The realness of music – a welcome refuge

The realness of music – a welcome refuge

In an age where facts and evidence may be viewed as no different from opinion, and science itself is suspect, I find myself holding on dearly to one thing that is unquestionably real, objective, and absent partisan perspective: music. In particular, people, of all makes and models, joining together to play music.

In fact, I think I might be just starting to understand how this aspect of culture can facilitate resistance; music can help join people together in a sense of common purpose and aspiration, if accomplishing nothing more than recognizing and reinforcing observable aspects of reality. A tune is a tune…

I believe you can go almost anywhere in the world and find an ITM session. It follows that we have at least one semi-common language that isn’t likely to generate an argument (well, usually…), and that is something we should all be grateful for. The Irish resisted the British for hundreds of years. Maybe the enduring quality of their music shows that something lasting, real and beautiful can emerge from a joint effort to resist.

Posted by .

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

A few observations.

Science is not suspect.
People may chose to believe what they want but the facts aren’t up for debate.
The current suspicion of experts is a dangerous issue. We have demagogues who talk crowd-pleasing rubbish and make up stuff.

Playing tunes is playing tunes.
You can waste a lot of time trying to find any other common ground at a session.
Fascists play good music too.

Rebel music is in the mouth and ear of the beholder.
Resistance is relative: some wanted independence, some not.

But music is just music.

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

Agreed, Allen21. Sound, down-to-earth observations.

Posted by .

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

I’ll agree that music is a welcome refuge. I mostly play at the end of the day, and it’s a time to forget work, forget the news of the day, turn off the telly, and lose myself in the beauty of the music. A time for relaxation and introspection. When everything is just right, and the pipes are in (stay in) good tune, there is something magical and very nearly a spiritual experience for me.

"Deartháir don phaidir an port" (The tune is a brother to prayer).

"Many of these older musicians used to play by themselves and for themselves as an expression and a relaxation, just like the old bluesmen. At other times it meant relief from more worldly troubles, a therapy. Today impact and communication are regarded as essential, and I feel that at times people forget that the musician often plays for his own enjoyment." - Kevin Burke

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

"Science is not suspect.
People may chose to believe what they want but the facts aren’t up for debate."

Thank you for this, allan21 — as a scientist, I often fight an uphill battle trying to help people understand this.

As for music as a refuge, absolutely. Playing music, especially at the end of a work day, is like hitting the "reset" button. And playing with others is even better — the rest of the world falls away and we’re left with pure joy of expression.

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

In times like these, it’s more important than ever to stick to the rule about not talking politics when you’ve gathered to play music, unless you’re absolutely certain that everyone shares your point of view. Even then, the introduction of politics is likely to lead to a lengthy interruption of the music …..

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

"Science is not suspect. People may chose to believe what they want but the facts aren’t up for debate."

1. Facts are facts. But much of science is theory and is therefore, by its nature, up for debate (although only backed up with sound research by scientists). That is how science progresses.
2. Plenty of real science is skewed for political or commercial ends, then presented to the gullible public as ‘science’. I imagine this is what dfost means by "science itself is suspect".

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

There was a piece on the BBC a couple of days ago pointing out that many experimental results in medical science had been published and acted upon without being repeated independantly. Some have not been repeated after several attempts.

The power has been off most of the afternoon thanks to storm Doris. I have taken refuge by playing tunes.

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

"Science is not suspect.
People may chose to believe what they want but the facts aren’t up for debate."

I would like to respectfully disagree. The scientific method *requires* debate. Even well established general theories that are widely accepted as "true" come under repeated scrutiny (as they should). Especially when some new information presents itself that appears to contradict the theory. That’s kind of the whole point of science. Where we get into danger is where real scientific debate is quashed for one reason or another (often political). The roll of the scientist is to never stop asking questions, and then devising ways to put the questions to the test in order to to answer them in an unbiased way.

But I digress. I do appreciate the escape from the stress of life which music provides for me! The rare "perfect moment" in a session when the music is flowing effortlessly and the world seems to slow to a crawl and everything revolves around the musical conversation - definitely one of the things that makes life worth living!

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

There is much I disagree with in the OP:- about science;- about so-called ‘facts’ (which are not actually a claimed goal or prize of the scientific method);- about the politicising of music;- and about the very contradictory claim to that, that music is objective. My own concerns with the discussion have mostly already been addressed by the responses above, but I’d just like to add that there are far worse horrors going on in the world today than allow me the indulgence to worry about scientific research.

Posted by .

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

Two relevant quotes from Aldus Huxley. The first I relate to the scientific method. The second is how I very personally relate to music (and I don’t mean sessions… there is more to music….).

(1) Man (sic) approaches the unattainable truth through a succession of errors.

(2) After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Posted by .

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

get off politics and play some tunes

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

lots of interesting stuff. I’ve found myself learning mroe blues and playing it quite a bit. Very fun style of music, ltos of expression.

Re: The realness of music – a welcome refuge

First of all, a disclaimer of sorts: using my real name in this forum is kind of a pre-imposed restraint - I know and play music with a number of other contributors and they know a lot of my dirty little secrets - and if I get too snarky or otherwise offensive it can’t be attributed to some alias.

That said, it’s interesting how this discussion veered away from what I think the original intent was. So forget the science digression - OP IS a scientist. With regard to the rest of the discussion, I’ve never met a facist at a session and my experience has been that the local sessions in my area go beyond just playing tunes. Over time, these sessions have been the basis for a community - or perhaps a congregation built on the common interest of the music - and resulting friendships have extended well beyond the interactions at the sessions. As OP stated, it is a refuge. I’m not sure that I agree that it’s non-partisan - as Pete Seeger said, "A good song reminds us what we’re fighting for."