Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What is Perfect?

Camellia in Portland

I was walking, a couple of weeks ago with a friend, and we were enjoying the flowers that are blooming in the sporadic Spring that we are having here in my city.  One of the plants that we came upon was a Camellia bush blazing forth in neon pink. Simultaneously we spoke: She said, "I love those flowers." and I said, "I hate those flowers."

Most people love Camellias because of their late winter beauty which enlivens the environment around a home during those gray days. But, my complaint about them is that they are so messy. That is the complaint of this ex-gardener who has been outside on many a cold and rainy day, with a runny nose, and blurring eyes from the dripping waters, raking up the flood of pink petals in the mud.

I suppose I am bringing this up because it is obvious why we felt differently about these flowers. She even loved the carpet of color they made when their blooms were spent and quickly covered the ground at the feet of the bush. My perspective was different as I saw that carpet of petals as slimy, imperfect, and rotten food for worms . . .

That brings up perfection. Exactly what is perfection? Something without flaws, perhaps? I looked it up in the dictionary (The American Heritage College) . . .and the first entry was: "Lacking nothing essential to the whole; complete of its nature or kind." 2. being without defect or blemish. 3. Thoroughly skilled or talented in a certain field or area; proficient. 4. Completely suited for a particular purpose or situation. . . 5. a. Completely corresponding to a description, standard or type. b. Accurately reproducing an original. 6. Complete; thorough; utter. 7. Pure; undiluted; unmixed. 8. Excellent and delightful in all respects. 9. Bot. Having both stamens and pistils in the same flower. 10. gram. Of, relating to, or constitution a verb form expressing action completed prior to a fixed point of reference in time. 11. Mus. a. Being the three basic intervals of the octave, fourth, and fifth. b. Being a cadence or chord progression from the dominant to the tonic at the end of a phrase or piece of music.

All of which brings up the words objective and subjective. Objective statements being not much more than solid fact and subjective being more ephemerally part of the mind and mood (well, mood isn't in the official definition but it is implied) . . .

Most human beings have opinions . . . all valid and all matter. How could my friend and I argue over the case of the Camellias? We conceded to each-other that there was value in how we felt about them. . . beauty of not . . . !! (The flowers were pink and looked somewhat like roses . . . I agree . . . but to me they were unattractive because of the browning edges and the layers on the ground.)

And that is the case regarding music . . . people have different opinions.  My son loved RAP in his growing up years . . . and I couldn't stand it . . . couldn't understand what he saw in his "perfect" music . . . but then he hated my Jazz . . . 

And at moments in time we find the perfect to be imperfect (Re: 4 description) This morning I started listening to Maya's perfect piano (http://www.jamendo.com/en/artist/Maya_Filipic) . . . but found it too perfect and not helpful during my walk. It annoyed me that there wasn't any passion involved in the pieces I was listening to . . . just the perfect flow of piano keys . . . too perfect (Is that a complaint?). So I switched over to some empowering drums: (http://orangeupurple.blogspot.com/2010/09/drums-to-drive-you.html) and found them most moving . . . although I imagine a criticism might include "too repetitive, loopy, and not enough usage of other instruments." YES I know!  But it was perfect for the moment and in my opinion Maya's work, as beautiful as it was, is perfect for a formal dinner or a deeply relaxing moment. 

HMMMM!!!!  Are these valid criticisms? YES! But, should they be thrown at the musician as if they were at fault somehow for not providing the right sustenance in their creations? No . . . I don't think so . . . and thus comes up the subject of my reviews. I only write reviews for music I love or find something to love about it . . . and in my opinion that is most helpful to the musician. Each musician is an artist . . . providing a pleasant creation for an audience . . . an audience which is subjective to begin with . . . a drawing within the mind of the artist . . . and we . . . the real audience . . . are drawn to what we love . . . whether it is rap or new age . . . it is within us to love the creation for the moment of time that we are in . . . and there is NO right or wrong . . .

I am one who loves the edgy and raw . . . the missed and off note . . . the odd and artistic collage of life  . . .  because I am that that type of artist myself . . .  perfection is in the gaped tooth smile of a small child . . . edgy, dirty and imperfect . . . so . . . isn't that life?

Just a short note:   I will read this posting again in a day or so . . . right now I have a fever and not feeling too well and sometimes my thinking is interesting when I am ill . . . so we will see if I edit it or not and will remark on that here :

No comments: