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Thread: Liking Classical Music alienates people

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    Member danj's Avatar
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    Default Liking Classical Music alienates people

    It seems that whenever the topic of musical discussion comes up, as it often does, whether it a work-place setting or among general friends (though it can vary between groups)... I tend to say opera/classical music and tones seem to change.

    In my life, I have yet to meet another classical music listener who I've had any relationship with whether it be personal, via extension of family or workplace.

    Almost everyone has liked anything but classical.

    But I am not one to pry or ponder so when one asks now... I only sheepishly tell after I get to know them some time.

    But I can't help feel that people cast judgement upon my fondness of the music and their actions reflect their disdain for it. (I am 28yr male if that makes a difference.)

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    Senior Member BachIsBest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danj View Post
    It seems that whenever the topic of musical discussion comes up, as it often does, whether it a work-place setting or among general friends (though it can vary between groups)... I tend to say opera/classical music and tones seem to change.

    In my life, I have yet to meet another classical music listener who I've had any relationship with whether it be personal, via extension of family or workplace.

    Almost everyone has liked anything but classical.

    But I am not one to pry or ponder so when one asks now... I only sheepishly tell after I get to know them some time.

    But I can't help feel that people cast judgement upon my fondness of the music and their actions reflect their disdain for it. (I am 28yr male if that makes a difference.)
    As another young man, I can generally relate to this. Saying you like classical music seems to have the same effect as saying I'm a pretentious jerk in most circles. I as well tend to try and avoid telling people I like classical music unless the situation specifically calls for it; whether this works, who knows, It hasn't helped me win friends or anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BachIsBest View Post
    As another young man, I can generally relate to this. Saying you like classical music seems to have the same effect as saying I'm a pretentious jerk in most circles. I as well tend to try and avoid telling people I like classical music unless the situation specifically calls for it; whether this works, who knows, It hasn't helped me win friends or anything.
    I am very sorry for both of you guys who have posted above. It does take an effort to find people who share your interest. In the mean time, and under current circumstances, there is the internet. Nearing 70 and having dealt with this all my life, for me it's disappointing that attitudes are what they are now. If it's any comfort, more than likely they are wrong in their judgments and you are right in pursuing your interests. I'm interested in discussing this further if you wish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    I am very sorry for both of you guys who have posted above. It does take an effort to find people who share your interest. In the mean time, and under current circumstances, there is the internet. Nearing 70 and having dealt with this all my life, for me it's disappointing that attitudes are what they are now. If it's any comfort, more than likely they are wrong in their judgments and you are right in pursuing your interests. I'm interested in discussing this further if you wish.
    It is a tumultuous affair, of course. But one would not pursue something worth the effort without putting up with the pain. Though, I do wish I could find more people with like-minded interests it is hard -- as you've described.

    I do enjoy TalkClassical for this venue but nothing can beat listening and bonding over works of art in person.

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    Senior Member Gallus's Avatar
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    Funny. It might be the friends I have, but I'm in my 20s (just about ) and I haven't found this at all tbh. People I mention my love of classical music to are generally respectful even if they don't "get it", and a couple have dipped their toes in the water after I've recommended works to them.

    A friend circle (of which I'm the only serious classical fan) had a "one person recommends an album and everyone listens to and discusses it" club, and my picks of Schubert's Death and the Maiden quartet and Mendelssohn's Scottish symphony went down quite well, even if several people admitted it went a bit over their heads.

    Might it be the way it gets brought up by you? My general experience is if you talk about what you enjoy openly, sincerely and with passion, people will appreciate that.
    Last edited by Gallus; Oct-26-2020 at 06:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gallus View Post
    Funny. It might be the friends I have, but I'm in my 20s (just about ) I haven't found this at all tbh. People I mention my love of classical music to are generally respectful even if they don't "get it", and a couple have dipped their toes in the water after I've recommended works to them.

    A friend circle had a "one person recommends an album and everyone listens to and discusses it" club, and my picks of Schubert's Death and the Maiden quartet and Mendelssohn's Scottish symphony went down quite well, even if several people admitted it went a bit over their heads.
    Death and the Maiden is a good pick for that. However, the Scottish Symphony...I think the Hebrides Overture would be a better pick for newbies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danj View Post
    It seems that whenever the topic of musical discussion comes up, as it often does, whether it a work-place setting or among general friends (though it can vary between groups)... I tend to say opera/classical music and tones seem to change.

