The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 August 2004

One of these things is like the others

When a critic says a work is "derivative," what does he mean? If he's talking about a musical work, Lynn's on to him:

Derivative [is] a favorite word of those who look down on anything composed after 1930 or so that has an actual melody.

Oh, my. An actual tune. Nothing innovative here. Let's give it a brief, superior sneer and move on to this piece for percussion ensemble and tuba, written by an expatriate Lithuanian lesbian in response to the cruel treatment she received on a visit to Baltic Avenue in Atlantic City.

Dissonant? Atonal? Cacophonous? You betcha. But it's not derivative, and that's all that counts.

(So much for my future as a music reviewer. And Lynn's better at it anyway.)

Posted at 3:28 PM to Tongue and Groove


I'm not so sure about that. I think to be a professional critic you have to know 1001 different ways to say "derivative." :-)

Posted by: Lynn S at 9:45 PM on 5 August 2004