View Poll Results: How Conservative Are Classical Music Listeners Who You Actually Know In Your Life?

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  • Most/all folks I know have conservative taste/preferences

    9 18.00%
  • Most folks I know have somewhat conservative tastes

    7 14.00%
  • Most folks I know prefer older music but are open to newer music

    6 12.00%
  • Most folks I know are not conservative because they listen to all ages of music

    12 24.00%
  • Most folks I know are not conservative because they largely listen to newer music

    5 10.00%
  • Most folks I know are not conservatve because they only listen to newer music

    1 2.00%
  • Unsure

    5 10.00%
  • Who cares

    5 10.00%
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Thread: How Conservative Are Classical Music Listeners Who You Actually Know In Your Life?

  1. #1
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    Default How Conservative Are Classical Music Listeners Who You Actually Know In Your Life?

    I would like to be clear on this topic: it is about classical music listeners who you actually know in your life (family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, whoever you know), not people in general who listens to classical music.

    So how conservative are these folks' taste in classical music who you happen to know who listen to classical music? Please share your experience.

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    Most of my friends and limited family members who listen to classical music are somewhat conservative. They tend to listen to older period music (say written before 1900) much of their time. Some of them, mainly my class friends are open to newer music (say composed after 1945). So by and large, I would folks I know tend to be somewhat conservative judging by the music they listen to, concerts they attend (this is particularly revealing if they have to pay money for their tickets), books they read about music and so forth.

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    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
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    In music school, the tendency of music majors is to be pretty conservative. They don't enjoy playing the avant garde works that we do in our modern music ensembles, either because "it's sounds awful" or "it's too hard to play." Yet they play magnificently! Think about that next time you go to a modern music concert. The people performing for you may very well be hating the guts out of whatever they're playing. But that is our job. Our job to trick you into thinking we love it.

    For a select few music majors, particularly the older or more mature ones, they are more open-minded, but their tendency is to go into "pretty" modern, so, things that sound like crossover, or are post-modern and still tonal (Minimalism, etc). I mean, I'm not saying that stuff is bad! I mean, I love that stuff too but that's about as far as anyone ever gets. I didn't hear one person say "I loved playing that Dutilleux Metaboles!" when it was performed some years ago in our orchestra, even though it's not nearly as avant garde as other 20th century works. Still, when we have New Music concerts, the musicians play wonderfully, no matter what the music sounds like.

    Another response that I get from my family and friends from avant garde music is "well, that was interesting" and maybe a chuckle, but it is never spoken of again. It's not like a famous rep piece where you would talk about it afterwards with friends. Sure, maybe they didn't hate it, but it doesn't spark a conversation, or a desire to explore more. It died there on the stage.
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  4. #4
    nathanb
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    I don't personally know any serious fans of classical music in my own life with conservative tastes.

    But of course, most people aren't fans of classical music.
    Last edited by nathanb; Mar-06-2016 at 02:32.

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    I don't personally know any serious fans of classical music in my own life with conservative tastes.

    But of course, most people aren't fans of classical music.
    This exactly.

    I can probably only name two, maybe three other people I've met in person who cared one whit about classical music and a couple were likely only casual listeners. But none were exclusively conservative in their tastes. (On the other hand there is one person I knew who may be on these forums, but I've never been certain of that. We do love mysteries after all.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huilunsoittaja View Post
    In music school, the tendency of music majors is to be pretty conservative. They don't enjoy playing the avant garde works that we do in our modern music ensembles, either because "it's sounds awful" or "it's too hard to play." Yet they play magnificently! Think about that next time you go to a modern music concert. The people performing for you may very well be hating the guts out of whatever they're playing. But that is our job. Our job to trick you into thinking we love it.

    For a select few music majors, particularly the older or more mature ones, they are more open-minded, but their tendency is to go into "pretty" modern, so, things that sound like crossover, or are post-modern and still tonal (Minimalism, etc). I mean, I'm not saying that stuff is bad! I mean, I love that stuff too but that's about as far as anyone ever gets. I didn't hear one person say "I loved playing that Dutilleux Metaboles!" when it was performed some years ago in our orchestra, even though it's not nearly as avant garde as other 20th century works. Still, when we have New Music concerts, the musicians play wonderfully, no matter what the music sounds like.

    Another response that I get from my family and friends from avant garde music is "well, that was interesting" and maybe a chuckle, but it is never spoken of again. It's not like a famous rep piece where you would talk about it afterwards with friends. Sure, maybe they didn't hate it, but it doesn't spark a conversation, or a desire to explore more. It died there on the stage.
    Do you think the schools tend to be conservative because of training purposes? Traditional training I think plays a large part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huilunsoittaja View Post
    For a select few music majors, particularly the older or more mature ones, they are more open-minded, but their tendency is to go into "pretty" modern, so, things that sound like crossover, or are post-modern and still tonal (Minimalism, etc). I mean, I'm not saying that stuff is bad! I mean, I love that stuff too but that's about as far as anyone ever gets. I didn't hear one person say "I loved playing that Dutilleux Metaboles!" when it was performed some years ago in our orchestra, even though it's not nearly as avant garde as other 20th century works.
    Maybe the problem isn't how avant garde Dutilleux is or isn't, but rather that he just isn't all that good. What other non-pretty modern composers has your orchestra performed?

