I recently bought an RPG by the name of Numenera. It was written and developed by a very creative guy named Monte Cook. To put him on the map as best I can, he wrote and developed the rules to the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. To explain him further, or in terms the common layman can understand, he is responsible for about %80 of virginity spanning from the early 90’s up until about 2000.
This however is not what I’m writing about (although if you’re interested I highly recommend checking it out). I merely use the game to start this idea of mine. The game is set 1 Billion years into Earth’s future. The tectonic plates have moved back into a Pangea like continent, and the people of earth live along side mutants, bio-engineered creatures, robots, and relics and technology left over from 8 great civilizations, which are now dust and ruin (or sleeping! muahaha). My favorite part of all this is the lore. The story. The history. The lay of the land.
But something always pops into my head when I start thinking about the future, or reading a science fiction book. It’s a pretty natural thought for someone like me. I start to think about music.
Primarily I begin to think of what the music would be like! We only have 12 notes to work with, but look what we’ve done. Some cultures have even more notes in their traditional scales. It’s sort of this strange, exciting idea that is very zen in it’s nature. Like trying to imagine the sound of one hand clapping. It seem impossible to imagine what that would sound like to me, but If I really sit and think I could imagine all kinds of wacky stuff.
Most sci-fi movies, or visions of the future can be glowing, impressive landscapes of vision and thought, or they can be terrible, goofy, uninspired mistakes featuring Fores Whitaker making the worst acting choice of his career.
What amuses me is to see what music is added into a film, meaning, what music is written to represent what people are listening to IN the context of the reality of the film. Take for instance the movie Star Wars. You walk into a Cantina in Mos Eisley and a group of aliens are playing strange space Jazz, using giant instruments that look like Water Picks made out of car engine parts. Then take a movie like Starship Troopers. I remember seeing that movie when I was in 5th grade, which as far as I’m concerned might as well have been in 1976. However, every scene with music happening IN the movie was just awful. It was clearly an attempt at painting a picture of ‘future’ music but using the 90’s as the basis. The 90’s and the future just don’t mix. It didn’t even mix in 1985 when it was technically the past.
So this is kind of my never ending mental search for a movie that can present an adequate approximation of what music may be like in the future. Really we’ll never be able to tell what it will be like. No one can adequately predict what strange tones and melodies will be popular in the future. The fact that Dubstep got so wildly popular (and that many college aged kids threw their lives out the windows to pursue a career as a ‘Dubstep DJ’) was completely unpredictable, and I don’t think even Mozart or Mendelssohn in all their vast musical genius could have predicted at all, that in the future, the younger, taste-making generations of the world, would use small, but immensely powerful thinking machines to create ‘symphonies’, using digitized and electronic fart noises.
But I digress. Either way, I’m excited to see what we come up with, and I think I’ll be around (God willing) long enough to see some interesting changes in music, for worse, or for better.