The Counterpoint of Classical Music and Black People.
Recently, black musicians playing classic music have attracted the attention of more than a few people. Actually, and factually, we have been playing this genre of music since the 1820’s, with black musicians and composers to still learn about and celebrate. Ambivalence seems to ransack the thoughts of both musicians and listeners. A true counterpoint exists. And as in any counterpoint in music the independent parts are also interdependent.
The typical, negative reaction of most blacks to classical music is largely based on two factors: The mere sound of the music, and, probably more important, the historical relationship between Europe and Africa and the Caribbean.
So what happens to a black listener or musician who falls in love with classical music? How do you react to those whites and blacks, and voices in your head, telling you it’s not black people music, so leave it alone? Do you note that classical music ranges in style from baroque to "classical" to romantic to modern, with sometimes razor-thin separation, if any, between traditional classical music and jazz in the modern style of classical music? Do you counter by reminding them of all the genres of music blacks have given to the world, or do you walk away and deny the genuine emotions you feel, and ask why are others denying what must be the same emotions on hearing, at least some forms of, classical music?
It may just be that a black person, listener or musician, has to live a bipolar life. A life in which you understand and value the contributions of black people to music on one hand, or in one head, and, on the other hand, or in the other head, notwithstanding the history of Europe, or standing with a constant reminder of the history of Europe, you do the same valuation of European classical music.
But how can you live such a crowded, maddening life without seeking to find “that tune”. That tune that has never been played. That tune that some refuse to hear. That tune that says until and unless Reparation is seen as a civilizing principle and process, for whites and blacks, to the actualizing end, dissonance will ravage and consume the counterpoint. And that is not music.