Punk As a Rebirth of Shamanist Folk Music

Punk As a Rebirth of Shamanist Folk Music

Appear:
1.) 1983, Jó Világ,
2.) 1989, KAPU

Attila Grandpierre:
Punk As a Rebirth of Shamanist Folk Music

/The Magic Forces of Art at Work
(translation by Csaba Toth)

Of the new cultural phenomena in the 20th century the one that has been misunderstood most not only by the average listener but, also by musicians and music aesthetes is punk music. To such an extent this energetic vital music such as estrangement from life, etc., that this in itself proves that the case concerns not simply a new, superficial “wave in fashion” but a radical reinterpretation of art, punk has gone back to such forgotten, underground layers of ancient culture which with their cultural impact and consistent radicalism are worthy of the attention people in different fields of art.What role did music originally play in the “prehistoric” times? Totem music, the music of shamanistic ceremonies was a truly working, effective magic force for its creators, which led to ecstasy, and, through its force, elevated the participant’s relation to himself and the world into a symbolic order, and thereby the first step toward practical action was made, Music meant preparation, mobilising and accumulating all available force, the rhythmic intensification of the self and will, reactivating hidden abilities. Music fulfilled its function when it caused ecstasy. Ecstasy, perhaps it could more fittingly be, called “intasy” that is empathy, is the highest degree of self-awareness, the elevation of the self intensified to the utmost from dependency into the realm of independence, the reflection of the self as an independent, total unity, the direct, personal interference into essential happenings. Therefore ecstasy is the densely intense’ peak of experience. Ecstasy make possible the empathy of the intimate unity with the forces of nature, the empathy of this embodiment. Through music we might transcend the framework of our individual world, empathise with all sensations, the totality of sensations, the realms of sensations for themselves and in themselves as the elementary unity of the world; and having empathised the harmony in the boundless realm of experiences we find companions to appreciate our most personal feelings and realize that ours is a common fate. In these dimensions the pressure of the material world, the limitations of material existence, the invincibility of space and time, vanish personal wishes and desires cumulate, undergo a qualitative change, transform into ones of a bigger order, into, the manifestations of the sense of community,. and the isolated thoughts shape themselves into ideas. All this made to explode with the emotional charge endows the individual with such a significance and responsibility that sweeps aside his awareness of his own. insignificance and gives him a cosmic stature, and thus man is able to face natural and social forces greater than himself with success. The appearance of man as an active being inevitably brought. about the creation of music and art.With the analysis of a concrete example let us now illustrate what has been said above!

“Y o u a r e c o m i n g t o m e,
you hear my voice.
Yes, you hear my voice.
I am singing for you,
You are listening to me.
I am dancing for you,
You hear my voice.
I am singing, I am dancing for you.
you hear my voice,
I will be shouting, with all strength of my voice,
I am shouting now,
Shouting.
Come to me,
Come, come!

