"The Music as a human right"?!

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"The Music as a human right"?!

Since we are busy with some other threads on serious business (Cantatas and the "48" by Bach) and having read some intriguing articles in some French magazines, I thought to initiate some maybe short-lived threads on some challenging (and more theoretical) questions.

The first came after an interview of Gustavo Dudamel to Vincent Agreech for the Diapason, where, among others, the young conductor claims that "an Orchestra of young people can change their lives and those of their immediate ones". However, what is really interesting is the interviewer's perception from Dudamel's sayings, claiming that he is the conductor who "wants to change the world", who defends Music "as a human right" among other ways "through bringing the good musical language in the most disadvantaged places of the society".

While I have my serious doubts about Dudamel's efforts and, mostly, for his effectiveness to achieve any of his supposed great goals, I was intrigued by the idea whether Music (the good musical language) is a "human right" and, if so, how can one claim it, in case he/she is deprived of that? I know, from experience, huge areas in both the developed and, particularly, in the developing world, where Music is totally absent and nobody (or almost) cares and, unfortunately, nobody claims it, at least as a "right". Of course, then, we have had the efforts of Dudamel in Venezuela, but can all his endeavours justify the claim of the Music as a "human right"? Is Venezuela better off, in any way?

Any thoughts, views or what is your perception of claiming Music for ourselves and the society, our own and in general?

Parla

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Parla, I find it patronizing to use the word Music (with a capital M) in place of Classical Music, and then conclude that there are places "where Music is totally absent".

There can be few places as bleak as Afghanistan when it comes to formal education of the population, where for some time all music was outlawed by the ruling clan, and a place that for generations the Imperial Powers have taken turns to totally obliterate. And they still have this wonderful stuff:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tBbW_h2egg&list=WL330A848F950713D4

If you are going to claim a causal connection between lack of music and economically disadvantaged communities then in my own experience it is the Middle Classes that are probably the most musically illiterate. It is not uncommon that many of the best musicians of different popular traditions cannot read or write, and if formal education has an effect on the strength of the connection between peoples and their musical heritage, what turns out is that the stronger the education the weaker the link.

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

The issue must be really polemic as my post has been sequestered my moderation.

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Moderators, any chance of getting my post back?

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Camaron, I used the word Music as I put it in parenthesis : "a good musical language" and always in connection with the Dudamel case which "inspired" my thread here (Dudamel is a Classical Music conductor who performs, speaks and defends -at least predominantly, if not exclusively- this kind of "musical language). Apparently, both Dudamel and the journalist refer to the Classical Music and not to any music, since any sort of music can never be envisaged as a "right". Anyone can possibly create his/her own "music" or have access to folk, popular and local musical languages. What might be claimed as a "right", let alone a "human" one, have the features of educational merits, cost, exact reproduction and being "exportable".

However, the basic question stays: Is Music a "human right"...or not? If yes, how can one perceive, define and eventually enjoy and claim it?

Parla

P.S.: I find more "patronising" the claim that Music is a "human right" without enough justification for that assertion.

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Parla, it sounds like a very strange interview!

In particular there seem to be two completely different strands. Dudamel's claim that "an Orchestra of young people can change their lives and those of their immediate ones" is one thing, and one that is surely valid and enthusiastically justified by the responses of his young players. The enormous value of doing something worthwhile together (and something other than simple necessity) cannot be overvalued, and making music together is one superb example of such activities.

Why, from this, his interviewer draws the horribly glib conclusion that [Dudamel] 'is the conductor who "wants to change the world", who defends Music "as a human right"' is beyond me.

I've never heard Dudamel make such a claim. In truth I've no idea what it's supposed to mean. Music, along with verbal language is a deep-rooted human trait, and serious music (not only Western Classical Music), like serious world literature is a treasure eminently worth passing on to young children anywhere. 

But, 'changing the world' and 'human right' - just empty words, journalese (IMO).

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Chris, the interview is not that strange. It is a regular one of the esteemed French magazine. It covers five pages along with enough pictures and details of whatever one might wish to know about this new Star.

The premises for the first assertion, namely "the Conductor who wants to change the world" comes from the fact that Dudamel has created, supported, conducted, promoted etc. youth orchestras with a view to performing Classical Music in some of the least or less developed parts and areas of the world. For the second, i.e. "The Music as a human right", it is based on the general behaviour and, in particular, on the great zeal and dedication of the young maestro to spread "the good musical language" to all those who have no access to it, mainly because the society and the environment they live deprive them of that..."right" (?!).

So, it is not a "claim from Dudamel" directly, anyway. Besides, whether he "wants to change the world" (in terms of spreading the music in less favourable places) is not an issue of that significance. The real issue is whether anyone can claim that, for whatever reason or end, Music is a human right.

Taking into serious consideration your claim that "serious music...is a treasure, eminently worth passing to young children anywhere", then, there is a question whether this "treasure" is really accessible to anyone (not only the young children) and, most importantly, anywhere. I can assure you that, even in wide areas of the most advanced countries, this "trait" is not treated, not even recognised, as "a treasure". I believe Tjh is more correct and accurate by interpreting "my point" that "Music is a privilege", adding, from my side: for those who can comprehend its value.

Parla

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

I vaguely believe classical music to be more of a privilege than a human right. It would be futile however to argue such a point with someone immersed in classical music regularly.

For those who live in places like Paris, Florence, Rome or London, visual art would be thought of as a necessary privilege but for those living in Tallahassee, Florida, probably not so much.

And then for those who are surviving in Sudan, fresh water might be the most obvious choice.

So yes, I can see where it would be my human right to own at least two Giacometti paintings and one Giambologna bronze.

goofyfoot

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

I notice that the new issue of BBC Music Magazine will carry an 'exclusive' interview with Dudamel.  I wonder how similar it will be to the Diapason one!

Chris

Chris A.Gnostic

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

I have my doubts, Chris. I trust they (in BBC magazine) and Gustavo would not like to repeat themselves, at least to a great extent. In any case, I do not believe the British journalist will move along the same lines (of conclusions, assertions etc.) as the French one.

However, in order to "compare", have you already located the article of Diapason or you already got the magazine itself? (It is a long and comprehensive interview of five pages, including the photos, anyway).

Parla

RE: "The Music as a human right"?!

Goofyfoot, thanks for your "smart" post. However, a "human right" is not an issue of personal "choice", while a "privilege" can be, under certain preconditions. A human right should be given, promoted and protected; a privilege may be claimed, again on the basis of certain prerequisites.

Even in Africa, certain (few, for the moment) people, who happened to appreciate Classical Music and have the necessary means to "build" their appropriate premises, they can claim and have at least a certain (sometimes good) fraction of this privilege. On the other hand, a very good number of people in the "blessed" by Arts places you mentioned opt to "overlook" or bypass the privileges they can enjoy...being carried away by more mundane issues.

Parla

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