Two Sides of the Art of Music

By having a quick and holistic look back at the history of music, we realize that music at the top level has always been considered divine and the means to connect the human soul to the source of all divinity and truth. The prodigies and masterminds that we still remember as great composers, the ones that have developed music by their works, had strong beliefs – from J. S. Bach to Beethoven, Brahms to Bruckner.

Music’s only purpose should be for the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit. – J. S. Bach (1685 – 1750)

It was not a fortuitous meeting of chordal atoms that made the world; if order and beauty are reflected in the constitution of the universe, then there is a God. – Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 -1827)

I will now tell you and your young friend here about my method of communicating with the Infinite, for all truly inspired ideas come from God. …I know several young composers who are atheists. I have read their scores, and I assure you, Joseph, that they are doomed to speedy oblivion, because they are utterly lacking in inspiration. Their works are purely cerebral… – Johannes Brahms (1833 – 1897)

They want me to write in a different way. I could, but I must not. Out of thousands I was given this talent by God, only I. Sometime I will have to give account of myself. How would the Father in Heaven judge me if I followed others and not Him? – Anton Bruckner (1824 – 1896)

Great composers like Beethoven had social and political concerns as well. His care for humanity inspired him to compose his 3rd symphony, dedicating it to Napoleon Bonaparte who promised to lead humanity to a new age of liberty, fraternity, and equality. But after realizing that he proclaimed himself as the emperor, Beethoven found himself disillusioned about Bonaparte by the time of publication in 1806. So the title changed to ‘Eroica’ Symphony (Heroic Symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man), he decided to dedicate this to prince Lobkowitz and ‘the great man’ defined as Lobkowitz’s friend Louis Ferdinand, Prince of Prussia who greatly taken by the symphony and died a hero in 1806. Beethoven whom we know as the symbol of resistance never gave in to the demands of the public to compose music that would be understood, listened to and loved by everyone, nor did he give the green light to the secret societies that would give anything to have him as a member. Money and fame were not the reasons he was composing music. He believed that “music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy”. Of course, this revelation was not for sale in any way or form. It was the vital value that he would give his life to guard it, and he did.

Roger Waters at a conference on the Palestinian situation

Today, we still can see artists that do have care for humanity. Roger Waters co-founder of Pink Floyd does not hesitate to speak up or be the voice of the people that do not have a voice, wherever and whenever he feels it can make a change – from Julian Assange’s case to occupation of Palestine to political shows (read more here).

Even back at Bach days, people were making what we now know as “pop music”. Of course, their music was not anywhere near what Bach was writing by any means. On the contrary, it was very much elementary and easy to understand and therefore like by the majority of people. They would sing about cheap subjects – earning more money could be their ultimate goal.

Gradually, music became an industry rather than the art it used to be. Those “pop singers and musicians” who would do absolutely anything to have fame and money had a road paved for them. Fame and wealth would even convince them to become slaves of the music industry.

Now, with an audience that would take these so-called “artists” as role models and idols – given that this audience could be from all over the world as some “artists” would achieve international fame – music industry could not only make money but even control and brainwash people!

Interestingly, in a nutshell, we can see it explained in the song “Freestyler” by MC Bomfunk – not only in the lyrics but also video – as he is talking or thinking aloud as a person behind the music industry scene. One of those who decide what people should know, what and how they should think and what they should do and how they should do it. You probably have heard this song but never really listened to it and never given it the benefit of a doubt.

Let’s have a look and listen:

After an intro, we see a teenager entering the subway wagon with headphones on, he represents a famous singer. He sits in front of Bomfunk MC who represents the hands behind the scene in this music video. He then disappears before the teenager (singer) know and the journey starts as we see the train leaving the station. The singer is a fast learner and finds it amusing to use his power after he hacks the function. Then, he walks in the society controlling different kinds and types of people as he wishes, with a music player that now works as remote control (symbolizing the power of music). People, however, do not have any power to resist. Not only that, people do not even seem to realize that they are being played and controlled (read more here).  In the meantime we hear:

I got to throw on (to force someone to accept) and go on, You know it gots to flow on

Later on, cleverly, the lyrics point out the various ridiculous and silly reasons given to people/audiences to support a particular singer. Yet, some people seem to embrace these foolish and laughable reasons:

Select us from your radio play us
‘Cause we’re friendly for ozone

Afterward, the singer ridicules some of the idols in the music industry and indicates that the lesson for the audience is to learn to question.

“Let there be a lesson, question
You carry protection
Or will your heart go on
Like Celine Dion
Karma Chameleon”

Further on, it points out that the music industry gives the audience the illusion of choice by producing different genres and various so-called “artists”:

Prince with the word “slave” written on his face. Very much self-explanatory.

“Styles, steelos
We bring many kilos
So you could pick yours from the various
Ambitious, nutritious, delicious, delirious or vicious
Just tell us, we deliver anything
From acappellas to propellers”

The teenager/singer who now has become the voice of the hands behind the scene is being watched by two people throughout his journey. They do not appear as themselves (singer and a band member) in this music video, to symbolize the people behind the scene watching a “slave singer” (to quote Prince, “Record contracts are just like — I’m gonna say the word – slavery,” – “I would tell any young artist … don’t sign.”) that is enjoying the illusion of fame, power and even wealth. They seem to find it pathetic that the teenager (representing a famous singer) feels in power and is arrogantly enjoying the process of controlling people not realizing he is being controlled himself as well.

At the end of the video, as he shockingly discovers and realizes that he cannot control the people there and he has no power there, he is sent back to where he started – maybe to indicate that when an “artist” understands what is going on or rebels, he/she has no place in the music industry anymore.

However, it is a critic of the music that is produced or influenced by the music industry and supported by big companies, major music channels, political parties, and mass media. The revelation that Beethoven believed to be higher than all wisdom and philosophy can be manipulated to hurt humanity. The true art is to make a better person and human out of the artist and the audience as well, as history has explained it to us. But how can one become a better person or human being without freedom, when we let others make choices for us or lead us to certain paths and make us do what we do not wish to do?

How informed are we about the music that we or our children listen to? Do we believe that no harm can come our way out of music? We can be those poppets in the society that someone controls without us realizing as we love the masters that have enchained us and made us slaves. Awareness is the first step to regaining control.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist” – The Usual Suspects 1995.

Here is a 2019 remake of the “freestyler” music video:

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