Lately, most of my music listening has been about ‘discovering’ songs in multitudes. Every day I come across something new and this instant novelty of discovering new songs ruins the joy of repetitive listening and understanding the nuances of a song.
That’s when I came across this beautiful article on Medium by Dan Dalton and it gave me ideas to form my own mix tape, if not weekly at least a monthly one, for more slow and repetitive listening. If you are a minimalist like me, you might want to consider this idea.
Dan says that one of the beautiful aspects of a mixtape is that it has a limit. And, it’s this limit that makes it all the more special. After all, we are hardwired to understand stories and scarcity and we value scarce resources more.
He further adds that even in today’s world of predictive analytics and computer-generated suggestions, the act of human curation is more relevant than ever.
Here are some tips that can help you curate your own mixtape.
Could this mean that we may have to delete some of the music from our not-so-regularly-heard collection? It is a painful heartbreaking process, I know. This article by The Minimalists might help.
Also, do check this mixtape I created on my SoundCloud page.
The reason we love live gigs and concerts is because of the constraint induced by time. We love tight deadlines and that's a reason we love football games, quarterly reviews, and SMART goals in organizations. Deadlines are a creative constraint and they induce a sense of meaning to things we do. Without a compressed time scale, we might lose the thread of the whole story as it becomes tough to stay motivated for long.
Existentially, boredom as a result of introducing constraints is probably the most promising gateway to happiness. It's an antidote to the ever distracting digital life we are living nowadays. From my personal experience, I can vouch for this fact since the most resourceful/liberating period in my life was when I took a break from full-time work and moved to the US and spent 4 years of my time working as a pro bono consultant and blogger. There were several constraints in my life at that point - visa limitations, vehicle, and money.
This counter intuitive idea could be one of the reasons we miss our childhoods and we tend to get nostalgic about it. Childhood is a time when a person experiences the most number of constraints since we had to seek permission from the adults. Constraints in terms of money, activities, socializing, and screen time only makes a child more resourceful in finding a solution to his or her boredom. And, that is the true cure to existential emptiness.
No thinker in the history of humanity has talked about this topic than Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher.
Not only in life but also, in music, it's the constraint introduced by the seven notes that makes music so interesting, complex, and beyond mankind. In Carnatic music, the Neraval in Manodharma Sangeetham uses this idea where the singer improvises the piece using just two or three phrases.
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A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on how it has become so hard to choose a favorite artist, a genre of music, or a song now. We are flooded with way too many varieties of music that we eventually, might end up making no choice at all.
One result of this paralysis is the ever increasing number of cover songs. You must be wondering how. Here's how.
Let us analyze this from the audience's and the musicians' perspective.
A good majority of the audience is already suffering from this paralysis and hence, they tend to go back to their old favorites that they grew up listening to. Why? Because that's so comforting since they already have decided their favorites from yesteryears' songs. Needless to say, this automatically creates a market for those songs again that we fondly recall as 'nostalgic numbers'.
Now, today's musicians, if they have to monetize their craft, has to embrace this market need and contribute songs accordingly. How? By doing covers of these nostalgic songs.
If you have ever wondered the point of today's musicians making more and more cover songs, now you know a possible why. The paradox of choice is real.
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