    In my life, I have yet to meet another classical music listener who I've had any relationship with whether it be personal, via extension of family or workplace.

    Almost everyone has liked anything but classical.

    But I am not one to pry or ponder so when one asks now... I only sheepishly tell after I get to know them some time.

    But I can't help feel that people cast judgement upon my fondness of the music and their actions reflect their disdain for it. (I am 28yr male if that makes a difference.)
    Quote Originally Posted by BachIsBest View Post
    As another young man, I can generally relate to this. Saying you like classical music seems to have the same effect as saying I'm a pretentious jerk in most circles. I as well tend to try and avoid telling people I like classical music unless the situation specifically calls for it; whether this works, who knows, It hasn't helped me win friends or anything.
    Yup, I feel it too. Currently, I'm a junior in college. Not too long ago, at college, this person was talking to me about all these popular artists I had never heard of then asked me what music I listen to. All these thoughts went through my head as I mentioned that I listen to classical music...

    "Will they think I'm narrow-minded?" "Will they think I'm some uppity-up person?" "Will they associate me with all the nonsense that these articles recommended to me on Google seem to think classical music is all about?"

    This was probably mostly in my head, but when I see all these articles on the internet where people seem to be out to destroy classical music (e.g., classical music is "sexist", "racist", "elitist", etc. malarkey), I just tend to be afraid to talk about it. And goodness me, what will happen if I tell them my favorite composer is Wagner and they look him up? It seems unlikely that many people will be willing to take the time to look into classical music to see past all these unfair associations.

    I'm not ashamed that I like classical music, but, yes, I do worry about talking about it sometimes. And not many people I come across listen to it. That's why I'm on Talk Classical everyday.
    Last edited by adriesba; Oct-26-2020 at 07:03.

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    I live and work in a University neighborhood. So my experiences are not typical. However, if I were to offer advice on how to broach the subject of classical music to people, it would be this:
    • Compare classical to things that are popular. Most people love orchestral music, they just don't know it. John Williams scores, Looney Tunes cartoons, etc. So you could talk about how great the music to Superman or Star Wars or (insert Marvel movie X) was. Then you could talk about how it was a lot like some classical piece (e.g. a Rossini overture or a Tchaikovsky symphony).
    • Avoid using terms that assign superiority. Instead of saying "classical is so much more emotionally involving than X," say "listening to classical really allows me to focus on the feelings created by the music."
    • Talk about it from a technical angle. Classical is a great way to give a pair of headphones or a good stereo system a workout. Lots of people are tech heads, and you can smuggle classical into your friendship that way. Demo a few of your best tracks for someone. If they're a vinyl hipster, classical is a HUGE market waiting for them.
    • Share music! Curate a playlist for them on their favorite streaming service. Put some FLAC files on a thumb drive. Lend them a CD (yeah, yeah, I know, the youngs don't use those any more - I am 43, so I grew up with CDS).
    Last edited by MatthewWeflen; Oct-26-2020 at 07:28.

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    Quote Originally Posted by adriesba View Post
    Yup, I feel it too. Currently, I'm a junior in college. Not too long ago, at college, this person was talking to me about all these popular artists I had never heard of then asked me what music I listen to. All these thoughts went through my head as I mentioned that I listen to classical music...

    "Will they think I'm narrow-minded?" "Will they think I'm some uppity-up person?" "Will they associate me with all the nonsense that these articles recommended to me on Google seem to think classical music is all about?"

    This was probably mostly in my head, but when I see all these articles on the internet where people seem to be out to destroy classical music (e.g., classical music is "sexist", "racist", "elitist", etc. malarkey), I just tend to be afraid to talk about it. And goodness me, what will happen if I tell them my favorite composer is Wagner and they look him up? It seems unlikely that many people will be willing to take the time to look into classical music to see past all these unfair associations.

