Music and Vision homepage


Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

The good deed


The pros and cons of meddling
considered after a game of Ludo

Idly playing a popular board game with two grandchildren this morning, I suddenly sensed the many years since my childish love of Ludo, Draughts and similar pleasures, and found this delight coming back to me two generations later. The earlier fascinations of such games are not forgotten. They are simply at rest ready for recall. But the sophistication of modern implements has been considerable, and today's children are amazingly adept with the gadgetry -- yet the simple old games still have their attraction.

I feel a touch of sadness that today's youngsters have missed the earlier period of development, which gradually applied more sophistication to the control of mechanical toys, and reached a new market with ingenious household gadgets. Today we push buttons and there's instant reaction. If not, it is back to the store with demand for a replacement. The days when father fiddled around with a screwdriver and managed a suspect repair are gone. In all sorts of ways this age of instant replacement has lost the mystery and even obsession of repair, simply because we are neck-deep in discarded things and routinely buy an update.

Well, whether you the reader are enthusiastic for repairs or not, I trust that Music in your life has a role distinguishable from most other things. Fortunately Music as an art precludes the attention of repairmen. That meddlers tamper with musical arrangement (me included) is probably hotly debated in certain quarters, but we have plenty of distinguished forebears guilty of arranging this and that for this and that. It is unavoidable, and in some cases is a good deed for composers and listeners.

I suppose that we in an imperfect world are constantly faced with possessions that are either the worse for wear or in need of replacement. Thank heaven that music once written and on paper usually never dies, even if the last copy perishes and we rely upon the memory of a performer. But we know from history and the unreliability of some that music carelessly handled can still vanish for ever.

Copyright © 23 August 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK




 << Music & Vision home             Failing insight >>