Saturday, November 15, 2008

Basic Baloney 11/15/08

If you had to identify in one word the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

David Barry

I can't think of any thing more boring and more wasting of time than sitting in a committee meeting. They are usually sessions where people disagree with each other and so get nothing accomplished. Even if the meeting is well chaired and with a solid agenda it still ends up being a rag tag collection of opinions which are stacked up against the problem trying to be solved ad the meeting is adjourned until next time when compromises are made and no one is satisfied with the results.

You know the definition of a camel? A horse designed by a committee.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some excellent committees that provide great services to the world. But very often the same problems can be solved by a single individual working alone and taking a lot less time.

In the 16th Century there was a group of men in Florence, Italy, musicians, scholars and others who decided that the society was being corrupted by the popular music of the day (rock and roll?) no, polyphony, the singing of two or more melodic lines at the same time. So they joined together in a committee called The Camarata to try to reconstruct the music of ancient Greek drama. They knew that it was sung, but no one had any idea what it sounded like. Eventually they came up with a system of approaching musical composition, a sort of rule book. Composers rook it and tried to write works that would follow the rules and solve the problem, to moderate success.

Meanwhile, other composers were working on their own to bring about the kind of music that would appeal to the listeners of the day. One of those independent composers was a genius named Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643). He went back to the ancient stories, had them rewritten and set all the words to music, inserting some songs and what he did was to invent the art form known today as opera.

There is some doubt about which was his first opera, but I believe it was Orfeo.
Monteverdi had many followers and has influenced opera composers through the years. Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Wagner and Strauss, to name a few, are all indebted to Monteverdi. Some of his operas are still performed today, after all these years. Every major opera company has a Monteverdi opera in stock and they bring it out and performa it every now and then.

Monteverdi had no dealings with the Camarata.



Linda's World said...

Very interesting & true. It's amazing the "man" hours that are wasted in big corporations with meetings. That's all management does is attend meetings day after day. Such a waste...sleepy Linda in Washington

Joann said...

I worked for a company once that had meetings twice a week, and EVERY TIME, EVERYTHING on the agenda was always discussed and shelved for the next meeting... nothing was EVER accomplished.... it was the biggest JOKE!!!

They were a HUGE company, that is now non-existant... Hmmm... wonder why!!


Karen said...

agh! committees! teachers' meetings were spent doing lesson plans and marking papers while some one talked for 40 minutes on something...most anything that got accomplished at those meetings had to do with scheduling duties outside of the classroom such as bus duty, lunchroom duty, hall duty, etc.

Big Mark 243 said...

Thing is, it is the tall poppy that somehow avoids being cut, that sets the standard so that the others to follow may grow.

Still, being that 'first guy' is always a risk, and who is going to be that special to do it?

I dunno, maybe we should meet about it, and form a committee to discuss finding that person!

Beth said...

This was really interesting, D. I didn't know that's how opera began, or that Monteverdi was responsible.

I had to chuckle at the "meeting" part of your entry. Ohhhh, some of the meetings I've sat through...I think we discovered a new level of Hell. ;)

Love, Beth