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musicology

We have already established that my taste in music is not to be trusted (I blame my father for this but that is another story), however I still must say that I love traditional Tibetan music. I still haven't gotten a handle on all their intstruments but there are banjo/guitar liked stringed ones, a viola/bass guitar one that I am not so crazy about, mandolins, and a lot of it is done with a quirky emphasis on the second beat which makes it surprisingly similar to reggae.

As much as I love the traditional stuff, I am trying to trace the evolution of culture so I set out to figure out how this delightful music has changed in the past fifty years. What I have discovered so far is surprisingly predictable. It has been electricfied, some people have started mixing it into techno-dance numbers, others pick up the pace or add distortion to make it more grungy or rock-like, while others emphasize the twang in a way that, due to my revulsion to U.S. country music, turns my stomach a bit.

However, despite the predictability of this evolution, the results are still unique - Tibetan rock does not sound like the rock that grew out of the U.S., which doesn't sound like some of my favorite rock bands from other countries. Thinking about this, it occurred to me that music is perhaps one of the few areas where blending is good, especially as long as there remains interest in the old areas. I suspect food is similar but a little bit more difficult to import and export. It seems that even as we complain that cultures all over the world are dying to homogenization resulting from globalization music is just getting more diverse and more interesting. Also, as the blending of cultures creates new musical genres, it also creates a wider audience for the traditional styles. Most people's music collections only grow as they get older. Discovering positive aspects to the way we are evolving as humans is always a joy.

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