Monday, October 01, 2007

Tractatus Musico-Domesticus

I've got a fuzzy notion kicking around in my brain:

We all listen to lots of different kinds of music,* but we all have certain musical regions where we feel most at home—genres that scratch our sonic itch in a particularly potent way.

For example, I'll happily listen to sixteenth century lute serenades or twenty-first century Brazilian hip-hop, but what really gets me going is blues, country, R&B, and rock n' roll from the forties, fifties, and sixties.** There's something about that convergence that just really does it for me. Sarah? She likes all that stuff but really flips her lid for sixties/seventies R&B and soul. (This whole thing came out of a conversation about why I don't freak out over Irma Thomas as much as she does.)

So here's the first question: What do we call this personal region/genre/zone of maximum musical pleasure/comfort? My working term is "musical homeland", but I don't like it:
  1. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue: musical homeland, musical homeland, musical homeland, mus-i-kuh-loam-lawn...
  2. "Homeland" is a tad too G.O.P-licious for my taste—like Dick Cheney's going to jump out from behind a chair and rip the knobs off our stereo and smash all our CDs. (Except for "The Best of Peaches and Herb". He likes Peaches and Herb.*** He'll keep that one. It makes him feel.)
But if not "musical homeland", then what?

And here's the second question: What's your that-which-we-are-not-calling-a-musical-homeland?

* Well, most of us do. Maybe you only listen to mid-seventies Kraftwerk. If so, good luck with that.

** I imagine it has a lot to do with what we listened to when we were young. I spent a lot of time burrowing through my parents' record collection where I first encountered some of my enduring favorites. But I was nerdily oblivious to much of the seventies/eighties pop music that resonates so strongly with many of my peers.

*** Did you know there were five different Peaches?


  1. You southerners have such a way with words.

    I will call it "My Graceland," until you come up with something better. My Graceland is old-time country and modern folk music.

    And no, I didn't know there were five different peaches, but I think that's just lovely.

  2. Anonymous10:59 PM

    Alright, Play-ah. Let's go.

    One's: Echo-Lodge, Home Hums, Habitat Scats, Territory Tilts, Hive Hollers, Dominion Ditties, Offertory Territory, Realm Rags, Coop Lilts, Lair Airs, Turf Tones, Concord Kingdom, Hymnody Homeground, Grange Yodels, Crib Croons, Nest Warbles, Consonance Cradle, Homophony Hinterland, Refrain Retreat, Be-bop Bunkhouse, Boogie-Woogie Wickiup, Parnassian Purlieu, Chant Chambers, Harmonious Timbers, Commonweal Cantus, or Brooder Ballads

  3. This is a tough thing to limit. Jump Blues, Chicago Blues, Classic Big Band Jazz (Ellington-Basie et al), Classic Jazz from the 50's and 60's (Wardell Gray, Illinois Jacquet, Ben Webster, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims and a thousand others), Louis & Ella, Sarah, Billie and Dinah, Zouk and other musics from Guadeloupe and Martinique, Brasilian Bossa and Afro-Bahian, African (Mainly LusoAfrika-Angola, Cape Verde)

  4. my inner music child:

    pretty much anything delicate and accompanied by acoustic guitar, especially fingerpicked guitar. Refer to: country blues, nick drake, john fahey. See also: cat stevens (which was in my dad's record collection as a kid and fits with your theory of where one's inner music child originates).

  5. I'm kind of partial to My Graceland.

  6. Anonymous1:01 PM

    How about just "my musical home"?

    Somewhere, I hear Ms. Berns asking "Veer is zee Center??"

    Mine is jazz vocal, Billie Holiday, etc.

  7. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I don't care how it sounds, I like calling it my iCore. Like it or not, everything is in and flows out of iTunes with me for the forseeable future.

    And my iCore is Hard Bop. Nothing past 1967, of course.

  8. I'm beginning to think that, in the same way our My Gracelands/Home Hums/Inner Musical Children/Musical Homes/iCores are highly personal, there is no single universally appropriate term. Perhaps the word should match the abode.