What the stock market says about creative evolution

With the huge down­turn in the econ­omy over the last year, the stock mar­ket is on everyone’s mind. It’s a funny busi­ness because of all the euphemisms. One hears talk of a “cor­rec­tion” or a “retracement.”

The truth is no stock goes straight up in a straight arrow. Wall Street types think it is healthy to “con­sol­i­date gains” and to dis­card the “weak hands.”

I was think­ing about this in the con­text of 20th cen­tury music his­tory. There was always so much con­cern for progress and advance­ment. No time was every taken for “con­sol­i­dat­ing” ideas and form­ing the basis of a new direc­tion in the dis­ci­pline. As a result, ideas were instead gen­er­ated and dis­carded very rapidly. Atonal music, seri­al­ism, and min­i­mal­ism have all lasted a his­tor­i­cal blip in time. Con­trast this with the slow process of change from Bach to Haydn to Mozart to Beethoven to Wag­ner. What once took hun­dreds of years now takes a decade, if that.

Is today’s music more acces­si­ble? More tonal? Are we in a state of con­sol­i­dat­ing gains?

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.