    I have issues with Elliott Carter, so my generally highly musically conservative brother broke my heart a little bit when he confessed that, in the course of rehearsing a Carter work - Emblems, I think - he'd come to somewhat like it. Still, the truth is the truth. (Conversely, rehearsing John Coolidge Adams' Transmigration only served to, if anything, deepen his contempt for that work.)

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    Most people I know don't even listen to music. Sad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtMusic View Post
    Do you think the schools tend to be conservative because of training purposes? Traditional training I think plays a large part.
    Yes, it goes way back to earliest days of training. Young musicians learn tonal music, they learn scales, patterns, the elements of music they expect to perform. After all, the majority of our repertoire is tonal. Their ears become attuned to that style because it's easiest to start with. But I think that's how it should be done. Start easy. It's not like we should do the complete opposite and never teach students scales and patterns and make them learn completely opposite stuff. It's nice to accomplish something at a young age, and avant garde music usually doesn't feel like an accomplishment for a young child, even if it was a challenge. Webern wrote a serial piece for children though, a piano piece that is doable without difficult rhythms. Anyhow, I think the conservatism mainly comes from what music they listen to, not just what they are exposed to in performing. A lot of music majors don't listen to classical music regularly, and are only in the field for playing their instrument (which I personally find really sad, but nothing to be done about it).
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    Musicians I know (pianists, string players, organists, singers) play and perform a wide variety of music, but their personal preferences, as far as I can determine them, tend to be for music written before the mid-20th century. The classical music lovers who are not musicians know little about late-20th century or contemporary classical music; when they listen to contemporary music it's likely to be non-classical. I've known one composer, and his style is eclectic, ranging from diatonic tonal or modal to atonal. On average: people I know prefer older music, but are open to new music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold in Columbia View Post
    Maybe the problem isn't how avant garde Dutilleux is or isn't, but rather that he just isn't all that good. What other non-pretty modern composers has your orchestra performed?
    We played this piece by Salonen, which I absolutely loved even though it was the hardest piece I ever played on piccolo.

    Also Webern's 5 Pieces for orchestra, and Lutoslawski's Symphonic Variations, but that one is nothing like his later work. In Wind Orchestra (that's fancy way to say wind ensemble) they've played much more avant garde works, like John Adams Chamber Symphony No. 1 (glad I didn't play that one lol), Lindberg's Gran Duo (I loved playing that one), and so much more.
    Last edited by Huilunsoittaja; Mar-06-2016 at 03:55.
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    Do you know if anybody else enjoyed playing the Salonen and/or Lindberg as you did?

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    I don't know many classical listeners personally. Just a few friends who dabble in it here and there. And, compared to me, they are VERY conservative. And that's saying something, because I'm on the more conservative side of the scale.

    Though, since I play music out loud often, my roommate has been exposed and he's enjoyed some of the more "out there" stuff. One thing he enjoyed that I didn't was one of Xenakis' crazy piano works

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold in Columbia View Post
    Do you know if anybody else enjoyed playing the Salonen and/or Lindberg as you did?
    I think there was general admiration of the Salonen albeit lots of complaining of how hard it was the play (I pitied the clarinets). I think I was above the average for positive impressions. For the Lindberg, more negative, mainly because it's a very long, onerous piece. One of my friends called the Lindberg complete crap, which I thought was strange since he said he found Milton Babbit beautiful once to me. I do not equate the composers stylistically (they are worlds apart though both very dissonant), but I was struck that he felt the necessity to assert serialism was beautiful but it was okay to bad-mouth this other piece which had other kinds of harmonic intricacies which I found very intelligently designed, just not in a serial manner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huilunsoittaja View Post
    I think there was general admiration of the Salonen albeit lots of complaining of how hard it was the play (I pitied the clarinets). I think I was above the average for positive impressions. For the Lindberg, more negative, mainly because it's a very long, onerous piece. One of my friends called the Lindberg complete crap, which I thought was strange since he said he found Milton Babbit beautiful once to me. I do not equate the composers stylistically (they are worlds apart though both very dissonant), but I was struck that he felt the necessity to assert serialism was beautiful but it was okay to bad-mouth this other piece which had other kinds of harmonic intricacies which I found very intelligently designed, just not in a serial manner.
    Yep, we're done with the rational discussion here. Move along, folks.

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