By: Joaquin Dominess
“What’s that rubbish you’re playing?” many a parent has asked the younger generation of the time. Well, what is discordant music to one person may not be to another.
Many a classical composer has been ahead of his time, sometimes only appreciated later in life and some not until well after their death. The reason is that music, the same as everything else, progresses, and what is tuneful to one generation may well be considered discordant by the next and indeed vice versa.
Classical, Romantic, jazz, rock, pop, and heavy metal composers and musicians of many genres, for instance, have been heavily sneered at by the general public over the years for their visionary views, their creative genius, their ‘different’ music, only to be rather liked 20 years later.
Depending on your age your parents or grandparents probably hated the Beatles or the Rolling Stones in the 1960’s but will happily sing along nowadays.
It must be said that there is certainly discordant music around, but it depends upon the listener to put it into that category, and that in turn depends upon the listener’s previous exposure to the type of music being played. It is very often the case that the listener does not understand the music.
Many people listening to music from Asia or India may have difficulty in understanding the discordant notes; however the people living there would very possibly not understand western music unless they had heard it on TV.
The post Baroque period of classical and later Romantic music leading up to the present day has changed music so radically that discordant music can be heard every day by some people who do not have an interest or knowledge of a particular type of music.
Many ‘classical’ composers suffered from their music being thought of as discordant at the time. Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and many others found that their wonderful musical innovations did not always work at the time.
It took time for the listening audiences to get used to the changes going on in classical music at the time. Many years later the music ceased to sound discordant, and the true beauty of many works was finally appreciated.
Of course some people go out of their way to play discordant music. There are even a music labels sponsoring so called “anarchy” music such as “punk rock” and many other genres. This ‘music’ is very loud and often played by young non-musicians deliberately (or not) off-key and not necessarily in time with each other.
Deliberately discordant music can be, therefore, perhaps a statement of some sort of discontent with the writer, musicians and audience, destructive as opposed to creative.
There is little doubt that a person’s music education can make a big difference in many cases in deciding whether a piece of music is discordant or not. Some are exposed to music much of the time on the radio or TV. Others take more of an interest in other types of music, but most people just don’t like discordant music.