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CodyD

Folk(ish) Music

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Ayn Rand, throughout all the works I have read by her, has said numerous times why folk music is disgusting. Now, some of this was personal opinion(or so it appeared), but there was basis to it. No creativity means stagnation, and you don't get creativity by being able to dance and sing as your great grandparents and other ancestors did. However, what of the mixing of the old and the new, or some of the old that does actually sound vaguely intersting? One band that I have found, Flogging Molly, is a combination of traditional Irish(which appealed to me anyways), and rock. I thought it was perfection(especially the lyrics), but I was wondering as to the "morality" of it. Are such things merely mentioning personality, or does it hold something more?

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Just saying folk music is pretty broad, and encompasses a wide variety of different kinds of music. When Ayn Rand wrote about folk music, it usually referred to one of two things: the mindless, repetitive, monotony of the folk music prominent in the hippie scene of the 60s (an aesthetic evaluation), or ethnic folk music which, when placed on a pedestal by modern culture, symbolises a refusal to progress, i.e. cultural stagnation (a moral-cultural evaluation).

There is a lot of newer "folk music," particularly in the realm of indy-rock that fits neither of these bills, but is still "folksy." There is some modern folk that I don't particularly care for, and some that I really enjoy a lot; it all depends on the particular piece of music. I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with liking some folk music. I'm a big fan of The Shins, another band that blends rock and folk. They are by know means uncreative, monotonous, mind-numbingly repetitive, nor do they represent any sort of cultural stagnation.

Remember, that in her article, "Art and Cognition," _TRM_, Miss Rand pointed out that know objective criteria for the esthetic evaluation of music could be established at the time she wrote the article. She said that such a criteria would require the joint work of an esthetician, a physiologist, and a psychologist. I have heard of no such study being undertaken since then.

If any music give you a positive sense-of-life response, by all means, enjoy it, and to hell with whether or not anyone else likes it (including Ayn Rand)! Music is one of the greatest and most profoundly personal experiences in life, and if it gives you pleasure, that's reason enough to value it.

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