Sunday, November 02, 2008

Music Half life ...

A useful characteristic of a musical work of any kind is the number of listening before it start to lose its taste, call it its "half life". (Of course, this half life is listener-dependent.) I like many genres of pop music but their half life is in the range of 10-50 listening rounds. Very excellent albums may reach 100 or above, rarely.

Even in classical music, many composers in my experience have short half life, e.g. Schubert, in the range of less than 100. On the other hand, some continue to grow on you as you listen more and more, especially if you allow some time between a group of listening sessions. I have listened to J.S. Bach's Goldberg variations many times before, and in the past I did not like it. Until a couple of weeks ago I heard a performance of it by a string trio, and since then I am enjoying (different performances of) it more and more. For me the half life of some J.S.Bach's work is very very long ...

There is a scene in the movie "seven" when Morgan Freeman goes into a library in the middle of night and the background music, as I remember, is one of Bach's orchestral suites ... it is an amazing scene, the purity and beauty of the music is in sharp contrast to all the surrounding gore and filth ...

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