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Thread: Was classical music ever popular music?

  1. #31
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    IMHO putting classical piece into some damn commercial is great missunderstanding. It looks sarcastic when they show humanoid-looking carrots walkin' in the line with some Beethoven's music background. Actually there is a Nescafe commercial with Prokofiev's Dance of Knights and it looks like they are trying to show how noble is the taste of their coffe. It's funny but somehow I dislike those commercials.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    I don't buy into this philosophy of classical is just for people who are well-off. I think that's a terrible way to look at music. People who are musicians and who love music enjoy classical. People from all sides of the world can find enjoyment in it. That is, if they like what they hear.
    The working class in Britain listen exclusively to dance/trance/hip-hop/rap, this is a solid fact. Are you saying that any offspring of these may possibly find meaning in a classical work?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    I don't buy into this either. I have no comment for this question.
    Why? Composers are the peak of artistic academia, while they may be able to empathise with the working class (in Britain at least), I really can't see them attending to their need for instantly gratifying music

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    I don't care who listens to it or not. If people are naturally curious about music, then they will discover the world of classical.
    What circumstances does one need to have in order to be naturally curious about music? Given the academic nature of classical music, I'm not sure Beethoven would go down a bomb in a Manchester estate!

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    No comment. I don't know why don't you call him up and ask him?
    I suppose a more possible approach would be to subvert the techniques used in musicology to determine what music was popular in Mozart's day. I also don't appreciate the sarcasm.

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    I don't know, but it's still being played in concert halls around the world, so that might tell you something.
    So there you're infering classical music has a worldwide fan base. That doesn't tell me what types of people go to see these concerts.

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    No and I hope it doesn't become popular. Music, like art, will stand on it's own. It will always be there to be appreciated. It all depends on how curious you are and how passionate you are about it.
    So now you say classical music isn't popular. Isn't this a contradiction of your last comment?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTech82 View Post
    YES!!!! Of course it should. What are you crazy? I would love to hear someone walking down the street humming some Berlioz, but this is an imperfect world, so I doubt that will ever happen.
    But in your last comment didn't you say you hope classical music doesn't become popular? I find this just a little misleading!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  3. #33
    Junior Member Mr Dull's Avatar
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    I find it sad that you think Classical music can't be appreciated by the working classes. I am working class and have always liked it. I have known several other working class people who liked it to. Whilst the mass of the population of likes other types of music there will always be people of all classes who enjoy classical music. Such comments reflect the British obsession with class more than why classical music is or isn't popular.

    On the topic of popular music in the past don't forget during the 19th and much of the 20th century most towns and villages in Britain had brass bands and choral societies which played classical music which would indicate it was known and popular with the masses.

    You should also remember other countries will be different from Britain. For instance I have seen a lot about the passion that Italians have for opera.

  4. #34
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Dull View Post
    I find it sad that you think Classical music can't be appreciated by the working classes. I am working class and have always liked it. I have known several other working class people who liked it to. Whilst the mass of the population of likes other types of music there will always be people of all classes who enjoy classical music. Such comments reflect the British obsession with class more than why classical music is or isn't popular.
    Well said, Mr Dull - I will sign up to your manifesto! I too am 'working class'. I'm not rich either - far from it. I know many people who are also 'working class', who also are not at all rich, but who love classical music, literature, and the visual arts. There's great confusion in this thread in my view about exactly what is being discussed (and I confess to being as confused as the next man!)

  5. #35
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdk132 View Post
    Well we have to make the destinction between folk/tradition and Western post-medieval art. Not trying to insult any other cultures, and I know the line is blurry. Isn't the definition of folk music/art popular music/art?
    I think I'm questioning that distinction. Certainly it has been made, but perhaps it's just another of those intellectual blind alleys we've painted ourselves into. I think the line may be more than blurry - I think there may be a pretty continuous spectrum right across all these areas - but we're obsessed with pigeon-holing things, and so we force intellectual distinctions (often organising our definitions to make something that seems self-consistent) where such distinctions may not really exist.

    We're obsessed with analysis of music and our responses to it, and indeed to any art. I do it myself, I'm as much a part of this process as anyone. But Wittgenstein was right when he said 'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent'. There are crucial areas of human life, and art, where what is experienced is beyond all our carefully contrived distinctions, beyond analysis, beyond language. We can't really know anything about the nature of the experience that the tired driver is having when he listens to 'Ode to Joy' on the radio, and we try to judge that at our peril, I think.

  6. #36
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    You make a valid point, and if I were nice and non-eliteist I would agree with you. However I do take pride in my eliteism.

    But seriously, you are right that language is totaly inadequate to express the emotions I find in music. Poetry may come close, but it's not the same. So really, the term philosophy of music is slightly oxymoronic and to discuss music trans-genre doesn't work. I like to belive that classical/art music has a kind of emotional expression that no other form of music does. Anybody I debate this point with ends up hating me so....

  7. #37
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdk132 View Post
    However I do take pride in my eliteism.
    Well, of course that's your choice (and there are times when I find myself reacting that way too) though it's a character trait, not an argument.

