Music – Simultaneous Soundtrack and Subject

I don’t really know what modern is anymore.  There’s so much stuff going on.  Everything is accessible – the past and the future.  What’s going on right now, is it current or modern or what?  I’m lost, but check this out.  This is a release by a baroque ensemble performing arrangements of music by Frank Zappa on vintage instruments.  Ironic?  I don’t know what moved them to do this, but I’m interested.


The players, Ensemble Ambrosious, are a chamber music group from Finland.  The tune is Uncle Meat, composed by Frank Zappa.

Who are these guys?  And what about Frank?  Is he like Tesla, making wild stuff, being a big commotion, and then the work he created being carried on after his death and advancing things for decades into the future?

I can’t pronounce most of the names of the players or some of the tunes.  All I can do is marvel at what is coming out of the speakers.  It’s pushing me into new territory.  That might be a good definition of modern – pushing into new territory.  And that’s what great music has always done – pushed me into new experience, new ideas, new emotions.

I can’t think of anything that has taught me or changed me more than music.  It operates at such a deep level.  An atomic level.  A visceral, energetic level.  School, books, work, girls, forget it!  It has always been music that has educated me and moved me forward and it keeps doing it, whether it was made last week or last century.  It’s always been a kind of transmission from the cosmos – spiritual, physical, or mental – to point the way to the next thing, the next appreciation, the next understanding.  Whether it’s Beethoven, Charlie Parker, or the Four Tops.  Harry Partch, Pepe Romero, or Hank Williams.  This is the school I’ve attended.  This is the expedition I’m on.

Sountrack and Subject at the same time.  Moving not only me forward, but also the whole planet.  Now we get to hear everyone’s music – Danish guys with tubas, mbira from the high veld in Zimbabwe, heavenly music from Madagascar, instruments even wilder and more improbable than bassoons or hurdy gurdies, rhythms never before imagined, even by Moondog.  This is truly a wonderful world.  Messages, melodies, racket!

Turn it up now and turn me on!

About Ted Ringer

I am a writer, artist, and listener. Great music is everywhere and has no limits. Some of it is well-orchestrated and some is short and sweet. It can spring out of a moment of deep feeling or result from long periods of development. Music is communication, inspiration, and a million other things. This blog wants to share the wealth and keep toes tapping.
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