Reading the introduction to Classical Guitar Method by Matteo Carcassi (1792–1853), one of the oldest but still famous books on learning classical guitar, translated into English in the early 20th century, I came across two phrases that you’re unlikely to see these days:
“I can give assurance that any intelligent person who will study [this method] with attention from beginning to end, will acquire a perfect knowledge of the guitar”
“Music is the art of combining and expressing sounds. A succession of various agreeable sounds is called a melody”.
There is so much expressed in these two sentences about the attitudes to learning, to music, and to art that have preceded our current progressive era.
The fact that these attitudes are unlikely to be expressed today, e.g., by a school teacher, also tells us a lot about how far we’ve departed from the core values of European culture.
Characteristics like intelligence and conscientiousness are nowadays derided as white-ist, hence racist, and I hear that teachers are instructed not encourage them among their pupils. Intelligence is no longer a requisite for entrance into higher education.
On the side of music, how often do you hear anyone concerned about melody?
Much of contemporary entertainment has no melody at all, eg., in hip hop, or the melody is extremely simple and would be uninteresting without all the rhythmic backing.
Yet Carcassi’s first sentence in his book on learning classical guitar is that music is about combining sounds. The second sentence is that a succession of agreeable sounds is a melody. The third sentence is about harmony: “Sounds so combined that they are heard simultaneously produce harmony”.
Melody, harmony, agreeableness and intelligence is what you need. Sadly the contemporary statist education system and mass culture industry has robbed us of an understanding of what is necessary.
Why has this happened? If you consider the video by Simon Webb of History Debunked in the last post (Feminisation and anti-whiteism: a general phenomenon in the West) on the lynching of a white man in the UK, what it shows is that in European countries there has been a strong divide among the social classes.
While communist countries have attempted to eliminate class distinctions by force, Anglophone countries like the US, Australia and Canada have actually been far more effective at promoting egalitarian values (hence probably the speed at which they’re currently plunging towards totalitarianism, the long march through the institutions, etc.)
Even Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School were forced to recognise the problem with egalitarianism, namely, that most culture that’s any good originates at the top and trickles down and so-called proletarian art is an abysmal failure.
Musical instruments and the music theory that is used to play them, even when they’re played by the common folk, originated with the upper classes and not the peasants.
Flamenco and the Blues are played on the guitar which (unlike eg., an African drum) is a complex instrument with a very wide tonal range, that therefore requires technical understanding, as can be seen in the diagram below.
Rather than the culture of the lower strata of society being gentrified and thus appropriated by the middle or upper classes, until recently it’s actually been the other way around: in Europe the products of the idle upper classes have trickled down to the lower classes who appropriated them.
But as pointed out by Andrew Klavan (Is this why most people in tango don’t really listen to the music? (Andrew Klavan) even then there remained an aspirational attitude whereby the superiority of high culture was accepted and affirmed.
What marks the current post-modern era is a rejection of such aspirational values, and conscious attempts to remove the reference to the historical origins of Western music in upper class culture, and instead the elevation of things like drumming, rhythm and a funky or at least rhythmic bass.
While the collapse of Soviet Union might have promised the end of socialism, in fact the opposite is happening and most people’s attitudes represent a sort of technocratic leftism in which there is an ideology of equality, but de facto devaluation of high culture and it’s replacement with white low culture (rock) and non-white ethnic culture.
This leads to the destructionism that I have talked about (Cultural Marxist destruction of “Argentine Tango” and why I’m getting out) because as high culture is no longer operative all that can happen is that people merely exploit what has been produced by people like Carcassi and subsequently D’Arienzo et al, not all of whom were upper class but all of whom probably aspired to high culture values.
What we have now is the trend to simply exploit, package, and commodify without reference, in other words, to appropriate and colonise.
So on my argument, the post-modernists get part of the story right: tango has been appropriated and colonised
What they get wrong is the direction: it’s the technocratic leftists themselves who’re doing it, appropriating both high and ethnic culture for their own goal of creating a new globalist technocratic culture.
They might disagree with each other on what is an acceptable form of the appropriation and colonisation: the salon style form, the nuevo form, or the anti-ableist form.
What they all agree on is that we’ve moved on and anything prior to mid-20th century is a history of oppressive patriarchy that needs to be rewritten and forgotten.
The strategy is apparently to identify South American music with “Latin culture”, as if it was created in South America without any connection to Europe whatsoever, so that then the music can be commodified as “Latin” and can be either sold as touristic entertainment and at the same time as reaction against “Western culture” whatever that means.
You conceptually isolate South American music genres from European history, then you fuse Europe with “the West”, then associate that with consumerism, and Bingo!, you can’t be blamed for engaging in consumerism because you’re offering authentic Latin culture which is sui generis and totally different from European culture.
Europeans might find things like tango awfully familiar but having lost the cultural memory and now finding tango wrapped in an exotic package they must assume that it’s a foreign good, whereas in fact they’re being sold what was theirs to begin with.
To resist and reverse this onslaught of egalitarian leftist technocratic touristic consumerism we can begin by returning to using words like intelligence, agreeableness, melody and harmony, that signal a cultural attitude that has not merely been lost, but that has been under sustained attack in the education system and in mass culture generally, but that is a marker of classical European high culture.