Musings of an Ethnomusicologist on Unrelated Topics

Steve Reich and Popular Music

Steve Reich and Popular Music

I like and even love the music Steve Reich produces. However, Mr. Reich utilized everything from Black speech to Black technologies in order to create his esteemed “serious music” while the majority of his sources still remain categorized under the pejorative “popular music” (or, even more distastefully applied – in academic settings – “folk music”) is insulting. And, I’ll say it: Racist. 

Anyone passionate about “art music” that maintains the distinction, especially in the 20th century, between “art,” “entertainment,” “folk,” or any other contrived generic language is conceding to a preferential power differential that simply must be undone. This is a tiredly prejudice manner of maintaining false distinctions, and it’s time to recognize that art is produced and disseminated in serious manners across many spectrums. And I’m tired of hearing so much about carbon copies like Steve Reich who did not necessarily initiate all aspects of creative work attributed to him, but appropriated it.

From who? Black people. Show their faces, tell their stories, precede Reich’s success and creativity with their inventions. 

Tell the full story. Then I’ll stop being so goddamn angry every time I read shit stories oozing with self-importance like this one. 


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This entry was posted on March 27, 2013 by .
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