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Return of Kings: Contemporary classical music is like a feminist yelling about rape

Not a fan of Ludwig Van (Click on pic t see entire piano-smashing video)
Not a fan of Ludwig Van (Click on pic to see the entire piano-smashing video)

Max Roscoe, a self-described ‘aspiring philosopher king” who writes regularly for misogynistic garbage site Return of Kings, doesn’t like feminism. Or contemporary classical music.

So he’s decided to take down both of these allegedly awful things, by suggesting that they’re pretty much the same thing, if you think about it.

Modern culture tells us that short skrillex haircuts, defiling the body with metal shrapnel and inked graffiti, and massive, revolting body fat is “beautiful.” This message is so successful, that today, in the west, it is extremely difficult to find a female below the age of 25 who has not purposefully destroyed her physical beauty in multiple ways.

As this worship of ugliness has marginalized natural beauty, likewise, modern classical music teaches us that dissonant chords, out-of-key incongruous sounds, and loud, harsh noises are pleasant and desirable.  Gone are the naturally pleasing chords and intonations which music theory teaches are good. 

Damn you feminists with your blue hair and your 12-tone scales!

Also, feminists and modern classical music are both really, really repetitive.

Much as feminists do little more than repeat meaningless phrases like “Rapists cause rape” and “Still not asking for it” … instead of having a thoughtful discussion, modern classical music replaces creativity and musical complexity with repetition.

Roscoe reports with horror that he was FORCED to listen to one super-repetitive avant-garde piece this past weekend in which the same chord was played a whole bunch of times in succession. The horror!

It was like every other modern classical piece I have heard: an aural assault of dissonant noises, repetitive sounds, and unnatural rhythms….

In the piece … the same chord was repeated at least 50 times before another instrument joined in. 

Golly. How could ANYONE think that playing the same chord over and over would ever sound good? Or that deliberate dissonance might make music sound … well, a heck of a lot more rocking?

Here’s one of the examples he offers as evidence of just how laughably awful contemporary classical music is.

Really, dude? Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians? That’s a bit like using the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds to prove that rock music is uncreative.

Roscoe fleshes out his argument with a segment trying and failing to show that dissonant chords are basically the musical equivalent of “deviant lifestyles.” It’s about as nonsensical as it sounds, and really just an excuse for Roscoe to rant ignorantly about trans folks, so I’m not even going to bother to quote it.

Add “music” to the long list of things that manospherans just don’t get.

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Weird (and worried about the election) Eddie
Weird (and worried about the election) Eddie
4 years ago

@ David…

I decided I should go to the source for info on the folks you write about, so I spent a few (a VERY few) minutes on R.o.K. and on T.R.P. You have my utmost, heartfelt respect…. Do you have a hazmat suit you wear when you visit there? Do you take something as a prophylaxis…? Seriously, I hope you limit your exposure somehow, that sh*t is beyond toxic.

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
4 years ago

I wasn’t a fan of twelve-tone scale music, until I studied it in college and learned to unlock the riddle of its gorgeous and gorgeous complexity on an auditory “Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare” level. I’d say there is a lesson here re: women with tattoos and piercings, but I somehow think the MRA’s spend a creepy amount of time “studying” women with this aesthetic…

Nequam
Nequam
4 years ago

When looking up whether Wagner’s music was considered atonal (it’s noted that the Tristan chord is a move away from traditional tonal harmony), I found out that Arnold Schonberg, the developer of the twelve-tone scale, was an Austrian Jew.

I’m sure this fellow’s hatred of Schonberg has nothing to do with that. Uh-huh.

Imaginary Petal
Imaginary Petal
4 years ago

Possibly the best repetitive dancehall track of all time.

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
4 years ago

P.S. 1. Meant “gorgeous and glorious complexity.” Darn the cognitive impairment that comes with rhinovirus; 2. Went looking to see if someone had an actual “beauty destruction checklist,” since I’ve lately had an MRA-like person get a moony crush on me at work, and I would like to be able to, I don’t know, DO MY FUCKING JOB instead of having the fellow, with whom I have been very, very blunt about not being available, find an excuse to come over to my desk to chat just because and get huffy because I am on the phone to a client and how dare I be so rude and inconsiderate? Instead, I found this site, and yikes. Just yikes. “Forcible sterilization” is a red flag for the society that perpetrates it, dude, not its victim. Yet feminists are the modern Nazis…

