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Thread: How did YOU discover classical music?

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Smile How did YOU discover classical music?

    I don't think I've seen this sort of thread topic-- thought it might be fun...

    How did you discover classical music? How old were you? Was it a particular piece of music? What was some of your first listening experiences? Was it sudden or did it take you time to warm up to it?

    My story doesn't start out very promising at first I was a slow learner...

    When I was a kid, like about 5 or 6 I remember having (for some odd reason) the soundtrack to Doctor Zhivago. That is my earliest memory of exposure to symphonic music. I think I got it at a second-hand shop, but I had no idea what I was getting.

    When Star Wars came out, I was 7 years old & I got the John Williams soundtrack, thinking it was so amazing. I had bought a few other symphonic soundtracks as well during that time (I also had the Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite but I didn't really know I was listening to classical music (like I said, I was a slow learner). Through my dad, who had listened to a little bit of classical music, he sort of nudged me in the direction of Beethoven (Sym. No. 5 & 6) & Mozart (Sym. 40 & 41). My parents really didn't listen to classical music much (mum hates it actually).

    As a 9 year old kid, I was like "Wow! You mean people have been writing this stuff for a couple hundred years?" LOL (My funny confession: I thought the numbers to the symphonies indicated not the numbered symphony of a given composer, but of all symphonies ever written-- so Beethoven wrote the world's SIXTH symphony ever and so on LOL)

    I still did listen to some crap though (once I found Holst I ditched John Williams for good LOL)-- I think it was around the early 80s (around age 10 or 11) that the Disney movie Fantasia was re-released and there was Vangelis' Chariots of Fire soundrack (a sort of one-man electronic orchestra) and the first Hooked On Classics record came out (eek! I said "record"!). Oh, there was also the Cosmos sountrack (the Carl Sagan doco series) and I discovered a bunch of classical music through that as well. I don't remember which ones I got first, but it was all around the same time.

    But the Hooked on Classics album listed all the music used in the medley and I started tracking down these pieces (I had graduated to cassette tape by this time). I found myself especially drawn toward Bach. I bought the all the Orchestral Suites and the Brandenburgs and I was indeed "hooked" and I was totally in love with classical in a big way after that. It was then that I discovered I could check out records from the public library & between that & reading up on composers & the history & development of classical music that I grew in my knowledge & experience.

    So whilst many kids at my age would've had parents beating on the door saying "Would you turn that noise down?!!" to Motely Crue or whatever, for me it was Stravinsky LOL

    What about other people's introduction to classical music?

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member marval's Avatar
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    I discovered Classical music when I was very young, due to the fact that it was what my parents would listen to.

    I remember listening to pop music on the radio, in the sixties. But I much peferred classical. For my 21st birthday my parents gave me a record player, everyone else gave me record tokens. As I lived just outside Leeds at the time, I went into the town where there was a very good record shop (unfotunately I cannot remember the name), it sold mostly classical music. Hence my Brandenberg Concertos, my Mozart including his horn concerto and Ashkenazy playing Chopin. My liking for classical music is still just as strong, I am not an expert but I do know what I like.


    Margaret

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marval View Post
    ...a very good record shop (unfotunately I cannot remember the name), it sold mostly classical music...
    How strange-- a record shop selling mostly classical music...? LOL

    In some larger US cities you could find in some of the bigger music shops a "classical room" which usually had a fairly wide selection. I noticed in New Orleans, Houston and Dallas but by the early-90s they started getting smaller and smaller, and then finally cut out altogether by around 1999. I can't even purchase classical music except online now.

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member marval's Avatar
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    Yes it was strange, a shop selling mostly classical music. There are very few places here in Milton Keynes in the Uk that sell music at all, let alone classical music. As you say it seems to be that online is the main place for buying music.


    Margaret

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hmm, great topic ... classical music discovered me actually as I was too young to really appreciate what I was listening too. I grew up in a 100% classical musical family - parents played for years in the Scandinavian Symphony (Detroit) for eons and later upon moving to California in the Long Beach Phil - they would have to drag us kids to rehearsals, which I can distinctly remember. Dad played the double B flat concert tuba, Mom the violin. My sister acquired the viola and I started out on piano. At home we would play together often.

    In the mornings we woke to Coffee Cup Concert on the FM radio ... Every weekend we either attended an orchestral concert or other classical music event. By the time I was 12, my focus changed to classical church organ, a chosen profession I remain very active in to this day nearly 48 years later. I echo what Marvel has said about record shops ... we had those all classical stores in Los Angeles and in Orange County (CA) ... nothing but row upon row of classical lp's, pianos and sheet music. I still have all my LPs that I purchased in the 60's & 70's and have a working turntable as part of my audio setup at home.

