No Response

At the end of his essay “Postmodernism as Liberty Valance”, Jonathan Lethem makes a point that’s worth delving into: “…there’s a name for the school of jazz that glanced at the innovations of bebop and all the implications and possibilities of what lay beyond, but declined to respond. The name for that school is Dixieland”.

Lethem brings to the table that music is not only a response to the past but to the future as well. That could be with electronic music which embraces the future or folk which, in Lethem’s own words, declines to respond to the implications of synthesizers and drum machines.

And yet not responding is a response in of itself, a sort of turning away from certain innovations and choosing to extend on the music that has come before. It can partially be a belief that this music is timeless, not only reaching into the past but into the future as well, that this music projects what humanity has felt and thought and will feel and think for the rest of their days.

In that regard, there is something noble about Folk, Classical, and Dixieland music.


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