Pop Music Masterclass aka is that a Worm in your Ear?

If you don’t know Chilly Gonzales, you are welcome for the introduction.

Knowledge Claims

Although this video is short, I had to watch it three times to understand the connections being made because I am not a musician and it helped to watch multiple times. I really like his use of examples from all genres because it leads to the overarching claim- all music is connected. The ramifications of that are profound because it suggests that any differences across cultures and time period can be transcended by music. As far as his explication of the choice made by the Weeknd and how that furthers the theme of the song both lyrically and musically brings up very interesting ideas about whether or not appreciation is enhanced by analysis. Is it better to just listen and enjoy without question or to dig into why one piece of music, TV show, poem, book, movie, game, etc stands out from another. I believe Chilly Gonzales would say that the only way to truly like a pop song would to deconstruct it’s parts and how they connect to a larger musical conversation. Yet, the argument could be made that explaining how something works takes away part of the natural enjoyment that occurs. I am torn on this because in some areas- the arts, certain sports, cooking- my experience is made more pleasurable by digging into how something is created; however, there are certain areas (of knowledge) that I am okay with just enjoying or benefitting from- computing, aviation, and air conditioning to name a few.

Knowledge Questions

To what extent can you “know” something without understanding it?

I think the thing I enjoy the most about Chilly Gonzales’ videos is how much he enjoys demonstrating his knowledge of music. He calls it a “master class” and I definitely feel way smarter because of his teaching. While I enjoyed the song before his explanation, it feel like I know it better. It’s kind of like the saying that the only way to truly learn something is to teach it because then you are actually demonstrating the deep level understanding.

How does music connect on a deeper level than other forms of art?

I think Annika’s TEDtalk is on my mind, but also Chilly breaks down the nuances of how a musician can create emotion through manipulation of rhythm, melody, harmony, and phrasing. Obviously other forms of art do that, but music really hits me on a deep level.

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