Music sometimes yields a wide field of influence, and its discourse extends beyond the listening experience into film, literature, dance, personality, self-identification, and on-and-on. In fact, it’s hard to think of any idea that doesn’t have a parallel in musical discourse somewhere.
The writing about music, especially in music criticism, is so often full of idioms and clichés, that we sometimes forget they are there at all. Salvador Dalí said it best: “The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.”
Last week in an article by Mallory Ortberg at the The Toast, she conducted a clever experiment about what would happen if we talked about architecture like we talk about writing. We could have easily substituted music clichés for writing ones, and the result is à propos, if not a clever exercise of comparisons:
“Oh, I could never do what you do — you know, get up in the morning and go to my job and do my job there.”
“Sometimes I feel like I have a building in me.”
“What’s your favorite building to re-look at?”
“But I’d like to talk about the parts of the building I didn’t build.”
“This particular building really surprised me. I mean, I designed it, and I approved it, and I oversaw the construction of it, but it still really surprised me. My buildings are always surprising me.”
“Will you sign my house?”
“Who would you cast in a film adaptation of your building?”
“Draft drunk. Construct sober.”
“Do you ever have days where you just can’t plan a courtyard?”
You can read them all here.
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