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Monday, December 09, 2013

How to sound profound with deepities


"David Cerone's masterclass.

DC: Now, can anyone tell me, what industry are we musicians in? Can anyone tell me?

*several answers were hazarded, ranging from 'entertainment' to 'culture' to 'arts'*

DC: Well we're all in the industry of -communication-. If you can't communicate what you want to express to your audience, you're not making any music."

Following this logic, all industries are about communication.

In manufacturing, if you cannot communicate that your product is good/cheap you have failed as a manufacturer.

If Starbucks cannot communicate the Starbucks experience, it has failed.

And if the road sweeper cannot communicate a clean street, he has also failed.

This is a classic bait and switch of the sort beloved by motivation and business gurus (i.e. a deepity).

First you mislead your audience by using a word which has a known/commonly understood meaning. In this case, industry refers to “Commercial production and sale of goods” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).

Then you invite them to give answers based on their commonly agreed-upon understandings to prime them into continuing to think conventionally.

Lastly you give them a “revelation” which relies upon a tortured definition of the original term but which is instinctively appealing as a feel-good platitude, and which implicitly denies alternate narratives by presenting itself as a transcendental spiritual truth.

In this case, he is eliding the term “industry” (which people understand as an economic term describing a sector) with a Platonic ideal of music as communication.

And all that is without even going into his ideal of music, which excludes music that is intended to be open (and so has no fixed expression that has to be communicated to the audience), non-intended interpretations of music – the musician is dead (cf. Barthes’s Death of the Author), industrial music like muzak which is more ubiquitous than the ‘art music’ that Cerone is presumably referring to and more.
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