/The song of Shaman Orocs, in Vilmos Dioszegi: A samanhit emlekei a magyar nepi muveltsegben /Relics of Shamanism in Hungarian Folk Culture/, Budapest, Akademiai Kiado, I958. p. 420./ Let us now set aside the descriptive ethnographic methods of the ethnographers, and, calling textual analysis to our help, try to find out who the person is the shaman summons. The tone of the text is peremptory, or rather enchanting, the shaman wants to put a spell on the person called for – this person being some supernatural force, a spirit according to a commonly accepted concept in the reference literature., Can a shaman, however, gain command over a supernatural spirit? Not in this way I think, and it is even less imaginable that a shaman would,. in the above manner, shout at a spiritoperating in its particular field of reference. However, we get closer to the correct interpretation of the text if we call to mind a magic procedure called cracking, a folk custom still in existence, for instance, in Hortobagy. “New Year Eve afternoon, at about five o’clock; starting out from his own courtyard. every herdsman, herds-boy and bastard goes to the market place. On their way they all energetically wrack with their whips. Assembling in the market they burst into violent cracking. The elderly lads sound the sheep bells and horns, shoot pistols, while the bastards throw sparklers. The infernal noise reaches its climax when the church is illuminated and three church bells are rung.” /After o. Malanasi: “A szoboszloi juhaszat” /Sheep herding in Szoboszlo/, Neprajzi Ertesito, XX. p. 18 quoted by Gabor Barna: Nephit es nepszokasok a Hortobagy videken /Folk Belief and Folk Customs in Hortobagy/, Budapest, Akademiai Kiado, 1979. P. 154./ The aim of the custom is to chase the yesteryear off, “beat off the worthless year”, dispel the old and create room for the new. The maximum amount of sound is thus a means of deterrence. However, who does the shaman deter and why then does he summon someone to himself? There is only one possible answer to this: the shaman deters everybody from himself e x c e p t h i m s e 1 f, that is to say he does not evoke an “exterior” spirit, but himself he demands the totality of his own powers, the maximum of his capacities, hence the noble commending manner, And lot the text magically realizes itself, the shaman intensifies his emotional readiness through reciting the text and carrying out the actions designated in it, and “shouting with the fullest force of his voice” he does make his “supraself”, that self beyond his self, move inside himself. This example plastically illuminates the original role of music.In this light, let us analyze what functions music performs today. Classical or “serious” music is in fact based on the artificially conceived system of rules of “harmonics” resulting in a rigid mechanism. And precisely because of the fact that it followed the rules of “harmony” it has never possessed such an elementary liberating power as the music of the shamans, or modernist music which is exempt from fixed patterns and encompasses disharmony as sell. The human tragedies of the 20th century have made an increased application of disharmony inevitable, thus reflecting the disharmony surging in the nerves. The use of rigid systems of rules /harmonics, dodecaphony/ has mad’ music applying them less and lees authentic, emptier and emptier. In this context, and at the most in this one, does punk antagonize the so-called serious music whose designation “serious” in itself shows its estrangement from the life swelling behind its authority. The continuous rebirth of this estrangement and its “splendid isolation” behind the bars of “absolute” standards can indeed be thwarted by some wee healthy, up-to-date disharmony, by replacing this parade of clich‚s with a touch of life, by spontaneity and by creating musical drama and musical plot in a continuous and sovereign manner. What created classical music? Simultaneously with the transformation of society and with the increasing distribution of labour more and more people lost control over administering their lives in a sovereign manner, and this process gave rise to court-music, orthodox music, which, fulfilling its duty, simply discarded the real needs of the people. Strangely enough, through this the concept of folk music first established as something defied by the non-folk music, artificial music, classical music, the narcisstic caste-music of the elite.According to Bartok /Bela Bartok: A nepzenerol /On Folk Music/, Budapest, Magveto Kiado, 1981/ folk music “is a powerful, elementary expression of the people’s musical instinct, which comes into being unconsciously, without any cultural influence, and is a pure and authentic form of music. … only someone who can probe into his own nation’s psyche and most concealed secrets can create such music that gives an expression of folk music.”After Bartok the criteria of folk music can be set as follows: folk music is the music that, exempt of any clich‚s and antecedents, pours forth from the deepest inspiration, gropes for spontaneous self-expression in all the dimensions of the moment, develops in a self-contained way and is of elementary power in its impact; in its capacity to represent a world; in its newness and in its personalness. It is a self-contained, forceful and elementary self-expression aiming at totality.Ancient folk music was then universal and authentic, and thus it was not called folk music. Ancient music in its totality expressed the real and the deepest needs of the people, that is, it was indeed folk music, Consequently, classical music came into being through a rejection of certain functions of music, and as such it reflects the division of the world in an one-sided way, But on this point we have to scan more basic questions.Let us examine what role art has played in the life of mankind! It is well-known these days that art was born at the same time as the evolution of the human, that is, it is indispensable in any societies, that makes art so much indispensable? And does art fulfil its destiny today? To answer these questions we have