    I have little tolerance for most of today's "noise", especially rap-crap, and those morons who force everyone else around them in traffic to listen to it and feel that horrid thumping, bone jarring, window rattling bass - gives me an instant headache.

    Classical music has been around for centuries and will outlast anything else that comes along - it has originality all it own - and so do the people who love and play this music.

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    Until last year, I had been fed lies about classical and how it was for extremely rich snooty old people.

    Now, I practically worship geniuses such as Grieg and Beethoven.

    It started almost exactly a year ago, when I decided to try writing classical for an independent project in a digital music production class. I kept trying, and despite my best efforts, I couldn't for the life of me understand a word of theory that came from my teacher's mouth. Over last summer, I taught myself everything. Chords, movements, styles, modulations, scales, modes, forms, orchestration, melodic development, everything. The more I studied, the more I realized. One can't know how difficult it is to write such beautiful music if one has never tried, or never thought about how to.

    I absolutely love it.

    I won't insult other music styles, as I still enjoy rock occasionally, but I must agree that rap is not music. Rap is a lyrical art. It may take skill to do, but it is by no means music.

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJTTOMB View Post
    It started almost exactly a year ago, when I decided to try writing classical for an independent project in a digital music production class. I kept trying, and despite my best efforts, I couldn't for the life of me understand a word of theory that came from my teacher's mouth. Over last summer, I taught myself everything. Chords, movements, styles, modulations, scales, modes, forms, orchestration, melodic development, everything. The more I studied, the more I realized. One can't know how difficult it is to write such beautiful music if one has never tried, or never thought about how to.

    I absolutely love it.
    Wow! Good on you! I was one of the very few people in music school that actually LIKED music theory, once it clicked in my head just right... Go you!

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member hawk's Avatar
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    Great topic.

    Until this past summer I, in my almost 52 years, did not pay much attention to classical music. There were a few pieces of music that I enjoyed for example an old television show which came on PBS (Public Broadcasting Station) called Masterpiece Theater used what I now know is from Handels Watermusic as the theme. Also I enjoyed the Nutcracker when heard during the Holydays. Other than that I knew nothing.

    This past summer my family and I were in Lincolnshire UK for 3 weeks as part of the comemmoration of John Smith and the founding of the Jamestown colony.
    I was commisioned to create a piece of music (I build and play Native Flutes) to play in concert with the London Mozart Players. We were planning on doing 3 days of workshops and 3 evening concerts.

    With literally 10 minutes of rehersal, barely enough time to say hello, behind us we performed the first concert. It was as if we were in two different musical universes
    During the next two days of workshops and concerts we drew closer together musically. The last concert was very nice and when my part of the program was finished I sat and listened to them perform Tchaikovskys Serenade for Strings.

    I think the combination of how I was feeling after my part of the program (happy it went well and relieved it was finished) and the beauty of LMP's performance of Serenade caused me to immediately fall in Love with this music!
    From that moment on I "needed" to hear more. At first I relived the LMP experience by listening to Serenade days on end.

    In my home one can usually hear Kora or Didgerido or Mbira (I play these as well) or Tuvan Throat singing... but once we returned home, much to the dismay of my family, Tchaikovsky was on 24/7. In an effort to keep my family intact some variation in music was needed. Wbach radio to the rescue. This was where new music excited my ears.

    Classical is still so new to me. Much to learn about the composers, the language, the music, orchestras, conducters well you get the picture. I feel like the baby who is just begining to babble the rudiments of language...
    Peace
    Hawk

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    In my case, I really don't know, actually! As you may know, one gets very little exposure to this form of classical music in this part of the world, but whenever I heard a snippet of an orchestral piece (or something based on these principles), I enjoyed it. As a kid, I was exposed to O Fortuna, (a tiny part of) Mozart's 25th symphony, the finale of Beethoven's 9th, etc. through TV adverts. (without knowing it, of course.) Also, one of the famous film composers adopted a lot of stuff from Baroque music, especially Vivaldi and Bach - something I found out after my "discovery." A couple of years ago, I came across this trivia about Mozart reproducing the score of the Miserere from memory. (The date was Jan 26th, 2006, if you must know, and I was 20 years plus a few months old.) I said to myself, "Well, this Mozart guy seems interesting. Why not explore more of his music and see what the fuss is all about?" Till then, I had heard only the names of a couple of composers and nothing more. Having begun my journey in the "Age of the Internet," I discovered internet radio stations. I found one in Feb' '06, and I haven't looked back ever since. I joined internet message boards and started learning more from experienced listeners and enthusiasts. Fortunately, there are stores here that stock a few hundred CDs in their 'Western Classical' racks. This music has definitely been one of the greatest discoveries in my life, and I hope to continue to discover more.

