Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Musical Genres

Appunti di Michele Trenti

In reference to music, the words "classic", "light", "cultured", and "serious" are increasingly often found to be unquestionably outdated and weak vis-à-vis the objective of expressing real content. When applied to music, semiotics adopts a more effective approach, distinguishing types of music depending on the purpose for which it was conceived. Some types of music are meant to stimulate movement, adopting simple, solid, repetitive rhythms. Others are designed to bring on certain, generally passive, psychological states, intended to incorporate subliminal messages, making use of pleasing tones and harmonies. In other cases, music conveys a social message or accompanies a ritual moment. Since the late Middle Ages, Western civilization—classical Greece’s heir in this as well—has conceived an independent value and an "aesthetic" meaning for music. In a more profound sense than the one generally used, the term "classical" signifies the intention to ignore passing fads and somehow to be a message for each age. Whereas "art music" refers to a genre whose linguistic traits appeal to concepts of conscience and freedom and to their related faculties, therein opposing the consumer genres that tend to inhibit such freedoms.