what they're hearing) then of course I'd get into it eventually. But then, if they like music for partriotic, intellectual or 'circus-feat' ideals (involving musically superfluous complexity/cleverness/virtuosity/audio-tech fanaticism) or notions of 'coolness' then it might not be possible to ever feel the same way -and who'd want to?

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Subject Posted by Posted on
* 'Eclecticism' in Music Anonymous 04/05/12 03:40 PM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music GlynB   09/05/12 11:35 AM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music Anonymous   07/05/12 05:23 PM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music Beat Poet   07/05/12 10:52 AM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music Airfix   07/05/12 07:41 AM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music Hairy Ears   07/05/12 06:23 AM
. * Re: 'Eclecticism' in Music turbodave   04/05/12 05:07 PM

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