Thursday, October 13, 2011

Extracting meaning.

Imagine going to a museum or exhibit and coming across a series of paintings.

Some of them are photo-realistic, looking as if they could have been enlarged photographs. Some of them are harder to get right away, but you recognize what the artist was trying to get at. Some of them you look at but you have no idea what's going on.

Now think of those paintings as taiko pieces. Some of them are easily "understood". A festival piece, or perhaps an odaiko piece. Then you have some that are supposed to invoke imagery, like the ocean or teamwork. Then you have some that are conceptual, that tell a story through positions or emotion.

Some people will prefer the first kind. Just clearly tell them what you want them to get, and they're happy. They may not like the song, but they don't want to spend time figuring it out. Other people appreciate clever ways to interpret things in ways that may surprise them. Then there are some who will enjoy spending energy analyzing what the heck they're watching, even if they don't arrive at an answer.

There's nothing wrong with disliking certain types of songs either, and that's the real point of my post here. Most people like the first two categories of taiko. It's rare that someone doesn't want some songs to be simple in meaning. It's also rare for someone to not enjoy a creative imagining of a theme. But if you find a song that you don't "get", how much time will you spend trying to figure it out?

Aside from a song that's so "out there" that it's almost trying to confuse you, when do you give up on trying to figure things out? How much tolerance do you have when the meaning of a piece isn't handed to you in a convenient package? What does that say about you?

Not every song will be something you appreciate, but what do you have to lose by extracting meaning from it? What was the composer trying to say? Did it work? Did it make you think? Why or why not?

It's one thing not to like something abstract, but going in with a "I don't have the patience for this" or "I don't get it, it's stupid" attitude really reflects more on you. Don't be that kind of person, expand your perspectives!

"Bert Drip Painting" by Tommervik

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