Imagine this: You’ve seen a photo on someone’s Instagram story of the most appetizing fettuccine pasta drizzled with Alfredo sauce. You don’t know the person well, but the food looks delicious. I need to know where they got it from. You replied to the post and asked for the name of the restaurant that produced this delicious meal.
“This place is kind of personal to me,” comes the reply. “The really funny thing is… you wouldn’t want this if you hadn’t seen me post.”
This interaction probably seems surreal. Actually this is a joke. A quote from a video that recently circulated on the internet makes fun of people who go to great lengths to keep others from accessing their treasured possessions. Most people call this gatekeeping.
I laughed, but maybe mental tricks are natural in some cases. We protect what is valuable to us. Perhaps how much we care about protecting these personal finds is an indicator of how valuable they are to us. secretly dislikes being occupied by someone from Or maybe you don’t want to meet someone you know at the quaint little coffee shop you found last week.
In our minds, we’re all guarding our favorite restaurants, study spots, and coffee shops, but no one is as vocal as a music fan.
Unfortunately, I am a music fan. He’s also the first to admit that it’s comical and ridiculous for music fans to talk about bands they’ve “probably never heard of.” Still, complex chord progressions and intense basslines get me pretty excited. When I find a niche song that I haven’t heard before, I feel like I’ve acquired something special. Maybe I have a subconscious fear that songs that are special to me right now will become worthless if they fall into a friend’s lap.
But where does that attachment come from?it’s not my Yet, ever since I “discovered” it, I have embraced the illusion of claiming originality.
We want what others have, but we feel better when others want what we have. So for music fans, gatekeeping may be a natural human tendency. This raises the question: Who is the true owner of artistic expression? Is the creator the one who makes something out of nothing and produces an original work? Or is it the consumer who lives in it, identifies with it, affirms its inventions?
And more importantly, when we think about a genre of music rooted in the voices and efforts of people of color, what does it mean for this art to be adopted or occupied by a hegemonic group, the white man?
At first, the idea that music listeners think they have ownership of someone else’s work sounds delusional. But all genres of music attract listeners: indie, house music, underground he hip-hop. An artist’s success directly correlates with a cult following when listeners are integral to their music’s value, or niche status. The paradox is that if a band’s unpopularity is what makes them cool, people will naturally be drawn to that coolness and inadvertently increase the band’s popularity.
We tend not to think of artists themselves as gatekeepers, but Hal H. Harris, in a Medium column, recalls that jazz music first attained its character thanks to key gatekeepers. Let me.
“Jazz was rebellious music. In its origins, it was undeniably black,” Harris affirms. “Even if artists like Django Reinhardt and Benny Goodman were building the bank, they were still influenced by black gatekeepers like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk, and signed. I needed it.”
Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, perhaps the most famous American jazz composer, set the standard for other creators when it comes to jazz standards. His 1943 Carnegie Hall debut, Black, Brown, and Beige: The Tones of the History of Negroes, deserves recognition for the lived experience and cultural expression of blacks in America as much as that of whites. I insisted.
However, the rise of the recording industry ultimately determined that jazz’s commercial success depended less on the innovation and creativity of black musicians than on its broad audience appeal and acceptance by white Americans. As Harris puts it, “Jazz has been colonized and distorted in how it treats numbers.”
In an article for New Music USA, Eugene Holly Jr. recalled: Holly explains: So how could a white jazz pianist make the cover of Time magazine before he was one of the genre’s most influential and pioneering composers?
Gatekeeping can only do so much in preserving the original character of the musical style. Nothing could prevent jazz from being taken in by white musicians and adapted to suit mainstream audiences. This, more than anything else, reveals the inherent racism in our society that artists like Duke Ellington first sought to subvert with their musical expression.
Perhaps as music becomes more accessible, the ideas of ownership and gatekeeping become less and less concrete. Stream music wherever you are using your mobile device. In fact, anyone can use his iPhone to create professional-looking, perhaps a little rudimentary, tunes himself. The use of ‘sampling’ in modern music production is already testing our intellectual property ideas. And because of all this, the jazz genre suffers.
According to Nielsen’s year-end 2014 report, jazz is slowly declining in popularity among American listeners. In 2014, it was tied with classical music as the least-consumed music in the United States. But it’s the record industry as a whole that’s really falling prey to the changing times. Jazz is just collateral damage. “
When artists create, they say they ‘make something out of nothing’, but that’s not entirely true. has offered something never heard before. You can try to protect the music you love, but originality comes from your willingness to see it change and blend into the hands of others.
Likewise, the next time someone asks where I got that delicious fettuccine pasta I’m eating, the next time I ask if I’d like to go with them. The more you do it, the less you realize what’s so special about that moment.
Like a jazz solo improvisation, it’s the flavor quirks that make a dish unique.
Statement Columnist Connor O’Leary Herreras can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.