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Pascal-Denis Lussier

Computational Linguist and writer, who sees music in all things.

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2017-05-22

It’s often said that good music is the music you think is good, but I don’t buy that. Sure, we all have leanings, from artists to genres, even periods, too, but good music exists as a superset, not a subset. Otherwise, how could new genres rise to existence? Too often, people confuse “It’s not for me” for “It’s not good,” letting genre preference or peer acceptance set the bounds on their definition of “good.” Genres facilitate discussions, but classification negatively influences progress and feeds biases, thus, it imposes limitations. Listening: honestly, intently, receptively; good music can only reveal itself then. Its incorporeal, living in the now, to be heard and felt and gone, never to be touched, transferring its full value when auditory input creates new connections between brain and gut. For this, the music must communicate something primal, entirely human; this can only occur if those interfaces between musician and instrument, instruments and results (i.e. music) can successfully capture, process, and render individuality, from musician to listener, so that what is shared is honest self-expression. Technology should introduce new schemes to express one’s humanity in new musical ways—as electricity did to the guitar— not eliminate the human factor, or reduce self-expression to adept clicking on specialized software, or the order in which one pushes a button. Sad to see how much of today’s music is synthetic. Empty. Proof that too many aren’t really listening. But, then again, how many “music lovers” only listen to music in their cars or while walking to work or cleaning the house or… People who listen, really, will argue about what and who’s the best, even on what qualifies as good, but there’s one universal criterion all will give: musicianship. When it’s there and felt, good musicianship doesn't need to be defined among listeners willing to hear. Hence why, when asked what I listen to, genres are useless; I usually reply with, “I listen to good music.”

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