Music and Characters.
In space, no one can hear you sing. But for Starfleet’s best and the brightest, a passion—and preferably talent—for music is practically an occupational requirement. From Spock’s harp to Riker’s trombone, Data’s violin to Harry’s clarinet, Star Trek’s characters have carried on playing for more than half a century, filling the silent void of space with a rich medley.
In this supplemental episode of Primitive Culture, recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall during a performance of Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to discuss the importance of music in Star Trek’s technologically sophisticated future. With all human—and alien—culture available at the mere press of a touchscreen, what does it mean to put in the hours of practice necessary to master a musical instrument? And can a symphony performed by an android truly be considered a “live” performance?
The Virtues of Live Performance (00:03:05)
“Virtuoso” and Elitist Snobbery (00:05:40)
“Lessons” and Talent vs. Passion (00:08:55)
Jazz Standards and Improvisation (00:17:08)
The Instrument Maketh the Man (00:22:55)
The “Classical” Music of the Future (00:26:15)
The Consolation of Romantic Music (00:31:50)
Folk Music and Raw Emotion (00:39:20)
Hopes for Discovery (00:46:05)
Filling the Void (00:48:24)
Tony Black (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Pandemics in Star Trek. We look at disease outbreaks on Federation worlds and beyond in relation to real-world plagues and pandemics, such as the Black Death to HIV.
Religion in Star Trek. We consider how the franchise’s presentation of faith and religious practice has changed over the course of half a century, and how our own beliefs have impacted our viewing.
Schooling in Star Trek. For Starfleet officers whose families have joined them in space, providing a well-rounded education can be a challenge. We take a look at how education is handled in Gene Roddenberry’s future.
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.