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  • -You see you're supposed to say to meYou represent everything I hate”.

  • - But that's not true. - I’m supposed to say to you:

  • You represent everything I don’t understand.”

  • But so far I understand everything you've said and so far you say you trust me

  • -I shall not put down a whole group of people because of some of them

  • -Well, in addition to the age I represent: I represent a bourgeois family man,

  • I represent an institution like the New York Philharmonic which I am the head of

  • I represent establishment if you wish in a way I hate that word

  • and I don't like to think of myself that way but that's something that you would naturally rebel against.

  • - Yes... - But I don't find you rebelling against me,

  • I would like to...

  • This is David Oppenheim for CBS News. What this broadcast is about is the gap,

  • the aching gap between the two generations;

  • we of the middle-agers trying to understand, the young ones trying to explain.

  • Tonight these young ones are pop musicians... on tour

  • Singing their own songs...

  • ...and just explaining.

  • -The kids today aren't just going to accept what's laid down for them by the older generation.

  • -We want to have the adults around, we just don't want them constantly tell us what to do.

  • -Pop singers get through to millions of people and I really mean millions.

  • -What kind of people are they? They don't get through to the adults.

  • - They get through to the kids that are gonna become adults.

  • - Lot of the kids that are walking around the street with long hair,

  • Lot of kids that you see from time to time and wretch over

  • are going to be running your government for you.

  • Music is the key to all this and so the first part of this broadcast

  • is a look at the songs themselves; both the notes and the words.

  • For this phase here's Leonard Bernstein. -For a long time now I've been fascinated

  • by this strange and compelling scene called pop music.

  • I say strange because it's unlike any scene I can think of in the history of all music.

  • It's completely of, by and for the kids.

  • By kids I mean anyone from 8 years old to 25.

  • They write the songs, they sing them, own them, record them.

  • They also buy the records, create the market. They set the fashions in the music, in dress,

  • in dance, in hairstyle, lingo, social attitudes.

  • And I say compelling because it shows no sign of abatement;

  • The fads change, the groups change,

  • but the songs keep coming increasingly odd, defiant and free.

  • This music raises lots of questions but right now for openers

  • here are the two that concern me most: 1. Why do adults resent it so?

  • and 2: Why do I like it?

  • CBS News presents in color:

  • brought to you by

  • -I came to these songs naturally through my children

  • but I have a sneaky feeling I would have heard and responded to them anyway.

  • After all they are part of music which is my world

  • and a part that is so pervasive as to be almost inescapable.

  • Many parents do try to escape this music

  • and even forbid it on the grounds that it is noisy, unintelligible or morally corruptive.

  • I have neither escaped nor forbidden it, neither as a musician, nor as a father.

  • I think this music has something terribly important to tell us, adults,

  • and we would be wise not to behave like ostriches about it.

  • Besides as I said: I like it.

  • Of course, what I like is maybe 5% of the whole output which pours over this country

  • like the two oceans from both coasts, and it's mostly trash.

  • But that good 5% is so exciting and vital

  • and may I say significant, that it claims the attention of every thinking person.

  • Ok, let's get down to some specific songs, to the music itself.

  • Here's a cheery beat by the Beatles.

  • Now, that's not just cheery, it's also very unorthodox.

  • For one thing: it suddenly, if you noticed, leaves out a beat,

  • so that an ordinary 4 beat measure becomes a 3 beat measure, listen...

  • You see just 1 sudden bar of 3 among all those fours.

  • We never used to find that in pop music, it's new.

  • And then just as suddenly there was that arbitrary change of key.

  • ...a sort of tart, pungent.

  • Then there was that odd little canon at the end, a sort of round.

  • What a way to fade out; in a new key, a shifting meter, a sudden new counterpoint.

  • But that's the Beatles - always unpredictable and a bit more inventive than most.

  • You know a remarkable song of theirs called "She said, she said"

  • In that song which goes nicely along in 4, there's again a sneaky switch to 3/4 time

  • only this time it's not just for one bar, but for a whole passage

  • Did you get it? If not, listen again, to the Beatles this time.

