Music & tradition

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about the past few days, and have unloaded here, have gotten me thinking about this other idea I had about a year ago. And I’d like to see if I can make some sense out of this, if these two are related, or if I’m just grasping at straws (strings?) here.

One of the points of disagreement lately has been about the importance of traditions. A bit of history about me: I grew up in a household that didn’t have terribly many traditions. We celebrated all the major holidays, but a “light” version of celebration. Usually that entailed going over to visit a set of grandparents (only the one set, as I got older, since my maternal grandparents died when I was 6). Easter we had a little egg hunt, July 4th we would go watch fireworks, Thanksgiving we had turkey, and Christmas we did presents. But that was really it. And the family that was present was myself, my father, his parents, my aunt, my uncle (once he came into the picture, I was 12 or so), my 2 younger cousins, and my older cousin and her longtime boyfriend (they were together for 6 or 8 years before they got married). So 10 people at most. None of this aunts and uncles and cousins for days business. None of the visiting more than one house per day.

As I got older, the desire to see specific family members waned, but it was always outweighed by the desire to see other family members, plus the fact that my father said that it was important. They all lived about an hour away, so it’s not like we saw each other all the time. He made it a point that we go visit his parents once a month(ish). I know I didn’t talk to them much outside of those visits, and I don’t think he did either. So I see the importance of staying in touch and catching up. Keep in mind, this was also mostly pre-cell phones and at the beginnings of the internet. And my grandparents lived in a rural town and didn’t even have cable, let alone a computer. They didn’t really keep up with technology. (No fault here, just a fact.)

I guess part of the reason I don’t see a ton of importance in us now spending holidays together with H’s (husband’s) parents is that we see them and talk to them way more frequently than I ever did my grandparents. So the primary reason for my “family get-togethers” growing up being catching up doesn’t really apply here. We aren’t so out of touch that it’s necessary. It’s not that I don’t want to see them, it’s that I don’t feel I NEED to see them.

And this I think is the root of the problem. M (mother-in-law) at least DOES feel that need to actually see us. She doesn’t believe phone calls, texting, and fb is a substitute. I realize that none of that is the same, and I’m not saying it is, but for me, it’s enough. It helps fill the gaps and makes me at least feel connected enough that I’m not completely out of touch.

Now, how does music fit in with all this?

About a year ago, I put up a rather rambly fb status that ended with the following idea:

“All of this culminates into: I don’t understand why I don’t seem more people rockin out to their tunes in the gym, in the car, walking down the sidewalk, wherever. It’s all earbuds-in-straight-face-focused. Are people just doing it internally, or do the vast majority just have ‘buds in to help tune out the world?”

M replied to my post, and one of her points was:

“3: (now don’t get your panties in a wad) Today’s music, while is okay, for some reason doesn’t have meaning. By this I refer to the fact that the lyrics don’t grab your attention by referencing to the things that happen in life (unless your listen to some rap music) or the beat in the music doesn’t keep your attention. I have tried to listen and hear what today’s music has to offer and find very few artists capture my attention with their songs”

I of course had to respond to this specifically, because this is a point that really bugs me. There is SO MUCH music out there. With the internet and services like YouTube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and others, it is easier than ever for amateur musicians to get their stuff out there. And we’re getting to a point now where it’s not that we’re making new genres of music, but people are combining them to make amazing sounds. There is all kinds of talent out there if you just look for it. In fact, there are plenty of artists covering older music, or doing a “revival” of older styles/sounds.

I don’t understand being stuck with the same old music, and only listening to that stuff over and over again. Heck, there’s music I listened to 10 or 15 years ago that yeah, it’s still good music, but I don’t have a desire to listen to it all the time. I love finding new stuff. Heck, it was one of H’s friends who gave me some dubstep artists to listen to that eventually lead me to my current favorite musicians (Celldweller & Blue Stahli). There are some songs I will always love. But if I try to listen to a whole album, I’ll get bored partway through. Not because I don’t like the music, but because I’ve heard it a zillion times before.

So how are these connected?

It goes back to the concept of being stuck in time. This inability to see that what currently exists may actually be better than what was.

Once again… Grace Hopper: “Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, “We’ve always done it this way.” I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.”


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