haiku, humor, music, oversimplify

Phrases as Facades

Typing just [Enter] key into the Search box makes it easy to browse WordPress blogs like this one.   Here, the [Menu] button (atop the vertical black bar) reveals widgets like the Search box.

Composer Philip Glass prefers “music with repetitive structures” over “minimalist music” as a name for his style.  Descriptive names are indeed better than arbitrary ones, but only if we do not take them too seriously.  Descriptive short phrases can become oversimplified facades that obscure realities too complex to be described well (not just named) by the phrases.

In music, any mishmash with a beat or a scale has an at least slightly repetitive structure.  The sounds emanating from a beer garden or a rap concert are extremely repetitive.  The good stuff is in between.  While the musical lines in a piece by Glass have subtle variations, they are often too simple and repetitive to be interesting by themselves.  Happily, they are not by themselves.  Something special emerges when they are superimposed.

Neither Glass nor I can think of a good short descriptive phrase for his style, but I can offer a decent visual analogy that can be expressed concisely in a haiku.  I should be doing my chores rather than responding to

But how could I resist a chance to put a link inside a haiku and pun on both the composer’s name and the title of one of my favorites among the works by him that I have heard?

moire_2016-12-06

Seeing while Listening

Transparent layers,
etched to form Moiré patterns:
See the sounds of Glass.
Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Phrases as Facades

  1. I agree that repetition in music is common feature, for instance there is use of the ostinato – a continually repeated musical phrase or rhythm – upon which the musician(s) can elaborate and contradict over the course of the piece. I can’t say I get Glass’ resistance to the notion of minimalism as a label, for it is more descriptive of his effort to strip away unnecessary ornamentation, achieving a rich complexity with bare bones of notes. Your haiku captures the essence of that – the transparency’s clarity blurred by the etchings in glass, enough to distort the view (the listening) to create a lush feedback of contrast and friction.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great piece!! It would mean the world if you checked out my blog. I’m kind of new here, and some tips and comments could help 🙂 I love your blog! hintstolifeblog.wordpress.com

    Like

Care to comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s