Richard Wagner was a Dick

Richard Wagner  (1813 – 1883) was a dick. Yes, his name unfortunately has the wagnerdarkTnickname “Dick” in some cultures, but I’m not talking about that. There was a lot wrong with this asshole.

For starters, his music is exhaustingly long-winded. If you make it through all 15 hours of his Der Ring des Nibelungen, there are moments of brilliance, it’s true… but you need to suffer a lot of annoying crap before you get there.

I know, that’s my opinion. Taste is somewhat subjective. The real reason he’s a dick is because he was a fierce anti-semite. One of his contemporaries was Felix Mendelssohn. Felix was the most popular composer of the day – this burned Wagner up because he worked so hard on his ridiculously long pieces… No matter how hard he tried he couldn’t compete. What’s a filthy old anti-semite to do? Oh yeah, write a hit piece after Mendelssohn dies.

Felix Mendelssohn died in 1847, he was only 38. Rotten Wagner, three years after Mendelssohn’s death, published an anonymous piece entitled “Judaism in Music”  in which he asserted that Jews weren’t intelligent enough to create great music. The sad part was that many Germans believed it.

Why is it that bigots can’t win unless they play dirty tricks? Remember when you ever hear any of his music, and you’ll probably only ever hear this one, that it was written by an ignorant bigot.

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The Secret Power of Music?

I just started this book. I bought The Secret Power of Music by David Tame years ago because I’m interested in the power music does have. It can change your mood, change your physiology (ie – get your heart beating faster), and as David Byrne points out in his far superior book, How Music Works (More about this later. I’m not done reading it!), can even drive changes in society. I was hopeful that this book held information about research, perhaps something to confirm my thoughts about music’s power. I was unpleasantly surprised…

In this book are some “facts…” though I can’t verify them. I found that I didn’t even want to, because they were packed deeply The-Secret-Power-of-Music-9780892810567into David Tame’s personal agenda. First, he seems to only value consonant music. Anything containing dissonance is considered by Tame to be destructive, corrupting, immoral, etc. Also, it seems like he hates any music made by black Americans, specifically jazz, blues, and rock. They have apparently, through the employment of cacophony and dissonance, brought us to these troubled times… Blah.

He does, however, seems to love the music of ancient China and India, though any reference to the people making the music sounds racist. Maybe my mind was biased to make that inference because of his apparent prejudice. Maybe he’s a great guy, but when I read his words, every time he says “the Chinese” when referring to the ancient people of China, red flags fly.

I gradually grew more angry, so I started digging to find out who he was. What I found was a little weird. He’s apparently not a musician. At least there is zero information about that. No credentials at all to be writing a book supposedly about music. He’s not a psychologist either, or a historian, or a sociologist… He’s none of these things.

David Tame has no right to write about anything musical. Stay away from his books, unless you enjoy uninformed new age garbage.

Later this month, I’ll write about the importance of dissonance in music and I might entitle the piece, More Reasons that David Tame is an Idiot.