What Music Means to Me

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“Music is too personal a medium to support an absolute hierarchy of value. The best music in the world is the music that persuades us that there is no other music in the world.” * - Alex Ross, Listen to This

Alex Ross’s quote captures the true definition of music. He states that if music is truly the best in the world, then you need not be persuaded by words for the music itself will convince you of its greatness. Here, Ross defines music as a “personal medium” that does not subscribe and cannot be defined by “an absolute hierarchy of value[s].” Music, as defined by Ross, is not something that stays within the realms of “normal.” It does not necessarily need to follow the rules--it provides an escape from the rigid lines of society for those who wish to get away.

Music has a certain power if it is the right kind of music. According to Ross, if music is truly the best kind of music, then it will convince you without words, without trying that it is truly the best music in the world. It does not need words or titles to tell you that it is it a cut above the rest. When you listen to this music, there is nothing else in the world, only those prescribed notes flowing around you in perfect harmony. Alex Ross tells us that the greatest music of the world makes you forget about all other music, everything else in the world. The best music in the world has a certain power over the listener--it makes him forget about everything else in the world. * It is not clear from Ross’s quote if he is a musician. He does not explicitly state that he is a musician, although his interpretation of music does suggest that he is in fact a musician. His interpretation of the meaning of music suggests that he is himself a musician. However, whether Alex Ross is a musician has no bearing on the meaning of the quote what so ever. Ross could simply be an avid listener (although his books and background make it clear that he is indeed a musician) who finds that...
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