An old advertising tag-line for an investment firm was voiced by the British-American actor John Houseman: “We make music the old fashioned way; we earn it.” Houseman, of course, said “money,” not “music.”
In my effort to show with strong, plain words how I want to earn music, an inconvenient analogy has surfaced. There is something called PornHub. I’m going to imagine its analog as “MusicHub.”
On MusicHub, the dude pulls some sweet riffs and licks from his Fender. Then he tells how you can make those sounds, too, especially if you subscribe. The orientation is positional and result-minded; a tad exhibitionistic. Do this, do that, until “Sweet Home Alabama” happens.
Let’s be glib: PornHub is sexual but not sensual; MusicHub is digital but not musical. I want note awareness and the architecture of song before release. I want to explore a nuanced relationship with the instrument — slow, not fast; soft, not loud; tender, not dominating; intuitive and expressive, not wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.
But, you say, “I merely want to learn several chords and strum some accompaniment. Maybe hammer out a few bars of ‘Smoke on the Water.’ I’m not looking for a committed relationship with a guitar.” Well, yes, there is that too, I concede. MusicHub does have its uses if your needs are basic and your standards are modest.
The way of perplexity is the long way around. It hinges on a dawning awareness that there’s no quick fix for musical longing. This isn’t self-help pablum; if anything it’s self-hindrance apologia, though the shame of nakedly hitching my wagon to difficulty and not gratification shines through.
There you have it. It’s time to get back down to brass tacks — coming next.
(c) 2019 JMN