Classical Music Forum banner
201 - 220 of 346 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,482 Posts
I suppose another angle on the question of this thread is how much the average Joe or Jo might love music. I believe that many people enjoy music well enough but would not say that listening to music is one of the most important parts of their lives. But a small proportion of the total do seem to take music as very important to them. Even in my own family I have seen this. My brother is a professional (orchestral) musician and a large part of his life is about playing music. But he was never that enthusiastic about listening to music. I'm the opposite. I never mastered an instrument - I hated that I couldn't make it sound like it should! - but listening to music is a much bigger part of my life than his and I surely know a vast amount of music that he has never encountered. Similarly, I know many people who like alternative and indy rock music but only a few of them really take it seriously as an important part of their lives.

I think it is the same with classical music. Most of those average Joes who have been lost to classical music may not have been that involved with it anyway. And at the same time, as a result of class distinctions and so on, many people for whom some form of music is of real importance to them were in those rosy old days locked out of CM. I experienced many bad experiences with snooty audience members in classical concerts in the 60s and 70s. These days there are fewer social barriers to listening to CM but there are still many people who love music and yet have yet to discover that CM can rock their boats, too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,514 Posts
Who's made such a claim?
It is tacitly contained in your advocacy of European Classical music to an Average Joe. You are not advancing any other music, just Classical. Why pluck Classical out of all of the other kinds?

Or is it that you don't care about Average Joe, but are invested in increasing the audience for Classical music which you see losing ground in the West?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,684 Posts
Enthusiast.

You make a very good point about the importance of music in one’s life. In my circle of friends there are two of us where music is a vital part of our everyday lives. I have other friends who like it well enough but it remains a peripheral thing, background music for evenings at home. They would never collect on the basis that I do and they wouldn’t know Bob Dylan from Bob the Builder. I’ve tried introducing things I like to people but it is usually met with total indifference.

Although music is a huge thing culturally in the world in general only a limited number of people are real enthusiasts and they tend to actually play or have dabbled at playing at some point in their lives.

I can play a few instruments with some ability but I knew early on that unless I invested much more time than I was prepared to I would never reach the peak that my musical heroes rested on. I played in show bands, jazz groups, rock bands and they were good but were never destined for greatness and that was fine. Now I get my musical pleasure from discovering new artists, new music and new genres and rediscovering things that I had overlooked in the past.
.

I suppose the point I’m trying to make, if indeed that’s what I’m doing, is that the love of music such as we enthusiasts who frequent a music forum have, is at the end of the day, a kind of minority interest and the idea of encouraging people to appreciate our loves is anathema to me. If you have the inclination and inner feeling for it you will discover the joy of music for yourself. It shouldn’t need forcing.

Sorry for the ramble but there you have it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
What has been missing from a discussion of the roots of Classical music are the contributions from African, Arabic, and other outsiders, which have been significant. The lute is a European form of the oud, and European lutenists learned to play it from Arabs and North Africans. There is at least one painting which depicts two lute players with one obviously following the other, who just happens to be a dark skinned musician.
But instead of acknowledging the debt, advocates of Classical music prefer to think that their Western European music is a creation of their culture, ex nihilo, and is of higher quality than the music from other parts of the world.
Every military department in the West today should thank the Chinese for the invention of gunpowder , LOL!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
But instead of acknowledging the debt, advocates of Classical music prefer to think that their Western European music is a creation of their culture, ex nihilo, and is of higher quality than the music from other parts of the world.
To me, what really triggered the start of the Western classical music tradition is:
and the North African lute didn't play any part in the process.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
6,737 Posts
Here is some new music I find very exciting.

Les Filles de Illighadad - Irriganan

Excellent! Mrs Nereffid likes desert blues (so do I, but she listens to it more than I) but I don't think she knows this group.

There's a lot of music the Average Joe knows (or cares) nothing about. My wife has no connection with the Sahara - she's from Connecticut, with an ancestor on the Mayflower! - but she loved this kind of music as soon as she heard it. Exposure certainly helps, but ultimately I think it's just pot luck as to what music "sticks", and to what degree.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,858 Posts
It is tacitly contained in your advocacy of European Classical music to an Average Joe. You are not advancing any other music, just Classical. Why pluck Classical out of all of the other kinds?
Because this is a thread about classical music.

