Music VS Muzik by Mike Baron

MUSIC VS MUZIK

There is music, and there is muzik. You know music when you hear it. The Beatles. Beethoven. The Beat. Melody, harmony, and rhythm arranged in a way to create joy, sorrow, excitement. A dynamic arrangement of sounds that provide not only entertainment, but catharsis and often trigger introspection about all aspects of life.

Then there is muzik, a commercial product that serves as aural wallpaper at best, and an irritant at worst. Anyone who logs into Comcast’s On Demand knows what I’m talking about. Insidious little phrases, sometimes riffs, that repeat endlessly and go nowhere. Some elevators still use them. Their commercial name is Muzak. But it is not music. It it is to music what the zombies in a Bela Lugosi movie are to real human beings. Moving but lifeless. Television theme songs are mostly real music, but the background sounds they play are not.

Many people collect film soundtracks and play them while they work, because the soundtracks remind them of the emotions they experienced while watching the film. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with it. Some of those soundtracks, like American Graffiti or Guardians of the Galaxy are rife with real music. Popular music is just as vital and important as the classics. But when you hear Bernard Herrmann’s groaning soundtracks to Hitchock, or Taxi Driver, those are mostly sounds designed to evoke a feeling, often a feeling of dread. Herrmann does it with ominous chords. Is it music? Music is in the ear of the behearer. I would rather listen to the Beatles.

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