New Criticals

The laylistener is but a mirror to the artistic and critical process, a rubric for the standing boundaries of artistic form, totting the contextual narrative view. Both the artist and the critic must keep the scale normative understanding in mind, not for the sake of the confined view, but to know to what ends an art can exist, a baseline for construction - in the same way that a shirt for the average human must have an opening for two arms, a head and a torso, the music work must exist within the normative architectural space. That is not to disparage avant-garde music but to say that music must exist within the frame of human hearing, not necessarily understanding, it must inhabit the same physical and contextual moment. With this said, music does not have to utilize known genres or harmonic structures, it need only excavate a space and meditate on its spatial-sonic makeup, constructing within that space, reifying it. It is in this space where the laylistener exists and the critic extracts meaning.

The introduction of literary concepts and theories to film criticism, saw a leap in terms of the meaning that writers were able to extract from the films that they were writing about. Prior to those modes being introduced, film had primarily existed as a series of meandering experiments in form and technological prowess. Music, similarly, sits in a place of limited modality, stiff from having been closed in by consumer culture and superimposing histories and traditions. In its current state one could see that music is divided into a few immovable and heavily influencing sectors. The two most prominent - pop and classical - take up the most space, whelming the space for innovation and creative production. Pop, on a basic and upfront level, blocks the productivity of music because of its need to please its community, whereas the classical tradition is steeped in a hugely constructed history, taking up all of the academic sector. Returning to the introduction of literary modes, the inclusion of sociological understanding and historical mapping would work well for a medium as code-bound as music. The break the constructed form is to be avant-garde, there is no progression in this. What does it mean for a medium to be so confined to singular ways of thinking? To be bound to only pleasing the immediate moment and the spectator.