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,