Monday, July 23, 2007

American Indian Artists Reject Yeagley, Say He Is a Mediocre Musician, a "Delusional...Media Whore"

Is it any wonder Yeagley lashes out at American Indians to blame them for his own life filled with failure? As a child, Yeagley was hailed by some as a prodigy. As an adult he spent his time being a lifelong student with no accomplishments.

Yeagley is now a senior citizen witn little in his life, no family, few friends or supporters outside of white supremacists and a tiny number of apple Indians, repeatedly rejected by the Comanche he falsely alleges to be his people. Even his musical career is virtually nonexistent. Conspicuously, very few of his music works were ever recorded until AFTER far right reactionaries like Horowitz turned him into a professional token.

And now it's become obvious why his career never went anywhere in over four decades. More than a few of the more successful and talented Native musicians say his work was, quite simply, not very good. Many want nothing to do with him.

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From Brent Michael Davids of www.badeagle.org.
[I've rearranged the article slightly, putting Davids's critique of Yeagley's music at the end.]

Native Museums Are Not Fooled

Yeagley is basically a media whore for ill purposes, taking a highly questionable and unverified claim to a drop of Comanche blood, along with a degree in playing the piano, to the gross heights of white supremacy and misogyny. His unearned and rather egocentric demeanor is Yeagley’s way of clawing out some attention for himself and crackbrained agenda. His musical claims have been repeatedly proven as lackluster and inflated, serving moreover to pad his own media resume and continue his lunacy.

But, in retrospect, Yeagley is starting at least in part to be recognized for what he is, delusional. He was uninvited to the National Museum of the American Indian because of his derogatory mischaracterizations of the Museum, and the negative associations with his anti-Indian stance; The NMAI promised to never have him back. Even the two American Indian violinists invited by Yeagley to perform his work at his sole NMAI appearance, were justifiably disinterested.

And now, it appears that the Comanche Nation’s new Museum has followed the lead of the NMAI, declining to even consider Yeagley’s participation there. When asked if Yeagley would be associated with the Museum’s opening activities, the response from the Museum was “No, absolutely not,” citing the need to disassociate the Museum with the negativity generated by Yeagley’s activities. Bravo to the Comanche Nation Museum.

So it seems that Native People are not so easily fooled by Yeagley’s mental contortions, though sometimes amusing to watch. Yeagley’s puffed up image in the media, his self-aggrandizing, is not being gullibly taken in by as many folks as in previous years. That is a hopeful note for all of the Web Sites who regularly correct Yeagley’s misinformation and half-truths, including this one. Yeagley’s abuse of his piano degree as a means to further his deluded agenda, is as mediocre as his “new” harmonic theory, and we can be thankful that more people are starting to realize it.

As for his music, it seems to me that perhaps Yeagley has spent hours pouring over his "new" theory of harmonic development, but in doing so has mostly sidestepped the development of other important aspects such as rhythm and orchestration. But I’m not Yeagley’s teacher, and am not intending to give Yeagley advice with my comments. Quite simply, it is of interest to note the non-Indian approaches Yeagley has utilized in forming his compositions, as well as some apparent weaknesses of the craft involved. He may have received a D.M.A. for playing the piano, but he is a student of composing with much to learn.

Music and meaning are subjective and communal activities, so those who see greater value in Yeagley’s work have simply to claim a diverse world where differing opinions coexist (you know, a "cosmopolitan" world), and they are justified in claiming so. As for my own opinion of Yeagley’s efforts, I see some room for improvement and further study. Obviously, there is also much room for Yeagley to improve regarding all things American Indian as well. It is unfortunate for legitimate musicians and American Indian musicians in particular, that Yeagley's piano degree continues to be utilized as a media ploy for his promotion of white supremacy and misogyny.

[Here is Davids' review of Yeagley's latest work.]

I did give a listen to his recent You Tube upload. My initial reaction is that it’s not-too-bad compositionally, but also not-too-great.

His harmonic language (his self-attributed-but-never-described harmonic theory) seems adequate, and an acceptable effort. If he were my student, he’d get an acceptable grade on that aspect of his composition. There are a couple weaknesses though, too, that could be improved upon: rhythm and orchestration.

Rhythmically, the piece is rather middle-of-the-road in quality, seemingly reliant on a series of steady pulses of regular beats with little variation. One can listen to the beginning for awhile and by reaching the end will have heard almost no change in rhythm throughout. If you, either as a musician or non-musician, reach the final notes of this music finding yourself rather uninspired, generally speaking, one of the reasons for this effect is the rhythmic monotony.

A similar critique of the orchestration is warranted, as the ranges of the instruments are never utilized to full capacity in the composition. The higher range of the upper instruments and the lower range of the bass instruments remain largely unused, rendering a middle-of-the-road outcome. Great music has satisfying ups and downs, like a musical roller coaster ride generating excitement for an audience. Yeagley's orchestration seems excessively committed to the mid-range and remains a lackluster effort as a result.

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