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Thread: Categories of Listeners and Composers

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    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    Default Categories of Listeners and Composers

    How would you categorize different listeners you've come across, and which composers do they seem to admire most? Maybe you can come up with a better system than this; for instance, you can't fit composers neatly among these categories so you might come up with a much better system:

    Immediately Provocative. These composers provide a lot of tasteful and interesting contrasts that make them stand out to new and thoughtful listeners, and so this is the quality this fanbase enjoys, a sense of immediate challenge or mental wandering:
    Mahler
    Prokofiev
    Shostakovich
    Strauss

    Intimate (Less Immediate.) These composers almost seem to say nothing of interest, until you begin investing intimate time with them, then suddenly an epiphany on their mindset and depth of humanity:
    I'm not quite sure who to include (or exclude) in this category, maybe
    Haydn
    Schumann
    Schubert

    Aesthetically Perfect. These composers write music that to many people already sounds perfect, and so a different camp of listeners may say they even sound boring after a few listens:
    Beethoven
    Mozart
    Brahms
    Other symphonic composers like Uematsu and Tchaikovsky

    Impassioned. These composers seem to have an easy time tugging on the heart-strings of their fanbase, so this fanbase admires music of profound emotional and expressive weight:
    Rachmaninoff
    Chopin
    Wagner
    Holst/Debussy
    Many film composers

    The real question is, can you think of a better way to categorize listeners or the main quality in the composers they enjoy? Even if you should try just for fun.
    Last edited by Ethereality; Nov-17-2020 at 10:48.

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    Senior Member AbsolutelyBaching's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereality View Post
    How would you categorize different listeners you've come across, and which composers do they seem to admire most?
    The only categories I've only really thought of are "Absolute" and Programmatic".

    As in, some people have no difficulty listening to symphonies as 'pure' or 'absolute' music, whereas others need a 'programme' of some sort to hang on to.

    Thus, an opera lover is programmatic, but a string quartet buff would be an absolutist. Or think symphony v. tone poem, etc.

    I was told I was programmatic nearly 40 years ago by someone who wept at a late Beethoven string quartet when I was just sat there wondering what all the fuss was about. It seemed usefully explicative as a couple of labels back then!

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    Senior Member Ethereality's Avatar
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    That is interesting. After already being much into Beethoven and Classical when I was younger, one obscure example from memory that clicked of me wanting to be a composer, was this magical adventure short where the music clearly isn't great, the animation wasn't great, the style etc, but I felt composing it all together worked in some way, where you can appreciate the whole.

    A kind of silly video contains not 'music' as we know it, but a 'world' where music can impact you because it's one piece in a larger design. You can appreciate the big picture happening: not story, visuals, math, relationships, music, or sounds, but one 'world' undivided. Ignoring the embarassing-ness of this video when you get down to it, one can't argue that "Programmatic" listeners are not just as valid perhaps even more so. Nowadays I am much more Absolute I'd say, but still also Programmatic simply because I think it's valid.

    Last edited by Ethereality; Nov-21-2020 at 01:13.

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