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Editorial Musings with Basil Ramsey

The ultimate level

Music for some years has been at the ultimate level of reaching our ears endlessly, unless we take precautions to avoid being within earshot of television, radio, CD player, and innumerable outlets -- whether in the street or just out-of-doors. Public transport is mostly without relayed sound, although crooning individuals can loom anywhere without warning. I remember the embarrassment of rush-hour travellers on the London Underground when not infrequently serenaded by a reveller already well ahead on evening drinking.

As a child living opposite a London public house, I eventually became immune to the raucous hubbub of 'closing time', most of which was distinctly unmusical. I survived it all, and actually took to music as the art it is, learning the piano from eleven onwards. So, with some attention to avoiding the usual danger zones, we may live our daily lives without too much distress from excess.

At which point I distinctly hear the rising scorn of those individuals whose musical apprehension of development cuts dead after about 1930. Such individuals may not have been born until years later, but the steady extension of our tonal/atonal palette is now beyond the tolerance of all but trained ears, yet in some ways it has levelled out.

If individuals loudly protest, 'Why?', mankind must take account of development, whether we expect supreme comfort in leisure, or perhaps mostly stress-free travel across continents.

Provided sound excess remains short of the pain barrier, I doubt if we can reasonably expect less of habitual growth.

Copyright © 13 October 2005 Basil Ramsey, Yorkshire UK



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