    But seriously, you are right that language is totaly inadequate to express the emotions I find in music. Poetry may come close, but it's not the same. So really, the term philosophy of music is slightly oxymoronic and to discuss music trans-genre doesn't work. I like to belive that classical/art music has a kind of emotional expression that no other form of music does.
    Well it's true. It does. That's part of the power of art - each art form has its own kind of expression. There are certain things human beings need to express, or to experience, that can only be expressed or experienced through music of a certain kind, or paintings of a certain kind, or poetry of a certain kind, and so on. And because we're all different, we all shift the priorities around. So, I often read opinions that music is somehow more expressive than the other arts - and clearly for those who say that, it is. But it isn't so for me, nor for many other people I know. The visual arts are no less important to me than music, and literature only slightly behind them. Indeed, all are necessary to me. As long as we have all these diverse needs and desires, as individuals (i.e. always), it's going to be impossible to maintain a credible intellectual stance that elevates one form over another. What we can do is exchange ideas, compare notes, and try to understand each other's views better - and perhaps, even, our own ...

    Anybody I debate this point with ends up hating me so...
    Well, some of the debates on this forum become very bad-tempered, but there's no excuse for it. A passionate defence is one thing, and I'll argue about the ideas that are important to me as doggedly as the next - but any discussion that ends with one of the parties hating another is a failure, surely? That's not a discussion, it's a fight.

  8. #38
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    Well put, well put!

  9. #39
    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    The working class in Britain listen exclusively to dance/trance/hip-hop/rap, this is a solid fact. Are you saying that any offspring of these may possibly find meaning in a classical work?
    I'm working class.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herzeleide View Post
    I'm working class.
    I'm talking about general trends in British culture.

    I don't want to be the butt of a monty python joke, but I live with a single parent on the minimum wage and my uni education is paid for by the govornment (i.e. British taxpayers). However, I've not been exposed to working class culture due to my own personal choices. I befriended people at school who were eager to learn and in turn, I adopted their middle class ideals in a way.

    However, you can't deny these guys http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqyU2z-FJr8 arn't going to buy the latest BPO releases! This is an accurate picture of the state of Britain today!
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  11. #41
    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    I'm talking about general trends in British culture.

    I don't want to be the butt of a monty python joke, but I live with a single parent on the minimum wage and my uni education is paid for by the govornment (i.e. British taxpayers). However, I've not been exposed to working class culture due to my own personal choices. I befriended people at school who were eager to learn and in turn, I adopted their middle class ideals in a way.

    However, you can't deny these guys http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqyU2z-FJr8 arn't going to buy the latest BPO releases! This is an accurate picture of the state of Britain today!
    You said:

    'The working class in Britain listen exclusively to dance/trance/hip-hop/rap, this is a solid fact.' (Bold font my own).

    You didn't say 'in general'. You're just spreading class hatred. I'm well aware of the so-called 'hoodies', but to try and claim that they represent the average working class person is a gross distortion of the truth! (And if anything, they further demonstrate the self-fulfilling prophecy that is capitalism: middle class people exploit working class, some working class people are screwed up by their impecuniousness/the media/society in general, take revenge on society).

    What, out of interest, are these middle-class ideals of which you speak?

  12. #42
    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    I'm talking about general trends in British culture.
    I understand roughly where you're going, EE; but I'm not sure, myself, about how this proposed general correlation with class works out in practice. Don't you think there's a lot of indifference to classical music and fine art among well-to-do folks who would not describe themselves as 'working class'? I'm not at all sure about this class issue - I think we need some hard facts and figures before we can decide.

  13. #43
    Senior Member Herzeleide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    I understand roughly where you're going, EE; but I'm not sure, myself, about how this proposed general correlation with class works out in practice. Don't you think there's a lot of indifference to classical music and fine art among well-to-do folks who would not describe themselves as 'working class'? I'm not at all sure about this class issue - I think we need some hard facts and figures before we can decide.
    Indeed. I've met just as many philistine MC people as I have WC.

  14. #44
    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Look guys, I'm not spreading class hatred, although considering the way I poorly worded my previous posts on such a delicate issue I can appreciate why you would come to that conclusion.

    My main beliefs stand thus: Classical music is out there for every single human being to enjoy. Because of many circumstances (mostly combinations of circumstances) including class, prejudice and background, many people who would otherwise benefit from listening to classical music, don't.

    The purpose of this thread is to explore why this is the case. I would very much like to hear all your opinions on this. This thread is not to shy away from controversial steriotypes, but to explore why we have them and why they impede the popularity of classcal music.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

  15. #45
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    First of all, universally speaking the great artists were poor and emotionally unsettled. I think the whole rich stereotype has to do partly with the expense of classical concerts. It is true that in my experience concert halls are filled with well-off elderly people. I think among youth there is much less of a wealth bias. I do think there is a positive coorelation between a taste for classical music and intellegence. Most of the musitians at school are honor roll students.

    The real reason why classical music is not popular is that it is not "cool". The present metaculture is largely about instantaneous rewards: sex, drugs, and rock n' roll to be exact. People want to have fun, right here, right now. Classical music isn't like that. You can't have no listening experience and then be brought into a different emotional state by Mahler's 5th. I took my school-orchestra peers to a symphony. They sorta liked Mahler's 1st, but were restless and did not experiance it with the depth that an experienced listener does. Some say 2000 hours + listening is required to "understand" classical music in a deep, complex manner. Regardless of your opinion on that, you must admit that classical music has a learning curve. The other aspect of the "not cool" arguement is that classical music isn't even enjoyable most of the time. Late romanticism is largely about pain, sorrow, longing, etc. Even the most beautiful pieces have this eerie element of some form of grief in them. Classical music can make you feel good--or it can make you want to rip your flesh apart.

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