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Music considered as a tool

The Master of the Bleat winds up his daily blog post with a meditation on disco and its descendants, inspired by Camille Paglia's unhappy review of the new Madonna CD. Money quote:
Disco at its best is a neurological event, a shamanistic vehicle of space-time travel.
Well, I don’t know about the time-travel part, but I understand what she means. I can’t write to classical or jazz music; it makes me listen. But I have hours and hours of trance / techno, and I do not dance to it. Just as well; it would frighten the dog. But it works at a level no other music reaches.


Indeed. Unlike Messer Lileks, I can and do write with classical or modern jazz playing in the background; it's white noise that helps sever me from where I am and puts me in the other world I'm writing about. Rock and country, on the other hand, are table setters, mood makers that set a tone for a particular piece of writing. This is pretty common in the fanfic community, and the songfic genre is well recognized. You can also see this in anime music videos - pounding, heavy metal rock music gets used most often with clips of shonen anime for action videos, while quieter ballads and pop music are matched with romantic imagery from shojo series. There are exceptions, of course; I'm just talking in generalities here.

The essential point is that music is a creative tool that unlocks the head and the heart, and it's neat to see this being talked about by people I respect. See also Ann Althouse, who like Paglia enjoys the music in her head rather than her feet. I think that's pretty hot, myself.