to regard art as a totality, as an activity whose aim is the same as human life’s. Work ensures the sustenance of our material existence; art makes us face the entirety of life. Human life aspires to challenge time and the unknown, secure durability and totality, and live all the possible and the attainable, now and forever, and always in a more complete, more refined way.However, we have to take into account that the realm of art can not entirely be identified with reality /cf. art-ificial/ because it is a sovereign product of imagination, and the laws of imagination are those of the human psyche and not of material reality. The main characteristic of the realm of imagination and emotions is fulfillment, not adaptation. And it is precisely this sovereign imagination that makes possible the creation of real music as a magical act. What do I mean by magical? An act is magical if it is self-contained and has the power of magic, Real folk music is always magical, Why is music magical? Since it transubstantiates; moreover it is a fact that it places man into real cosmic dimensions /cf. Dr. Elemer Gyulai: A lathato zene /The Visible music/; Budapest, Zenemukiado, 1968; Maria Sagi: Esztetikum es szemelyiseg /Aesthetics and Personality/, Budapest, Akademiai Kiado, 1981/. The creation, the birth of music continuously calls forth the conditions for a self-contained and highest degree working of the imagination. Music is the most abstract art, thus it restricts the least. In the case of folk music the detachment from the concrete coincides with gripping the essence, Thug music is the most sovereign act of imagination. And imagination is exactly that activity of the brain, of thinking which is the least capable of adjusting, of being confined and being deformed by prescribed, rigid, prefabricated patterns. “Imagination” capable of adjust is no longer imagination, rather a mode of rational, empirical knowledge torn out of its contexts. Imagination can not adjust since, in its essence, it is a creative activity. Thus music as the most complete and universal functioning form of creative imagination is the most self-contained and elementary and forceful artistic act. Consequently the most magical one. The never ending density of accumulating ideas of high energy in the imagination. inevitable leads to discharge, and this sweeps petty considerations out of the mind, and elevates man into the realms of communalism. As psychoanalysis teaches it psychic life is a “battleground” of two forces – principles -: a) of the irrational pleasure principle /a direct, unrestrained outlet of instincts/ and b) of rational arrest, of the reality principle. This latter covers all the internal and external obstacles that arrest the immediate gratification of instincts. The working, of the imagination directly serves the gratification of desires, the fullest release and uneffected emergence of the instinct-hierarchy – the reflection of desire as it is totally under the control of desire itself. Imagination is the force that, in a subjective manner, creates a web of possible worlds, a web that is as complete and rich as conceivable. And of these it selects the most complete still within each, which then takes shape in the process of creation.In the sense of what has been said above, simultaneously with the movement of mankind in history the realm of reality expands and thus more and more internal imaginative dynamism is required to reach self-expression and self-realization in a newer piece of art or work. This makes all the more pertinent the maximal exploitation of possibilities and sources and the development of imaginative totality From this point of view of artistic expression reality is interesting only to such an extent that it shakes and mobilizes the latent energies of the imagination. If we consistently manage to make use of reality in a most stimulating and creative manner, our actions gain a new significance. They become important not only in themselves, but in their interrelationships as well, that is, they transform into the elements of a musical, or rather, a linguistic system, and in much the same way as in a language the explanation of one sentence is possible only with another, here, too, actions like the words of the language of the world, allude to one another and gain their meaning thereby. Through this “excess meaning” the intensity of empathy on the emotional level grows, and beyond a critical point a chain-reaction of actions is established. And in much the same way as the intensity of subsequent events pushes the unimportant details of single events into the background, the elements of the chain of actions bloom into completion through the vibration of their subsequence, rhythm of their monotony and through the unlimited expansion of their intensity. Thus we have reached the characteristics of punk music in a deductive way – characteristics that we will analyze only later on.Man as a being endowed with imagination wants consciously or unconsciously to accomplish all varieties of aIl actions, and deliberately aims at developing their potentials; He handles the world as a musical instrument, an art object, and he is able to discover and operate all possibilities of this world, even the most secret mode of its mechanism. He is capable of forcing the word, under the yoke of his knowledge and power, give meaning to his existence by playing the anthems, battle-hymns and wedding songs on the “world instrument”; and thus manifesting his presence, and possesing the vibrant forces, he is capable of galloping as an embodied will over the break line of events. The human body itself becomes a musical instrument, the instrument of dancing and singing, from which the hyper-intensified emotion and force is made to burst forth. Voice is namely nothing else than an exteriorization of the internal, the transposition of the internal into the outside world. Music makes the internal automatisms of the imagination work, music serves the intensification of the instinct of life and the will to live. This explains the relationship between music and emotions; namely, emotion