Hector Qirko is not only Associate Professor of Anthropology and Associate Department Chair at the College of Charleston, US – he’s also, as can be appreciated above, a recording artist.
As such, he’s noticed that when it comes to popular music, “dumbness” in performances can sometimes be regarded as a musically authentic asset.
“I once overheard a session producer compliment a musician for his ‘dumb’ contribution to a recording. Another time, I heard an engineer, listening to a track in preparation for mixing, praise the ‘good, stupid-sounding tone on that guitar.’ And in my own struggles to come up with a good approach to a song, a colleague once advised me to ‘play it dumber’.”
The professor’s newly published paper, in the journal Popular Music and Society, suggests that “dumbness” is a commonly shared concept that influences many aspects of musical production.
If readers can suggest any particularly “dumb” performances that can serve to illustrate the point, please do get in touch.