A Rant

Please read this article before reading my post:

Source of Rage #1

Okay.  You’ve probably figured out the simple reason why I am annoyed.  Replacing live musicians with technology is frustrating and quite stupid the majority of the time, especially in as well-known and well-respected a place of performance as Broadway theaters.  What scares me in this, what really “grinds my gears” (cheers, Family Guy!) is that it’s the PRODUCERS who think this is okay.  That cutting out live players, who have worked hard to master the score of West Side Story, is a viable way to cut their costs.  That the audience won’t notice.

Growing up on Long Island, I was fortunate to both attend a school in close enough proximity to New York City to be able to see Broadway shows with classmates and have a family interested in theater who would occasionally go to shows.  I have not seen many, because it is expensive, but I have played a fair number of shows.  Even now, one of my favorite gigs to be called for is pit orchestra.  Truth be told, there are amazing musical scores out there.  Take The Scarlet Pimpernel for one.  The score is so lush and full, completely fitting for the setting of the musical itself.

This is a Japanese Takarazuka Revue adaptation, so the lyrics don’t quite flow as in the original song, but it is the best mixed video I can find so you can hear the nuances of the live orchestra strings with the live chorus:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGajy2kwVmQ&feature=related

Now, the same song, done with either no strings or an inaudible string section, in an amateur production (I give props to the soprano at the end!):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbCgiooixkI&feature=related

Do you notice that, without the strings, the song loses its edge and its intensity?  The melody and harmony haven’t changed, the song itself hasn’t changed, but it feels different.  This isn’t even that well-known a musical!  If there were half the strings during a song like “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera, or “Maria” from West Side Story, or ANY ballad from ANY show, the audience would notice a difference, no matter how “educated” they are in the realm of music and musicals.

Not to mention, the audience is now getting less for what they’ve paid a pretty penny, and that’s just WRONG.

It’s not just the musical end of this that’s frustrating, though.  It’s a whole lack of culture.  We’re in a recession, people are losing jobs and homes, schools are losing funding, and we’re losing live music left and right.  Orchestras are dying (my friend got into the pit of Opera Pacific and the organization folded before he played a single show), and with them, we lose more and more of our culture.  Why do they cut music and the arts from schools when those are things proven to raise students grades in favor of keeping sports teams alive?  Didn’t anyone look at the ancient Greek’s structure of education?  Music and art were right up there with science, philosophy, and mathematics!  Remind me…how long did their civilization survive?

Why is it the creative mind that seems to always get shafted in the end?

Take a look at this, also:

Source of Rage #2

So society takes away the people with real talent who are doing something that could culturally enhance our lives, or makes it really difficult for them to share their gifts, in favor of a bunch of people who already HAVE money who just hash out the same thing over and over and over again because it’s popular and selling.

Moreover, if you’re one of those who decided you would stick it to the music industry and not buy albums but illegally download them, do you now see just how much you’re hurting the artist?

For so many people, in many different ways, music is an escape from the harsh realities of life.  Slowly, accessibility to that escape is deteriorating, and it will be a sad, sad existence when it’s gone.  How many people listen to music when they’re happy?  Sad?  Upset?  In love?  Heartbroken? Just because?  Angry?  Why does music accompany life events like graduations, weddings, sweet sixteens…hell, why do we SING “Happy Birthday”?  Music has the power to heal, the power to communicate, and the power to transcend borders.  Everyone understands music.  So why is it slowly evaporating and nobody seems to care?

I ask this not as a musician, but as a fan of music:  DON’T allow our society to throw away something as beautiful and timeless as music.  You WILL miss it.

~ by violarockstar on July 13, 2010.

One Response to “A Rant”

  1. Word.
    And now you’ve got me wanting to listen to more Takarazuka. XD I’m so behind on those musicals…

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