Mechanized Melodies

Melodies of the 21st century are transmitted through high-tech contraptions that distort harmonies and morph the purity of the sound. Consequently, music has become commercialized and shaped to reflect our consumer culture. Current hits espouse the power that comes with monetary wealth and the glory that comes from achieving a state of physical perfection. While all music conveys a message by its very nature, music of the 21st century tends to fixate on negative facets of society. Thus while music has become universally accessible, it has begun to loose its intrinsic value.

To me, a beautiful score is one that strives to achieve a lyrical simplicity though balancing airy crescendos with resonating decrescendos. I think not of electronically produced beats, but rather of an orchestra’s harmonious sound. While the influence of man is highly evident in electronic scores, it is all but erased in classical compositions. Man becomes subservient to sound. While he is an active participant, an integral component that enables the sound, his presence is promptly forgotten. Instead, it is the fleeting experience of each note which resonates with the lister. As the score builds, what began as a simply melody becomes a complex fusion of varying tonalities. The instruments play off of each other, balancing boldness with lightness and instilling the score with an emotional depth.

When I heard a Bach cantata for the first time, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of wholeness. The complex dialogue between the instruments could be appreciated without being fully understood. Having identified the refrain, I could trace the roadmap of the score. Relinquishing control, I allowed my thoughts to synchronize with the pace of the composition. Slowly classical music, compositions by Bach in particular, began to seep into my consciousness, punctuating my daily equilibrium. Simultaneously chaotic and ordered, the melodies are as instructive as they are open to interpretation.

A consequence of the proliferation of modern scores is that classical music has become underappreciated. Much like old master paintings, classical music is respected, revered, but often passed over by a listener who prefers a new vogue genre. I was therefore elated when I stumbled across the Mostly Mozart concert series at Lincoln Center. Featuring scores by Mozart, Bach, and Schubert, the concert at Lincoln Center displayed the ingenuity of these great composers. Entranced by the harmonies that reverberated off of the walls and engulfed my orchestra seat, I felt at ease. My mind actively traced the rises and falls of the musical scores as I patiently sat. Rather than feeling downtrodden or uninspired after listening to a series of popular hits, I left Lincoln Center with a crowd of people twice my age feeling enlivened.


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