Beck – Song Reader (Faber/McSweeney’s)

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Old Shanghai - Beck

Old Shanghai

I’m going to leave the last word to musician Chris Anderson, who had this to say in answer to accusations that publishing sheet music is elitist because so few people read it anymore:

“I don’t get the whole attitude that regards sheet music as nostalgic, quaint, elitist etc. It is the only universal language there is and a fuck sight easier than learning so-called contemporary ‘languages’ like say Javascript or Python or whatever. Just because music teaching curricula often eschew simple music theory doesn’t mean that trying to learn to read music is in any way backward looking. I’m rubbish at sight reading but with a little perseverance wonderful things can be achieved and like anything, the more you try the easier it becomes. Music is just a language which exceeds words. It speaks across continents, cultures, faiths and politics. It draws us all together where words chosen without care can undo these good things terribly. A badly chosen note on the other hand, if repeated may become the right note and become a Number One hit, as occurred in the main riff in Gary Numan’s ‘Are Friends Electric?’

By learning to read music – which involves mainly being able to subdivide four or six (not elitist really) and know your ABC – you have combined elementary mathematics with elementary literacy to create any emotion you care to, and, if you love language so much, you can just add words into the recipe and hey presto, a song. By writing it down you share it in its purest form for anyone to interpret as they wish. Innit.”

You can get Song Reader from the McSweeney’s store.

Related posts: Beck – Song Reader (Faber/McSweeney’s) THE BAD REVIEW

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