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

I’m a purist who holds that modern Classical music is a contradiction in terms, as the Classical period ended in the 1830s. (and also because every definition of Classical Music other than ‘orchestral and chamber music from 1750-1830 that I can find is based entirely on snobbery).

eli
eli
4 years ago

Yesterday, sir, after I had left Your Lordship and was going towards the Piazza, I was invited by some gentlemen to hear certain new madrigals. Delighted by the amiability of my friends and by the novelty of the compositions, I accompanied them to the house….The madrigals were sung and repeated, but without giving the name of the author. The texture was not unpleasing. But, as Your Lordhip will see, in so far as it introduced new rules, new modes, and new turns of phrase, these were harsh and little pleasing to the ear, nor could they be otherwise; for so long as they violate the good rules–in part founded upon experience, the mother of all things, in part observed in nature, and in part proved by demonstration–we must believe them deformations of the nature and propriety of true harmony, far removed from the object of music, which, as Your Lordship said yesterday, is delectation.

Artusi, L’Artusi, overo Delle imperfettioni della moderna musica (1600)

Pomposity, check. TL;DR, check (I cut a lot out of this paragraph). Doesn’t compare the music to women he doesn’t like, but I haven’t read the entire treatise, so, question mark.

He’s talking about this piece of music:

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

Modern culture tells us that short skrillex haircuts, defiling the body with metal shrapnel and inked graffiti, and massive, revolting body fat is “beautiful.”

Uh, no. No it doesn’t. There is getting to be a little more mainstream acceptance of the idea that a woman shouldn’t have to tailor her appearance in order to be beautiful; that maybe it’s okay to have a body that doesn’t turn on the Max Roscoes of the world, because your body belongs to you, not to every man who looks at you. But it’s still not all that acceptable a viewpoint.

A few people with non-standard aesthetics and body types have dared suggest that their bodies are not only theirs to do with as they please, but are also beautiful. Those people get shit all the time from mainstream culture for loving themselves and how they look.

ikanreed
ikanreed
4 years ago

@Dalillama

Are you seriously trying to argue that the 1812 overture, one of the most recognized classical pieces of all time is not classical. And not only is it not classical, but not classical by 50 years?

I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that things we’d think of as lead-ins to contemporary music styles were also present at that time, but come on.

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 years ago

Damn you, edit window! I wanted to clarify that when I say “standard,” I mean “meets cultural beauty standards,” not typical vs atypical.

Handsome "Punkle Stan" Jack

Okay, what bothers me most is that Skrillex’s hair isn’t short? He popularized long hair that’s shaved on one side. His hair would at least makes a shoulder-length bob with how much he had. Or has. IDK. I don’t keep up with hairdos. His most popular do is no Negasonic Teenage Warhead is all.

Dalillama
Dalillama
4 years ago

@Ikanreed
That’s correct. Tchaikovsky is from the Romantic period.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen
4 years ago

Question (since the thread is about classical music and rape culture): from where did the idea that ‘Beethoven’s music causes rape’ come from? I first came across this idea back around the 1990’s, and nowhere did any ever say where it came from besides ‘it’s a strange notion held by those Radical Feminists.’

But I never could find out why these ‘Feminists” decided Beethoven’s music caused rape, but not Mozart’s, or some other composer from that period. Or for that matter, the drum track of most rock songs (Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’, anyone?).

Anyone know?

Playonwords
Playonwords
4 years ago

Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre rather turned me on to modern “classical” music. The truth is that the pentatonic scale and European melody are nothing more than conventions. If you listen to Chinese classics or a Gamelan orchestra or Tuvan Throat singing you will find there are many things beyond the Euro-centric music that saturates our listening

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Redsilkphoenix
Clockwork Orange. Main character and his gang love Ludvig Van (as he calls him). These guys are, to say the least, not tied down by social mores or personal boundaries. I’ll not get specific, cos that whole movie comes with a Trigger Warning. I hear the book is worse. Blergh!

eli
eli
4 years ago

Question (since the thread is about classical music and rape culture): from where did the idea that ‘Beethoven’s music causes rape’ come from? I first came across this idea back around the 1990’s, and nowhere did any ever say where it came from besides ‘it’s a strange notion held by those Radical Feminists.’

But I never could find out why these ‘Feminists” decided Beethoven’s music caused rape, but not Mozart’s, or some other composer from that period. Or for that matter, the drum track of most rock songs (Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’, anyone?).

Anyone know?

I do! And it’s not about just Beethoven, but about climax and forcing the ‘softer’ second tonal area back into the primary key during recapitulation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_McClary

Mary Contrary
Mary Contrary
4 years ago

So. Much. Deviance.

