“Of course filmmaking takes energy, but at least I’m not doing alienated labor.” R.W. Fassbinder
For a couple of weeks I've been mulling over a question that my friends father asked me. This was do musicians think of themselves as regular laborers. My initial response was well no, because they are creating art.
But this wasn't really satisfactory, I mean certainly it seemed to be true, yet one could imagine a situation in which an individual played an instrument...let's say the oboe, showed up everyday, played the notes in front of them and then went home. In fact I imagine that this actually is the case in some circumstances.
What defines a musician for me is someone who always strive to make music, who are actively engaged with their work, as Fassbinder alludes to not alienated from their work. Here in lies the difference between an artisan....and well a brickaleur (I think a brickaleur might be an artisan as well, I really just wanted to write brickaleur) more aptly put someone working on a manufacturing line straightening wire for pins....if we lived say 300 years ago, or you know when Adam Smith lived, whenever that was... whatever my point still stands.
So can a musician be alienated from their work? I would argue yes, but if they are they were not approaching the situation as a artisan or true musician would. What creates the difference is the effort and care that is put into an item. One does not look at a pin and say, I sharpened the point of that pin, however one does look at a performance with a personal investment. Despite how much we musicians try to avoid it, and say that we create music for ourselves, and the music making process is mostly outside of performance and therein lies the most important part of music, the judgement of a performance weighs on a performer.
anyhow, perhaps I'll rehash this when I have a better head on my shoulders.
Closing the door, leaving the lights on
5 years ago