Sunday, January 22, 2012

classical music, the weapon

To hear some people tell it, classical music can help the plants grow.

It can soothe the savage beast.

I knew a music therapist once who had a tattooed gang-banger of a client, a violent customer on various fronts, who succumbed and was swept up in a loop tape version of the Pachelbel Canon. The music melted him and made him ripe for therapeutic revision.

Classical music can be credited with marvelous and benevolent graces, an unsullied angel of positive, persuasive and compassionate vibes.

And now comes news (an analysis) that it can also have some effect when being used as a weapon -- a means for clearing public spaces of various sorts of riff-raff who find the blandishments of classical music offensive, annoying and, possibly, cruel. The analyst suggests that there is something arrogant about foisting classical music on others who dislike it. But I wonder if there isn't some equal arrogance in implying that classical music is all sweetness and light. What is beautiful in one moment can be ugly in the next.

PS. I can no longer mention the Pachelbel Canon without thinking of this classic rant that gives me a case of the giggles every time... every bit as delicious in its way as "Alice's Restaurant" (it isn't the original, but it's close) is in its.

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