Hambeast
Hambeast
4 years ago

Fishy Goat – That’s the only good one. I like to turn it up to 11, there’s just something about listening to the pianist breathing!

authorialAlchemy
authorialAlchemy
4 years ago

Not everything has to be classically, boringly pretty to be beautiful. Not all new music sounds like EDM and dubstep bullshit.

And unnatural rhythm and dissident chords can convey things like discomfort and pain in a more honest way.

Moggie
Moggie
4 years ago

I can’t read a right-winger describing art as “deviant” without misreading it as “degenerate”. I can’t think why.

leftwingfox:

Also, modern classical music includes, to my knowledge Danny Elfman, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Joe Hisashi, and video game composers like Jeremy Soule, Jason Hayes, Tracy W. Bush, Martin O’Donnell…

It may be stretching the meaning of “classical”, but if we’re talking about game music, don’t forget Austin Wintory. His soundtrack for Journey is a real emotional roller coaster.

Hu's On First
Hu's On First
4 years ago

Recently I’ve become interested in microtonal music. 12 tones is not enough for me. I need 19! The problem is finding a keyboard that can play it.

Troubelle
Troubelle
4 years ago

@David Futrelle

Roscoe flesalhes out his argument…

@Axecalibur

I recall that the author wrote the original novella very quickly and was disgusted to see its popularity spike, especially above all his other works.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
4 years ago

@eli Ah, yes, Cruda Amarilli. I’ll the author hates Io parto as well. 😉

TirAsleen
TirAsleen
4 years ago

I think even the Manosphere knows they have to stir things up a bit since their rants are becoming even tedious to them.
The entitlement with his rant is that he actually thinks women are his to dictate personal choices. Why do I get the feeling that they haven’t actually seen a woman outside of their cousins for years?

Oh, and The Piano Guys have really been putting out some super classical pop and rock standards lately. Check them out if you have never heard of them. They push the envelope and prefer style and substance over cookie cutter tradition.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
4 years ago

argh. I’ll bet the author hates Io parto as well.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
4 years ago

I love how they alternate between “men are responsible for all progress in the world” and “progress is terrible! All modern (fill in the blank) is degenerate garbage!” Make up your minds, fellas – is progress good or bad?

Also love how they alternate between raging about how much tougher they’ll be after the apocalypse than all the other beta manginas, and “ugh, this modern art makes me feel DISCOMFORT, make it stop”. When the zombies take over, I won’t need to carry a gun. I’ll just shave my hair, dye it green, and hum atonal dissonant intervals.

eli
eli
4 years ago

@Fishy Goat

Artusi, to defend him a second, was hearing something very new to him. Monteverdi credited Artusi with forcing him to better articulate his musical ideas (in a theoretical fashion, not in the actual compositions) and Artusi relaxed his stance as he grew more familiar with Monteverdi’s new innovations.

It’s kind of like parents trying to get their kids to eat mushrooms or spinach. Don’t just try it once and say you don’t like it.

I forget who was involved or when and where exactly, but there was a group of early 20th C composers who, knowing their music was radically different and knowing that familiarity is often the missing ingredient in acceptance of the new, would introduce one new work in each concert program. But instead of playing the piece once, they would play it a second time after something already familiar had been played.

Maybe if Roscoe had played SimCity, he’d love the Reich. I know CivIV made Adams’ “The People are the Heroes Now” from Nixon in China into a very familiar piece of music for me.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ handsome jack

He popularized long hair that’s shaved on one side.

Aw, you just made Phil Oakley cry. 🙂

@ Axe

I’d highly recommend Clockwork Orange. Especially if you’re interested in that whole ‘law & order’ trope in politics.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
4 years ago

@eli I can’t say I was much different than Artusi at first, maybe less publicly disparaging. My first impression was more “Wow! Who knew atonal music started in medieval Italy!” 😉 [Yes, I was a bit of an ignorant 1st year.]

Seraph4377
Seraph4377
4 years ago

@Axe: It’s worse. Remember that threesome he has with two young women who aren’t just consenting but enthusiastically participating?

TRIGGER WARNING

(Sorry folks, I thought the spoiler tags would work)

Well, in the book they’re young girls, and it’s yet another rape.

msexceptiontotherule
msexceptiontotherule
4 years ago

I agree @Alan, though Clockwork Orange does have some troubling points (especially in the book, won’t go into further detail due to *content warning, may be unsuitable for some adults and definitely not for minors*) it gets one thinking about law & order/crime and punishment.

