Friday, February 15, 2008

Playing loud music in public may be anti-social, but isn't it also an attempt to be social?

Note : this is pre-response to a longer post I'm writing but haven't posted yet. When I do, read it, then get in your Tardis and come back and read this. :-)


John Powers said...

Reminds me of a verse from Hear the Voices (Bahia de Todas as Contas)

He was sentenced into exile/Far away from home but meanwhile/Popularity increased/Radio reversed his fortune/ He was welcomed with emotion/ A voice no one could defeat/Now they crank up the Victrola/ In the corner Bars and oh my,/ How the ladies start to weep/ Everybody stares in wonder/ When the saints begin to speak/ He sings and they speak.

I love the line about cranking up the Victrola. I think the story is about Caetano Veloso, of course Gilberto Gil was also exiled. Song by Gilberto Gil.

Scribe said...

Public Transport is simply a Gathering of Tribes in the 21st Century. Maybe we should celebrate the diversity of these new-tribes?

Mike Crowl said...

Perhaps you explain your remark about 'attempting to be social' in your longer post, which I haven't tracked down yet. To me, loud music is anything but social. It restricts conversation, forces its attention on you, and eventually damages your eardrums. All loud music does is overwhelm. For me that's not what I'm looking for in music.

Composing said...

Hi Mike, thanks for the comment

the idea attempting to be social comes from that post I linked to. The longer article I hinted at was this one where I was comparing the idea of music as something to bring us together vs. something to keep us apart.

Obviously, if you think of, say, carnival, you can't really have gangs of people on the streets playing drums and piccolos and trumpets etc. without that impinging on the residents. In Santa Teresa (Rio de Janeiro) this year, we were often woken by bands outside the window at 9 o'clock in the morning.

Now, some people could consider this an imposition, a kind of noise pollution. But of course, this behaviour is sanctioned in that community at that time by convention.

It's conventional at that space and time that if this happens, you're expected to join in and enjoy it. Not to phone the police and complain.

But where does that convention come from? When is public music acceptable and when isn't it? My friend who lives in Santa Teresa has no problem with carnival, but resents the evangelical church with amplified gospel music at 9 AM.

What about block parties or kids from the community getting together with a sound-system and dancing in the street? Anti-social and oppressive to the neighbours? Or community building for the next generation?

The post I linked was a bit flippant, and the example it gives is trivial and ironic. But I think these questions about the role of music in the community are very deep.