Monday, October 17, 2011

iPads and economics

A source of frustration for us classical liberal democrats is the collectivist orientation of classical musicians. I'd think that a class of artists who are dependent upon corporate grants and ticket sales to elderly Republican dowagers for their pay would show just a little gratitude to the capitalist system.

Why this is has been a subject of considerable speculation. I think Michael Medved got it correct: the free market does not appear to reward classical musicians "fairly". A cellist can start in grade school, practice 2-4 hours a day initially, struggle to get into the finest conservatory, practice 6-8 hours a day, maybe land a job with a small city orchestra, practice 8-10 hours a day, and with any luck, finally make it to a big city orchestra.

None of them will ever make as much money as Keith Richards.

Under Marxism, a cellist should be rewarded for his labor. As I understand it, Marxism places value in the labor of the worker, not in the value the consumer places on it.

Under evil capitalism, the free market establishes the economic value of the cellist, which is based on whether anyone really wants to listen to him enough to pay for it.

The last time the Rolling Stones came to Louisville, they sold out a large public venue.

The Louisville Sympathy Orchestra is facing bankruptcy.

I preface the following with this disclosure: I'm a horrible musician. When I claim to have played something "well", that only means "not as thoroughly bad as other stuff I've played.

I have a long but interrupted and checkered past with the cello. I'm not very good.

Bartok wrote 44 charming and kind of easy duos for violins. Kurz transcribed 18 of them for cello. Although I could find some recordings of a few of the duos, no cellist has recorded all of them, so I figured if I couldn't be the best, I could be the first. I've recorded all but three of the duos by multitracking them on my GarageBand. Most were shabby but about three of them were half decent. They may be found at, along with some pretty weird junk.

I got some kind remarks, mainly from other amateur cellists, and I appreciated them.

Six months ago I developed neck and left arm pain, and three months ago I had to stop the cello. I decided to plunge into the Heart of Darkness, otherwise called GarageBand for iPad.

The hour grows late and I'll sum up: I have generated some of the awfullist nonsense excuse of music I've ever done, including two that were tongue-in-cheek. They were received pretty well according to the site monitor.

As I said, the free market fails to give us fine classical musicians our just deserts.