“Rock” Music

"Okay" sign maybe not so "okay"...

“Okay” sign maybe not so “okay”…

Any (competent) musical theorist will tell you that mainly “Rock” merely turns Classical Music (which is misguided in its own way!) on its head. Like everything mainstream today, it uses beautiful elements in a way that denies Holy Beauty, truths to deny Holy Truth, goods to deny Holy Goodness. The way to rebuild something that this zeitgeist cannot again destroy is to understand Truth, Beauty and Goodness not in relation to man but to God, not in an Enlightenment way but in a Pentecost way, not in a heterodox way but in an orthodox way. We need to stop referring to “society” in everything–YOU DON’T “OWE” SOCIETY ANYTHING–and start referring to God again. “Rock” is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of Pagan worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink beneath the elemental force of the universe. A friend pointed out that “Rock” is a shortened form of “Rockefeller,” and truly we are dealing with mechanical, industrial “music” that is inhuman because it forgets that man is not only flesh but also spirit.

“On the one hand, there is Pop Music, which is certainly no longer supported by the People in the ancient sense (populus). It is aimed at the Phenomenon of the Masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a Cult of the Banal. “Rock,” on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals [i.e. “concerts”] it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober inebriation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments. (Joseph Ratzinger [a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI], The Spirit of the Liturgy [SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000], p. 148).

G. K. Chesterton experienced Jazz Music as “a nightmare of noise, recalling the horns of hell, generally accompanied by an undercurrent of battering monotony; the Song of the Treadmill” (“On the Prison of Jazz,” Avowals and Denials).

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