Is Music Theory Racist?

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I respond to Adam Neely’s recent video about racism in music education. I spiral off into Foucault, Moten, and Gavin McInnes lol.


Marcus Kane says:

I think you might be getting at more foundational fact that music as a whole is rac-ial, not racist. The racism comes from the person who is intending the racism from their being outward. But music around the world is racial. Different races have created different kinds of music as we see reflected through the various continental systems of Europe, Asia, Middle Eastern countries like India, Africa, etc. Ofcourse this includes many sub genres within, similar to the different races that are within each root race. Country western for example, although very American, is ultimately European in origin. Same with metal and Bulgarian choir music. African High Life and traditional Ethiopian, Gamelan, J Pop, to Kaguki. Music is racial. And this is a beautiful thing since all races are beautiful!

Marcus Kane says:

You did it! Thank you!!!

Jordan Valentine says:

I done. Crazy to wear one can be surprised by naming highways after doing courtesy flushes.

Angela Guyton says:

These comments are a trip. Holy shit.

night partridge says:

beards lookin great, good rant!

Ben Ancona says:

The problem with Neely's video is that European music throughout history is universally the best.

Lang Lang does not play European pieces because he is a victim of white supremacy, he plays them because it is better music.

Europeans developed better instruments such as the piano, violin, etc, and developed practically perfect transcription, this allowed European composers to create works of art that are unrivaled by other cultures.

Neely seems to confuse "culture" for "race". Race has nothing to do with it. Just because white people have created the best music, that doesn't mean music is controlled by white supremacy.

Arrington de dionyso says:

Fascinating- I haven’t clicked on that video you’re referring to precisely because I’m suddenly seeing it EVERYWHERE right now and it had sort of triggered in me a certain kind of resentment in that I have ALWAYS believed that Western Music was inherently racist and never really found anyone to hear me out on that (before the internet anyways). But something you said in here in ref to the grid idea (we called it a “spatial archetype” in my Jungian studies days in college) and the idea of transposition itself being a tool of capitalism gets me thinking about Ned Rothenberg’s article about Shakuhachi and the idea of certain (non-Western obviously) instruments where different “notes played” produce COMPLETELY different timbres, and how that is so antithetical to how most Western instruments are even built- supposedly my bass clarinet is designed in such a way that you could just “pitch shift” up and down registers and it would be the same timbre. Of course, anyone who plays knows that isn’t even true, yet it’s held as an “ideal”. I would say that avant-“preparations” could be seen as a rebellion against that notion – pianos where every key is a different clanking timbre for example, or more simply for guitarists- you will sometimes rearrange a given piece of music to better take advantage of open strings which ring out so differently than a fretted string!

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