I have never laughed so hard as when I read Don’s partita in D. I could never do it justice in summary so let me just say that it is well worth the read – especially the last paragraph:
To turn to a musical metaphor, let’s look at a modern History 101 class. The chief instructor who knows all the notes has just been given a new synthesizer (think PowerPoint) that has all the range of his old saxophone, which he never quite mastered but at least it was familiar, but adds bagpipe, harmonica and peddle steel guitar to his possible instrument range. He has of course never been given any instruction on any of these instruments, but his father was a big Hank Williams fan and his mother watched soap operas while she ironed. The instructor has also been provided with a graduate student backup group. Two of these also have no musical training but one isn’t bad on the thumb piano which the university provided her and the other is working hard on the slide trombone which he found after last years homecoming rally. The third graduate assistant actually has some background, having taken tap lessons between the ages of 8 and 14, but has lately developed an unfortunate interest in late 70’s acid rock. So there we have our quartet, and it really is Bach, or maybe Mozart, they’re playing. And there really is an audience trying to make sense out of it.