Poor Roscoe, being forced to endure other people being happy with themselves and enjoying things he doesn’t enjoy!

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

I wonder what he would think of Jack Conte’s rendition of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy? I bet his metaphors about infections would be amazing.

Terrabeau
Terrabeau
4 years ago

@Dalilama

Yeah, I agree that we need to find a better term for it, since “modern” classical music has little in common with classical music besides the instruments and the format. I usually try not to get too pedantic about it though, because when I say I mainly play Romantic music, people tend to think “Love Me Tender” instead of “Fantaisie Impromptu”. It gets tiring to have to explain the difference.

Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
Axecalibur: Middle Name Danger
4 years ago

@Seraph
Word of advice: never assume
But yeah, that’s the word on the grapevine…

@msexception + Alan
Honestly, I watched that whole film without thinking much about anything. Dulling experience. I’m glad to have seen it, but I’m not keen to see it again. And I’m never touching that book

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 years ago

@ msexception

You probably know that ‘that’ particular scene was based on something that happened to Burgess’ wife; and the book was his way of addressing his feelings on that.

davidknewton
4 years ago

Recently, my band (well, me and a friend – both very left-wing and feminist!) released a power metal album based on a novel with themes of homosexuality and transgenderism. I’d like to present that to him and ideally watch him explode.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-poison-skies/id1136392657
albion.bandcamp.com

Terrabeau
Terrabeau
4 years ago

Re: A Clockwork Orange

I personally really liked it, but that may be more because I’m a big fan of Kubrick’s visual style and storytelling, and less because of the film’s subject matter. And as with any Kubrick film, the real joy of watching is finding the subtle thematic hints thrown around like beautiful little Easter eggs.

On “that”scene, I read somewhere that it was an example of Kubrick toning down the content of his work to skirt around the censors like he did for Lolita, because child sexual abuse was the final line for the British government in those days. Wouldn’t be too surprised if it still was, actually.

Bina
4 years ago

aspiring philosopher king

Now there’s a meaningless phrase. Not to mention a concept completely without historical precedent. When has a king ever been a philosopher? And why is something that’s never existed still being aspired to, much less by such dolts as one who would write this?

Modern culture tells us that short skrillex haircuts, defiling the body with metal shrapnel and inked graffiti, and massive, revolting body fat is “beautiful.” This message is so successful, that today, in the west, it is extremely difficult to find a female below the age of 25 who has not purposefully destroyed her physical beauty in multiple ways.

CITATION NEEDED, aspirating vacuum cleaner. I see no evidence that “modern culture” is telling anyone any such thing. If you don’t like women with under-cut short hair (and since you named a specific short cut, who but Skrillex still cuts their hair that way? It’s kind of unfashionable now), tattoos and piercings (which include the conventional single set of earring holes my mom got while still a baby), don’t moan and spin silly theories about it; just don’t bother trying to date any! Trust me, they are happier without you, anyhow!

As this worship of ugliness has marginalized natural beauty, likewise, modern classical music teaches us that dissonant chords, out-of-key incongruous sounds, and loud, harsh noises are pleasant and desirable. Gone are the naturally pleasing chords and intonations which music theory teaches are good.

What a maroon. Music theory doesn’t teach that there is any such thing as “naturally pleasing chords and intonations”, much less that such are “good”. He simply has an idea in his head of what is “naturally pleasing” and “good”, which not everybody buys into. Same goes for his ideas of “natural beauty”. They are not absolute, Max, you moron.

Much as feminists do little more than repeat meaningless phrases like “Rapists cause rape” and “Still not asking for it” … instead of having a thoughtful discussion, modern classical music replaces creativity and musical complexity with repetition.

Actually, “Rapists cause rape” is true, and “still not asking for it” means exactly what it says. Meaning, neither phrase is “meaningless”, but very meaningful indeed; he’s just willfully choosing to disregard the obvious because he doesn’t like the implications (namely, that he’s probably an aspiring rapist, if not one who’s already done the deed, and that the women he may have assaulted are innocent). As noted above, “aspiring philosopher king” is a meaningless phrase.

And again, witness how meaningless it is: “…instead of having a thoughtful discussion”. What does THAT mean? One where the woman comes away cowed and says “Yes, master, you’re right. I bow to your superior intellect”? What a boring discussion that would be!

As for repetitive music being “uncreative”, don’t anyone tell him about this very creative piece of bossa nova:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI7DT0xUsvA

Oops! One more piece of the philosophical “kingdom” has crumbled to dust.

