do you hear the same things that I do?
Last night I went to a small, very local production of the musical that had been derived from the biopic The Buddy Holly Story (1978). A good friend's wife had directed it, this was the last night of a succesful run, and a whole troop of us had come from a celebration of my friend's birthday. This energetic distillation of the movie of the same name, which was a fictionalization of Holly's life, was... well, I am not planning on reviewing the production.
I sat, watching this "musical" and pondered about how I imagined my perspective might be different, which lead to further ponderings on our experience together in society. In the last fifty-sixty years, the Rock & Roll era, as music became such a successful, pervasive commodity in itself, it also became a prime tool for marketers to help define and accurately target their intended victims.
Following are opinions, thoughts, a certain brainstorming, I have no empirical evidence:
A deep sensitivity to music is nowhere nearly as widespread as we tend to assume, maybe spread out on the old curve like most things, such as sex. And yet, the thought of a young person without a music playing device and some collection of musics of which the person would identify with, would be very rare, indeed. I am a music person since I was four years old, but I could imagine many an adolescent at an early social event, feeling a quiet desperate lack of understanding when their friend turns to them with gleaming eyes, saying "wow, is that music great, or what!". "Yeah, I love it!", the adolescent allows, making a mental note to try and quickly develop this taste in the immediate future. Some relationship with music must be established, whether it has any effect or not, for social reasons. So people use that which does effect them, by utilizing a nonmusical sensitivity that can be applied. Those of a more verbal tendency may become deeply involved with the lyrical content, others may pay a special attention to the visual aspect of the performers and their particular fans. Maybe there is a dressing style connected, or a certain dance performed to the performers music. Some may talk about the performers videos, the possible narrative interpretations, or the graphical style and content of the packaging. Most people will be a combination of average intensities on most of these areas, but as there will be a small percentage that is overwhelmingly involved with the music, their will be some who are just as involved with some other aspect.
I think this as I watch a depiction of a, fifty year past, musical performer. I am at first surprised at how little of the musical aspects are accurately understood, all remaining after the distillation is the most obvious foreground effects. The background is lost but replaced with an extra attention to the dress, and accoutrements of the period, also heavily cliché. Much attention is paid to a vigorous dancing and smiling routine that has almost nothing to do with the subject and his period, and all to do with recent musical production styles. Ohhhhh, I get it, this is what an average cross section sees/saw in a musical performer!