Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bringing Dynamics Back

Here's something that I need to share with all my fellow musicians, especially the ones who like to play plugged in: I hate loud music. Louder is not better, it is just more painful and damages my hearing. If you turn it up to 11 I will not sit through your concerts. Really. I will walk out if I need to. I have excellent hearing, I know because I had it tested where I work as part of my training, I work at a hearing aid company.

If you feel the need to play loud, you are probably concealing a lack of understanding of dynamics. When I was a little girl I learned how to play music in band, and there were different levels that we learned to play with. The dynamics would vary according to the musical notation on any given song. It takes skill to learn how to play at different levels, and if you want it all loud all the time you are missing that. Really.

All that is happening is you are making noise. I want to hear and understand the lyrics, I want to be swept away by a melody, I want to LISTEN. Too loud music has me covering my ears and leaving the room. This is why you are more likely to see me at an unplugged event than a plugged event. Because I listen to folk instead of heavy metal, you would think this wouldn't be a problem. But I can't listen to some of my friend's bands because the music is too damn loud. Come on people! Louder is NOT BETTER! You know who you are, and I challenge you to play with a greater dynamic range and make the loud parts dramatic, and make the soft parts enchant me.

By the way, if you love to play that loud music, you and your family probably have measurable hearing loss because of it. Your fans as well. If you can't hear soft music, you should probably have that looked at. Loud is not an intelligent lifestyle, it's harmful to the quality of music you are capable of creating as well as your quality of life. And I am not a fan of yours or your band. I won't be going to your shows and buying your records. It's too bad really, because I give really good audience.

But don't just think about me, think about the 6.5 million teenagers with hearing loss. Most of this is preventable by playing their headphones at a more reasonable level. By the way that number is 31% more than it was a decade ago.

Ever notice that in a really good dramatic movie you have to listen closely to the dialog sometimes? The actors are speaking softly so you have pay closer attention to what they have to say. It's called drama. Loud isn't dramatic it's just obnoxious. Being obnoxious is being hateful to your listeners, and causing permanent damage to their hearing is just foolish. This is not cool. Really.

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