Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim is to launch a campaign against Muzak - the background music which for many has become the inescapable soundtrack to daily life.
The 63-year-old musical director of the Chicago Symphony is delivering this year's BBC Reith Lectures, the flagship broadcast series now in its 59th year.
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Go, Daniel, go! If you have success at decreasing the aural pollution we continually are subjected to, many, perhaps most, of us will be delighted. And no, I'm not some sort of music snob; classical is only one of many kinds of music I love. And Dr. Hargreaves, you're over intellectualising what's meant to be not only about aesthetics, but about choice.
Julia, Alberta, Canada
Muzak is like soma in Brave New World, like the smell of fresh-baked bread piped out of supermarkets to lure people in, like the relentless visual assault of advertising in our urban (and increasingly other) spaces: it is social conditioning and manipulation. It cheapens music. But the exploitation of so much creative talent in the advertising industry cheapens the visual and other arts too. When artistic creation is incorporated into the commercial, as happens so often, art loses and society loses. Count me a member of Barenboim's army.
Ed, Philadelphia, USA
Many TV and radio programmes, including news, have banging drumming noises and scraps of some sort of music playing at the same time as speaking voices are braodcast. It is as intrusive as the vilest musak. I am not alone in turning off otherwise interesting articles because of these intolerable noises.
If our society, today, continues to accept the premise that the "mass market" determines our experience, then the subject is bigger than "Muzak", but, by all means let us start to rebel on 'mediocrity for all', by tackling the
subject. Perhaps we can try understanding "quiet" and it's place, as an alternative? The depth and breadth of music is a personal
Ruth Barratt, New York, NY, USA
Recently while shopping, I noticed something playing was familiar. It was performed by a contemporary Celtic folk music group. Every sung part of the CD was in Gaelic. I live in California. I mentioned to the clerk that this stuff was pretty obscure and he replied that one of his favorites was a sort of 'retro-progressive-jazz accordion' piece. No-one knew where the satillite broadcast was from. It made my day.
Thomas Ferguson, San Anselmo, Ca. USA
Down with Muzak......!!!
Jack Thompson, Exeter, UK.
Thank you o much. As a musician........Muzak has haunted me for years. I dislike it. It disturbs thought. Interferes with purpose wherever I shop.
Joan Noble Pinkham, Kensington, NH USA
Make music live! Unfortunately people listen to (hear?) all kinds of recorded and canned music in a semi-detatched way which devalues the work of real musicians. Engage real musicians to play in hotel lobbies and supermarkets, but it might be a tight fit in the elevator.
Mike R, Devizes, Wiltshire UK
Mr Barenboim is absolutely right. Those who chose musak igore, or worse, attempt to homogenise personal taste, something that, by definition, must be impossible. Bad music is like a bad smell. You wouldn't willingly walk into a room that stank like an open sewer, yet every day we are expected to visit shops, gyms and other public places polluted by the most mundane and awful music imaginable.
Ian, London, UK
To me as a person with a Hearing Loss "aural background" equals to Ceiling Noise! I try to stay out of joints that are too loud. They lose my business = $$.
Tom Sellers, Houston, Texas
We dont really need a soundtrack to life, when i take off my ipod, I don't want to hear anymore music, stop the noise, please.
Wayne Walters, Boca Raton,FL
Music is simply anything a listener decides to interpret as art. Therefore Muzak is not music. Muzak is a gaudy kind of furniture. though Coylar-cooper shows an inept knowledge of Satie. Even in Satie's 'furniture music' it was always meant to be performed by a living individual never from a recording. the fundametal problem with Muzak is that its nature not only disourages active listening it does not even permit it.
joshua, Louisville USA
I agree with Mr Barenboims idea. It's on the same level of annoyance as public smoking and telesales, but only because one is abused by it as you pass through these places. I don't want to listen to some easy listening version of any kind of music and I certainly don't want my mood altered. If I'm calm all well and good, but if I'm in a stropp I want to stay that way.
Paul Mason, Nottingham