    I'm not ashamed that I like classical music, but, yes, I do worry about talking about it sometimes. And not many people I come across listen to it. That's why I'm on Talk Classical everyday.
    Very many of my friends are aware I’m utterly nuts about Wagner and it has become a bit of an inside joke in some cases. I talk about my classical music love the same way as about any other music. I haven’t acquaintaned much prejudices at all although I have had to explain the Wagner-Hitler affair a couple of times . I wouldn’t be afraid to speak about classical music, unless you go on to claim some sort of superiority of your musical tastes

    I haven’t met people of my age in real life who were as passionate about classical music as I am. That’s why I spend quite a lot of time online here. I would probably still be living in musical ignorance without TC
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-26-2020 at 07:57.

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    Hearing classical music played live is a game-changer. When I was a kid, the symphony came to our school, set up in the cafeteria, and roared through breathtaking renditions of famous pieces (like the William Tell Overture). I'm sure it helped to kickstart my love of this music.

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    I feel you guys!

    I started listening and liking classical music when I was 10 yrs old. That was after I saw my first VPO New Year’s concert on TV.
    Later, I would save my pocket money to buy LPs of various composers, mainly Beethoven etc... Then attended my first concert when I was 12, after my mother permitted me to go on my own, to Musikverein Saal, Vienna. I think I was the youngest lad there, I was wearing a black suit, white shirt and a bow tie trying to look adult (haha).
    Well I was a bit shy telling my friends at school I liked classical music. None of them did. And whenever I did, I felt being a bit left out. So I avoided mentioning that all together till I was in my end 30ies. Now in my 40ies, it doesn’t sound odd at all. It has to do with age I guess and the age (maturity) of the people around you.
    If it helps any, here is what I said most times when I was asked what type of music I like: “Oh a lot of things from classical to Jazz, to Pop etc...” So I would mention Classical among other “common” genres of music and see peoples’ reaction, then I would know which genre I should talk more about and which not.

    So yes guys, ignore what others say. Enjoy what you enjoy and thank god for TC, we are all here for the same reason I guess!
    Last edited by Axter; Oct-26-2020 at 07:49.

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    When I was young, I didn't mind telling people in a casual conversation that I listened to classical music. It was kind of cool to be different.

    When I was working, I needed to be a bit more careful. While I wouldn't let myself sound like an elitist, I'd also have to assess the risk of the other person thinking I was an elitist because of their prejudice against classical music regardless how/what I would speak about it. One bad move, and your career could get into trouble that you could never have imagined.

    Now that I'm retired, I don't mind telling people I listen to classical music either. I just don't give a pickle what they think of classical music, or me listening to it. The only slightly annoying thing is that the conversation on classical music could never be continued in a meaningful or interactive way. Otherwise, I don't feel bothered emotionally. And then there are many other things in life that's worth talking about. Shall we start talking about infrared photography, or how to make carrot haters eat carrot?

    On the other hand,

    I was once on the receiving end of such a conversation many years ago when I was at the university - I overheard a few classmates talking about a new LP release of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, and I joined in asking which recording, and the reply was, "we're talking about classical music. You don't know it."

    Oh yeah? OK, you people who listen to classical music are rude, disgusting elitist.
    Last edited by Kiki; Oct-26-2020 at 08:09.

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    I don't know how it is now, but when I was teenager (in the 1990's), young people created their identity through the type of music they listened to. So we had rockers, punkers, metalheads, disco/techno/rave fans, folk fans, Depeche Mode fans etc. Every genre had its special culture, dress code, type of dance. For example the punkers had pogo dance
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogo_(dance)
    I remember the folks who listened to folk or classical were viewed as somewhat weird, because they could not join any of those other groups.
    I discovered CM after this phase, ie after I was already some years out of university. I am glad I went through the rock/punk phase and experienced the rock concerts and rave parties etc.
    And my experience now is that most people around me dont care much for music at all. I know people who dont listen to any music at all. I know some snobs who listen to prog rock, thinking how refined their musical tastes are. I dont know anyone who listens to CM.

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    Normal, perfectly normal, it is a global norm. You should not talk classical with occasional people, period, only with your closest friends. I do not even talk about classical with my nieces, cousins, other relatives which are not in my closest contact. I do not blame people for that, but on the other hand, wealthy people are able to convince their surrounding people to listen to classical, they have a lot of followers on internet socialization accounts which share their listening programs. Leave the errand of spreading the trend to them.
    "In God I Hope, in Music I Trust."

    "I Do Not Want to Be The Master of My Life, But The Magician of My Life."

    Me.

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