Tovius
Tovius
4 years ago

@Aunt Podger
That site you linked appears to be down. Given your description of it, that probably is not a bad thing.

Paul Beaulieu
Paul Beaulieu
4 years ago

modern classical music teaches us that dissonant chords, out-of-key incongruous sounds, and loud, harsh noises are pleasant and desirable.

To be honest, a lot of “contemporary classical” isn’t my cup of tea (love the video though!), but I’m guessing the reason he singles out “contemporary classical” for attack is because it has relatively few defenders. I mean, anyone who can’t stand “loud, harsh noises” must hate most rock music for a start.

Gone are the naturally pleasing chords and intonations which music theory teaches are good.

It’s funny how human beings need theoretical guidelines to explain what is “natural” for them and what is not. Yet as others have pointed out here, non-western musical traditions either have a different nature or operate according different theories, and the “western” tradition only developed the “diatonic” scales that have come to feel “naturally harmonious” a few centuries ago.

Aunt Podger
Aunt Podger
4 years ago

@Tovius, I kind of hope we broke it. The site, or that section of the site, purports to be about assisting male victims of domestic violence, a worthy goal, but is full of, basically, “Well, ya shoulda not gotten involved with a woman who has a history of being abused in the first place. They’re the real abusers. Sorry for your stupid butt. Too late, though,” and, on the main section of the site implies that it is fundamentally much more unsafe for a woman to live with children in any situation but with the children’s biological father. (So… if you’re widowed, you should wall yourself up in his tomb with the kids. It’s the only way to be sure— to say nothing of the fact that if your mate is abusive and you leave, well, yes, you and your kids are way more likely to get murdered than if you stay and teach them that love=constant, soul-grinding, bone-breaking abuse… ignoring the statistical near-certainty that the one who is going to murder you if you leave is the kid’s bio-daddy.)

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
4 years ago

Out of an altogether wonderful thread, this is my favourite:

When the zombies take over, I won’t need to carry a gun. I’ll just shave my hair, dye it green, and hum atonal dissonant intervals.

(by Buttercup Q. Skullpants)

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
4 years ago

@Mish Hum this. LOL!

Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy
4 years ago
occasional reader
occasional reader
4 years ago

Hello.

What @Cecilia said.
Whatever do the current generation, there would almost always be some people of the older generations who are going to say it is bad and that it was better in their times. In France, we call that the “C’était mieux avant”, often transcribed as a “CTMieux A Vent” (which can be imagined as some kind of musical instrument easy to play, as people tend to quickly draw this argument when they dislike something).

As i can not see the videos here and speaking about repetitive patterns in music, is someone has already prompted the Bolero of Ravel ? As it was specifically written to be repetitive, it is a Max Roscoe Musical Arch Enemy.

Have a nice day.

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
4 years ago

@dreemr, don’t forget that Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring literally caused a riot at its premiere!

OK, that was probably more to do with the choreography.

Claire
Claire
4 years ago

@ Weird Eddie

Ha! Thanks!

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Roscoe can’t even have a *new* deplorable idea; this is just the bog-standard Nazi “degenerate art” routine done with even less skill.

instead of having a thoughtful discussion, the manosphere replaces creativity and logic with repetition.

epitome of incomprehensibility

@eli – Thanks, that’s interesting – about Susan McClary, I mean.

Music is one of the more abstract arts, so it’s always a difficult topic for comparison. I mean, it’s hard to say that music without lyrics is about anything other than itself, if that makes sense. I remember reading the first chapter of a book by Theodor Adorno where he sets out this argument that Stravinsky = bad and Schoenberg = good, because Schoenberg’s twelve-tone system represented progress, whereas the “primitivism” of ol’ Iggy Strav represented reactionary politics and violence (if I remember correctly. I’m probably grossly oversimplifying).

And if an actual philosopher’s take on music is questionable, Max Roscoe the Philosopher King’s is just ridiculous. “Modern music repeats a lot! Just like feminists! And this is bad!” etc.

leftwingfox
leftwingfox
4 years ago

Now there’s a meaningless phrase. Not to mention a concept completely without historical precedent. When has a king ever been a philosopher? And why is something that’s never existed still being aspired to, much less by such dolts as one who would write this?

“Philosopher King” is basically Plato’s ideal ruler in “The Republic”. An enlightened individual governed by philosophy and wisdom. That said, it’s largely justification for “The world would be perfect if I were in charge”, both from Plato and from this twit.