Junior Brain

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Well, not much that conventional classical theory can do to help understand it. But there are “common practices” at work here - IOW, things that could be made into a “rock theory” of some kind (some of which might align quite closely with classical theory, some of which wouldn’t at all). Essentially it comes down to: what makes it sound the way it does? What is it that they’re doing that let’s you identify it as “rock music” to start with, and then as a subgenre of “heavy metal” (or whatever)? A lot of that is not to do with things like scales and chords anyway. It’s about volume, use of effects such as distortion, certain drum rhythms, vocal styles, etc. When it comes to the notes themselves, there’s a lot of unison riffs or power chords rather than triads or more complex harmony. So it’s kind of driven more by melody, rhythm and timbre than it is by harmony. And certainly by volume. (Try to imagine this song played by a string quartet. The notes would all be the same, but would you still call it “rock music”? Wouldn’t it lose a lot of its essence? That illustrates how (un)important the notes and chords, the things normally subject to theoretical analysis, are.) How much you (or we) want to develop all this into a body of theory is optional! Could be a nice academic exercise. But as with any music theory, it only ever describes things (in as much detail as you want) - it never explains. Even classical theory doesn’t “explain” classical music - any more than English grammar explains the English language. What it does is simply help us describe and analyse what we hear. Spot the patterns, the standard habits, the “common practices”.

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RESEARCH yo

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The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers. It destroys autonomy, enterprise, innovation and loyalty, and breeds frustration, envy and fear. Through a magnificent paradox, it has led to the revival of a grand old Soviet tradition known in Russian as tufta. It means falsification of statistics to meet the diktats of unaccountable power. The same forces afflict those who can’t find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.
It’s also not exactly a conventional novel. Its full title is an unwieldy mouthful: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The author (or authors) writes under the ungainly nom de plume of The American Psychiatric Association – although a list of enjoyably silly pseudonyms is provided inside (including Maritza Rubio-Stipec, Dan Blazer, and the superbly alliterative Susan Swedo). The thing itself is on the cumbersome side. Over two inches thick and with a thousand pages, it’s unlikely to find its way to many beaches. Not that this should deter anyone; within is a brilliantly realized satire, at turns luridly absurd, chillingly perceptive, and profoundly disturbing.

This body is Proopalicious

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