  • and we're back again safely in the old 4 beat

  • Now, the point I want to make is that such oddities as these are not just tricks or show-off devices.

  • In terms of pop music's basic English, so to speak, they are real inventions.

  • And it's not only the Beatles who make these inventions.

  • For instance, there's a group known as "The Left Bank", that has a tune called "Pretty Ballerina".

  • This tune is built not in the usual major or minor scale,

  • but in a combination of the Lydian and Mixolydian modes, imagine that !!

  • Comes out with a sort of Turkish or Greek sound.

  • Rather unusual, wouldn't you say?

  • And even so commonplace a number as The Monkeys' recent hit I'm a Believer

  • has one noteworthy musical twist.

  • It's going along in the standard gospel shouting tradition

  • and now suddenly here is the cadence.

  • What a place to end on: a totally unexpected chord.

  • Now I know you may say: "Well what's so great about that chord, it's ordinary.

  • We've had much more sophisticated and adventurous harmonies

  • in pop music of the 30ies. What about Gershwin?

  • What about Duke Ellington,"Sophisticated Lady" with those rich chromatic parallel 7th chords."

  • Yes, but that's the whole point: this pop generation has rejected that old

  • chromatic sound as too sophisticated, the sound of an older, sleeker generation,

  • the old-fashioned sound of the cocktail lounge.

  • This new music is much more primitive in its harmonic language,

  • relies more on the simple triads,

  • the basic harmony of folk music.

  • Never forget that this music employs a highly limited musical vocabulary:

  • limited harmonically, rhythmically and melodically.

  • But within that restricted language all these new adventures are simply extraordinary.

  • Only think of the sheer originality of the Beatles tune

  • like this one which again uses only the elementary resources of pop music.

  • Well, that could almost be by Schumann, it's so expansive and romantic.

  • And notice how the range of the melody has been expanded.

  • Most pop tunes have in the past been restricted to the range of an octave or so

  • owing to the limitations of pop singers' vocal ranges.

  • But not so anymore. Our pop generation reaches and spreads itself

  • grasping at the unattainable. This is one of the things I like most about it:

  • the straining tenderness of those high, untrained young voices.

  • That's Bob Dylan. And here's a group called the Association.

  • and... as always The Beatles

  • Of course, whereas I may call that a straining after falsetto dreams of glory

  • you may call it nothing but a breakdown in gender;

  • that same androgynous phenomenon of the pop scene

  • that produces boys with long hair and ruffled shirts, and you may be right but back to the music.

  • What else do I like about it? I like the eclecticism of it:

  • its freedom to absorb any and all musical styles and elements.

  • like old blues

  • or a high Bach trumpet

  • That's "Penny Lane" - Beatles

  • or a Harpsichord

  • or even a string quartet

  • Curious. Then I like the international and interracial way

  • it ranges over the world, borrowing from the Ragas of Hindu music.

  • or borrowing from the sensuality of Arab cafe music..

  • Rolling Stones

  • Then I like some of the new sounds, purely as sounds

  • that are coming out of pop music:

  • the arresting impact of a consort of amplified guitars.

  • what a sound

  • Then I like the astonishing force of those hiked-up baselines

  • and the outrageously cool utterances of that inhuman electric organ.

  • Now, don't get me wrong. I said I liked some of those sounds.

  • There's a good deal I don't like and wouldn't dream of defending.

  • I don't like volume for its own sake,

  • or the way the words are often drowned out by drums and amplifiers.

  • I don't like the amateur quality of some of the writing and the out-of-tune singing.

  • This music can be coarse, faddish, a victim of its own sameness.

  • Yet when it's good it's irresistible. After all there are pros and cons to everything,

  • especially in the popular art. And the cons are well enough publicized,

  • we're here to examine the pros. And we're in luck because I've managed to

  • find one song that incorporates so many of these pros that

  • we can enjoy them all at once. It's a marvelous song called "Society's Child"

  • written astonishingly enough by a 15-year-old girl named Janis Ian.

