SONGWRITING - LAZY EARS

From composer Charles Ives' "Essays Before a Sonata"

"...beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ears lie back in an easy chair. Many sounds that we are used to, do not bother us, and for that reason, we are inclined to call them beautiful...when a new or unfamiliar work is accepted as beautiful on its first hearing, its fundamental quality is one that tends to put the mind to sleep".

He goes on to say that musical compositions should actually challenge the ear/mind.

"Beethoven had to churn, to some extent, to make his message carry. He had to pull the ear, hard and in the same place and several times, for the 1790 ear was tougher than the 1890 one".

As songwriters, are we merely writing what is "familiar" because it will be quickly and easily digested by the masses? Or are we helping the world see beauty in the unfamiliar by writing songs that are both accessible AND challenging in content and composition?

Here's a cheesy video that may help contextualize this. Like I said, the guy is cheesy, but I think he synthesizes Ives very well.