in itself is an intensified form of the manifestation of the instinct of life, while impulse is hyper-intensified, until finally ecstasy is a wave of emotions pulling down all limits.Let us examine now the most important of all this basic factors of music: the rhythm. The liberating effect of rhythmic action is based on the fact that through repetition the repetitive unity of the action gnaws into the mind, its appearance gets automatized, takes the quality of a reflex, and from then on the execution of an action has no longer to be willed, the mental energy it consumed gets liberated. It is all the more so since this mental energy is not only at our disposal and ready to be released, but even its bringing to the surface gets automatized, thus resulting in a surplus of energies, and this release of energies then takes form in dancing, singing, screaming. The joy concerns the automatic realization of the action-phase, its appearance independent of us, the success of creation – this toy greets the arrival at consummation in a once lost, but now newly reincarnated world where objects and actions dance the dance of victory in their ceremonial carneval in a visionary, hallucinatory manner again; Objects arrive at consummation with a force never suspected, identify themselves with the essence of their existence through experiencing an intimate unity with the forces of nature.Although I do not intend my writing to be a polemic, reviewing contradictory views help me elicit my standpoint. According to one such view there are no magic powers in art, “art is in essence, of mimetic /descriptive/ quality, not of creative one. Ecstasy and mimesis are contraries excluding each other even though in the reality of the magical period they emerge at the same time /?/. In fact, aesthetic quality comes into being in. a complicated roundabout way: once more do people imitate movements and attitudes inherent in their daily activities and interpersonal relationships, Az esztetikum sajatossaga /The Peculiarity of Aesthetic Quality/ . This view stands in high esteem only as a document of an age since it defines art as a mere puppet-show of man torn out of nature, as a many times degraded activity of the human puppet. To prove the artificial quality of the pseudo-contradictions fabricated by this author, I need a definition of art as regards its contents and function. Let us see how we can arrive at one in the simplest way. According to a generally accepted view /Dr. Dezso Mosonyi: A zene lelektana uj utakon /New Ways in Music Psychology/, intr. Prof. Ch. Baudouin, Budapest, Bela Somlo konyvkiado, 1934/ pain is the source of music;. singing is a playful imitation of the vocalization of pain. From this we can accept as much that the ancient musical sound is a modification of the outburst of pain. The birth of art can not be simplified to a mere reproduction: Art came and comes into being through an act with which man is capable of extrac essence from the world, capable of penetrating , grasping and humanizing it. That is, in contrast to the birth of the ancient musical sound when the- world rules man, the case here is reversed. Here it is man who rules the world, it is he who gives orders, acts, and the world only “endures” his activity. Since art is not only of mimetic quality, it is an activity that extracts and presents the essence, moreover, creates human, humanized systems of the essence. From this definition of art it also ensues that an act of magic, rite and dance, too, are regarded as artistic activities since the energies of the unconscious and their release, their embodiment in external movements do indeed express, present and realize the human essence /cf. later/.To illustrate a magical rite quote from Erwin .Rohdems “Psyche” the “description” of a Thracian dance celebrating Dionysus. From the “suprematist” position of an “observer” who experiences difficulties in linking himself with the essence of life does Rohde, “the cultured man” present this description showing the rite as purely animalistic, barbaric and obscure. “The rite takes place on the peak of a mountain, in the uneasy light of torches at dark night. Harsh music bursts forth, the thunderous sound of cymbals, the blunt roaring of huge drums, the deep tones of pipes, a deranged harmony. … Excited by this wild music the host of celebrants dances with an unearthly scream. No inging can be heard, dancing makes them much too breathless for that. This is no longer that measured dance which, for instance, the Greeks of Homer dance in Phaeacia. The enthusiastic crowd speeds down the hill in a mad, whirling, turbulent circular dance. Mostly this crowd was made up of women who twirled in this whirling dance until they felt totally exhausted. Wore strange masks … otherwise deerskin over their robes, and probably antlers on their heads. Their hair Wildly streaming; snakes in the hands; they sway daggers and thyrsi, thelatter hiding spearheads under the amber’s. Thus are they raving, until their passions grow to the extreme, and then inntheir “holy madness” they hurl themselves on the animals to be sacrificed … grab and tear apart the quarry, slash the meat off with their teeth, and gulp it raw and bloody. This passage clearly shows that Rohde has no idea of the meaning of magic rites. All communal magic rites aim at assuring the vital factors to the survival of the community – this is the core from where magic rites can be understood.This is how Guyau talks about pleasure in art: “Let us imagine that a bird feels when spreading its wings and cutting through the air as an arrow, let us recall what we felt on the back of horses g a l l o p i n g /italics are mine/, or aboard a sailing boat diving into the foams or in the rapture of a waltz; these kinds of racing arouse in us a sense of infinity, fervent longing and of lusty and wild life, the disavowal of atomized life and the urge to race along without complexes and get absorbed in the universe.” After illustrating our point, let us now get back to the definition of artistic action, and in the light of what was said above divide it into three subgroups:

1.) in magical-artistic activity the unconscious manifests itself in a direct and most active way, and biological automatism present themselves intactly and in their entirety;

2) in magical-artistic activity the immediate creative process is hidden, “non-lived” for the creator; the activity takes place directly after the completion of the creative process; the changes in the unconscious affect the ego, and the ego mechanism here and there partly controls, partly directs the mode and measure of the emergence of the unconscious;

3) totally aestheticised, artificial art, official, “courtly” art – this art is ordered and consumed to serve the artificially created prejudices “ruling” a given age, and a desired taste.It is true that with the development of society the degree of socialisation also extends, that is, the sphere of private life more and more diminishes, and simultaneously with the fact that human greatness gradually withers away, the human psyche as such gets depraved and shriveled, the dignity and sovereignty of the individual gets hurt, simultsneously with all this the mimetic quality of art gets dominant. But from this on art no longer imitates life, instead it imitates artificial obîects and processes singled out by fabricated, contrived; theories, and does so in the genius of these theories. And thus does art become an auxiliary force in areating domesticated human species reared in the interest of petty aims thus does it become a means for man-taming, and, in the end, thus does it wither and wilt man’s emotional life. In nature it is only the domesticated animals and man who can be deceived in properly judging their desires and aims, henceforth they are the ones that are endangered down to the foundations of their biological existence. The possibilities for a self-contained, wholesome life are decreasing world-wide, in spite of the fact that it is a matter of life and death to mankind whether we are able to form, solidify and spread more and more effective, complete and all-embracing mechanisms of adjustment and internal behavioural patterns in respect to our biological, psychological faculties, to the social an natural conditions. Is. this light the so-called subjective realm of human existence gains an immense significance. Ortega y Gasset says: “History is similar to a giant laboratory in which every experiment aims at finding the first principles of public life.” And this statement is also true when reversed: psychically the future of mankind depends on our ability to discover newer and newer first principles, systems of public and private life and disseminate them on a mass-scale.

The uncontrolled, dehumanized expansion of socialisation, the commercialization of human life, the rise of pettiness and mediocrazy, the uninhibited manipulation and disinformation have been the reasons that have led in the end to the gradual imbruting of pop music, or, more precisely, to its radicalization, to a revival /sirupy dance music, then beat, then punk/. Young people who, in an instinctive way, still have a sense of the memory of self-defense, life-defense and sovereignty can create only subculture in the exclusionist culture of a de-functioned, pseudofunction-endowed institutional structure. But with this, at least on the level of signalling, they are able to point out the nature of the long-range problems mankind and the individual countries face. The beat music of the sixties, and now punk, have come from down under, they have not been bred by the manipulative machine. Now the question is if this music that has come from the people for the people is in any way related to the sovereign folk music of the old ages. According to Bartok /ibid. p, 3/ folk music is one that arises as a spontaneous manifestation of the natural force unconsciously working in us, without being affected by previously internalized clich’s. This definition of folk music shows an illuminating parallel with the magical art of “prehistoric times”: “The paintings of the Paleolithic Age, have the peculiarity that they present the visual impression in such a direct, pure and playful form exempt of any intellectual frippery that nothing can be compared to them up to the birth of Impressionism. In these old paintings we find such tiny delicacies that we would be able to discover only through complicated procedures, while the painters of the Paleolithic Age were capable to sense them directly.” /Arnold Hauser; A muveszet es irodalom tarsadalomtortenete /Social History of Art (title for the four-volume Random House /Vintage/ edition)/, Budapest, Gondolat Kiado, 198o/ Are such general “natural forces” still at work – forces that are common in one people, or – some of these forces, at least – in the whole of mankind? Instead of theoretical arguments, let us now rely on empirical evidence!If there are such general natural forces independent, or, at least, partly independent or time and place, then their artistic manifestations, too, must have identical characteristics. Let us see if it is really so!At t he climax of punk. concerts a peculiar battle cry burst forth in a rhythmic, demanding manner: oj ! oj ! /In English spelling: oi! oi! /In light of Vilmos Dioszegi’s research we may state that the punk battle cry is both in its form, function and meaning identical with the calling word used in shamanist rituals in a general, over-all manner. This word is the only constant element of the shamanist rituals,. With this word the participants of the shamanist ritual call for the “spirit”, for ecstasy and trance. The moment of being possessed is always preceded by this calling word. With the Samoyedic shamans this calling word is: ou! ou! With the Forest Nenets: he! hej! With the Tundra Nenets hoj! hoj! hej! sej! With the Turkish peoples: kaj ! kaî ! With the Yakuts: hij! With the Eskimos of Greenland: hoi! hoi! According to linguists, language historians “h” as a guttural sound is, on the one hand, related to the “k” sound, on the other, as a faint sound, it is often mute, and is elided in the course of the development of the language. In the Hungarian lingual area theyare still in use, the hej! haj! huj! hij! sej! aj! Interjections occur in everyday usage. The Hungarian battle-cry is widely known in Europe: huj! huj! hajra! The constantly recurring part, the refrain of the Hungarian regos /approx. bard; minstrel/ song is precisely the “haj! rego rejtem” whose meaning, according to Dioszegi, is “hai! am raving with rave”. Accordingly, during their ritualistic ceremonies, the punk concerts, punks did rediscover this word on their own, and have been using it for the same thing as the participants in the shamanistic ceremonies did in Eurasia in the old days when shamanist belief was wide-spread. At punk concerts the performers and the hopping, screaming partakers often mate their appearance clad in clothes with a leopard-fur pattern, or in other leathers, and with their faces dyed, that is, very much like in s shamanistic ritual where the participants wear leather outfits, tiger and leopard leathers, and their faces are also dyed. The shaman’s headwear, the antecedent of the crown, is decorated with feathers just like that of the Indians. Today’s punks have the hairdo of the Indians, but instead of feathers they have the so-called Mohawkcut. Beside this, the essence of the rituals is also common: reaching ecstasy. In both cases the means to reach it are music and dance, extremely rhythmic music with a sweeping force, /While the rhythm of beat music is comparable to the beat of the heart, the rhythm of punk to the orgiastic rhythm of chasing sparrows./ Since these characteristics came into being not as results of scientific research but in a spontaneous way, from down under, produced by the people, it must have been identical forces in work in calling force these two syndromes with two-three thousand years between them. It also implies that challenging oppression, tragedies in history, defying space and time the forces that called folk art into being are at work today just as much they were when people lived in a natural unity with themselves and their environment.To illustrate the essence of the sovereign folk music of the old days I quote Laszlo Zolnay’s description of the music of the Huns:

