Originally posted by badmoon
Yes, its all about feeling and little about technique.
Somewhat agreed, with this caveat:
Technique always serves the aesthetic intent of the artist, and—although it may be sometimes—is not generally the focus of that aesthetic intent. In elicitive art, such as lyric poetry, the intent is to elicit some feeling, or attitude, or mood, or perhaps some intuitive insight. One does not need to know
the formal poetics of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”—i.e., that it is a villanelle—in order for the poem to “do its work”; on the other hand, for those who have some knowledge of poetics, appreciation of the technique itself can also serve the aesthetic response (e.g., the difference between an Italian and a Shakespearian sonnet—the enhanced lyric intensity of the latter). But a cruder technique can also achieve the elicitive intent, especially, I think, in a mixed medium like song.
On the other other hand, one might read Lorca’s “Theory and Play of the Duende” to get a feel for an artist celebrating an art form (cante jondo / flamenco) in which technique is often seen as getting in the way of the elicitive intent (and which informs his own poetry). An excerpt below—
Once, the Andalusian ‘Flamenco singer’ Pastora Pavon, La Niña de Los Peines, sombre Spanish genius, equal in power of fancy to Goya or Rafael el Gallo, was singing in a little tavern in Cadiz. She played with her voice of shadows, with her voice of beaten tin, with her mossy voice, she tangled it in her hair, or soaked it in manzanilla
or abandoned it to dark distant briars. But, there was nothing there: it was useless. The audience remained silent.
In the room was Ignacio Espeleta, handsome as a Roman tortoise, who was once asked: ‘Why don’t you work?’ and who replied with a smile worthy of Argantonius: ‘How should I work, if I’m from Cadiz?’
In the room was Elvira, fiery aristocrat, whore from Seville, descended in line from Soledad Vargos, who in ’30 didn’t wish to marry with a Rothschild, because he wasn’t her equal in blood. In the room were the Floridas, whom people think are butchers, but who in reality are millennial priests who still sacrifice bulls to Geryon, and in the corner was that formidable breeder of bulls, Don Pablo Murube, with the look of a Cretan mask. Pastora Pavon finished her song in silence. Only, a little man, one of those dancing midgets who leap up suddenly from behind brandy bottles, sarcastically, in a very soft voice, said: ‘Viva, Paris!’ as if to say: ‘Here ability is not important, nor technique, nor skill. What matters here is something other.’
Then La Niña de Los Peines got up like a madwoman, trembling like a medieval mourner, and drank, in one gulp, a huge glass of fiery spirits, and began to sing with a scorched throat, without voice, breath, colour, but…with [/i]duende[/i]. She managed to tear down the scaffolding of the song, but allow through a furious, burning duende
, friend to those winds heavy with sand, that make listeners tear at their clothes with the same rhythm as the Negroes of the Antilles in their rite, huddled before the statue of Santa Bárbara.
La Niña de Los Peines had to tear apart her voice, because she knew experts were listening, who demanded not form but the marrow of form, pure music with a body lean enough to float on air. She had to rob herself of skill and safety: that is to say, banish her Muse, and be helpless, so her duende might come, and deign to struggle with her at close quarters. And how she sang! Her voice no longer at play, her voice a jet of blood, worthy of her pain and her sincerity, opened like a ten-fingered hand as in the feet, nailed there but storm-filled, of a Christ by Juan de Juni.
There is something of that, I think, in the best of roots reggae—e.g., the Live at the Rainbow performance of “No Woman, No Cry”. (Though I also agree with you about “Redemption Song”.) Although you can no doubt discern my predilection for lyricism, roots reggae also has the whole Rasta philosophy behind it, and the repetitive “riddims” you mention can draw the listener into a state of Irie
, where some of the more message-lyrics can perhaps penetrate the subconscious (which can be the purpose of repetition in lots of contemplative music as well).
I cannot really just listen
to good reggae anyway—I have to dance or drum along, I have to move
It is perhaps apparent that I have no schooling in music at all. Nevertheless, if I were condemned to listen to just one
piece of music for the rest of my life, it might be Beethoven's Ninth...