Dec. 7th, 2010 07:02 pm
azdesertrose: (Default)
Stephani and I are going to see Trans Siberian Orchestra on Thursday evening, because I won tickets off a radio station! Yay!
azdesertrose: (Default)
Nicholas, Aysha, and I watched part of a documentary on the history of hip-hop music, followed by a countdown show of "The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs." It was interesting to see the differences in the way Nicholas and I experienced the music being highlighted on these shows. (Aysha was brought up in a rather restricted environment and did not recall much of the music, or if she did, she didn't say much about it.)

To me, what is now considered "old school" hip-hop music was part of the culture of youth in the 1980s. When I originally heard this music, it was part of the soundtrack of my life. It was a new, youthful music style. It was cool. I learned to break-dance (there is an extremely goofy photograph of me, age 8, backspinning on a flattened cardboard box); I wanted to decorate my bedroom walls with graffiti a la New York subway cars. (Mom and Bill wouldn't let me actually spray-paint my walls, so I faked it. I made poster boards of graffiti and tacked them to my walls.)

Part of it, and I mentioned this to Nicholas, is that radio was not as genre-fied then as now; when I was growing up, and really up until about the time that alternative rock burst upon the popular consciousness, the pop/rock radio station might play Salt 'N Pepa, followed by Def Leppard, followed by Janet Jackson, followed by the Eagles. No present-day commercial radio station would play Disturbed and follow up with Nas. You might get that kind of variety out of an independent online radio station, or a college radio station, but not commercial radio these days. And that's a shame, although it is reflective of the changes that technology has brought to music; there are other ways besides commercial radio for an artist to get his/her music to the listening public, but that's headed for a digression and not my point right now.

Anyway, it didn't really occur to me in the 80s that I was listening to black music. It was just good music, new, interesting, fun music. And I don't think that's a bad way to see hip-hop. But it's a viewpoint that is made possible by being white, to be able to see music by black artists about black issues as just good music. (And yes, I know there are white hip-hop artists, but they are the minority.)

And the experience of hip-hop music is very different for someone who didn't come up as a middle-class white girl. Hip-hop music is neither part of nor reflective of my ethnic identity, and that makes a difference to the experience of the music.

And I don't know that you can separate black music from American music. Music historians say that jazz is the first "American" music style. Well, white people did not come up with that one, folks. Rock and roll itself came from blues, which has its roots in the spirituals of black slaves. Elvis was said, even then, to be a white boy singing black music. And separate hip-hop from pop and rock now. Without hip-hop, there would be no rap/rock-fusion-type music, like the Beastie Boys or Linkin Park. And certainly no Kid Rock or Eminem.

I've also been thinking about words. There are a lot of words that refer to non-privileged populations that I would never dream of uttering in reference to a person, that I cringe from uttering even when quoting someone else. And for a long time, it confused the hell out of me to hear members of non-privileged populations using what I consider to be hate speech in reference to themselves. I could not understand why black people would call each other by the infamous n-word, or gay men call each other "fag" or "bitch", for example. It just did not make sense to use words laden with hate. It seemed like insulting oneself. Why would anyone denigrate themselves?

I've heard the explanations about reclaiming hateful words and taking the power out of them, but that doesn't quite seem to wash with me. The words can still be used for hate and denigration, and I think they're ugly words with ugly histories. I fussed at Mike one time for calling himself either a "fag" or a "faggot" (I can't remember which word he used now; this was some time ago) because I hated to see a friend refer to himself with such an ugly, hateful word. If someone else called him something like that, I would have jumped shit but good.

I guess it comes down to respect. I find those words hateful and incredibly disrespectful to say the least, and I don't see how reclaiming them makes them any less disrespectful or hateful. Maybe it's just privilege blinding me, but I don't see how using an ugly word with an ugly history and an ugly connotation makes it any less ugly.

More stuff

Feb. 10th, 2009 01:30 pm
azdesertrose: (Default)
Still on a fucked-up sleep schedule. I think I may have managed to reset myself; we'll see.

