Music can be an abstract and confounding thing. It is “central to human life,” wrote Oliver Sacks, “yet it has no concepts, makes no propositions; it lacks images, symbols, the stuff of language. . . . It has no necessary relation to the world.”1 Music can also seem magical. “Profound music,” Cornel West attests, “leads us—beyond language—to the dark roots of our scream and the celestial heights of our silence.”2 Somewhat paradoxically, for all its power and ethereal qualities—and despite the massive complex of genres (jazz, rock, country, etc.), components (melody, rhythm, notes, instruments, composers, instrumentalists, vocalists, audiences, critics), and forms (live, recorded, acoustic, electric, improvised) that comprise it—music is often understood and consumed in tiny, individualized pieces: an anthem, a song, a lyric. Samba is Brazil. Puerto Rico is salsa. Black music is authentic.

...

While I fully support this...

You do not currently have access to this content.