    And I'll quit boring you now.
    Last edited by opus67; Dec-19-2007 at 15:12.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


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    I honestly can't remember where my interest in classical music began, but I do remember hearing a lot of it in the cartoons I watched as a kid. Remember all the old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons, and the popular masterpieces played sporadically throughout them such as The Blue Danube, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Die Fledermaus, Hungarian Dance No. 5, and William Tell (just to name a few)? Maybe it stemmed from that early exposure.

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    My interest started while I was very young. I started piano lessons in 2nd grade, and I remember going through all the standard piano methods. I changed piano teachers in 4th grade, and my new teacher and I developed a life long friendship. He got me started playing Bach, Mozart, Scarlatti, and even a little Grieg and Schumann really early. His philosophy was that I should learn to play by playing the Masters. Eventually I was able to work on his proclaimed "Old Testament" (The Well-Tempered Clavier) and the "New Testament" (The Beethoven Sonatas)

    I went from that start to playing the violin, and played in many ensembles. I distinctly remember the first time I played in a symphonic group and at my first rehearsal after auditioning, we played through the first movement of the Sibelius 3rd Symphony and as the horns enter a few bars in, I was hooked on the symphonic repertoire. I was about 14 then.

    Neither my father or mother were particularly interested in classical music, but they were very supportive of my endeavors and showed up at every recital and concert until I went off to college.

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    How long have a been a huge fan of classical music? A little over 3 years.

    How did my curiosity and interest in classical music come about? Interestingly, from watching Stanley Kubrick films. I watched them often, since I’m a big fan of his films. I realized how much I enjoyed some of the music used in his films. I started buying the soundtracks to his movies (Barry Lyndon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut). A Clockwork Orange introduced me to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and I found I was really drawn to the powerful Scherzo of the 9th. From there, I purchased a copy of Beethoven’s 9th symphony, and enjoyed it so much, I went to the complete symphonies. That was it! From that point, I became enthralled and passionate about classical music, and went on shopping sprees of CD’s, buying books, etc. I’ve never discovered anything more exciting in my life!

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    Senior Member Ephemerid's Avatar
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    This is interesting... While a few here have more-or-less been born into a household familiar with classical music (either through listening and/or through music lessons), many people found out later, unexpectedly.

    This only reinforces my belief that IF classical music got more promotion (via record companies, TV, radio, internet, schools, etc.) there would probably be an even wider audience for classical. It isn't because classical music is "too difficult" or "boring" or anything like that at all. People simply have no exposure to it-- it might not even OCCUR to many people to even CONSIDER classical music. At best what people have is stereotypes.

    Lack of exposure (and also the stereotypes which "make up" for that lack of exposure) is the only real thing stopping classical from being as popular as it is. Oh, I know-- a lot of people wouldn't like it anyway, but I think this is indicative of the fact that classical music doesn't HAVE to be so obscure-- it isn't on its own merits that classical music is like this today.

    Classical music can be fun, exciting, deeply moving, funny, intelligent, and so many other things. I think more people would be willing to delve into its riches if only there were more exposure and less stereotypes.

    These are wonderful stories to hear-- keep it up!

    Hawk, have you played the shakuhachi as well? I'm an amateur shak player.

    ~josh
    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law.” ~ Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fool on the hill View Post
    This only reinforces my belief that IF classical music got more promotion (via record companies, TV, radio, internet, schools, etc.) there would probably be an even wider audience for classical. It isn't because classical music is "too difficult" or "boring" or anything like that at all. People simply have no exposure to it-- it might not even OCCUR to many people to even CONSIDER classical music. At best what people have is stereotypes.

    Lack of exposure (and also the stereotypes which "make up" for that lack of exposure) is the only real thing stopping classical from being as popular as it is. Oh, I know-- a lot of people wouldn't like it anyway, but I think this is indicative of the fact that classical music doesn't HAVE to be so obscure-- it isn't on its own merits that classical music is like this today.

    Classical music can be fun, exciting, deeply moving, funny, intelligent, and so many other things. I think more people would be willing to delve into its riches if only there were more exposure and less stereotypes.
    ~josh
    Absolutely, 100% agree. Stereotypes and lack of exposure and promotion are the things that kept me away from classical music until my "maturer" adult years.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    We need a classical music reality show, folks!
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


    A quick and gentle introduction to audio formats and compression

    2009: It's the International Year of Astronomy
    http://www.astronomy2009.org/

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