Going to see Disturbed in concert on Friday. That should be good, although I'm not looking forward to the noise level. What's wrong with music (even hard rock or heavy metal) played at volume levels that don't result in your ears ringing for the next three days? (Sevendust and Skindred will also be playing, but I'm mainly going to see Disturbed.) I used to swear that I was the only person on the planet under the age of 30 who didn't like loud music, but the "under 30" part doesn't apply any more. :) Anyway, I hope they perform "Overburdened" because that's my favorite song of theirs. I wonder how David Draiman shaves his face with that double labret he's got. or at least how he shaved while the piercing was healing and he couldn't take out the jewelry.

I've been pestered into playing WoW again. I've more or less abandoned my priest and have been leveling a mage. I might go play my priest some more again, because I'm at a point with my mage that I can't play alone, and nobody else is awake right now. I might go crazy and try leveling my shaman a bit too.

Nothing much really going on right now. I've been watching my DVDs of "Firefly" with the commentary on. Joss Whedon is a hoot, and he and Nathan Fillion can really get their silly on.
azdesertrose: (Default)
I also has a cramping left hand from trying to learn chords. :)

The problem I've always had with playing guitar is my left hand. I can't get it to move fast enough to actually play anything.

Come to think of it, I had that problem with piano. I always had to put roughly twice the amount of practice in on the left hand part as the right hand part. My right hand knows what to do. My left hand is just not cooperative.

I am definitely NOT ambidextrous, although I can write left-handed if I have to.

What I really want is something that tells me how my fingers on the guitar strings equate to notes. Chord charts are all well and good, and that tells me how my fingers on the strings equate to chords, but I was fiddling around trying to pick out "Greensleeves" and couldn't get to the end of the first line.

Must resist the urge to go to the music store and look for some sort of music book. Don't have any money with which to buy said book anyway.

I can pick out the first little bit of "Nothing Else Matters", but that's just from watching Nicholas do it.

It all makes me think of learning clarinet when I was a kid. The clarinet book had little diagrams that told you how your hands on the clarinet holes equated to notes. It helped that I learned to read music when I was about 5. (BTW, I haven't picked up a clarinet in 20 years. In my mother's words, clarinet was never one of my great talents. I was a much better pianist, and I would still be a decent pianist if I had something to practice on. Unfortunately, the piano lives at my parents' house, and I just don't get up there that much with nothing to do but practice piano. It also needs tuning. My parents never got it tuned when they moved down here--you're supposed to tune a piano after moving it--and it's out of tune now.)

There has to be some kind of guitar book out there that tells you how fingers on strings equals notes. I just can't imagine that everybody on the planet learns to play guitar by ear or chord charts or tabulature. There has to be something out there for those of us who've been reading sheet music for ages.
azdesertrose: (Default)
My mom is coming over later today to drop off some stuff for me. My parents periodically buy themselves new toys and give me the older (but still useful) ones. She said she has two DVD players and two VHS players, so I can finally have a DVD player in my bedroom!

She's also going to give me the money to get my guitar out of layaway! YAY! I can't wait to play it again. I fiddled with it in the store when I put it on layaway. It's a classical-style acoustic guitar with nylon strings, which I find easier to play than metal strings although I like the sound of metal strings. The classical style of guitar has a wider neck and fretboard, which makes it easier for me to play because I have big hands. Nicholas fiddled with it too (he's a much better guitarist than I am), and he's going to teach me to actually play it rather than just fuck around like I did with my old guitar (wherever it disappeared to; I distinctly remember seeing it in the moving truck when we moved here, but I haven't ever actually seen it in this home).

Got to trim the nails on my left hand so I don't catch strings I don't mean to play. I'll have to get used to having no nails on my left hand. The nails on my left hand have always stayed longer than the ones on my right hand because I'm right handed and tend to break the ones on my right hand.

I want to learn to play a lot of the folk-type music that we sing at SCA events. I'd love to get to be good enough at playing the guitar that I can play and sing at the same time, which I never managed with piano. I can play piano and I can sing, but not at the same time.

Just for fun and personal edification, I'd like to learn to play some rock music too, and maybe some Spanish-style classical stuff too. I like that kind of music.

There's actually not a lot of music I don't like. I listen to a great variety of things, and while I do find songs I don't like, there aren't really any genres I reject out of hand. I'll generally at least give something a listen. I won't promise to like it but I'll give it a fair shake.

It appears to be a rainy day today. The sky is gray and the air is heavy. It hasn't actually started raining yet, but I believe it will before the day is over.

A good day to stay inside and play guitar! :)


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