“Most probably it was the strong rhythm-music of the Huns, this nonconformist, strange music which was echoed from Pannonia, towards the Orient through the’ Great wall. of China. … Chinese historians were offended by some “lusty”, “lecherous” music which endangered Chinese ceremonies …” /Laszlo Zolnay: A magyar muzsika evszazadaibol /Centuries of Hungarian music/./ The wandering Hungarians, when singing to their gods, were screaming vehemently, “screaming like wolves”. From all this it is clear that rhythm and the mode of singing, these two all-important factors in defining the characteristics of music, have been similar both in ancient Hungarian folk music and today’s punk. Also, concrete similarities between punk and shamanist folk music can be detected in the contents and function of the clueword or calling word, in almost all the movements of the ecstatic free-dance, in clothing, in hairdo, in the way of living music and the world and in the effort for ecstasy. Hungarian shamanist singing abated only the beginning of the 11th century. “The poetry of the heathen days submerged in the seeming anonymity of folk music, folk singing, in their subhistorical layers.” /Laszlo Zolnay: ibid./

Classical music adhering to rigid, life-elusionist rules /harmonics, dodecaphony/ is not able, will be less and less able to create a new culture. A new culture requires the unity of a new world view, new imagination, new mythology and new art, requires new patterns of behaviour, new methods, new means. The bulk of present-day music is simply not able to make in face his real life, endow him with new energies, a sense of self and self-confidence. Classical and contemporary music expects some “preliminary permission” and submission from its audience /here there are no participants, only performers and listeners/, requires some sort of unclouded transubstantiation. A transubstantiation, of course, not into the spheres of the divine as in the Middle Ages, but into the all-forgiving, brotherly “community” of some generalized, vague goodwill. “Folksy”, what is more, “pseudo-folksy” music styling itself folk music is an industrialized service satisfying commercial needs, and beyond that it is only “good” for degrading the word “folk music” and frightening more and more people away from real folk music. To this we may add the soothing hits of popular music, and then we may say that the bulk of present-day music is simply for making man surrender his misery, and for manipulating him so that he shall be even more prone to be- manipulated. Music that was once so vital, so lively that neither man nor animal could escape its power is these days a disembowelled mammoth on its tiptoes. Man’s dignity, self-respect and sublimity will wither away on a mass-scale if he sees himself only as an unimportant dot, an atom in the face of the galaxies of the cosmos opening up more and more extensively, and if he is a subservient consumer of the poison spread by the pseudocultures of today. A man born among the animals in the wilderness and grown up there does not learn to speak, his mind is nearer to that of the animals than to the mind of a man grown up in society. Not even today is a man born to be a man; the struggle to become a man, make new discoveries, reveal new forces and apply them, and to multiply ourselves still goes on. This is what science and art do, and this is what music must do.

1989. január 1. vasárnap / Zene

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