turning people off to music
by, Jul-31-2012 at 04:03 (1446 Views)
I've often heard classical music fans worry that not enough people like our music. Classical music is dying, only old people go to concerts, etc....
I've become convinced that at least some of this is wishful thinking. A lot of us wish to be the only people who like classical music. We hope to distinguish ourselves by our good taste from the rubes around us. We hope younger generations won't listen to the music so that we can be more elite, relative to them.
We discourage people new to classical music or unfamiliar with it from enjoying it by acting like they'll never be good enough. They like Beethoven; we scorn them. They like Varèse or Schoenberg; we scorn them. They don't like Varèse or Schoenberg; we scorn them. The like Alkan; we scorn them. Haven't heard Mompou yet; we scorn them. No matter what they do, they are met with unremitting scorn. They have no hope of ever being accepted. They ought to just give up.
Our sub- or semi-conscious goal is to make them give up. Our goal is to make ourselves ever more elite. We scorn each other for not knowing whatever--French Baroque opera, Stockhausen, Stamitz, the output of CPO or Chandos. We scorn each other for having relatively pedestrian tastes: enjoying DG (especially, God forbid, Karajan), enjoying Chopin, enjoying the waltzes of Johann Strauss, Jr. We scorn each other for not having studied composition, for not being music majors, for not being performers. We would probably scorn each other for having unsymmetrical feet, if only we could find a way to pretend it were relevant to music.
Our behavior is repulsive. Were we treated according to our deserts, who should escape whipping? I hope there is a just and vengeful God.