manifesto

THE CONCERN
Thursday, July 4th, 2013


"When bureaucratic impulses overwhelm freedom of expression an industry dies, and a new community of like believers is created."
-Richard Geldard


THE CONCERN is:

There's a mix of malaise and desperation felt among many in the Nashville songwriting community, both professional and amateur, resulting from many of the songs that we are hearing.

Songs have become products positioned to sell other products through the medium of advertising. Although this is nothing new, these "song-products" have become more and more "refined" in order to meet the needs of the marketplace and to adhere to the following requirements:

-overly-simplistic messages

-mostly adolescent themes

-one level of meaning

-information over communication

This is not the language of art, of craft, of human relations even, but, rather, the language of marketing and commerce.

"Writing with the artist", in most cases, has greatly diminished the quality of our craft. Of course, some singers and performers have always been gifted writers, but regardless of talent, this is becoming more and more the way to get a song cut. In the short term, the song suffers; in the end, the profession does.

THE CONCERN is:

The special place that Nashville holds as "The Songwriting Capital of the World" will be lost.

A Declaration of Principles and Intentions

-We admit that we've lost our way, traveled too far down the wrong road, and that, sometimes, it's best to stop and turn around, go back to things we know to be true and get our bearings before proceeding again.

-We acknowledge that creative requirements based on the limitations of the marketplace are a fallacy. These limitations devalue our skill and power as songwriters.

-We will serve the art form first, and not an industry, and by trusting in our talent, we will "Make the need felt which only we can supply, and create the taste by which we shall be enjoyed."

-We will earn the right to discern between good and not so good by educating ourselves with the best that has come before us, and admit that there does exist a hierarchy of quality, and that popularity does not automatically mean good works.

-We will experiment with new forms and diverse themes.

-We will not limit ourselves to a restricted harmonic vocabulary.

-We will not be afraid to challenge our listeners through the use of figurative language or any other device from our literary tradition.

THE CONCERN is:

A group of songwriters, performers, and educators whose mission is the preservation and further development of artistic practices that are the acknowledged benchmarks of excellence in musical craft. We believe:

-As artists, we have a responsibility to our craft, our audience, and our inherited tradition.

-If we're not being the best that we can be, what's the point?

-Songwriting is an art form, and as such, capable of being judged by artistic standards.

-The knowledge of something doesn't make it less beautiful.

-Commercial success is still a good thing.

-"Free" music doesn't empower one to judge, so "It's all good."

-"It's all good" means "It doesn't matter", and we think it does.

-Good songs are good enough to make other songs better.

-Adults need music, too.

-It takes a whole village to raise a great song.

-One musician (or programmer) doing all the work is not as cool.

-Rubato is not dead.

-The 3 1/2 minute song convention is dispensable.

-The essential trait of an artist is humility.



"Through the personal rediscovery of the Great, we need not be the passive victims of what we call 'circumstances'. By linking ourselves with the Great we can become freer- freer to be ourselves, to be what we most want and value."
-W. J. Bate

"Everyone of the great revolutionists have been optimists. They have been indignant, not about the badness of existence, but about the slowness of men in realizing its goodness."
-G.K. Chesterton






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