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Thread: Did you miss something today?

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    Member michael walsh's Avatar
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    Default Did you miss something today?

    DID YOU MISS SOMETHING TODAY?


    Because of the winter cold outside a man chose a Washington DC metro station to play his violin. In the 45 minutes following he played about six Bach pieces during which time thousands passed him by with scarcely a glance.
    A few did pause. A middle aged man slowed his pace and stopped for a moment before hurrying on. A few minutes later a women tossed a dollar into his violin case but hardly paused as she too continued on her way. Another man hesitated for a little while, just to listen to him. Then looking at his watch he too went about more pressing business.
    The one who paid the most attention was a little boy of perhaps three years of age. His mother managed to drag him away but the youngster’s head kept turning back. This action was repeated by several other children whose parents also hurried them on.
    During the 45-minutes the itinerant violinist played only six people paused to listen whilst another twenty gave him money before hurrying on their way. The fiddler collected a total of $32.
    When he had finished playing there was silence. No one noticed, no one applauded, no one recognised the solitary musician playing in the station‘s confines.
    That musician was none other than Joshua Bell, one of the world’s finest musicians. With considerable panache he has played some of the most intricate pieces ever composed. His violin is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.
    Two days earlier Joshua Bell had played to a packed Boston theatre at which the average seat price was $100. What was the real story?
    The prestigious Washington Post was carrying out a social experiment about perception, taste, and the priorities people have. The outline was a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour. They wanted to know, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Are we capable of identifying and appreciating true talent when in an unexpected context?
    What was the conclusion drawn from this enlightening experience? If we don’t have a moment to stop and listen to one of the world’s most talented musicians playing some of the most beautiful music ever written by man, how many other things of great beauty are we missing each day?

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    Member Bgroovy2's Avatar
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    unfoutunatly so true!

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    It's an inspiring story, and I don't want to throw a wet blanket on it, but it wasn't really a valid experiment. I would not be late for work and threaten my livelihood to hear a live musician when, through the miracle of technology, the world's greatest musicians play Bach for me in my own living room.

    I do sometimes hear street musicians on my way home from work and I can assure you, none of them have been a Joshua Bell.

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    Food for thought. I'd add that most people aren't even remotely interested in classical music, whether it be on a recording or live. It's just an alien sound to their ears. & I agree with Weston, most people in the context that the "experiment" was done, are busy doing other things, using the subway to get somewhere else. Maybe it would've been different if it was done in a park or something like that?...

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    This event occurred some 3 years ago and it must be the umpteenth time I have seen it reported. I can't see what the surprise is. Playing a fiddle outside a metro station at peak commuter time is hardly likely to generate much interest anywhere in the world, even if it's Bach and played on a very expensive violin. Combine this with the possibility with that North Americans are generally less interested in classical music than Europeans (not sure if this is true but have it said), and it's hardly a recipe for success.

    On the other hand, if the experiment had been carried out in a crowded big city park on a Sunday afternoon the general reaction could well have been very different. I'm pretty sure that would have drawn a big crowd. Certainly it would in London, and many other big cities.

    My conclusion is that it's a silly story, hardly worth getting concerned about.

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    What an amazing story but I'm sure there were people who simply didn't have the ear to realise they were hearing something special.

    A couple of years ago I was being shown round Paris by a Parisian. We were in a metro station & we turned a corner & there was a 20 (approx) piece orchestra squashed against a wall playing Beethoven's Sixth.

    I was absolutely stunned but my friend said it was common for music students to gather & play in the metro to make some pocket money. Most people didn't stop & but we stayed for a while & dropped a few €s in their box. I will always remember them.

    The guy in our high street today playing a didgeridoo didn't have quite the same impact on me!

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    That's such a lovely story.

    Joshua Bell should play for free on more street corners


    $32/45 minutes isn't a great going rate.

    I'm sure I could get at least $50/hour - mostly from passerbys paying me to shut up

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    well, frankly I would've been one of those passerbys who walked straight by.

    Going about my way I listen to my high quality mini-disc player and headphones without the bustle of street people to distract me from my music. I can even listen to Joshua Bell playing the violin on my mini-disc whilst completely ignoring him playing live.

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    Senior Member nefigah's Avatar
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    I don't live in an area conducive to street performers, but the few I have heard haven't ever played anything classical. Seeing someone perform live kinda trips me out, though, so I would have probably stopped and listened for a bit.

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    Senior Member jurianbai's Avatar
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    I imagine I will glance for a few minute and then leave. The reason is I will not feel something special if anyone can play Bach in MRT station. Here the video, at least there was one woman in the end that speaks to him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myq8u...eature=related

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    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael walsh View Post
    The one who paid the most attention was a little boy of perhaps three years of age. His mother managed to drag him away but the youngster’s head kept turning back. This action was repeated by several other children whose parents also hurried them on.
    Yes, I heard that the most common age group in that experiment that wanted to stop and listen (but couldn't) was children.

    As they say, children don't have their instincts stifled (yet), so they are more likely to be attracted to beauty.

    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
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    Join TC's Official Russian Composer Fanclub!

    Oh, and, here's my professional website!

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    That's funny, but I think it says more about how much of music is politics, that anything else. We listen to a big name because it is a big name. Sometimes we need to learn to appreciate an unknown's work too.

    No doubt the man you speak of is very good, but I believe we are blinded by what we are told is good, too much to look for ourselves.

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    Senior Member Earthling's Avatar
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    This reminds me of a brief story (Hasidic I want to say, I seem to recall reading this in Martin Buber somewhere?) about a new rabbi who was coming to a new synagogue. He was coming from out of town by train and he was quite dishevelled from all the travelling and didn't bother shaving or anything before he boarded the train. There were other Jews who had been picked up later who were returning home and they got on the same train. Seeing the old man, they avoided him, wouldn't speak to him or even to bother acknowledging his existence-- he simply looked like an old bum.

    The train arrived at the station, got off with all the other travellers, where the congregation were waiting for their new rabbi. He introduced himself and the other fellow travellers on the train were terrible ashamed of themselves. They told the rabbi, "Please accept our apologies-- we didn't know you were the new rabbi." The rabbi replied, "You don't need to apologise to me-- you need to apologise to that man that was on the train."
    At last to guess, instead of always knowing. To be able to say “ah” and “oh” and “hey” instead of “yea” and “amen. ” ~ Wings of Desire

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wumbo View Post
    No doubt the man you speak of is very good, but I believe we are blinded by what we are told is good, too much to look for ourselves.
    I believe some people are. I like to think I look for myself though, while obviously looking at others opinions in the process too (but critically, not blindly accepting them).

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    Senior Member Igneous01's Avatar
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    makes me think what the point is in scattering around like ants everyday to go to work and attend to business. yea its the everyday norm and we need to survive, but it only broods arrogance and intolerance towards things that deserve more attention. I bet if an authentic portrait of mona lisa was laying around in a subway station no one would even pick it up or appreciate its artistic quality. or better yet, britney spears walks into a metro and suddenly everyone notices her.

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