Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sometimes musical ignorance can be bliss

Jill and the girls are sneezing, sniffling, coughing and complaining -- an early season autumn cold virus has swept through the house.
So far, I have been able to fend off the vicious bug with a nightly combination of brandy and jazz.
Their colds seem to be getting worse, so this morning I have added jazz to my coffee (the brandy might come later, we'll see).
In his "New Grove Dictionary of Jazz," Barry Kernfeld wrote that pianist McCoy Tyner "has been a major influence in the adoption in jazz of quartal and quintal harmonies, modes and pentatonic scales."
Is it a bad thing that I have only the vaguest idea what Kernfeld is talking about?
I've always thought one of the hindrances in mainstream acceptance of some jazz has been the notion that only listeners armed with a musical theory degree can adequately appreciate the genre.
I'm here to tell you that the above notion is wrong.
I might not be able to tell a quartal from a quintal harmony, but I know I LOVE the Tyner song "Search for Peace" on his album "The Real McCoy."
Does my lack of knowledge mean I love the song any less than a musical theorist? Surely not!


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