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Thread: Does Listening To Classical Music Enhance One's Listening Ability In Other Genres?

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    Senior Member samurai's Avatar
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    Default Does Listening To Classical Music Enhance One's Listening Ability In Other Genres?

    I have noticed that since I began 2 or 3 months ago to really start listening to and appreciating classical music, that I also seem to be developing a more "discerning ear"--for want of a better term--when it comes to listening again to my first and other love, namely jazz. What I mean by this is that I am better able to follow themes and their development now than when I wasn't listening to classical on a regular basis.
    Has anyone else experienced this, or am I really deluding myself? Could it be merely coincidental or just a function of my getting older? In my heart of hearts, however, I don't think these latter two reasons suffice as reasonable explanations {at least I hope they don't!}
    Therefore, I am wondering if any of my fellow members who have in fact undergone this type of transition {?} believe that there is something intrinsic and attributable to classical music as a genre which might explain this phenomenon? I really would like to think that I am not alone in having experienced this. Or am I?
    Last edited by samurai; Jun-23-2011 at 05:41.
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    Does Listening To Classical Music Enhance One's Listening Ability In Other Genres?
    It definitely has for me. One thing I can think of is electronic music. Listening to the pioneers of electronic music (in the "classical" realm) like Xenakis, Boulez, Stockhausen, Varese has made me enjoy things like techno and mixes that I like listening to on radio (I don't own anything like this, I just like listening to new mixes made like yesterday by dj's especially for radio broadcasts). & of course, this engagement with techno has fed into me going to live performances of electro-acoustic stuff by current composers like Trevor Wishart, Brian Smetanin, Saariaho, and others whose names I forget. It's best to experience this kind of thing live, imo, so if you get a chance, just take it!

    On the other hand, although I got some limited exposure to "classical" chamber music in my early years of listening as a child & teenager, I only got into this repertoire in a big way more recently after some years of listening to jazz - a lot of which is very chamber-like. Guys like Django Reinhardt, Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, Don Byas, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, to name a few, were really chamber musicians par excellence. Pianist Art Tatum even composed some improvisations (under a false name, to avoid criticism by jazz snobs/highbrows) which have recently been recorded by the likes of Marc-Andre Hamelin (one of today's finest "classical" musicians - who himself has composed his own improvisations, feeding off what Tatum had done!). The more I think about it, there are little or few boundaries between the different styles, genres, eras, etc. There are only barriers in "the fans" minds, musicians have been transcending these things for years (just look at how Sir Yehudi Menuhin put down recordings with Ravi Shankar and Stephane Grapelli)...

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    Yes, it did the same for me especially when it came to listening to jazz, blues, even country music. My listening and enjoyment of jazz (usually on the radio) is so "easy", I feel I "get" the mood of the different jazz pieces that come, fundamentally thanks to my "grounding" if I can say so, from classical genres. Other genres that I dislike, such as country music, I think I also "get" it but I just dislike its feel. Popular songs, too.

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    It definitely can.

    It can probably do the opposite, too. In many classical forums/discussions I've noticed some really nasty dismissal of any genre of music that's not about grand scale, subtle development and austere piety, ignoring the environment that influenced that style, as well as the fact that different music has different goals and modes of reaching those goals. (And this is coming from someone who hates pop, so I'm not some bastion of open-mindedness or anything.)
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    I can separate parts and hear all of the different developments in Rap music much easier now.

    The developments really aren't that interesting.

    Also, I never listen to rap music.

    Hooray.

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    I'm on the side of those who say definitely so. Picking up a little theory along the way does wonders.

    Especially something like jazz, which usually has roughly the same principles as classical music usually has (variations on melodies and harmonies). There's been a lot of influence between the two.

    I don't believe it would usually cause someone to appreciate other genres less - but that could be caused by something that often goes with listening to classical music: hanging out with people who love classical and scorn other genres. I'm fortunate that none of the people I knew who loved classical in my formative years rejected other kinds of music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    ...I'm fortunate that none of the people I knew who loved classical in my formative years rejected other kinds of music.
    Same here. My parents loved classical music, as well as things like Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Edith Piaf - it was all "up for grabs." Loving classical music doesn't cancel out equally loving other things. Recently I have gotten into the lighter realm in a big way - operetta & film music in particular. There's a huge amount of sophistication in these genres which some highbrows dismiss off the cuff. I think the problem is not with the music, there's nothing "bottom feeder" about it, it's just the attitudes of some highbrows, who seem to be inhabiting their own planet or universe. Good luck to them, but the way I was bought up, that kind of thinking is alien to me (like being on the "planet of the apes"!!! - although btw, I love the score of that film)...

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    Senior Member Sofronitsky's Avatar
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    I think the turn off for me in film music is that it is not composed to bring utterance to the composer's own emotions/thoughts. Nor is it composed to say something new in music, add new sounds etc. The music is basically just very pretty music composed to augment a film. And while there's good film music, like this that negates all that I've just said, the majority of it is sentimental and obsolete.

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    QUITE CONTRARY MY FRIEND

    It provides you with UNABILITY to listen to huge amount of music you used to like since you can see what kind of crap did you waste your time with before

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    QUITE CONTRARY MY FRIEND

    It provides you with UNABILITY to listen to huge amount of music you used to like since you can see what kind of crap did you waste your time with before
    I've got to partially agree with this one, through not so stridently. But yeah, I haven't listened to rock music since before Christmas. No Bruce, no Bob, no Tom Waits, no none of the above, or anyone else.

    Now and again my wife sticks on Adele or something, and I smile and bop my head and say it's great, but really, I'm like the tiger in the long grass, watching the track-counters and waiting til a polite amount of time after it's finished (usually about 5 seconds is enough) before I take it out and replace it with classical!


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    I asked a friend for one.


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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    I asked a friend for one.

    Hey Harpsichord Concerto,

    You might be able to help me here. Is this music in 4/4 time? Just curious cos we were at a festival last weekend and they played trance music and someone said it was all in 4/4 time.

    6 hours of it!


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    Well most modern forms of music originate from classical music. Thus, listening to the music that began everything would obviously provide a greater understanding of how modern artists use chords and scales always used in classical music to please the modern audience.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    QUITE CONTRARY MY FRIEND

    It provides you with UNABILITY to listen to huge amount of music you used to like since you can see what kind of crap did you waste your time with before
    I 'like' this post, though its premise doesn't match my experience. I wonder if Aramis being a composer/musician affects his sentiment.

    I think that the amount of 'crossover comprehension' classical music provides is related to how much concentration is applied when listening. Most classical music repays concentration, but many works don't require it. Same goes for jazz, and to a somewhat lesser extent for bluegrass. (Note that I am referring to listening-without-intent-to-learn.)

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Is it in 4/4 time? These days it's hard to find any computer-generated pushbutton dance rubbish that isn't.

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