  • This tune is very well-known among the followers of pop music

  • but you may not have heard it since it's been withheld by most of the radio stations

  • for reasons unknown to me, although probably having to do with its subject matter,

  • which is as you'll see somewhat controversial.

  • But apart from the words

  • "Society's child" contains many of the musical joys we've talked about.

  • And some we haven't, like fascinating sounds both natural and electronic

  • like a strange use of harpsichord and that cool nasty electric organ.

  • There are astonishing key changes and even tempo changes.

  • Ambiguous cadences, unequal phrase-links. And we're even luckier to have Janis Ian

  • herself here to sing it for us. Listen hard to "Society's Child"

  • It kills me. That sassy retort of the organ at the end.

  • That voice, those words. That key change.

  • Oh Janis, how did you ever write such a thing at the age of 15. You're a great creature.

  • - Thank you - I think that's quite a remarkable job for

  • a girl of your age and I congratulate you on what I'm sure is

  • going to be a brilliant career. - Thank you

  • - Thank you so much for coming to see us. - Thank you for inviting me.

  • So it would seem that the kids of our pop generation have a lot to say.

  • Actually what Janis has written is a short social document.

  • Not a satire, not a protest, just a picture of a social trap.

  • Of course underneath it is the spirit of protest which underlies so many of these pop songs.

  • The implication is and strongly that this is not at all the way things ought to be.

  • Just as the Beatles song "Paperback Writer" implies in its satirical way

  • all the corruption of our lives. Their anti-hero, the paperback writer

  • has written a book he's trying to sell and he sings

  • "it's a thousand words give or take a few, I'll be writing more in a week or two,

  • I can make it longer if you like the style, I can change it round

  • but i wanna be a paperback writer" In other words, prostitution:

  • I'll do anything to sell that book. The implication is clear.

  • In fact the message in the lyrics of most of these songs is delivered by implication.

  • This is one of our teenagers' strongest weapons. It amounts almost to a private language.

  • But this use of implication produces another effect as well:

  • something bordering on poetry. Many of the lyrics in their oblique allusions

  • and way-out metaphors are beginning to sound like real poems.

  • And protected by this armour of poetry

  • our young lyricists can say just about anything they care to. And they do care.

  • They care about civil rights, about sexual freedom, about peace.

  • They talk about alienation, mysticism, drugs

  • The lyrics of Bob Dylan alone would make a bombshell of a book of social criticism.

  • You know those ominous lines of his?

  • "Something is happening and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

  • And you know who mister Jones is, don't you? Us.

  • And the lyric of "Along comes Mary" I have been informed by its author,

  • 22-year-old Tandyn Almer, is not about a girl named Mary at all,

  • but about Mary Jane which is a literal translation of marijuana.

  • And a staggering piece of verse it is.

  • And Paul Simon of Garfunkel fame says among other things:

  • “I touch no one and no one touches me, I am a rock, I am an island.”

  • Formidable stuff, isn't it?

  • But mostly they talk about love as all songwriters have since time began.

  • Only this time its either a cool kind of love, or a frankly sexual love,

  • or and this is most important: universal love,

  • a mystic oriental concept that is presumably attainable through meditation,

  • or withdrawal from the establishment, or most readily through drugs.

  • Now, what does all this mean?

  • I think it's all part of the historic revolution, one that has been going on for fifty years.

  • Only now these young people have gotten control over mass medium, the phonograph record

  • and the music on the records with its noise and its cool messages may make us uneasy.

  • But we must take it seriously as both a symptom and a generator of this revolution.

  • We must listen to it and to its makers,

  • this new breed of young people with long hair and fanciful clothing.

  • And the rest of this program will be devoted to just that,

  • getting to know them, seeing them in action, hearing their thoughts.

  • And perhaps by learning about them we can learn something about our own future.

-You see you're supposed to say to meYou represent everything I hate”.

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Leonard Bernstein - The Rock Revolution (synchronized)

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    johnyang8781 posted on 2017/11/11
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