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)
Cinematic Influences on Star Trek: First Contact. We discuss the influence of Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron on Jonathan Frakes and how their films inspired his big-screen directorial debut.
Gay Representation in Star Trek. We look at the franchise's fraught engagement with LGBT issues, from The Next Generation to Discovery.
Star Trek's Impossible Choices. We consider the influence of Sophie's Choice on Star Trek's storytelling and the dilemmas Starfleet captains are forced to face that the rest of us might consider impossible.
Voyager, History, and Nostalgia. We explore the show’s obsession with the past, debates around historical truth, the pleasures of nostalgia, and whether the homeward mission was inherently retrogressive.
A Christmas Carol and Tapestry. In this special holiday episode, we look at the influence of Dickens’s classic story on of the most popular episodes of TNG and the role Christmas plays in the secular societies we see in Star Trek.
Star Trek and Human Rights. To mark International Human Rights Day, we consider how Star Trek has engaged with real-world debates about human and animal rights, the impact of war on our most dearly held principles, and the Federation’s role in policing the future.
Director’s Cuts and Star Trek. At this live roundtable recorded at Prince Charles Cinema in London, we discuss how a director’s cut impacts the fan relationship with a film before we watch the UK premiere of the director’s extended edition of The Wrath of Khan.
Time Loops in Star Trek. We consider the role of time loops, both within the Star Trek universe and beyond, and explore the darker issues at play when the loops begin to unravel.
The X-Files and Star Trek. In a Halloween special, we explore connections between these two long-running sci-fi franchises.
The Federation’s Field of Dreams. We discuss baseball in Star Trek and why it’s such a good fit for storytelling in Gene Roddenberry’s universe.