Or is it that you don't care about Average Joe, but are invested in increasing the audience for Classical music which you see losing ground in the West?
I'm not a member of some socio-economic elite and it would be a bit narcissitic to consider myself "special." I haven't forced anyone to like anything but said people should have an opportunity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,448 Posts
Given the OP, I don’t know why we have to, yet again, be ‘schooled’ on the subject of all the music in other countries and from all other cultures and, if that isn’t enough, have to read the wonders of hip-hop and what not. On a classical music forum, are we supposed to be apologetic for thinking that CM is particularly special? Do we have to put up with being called elitists? If someone wants to get on their soapbox on the subject of the wonders of the music from other cultures, then start another thread. It’s getting old already.

I don’t think that many people who love classical music have it in their minds that anybody who loves other kinds of music is supposed to be convinced that CM is superior or that someone from another country is supposed to accept that CM as better than music they grew up with. That being said, there is something unique about classical music. I know of no other genre that has spread around the world from the places of its origin to other cultures with their own histories of music that are vastly different from that of CM.

And, please, let’s leave popular and hip-hop music out of the equation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,816 Posts
What has been missing from a discussion of the roots of Classical music are the contributions from African, Arabic, and other outsiders, which have been significant. The lute is a European form of the oud, and European lutenists learned to play it from Arabs and North Africans. There is at least one painting which depicts two lute players with one obviously following the other, who just happens to be a dark skinned musician.

But instead of acknowledging the debt, advocates of Classical music prefer to think that their Western European music is a creation of their culture, ex nihilo, and is of higher quality than the music from other parts of the world.
I don't really care if the western classical tradition was started by little green-skinned creatures from the Planet Mong whispering ideas into people's ears. For me, I have been exposed to it and I get a lot of pleasure from it, and therefore I would be sorry to see it become ever less appreciated.

I would say the same about Indian classical music or any other tradition. It would sadden me to see their demise. However, that is a vicarious regret as those traditions are not the tradition I was raised in: they are not "mine".

I suspect that all traditions are vulnerable to decline if they are relativised (to coin a word) by changes in sentiment in their home culture, and lose their status within that culture. It is appropriate that cultural traditions are given a special place in the areas or among the groups within which they developed: otherwise they die. Why do Greeks attach money to brides' dresses: I don't know, but I hope they carry on doing it. Why do plenty of English, Australian, Indian, Pakistani, West Indian, South African, New Zealand, Sri Lankan, etc people play cricket? One answer is because of the British Empire; another answer is because schools still focus on it, and so there is a flow of people growing up learning to play it and loving it. Is cricket better than baseball? That's not really the point: the point is that cricket belongs to a cultural inheritance and tradition, and needs to be supported within the relevant culture(s) or it will decline. If the culture in which a tradition is embedded will not support it and give it a special place then it may decline and the world would thereby be lessened.

To say the above does not remotely imply that such traditions should be closed to outside influences, or indeed that they did not benefit in their early development from cross-fertilisation from other traditions. I would imagine that only enrichment would arise from that, so long as there is sufficient strength in the tradition for it not to lose its special identity. Debussy was influenced by gamelan. Great, and he remains part of the western classical tradition, which is itself enriched by his works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,514 Posts
Because this is a thread about classical music.
This thread asks the question, "How do we bring back Classical Music for the Average Joe?" Which begs the question, "why must we bring Classical music 'back' to the Average Joe?" Which can mean either of two things: 1) Average Joe would benefit from Classical music being brought back to him or 2) Classical music would benefit from increasing its audience by adding in Average Joe's.

It is not a benign thread either way, since it is fraught with implications which, I for one, find questionable.

I'm not a member of some social elite and it would be a bit narcissitic to consider myself "special." I haven't forced anyone to like anything but said people should have an opportunity.
Nothing needs to be done for Average Joe to have an opportunity to hear Classical music, it is there waiting for anyone to listen to - or not - as they wish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,514 Posts
I don't really care if the western classical tradition was started by little green-skinned creatures from the Planet Mong whispering ideas into people's ears. For me, I have been exposed to it and I get a lot of pleasure from it, and therefore I would be sorry to see it become ever less appreciated.
I know most Classical music fans don't care the various influences that created Western Classical Music. Which is a willful blindness since it allows the idea that Classical music has nothing to do with the music of Africans, or Arabs, or slaves, and other outsiders, or vernacular music in general. And it is no accident that those musics are usually seen by Classical Music fans as inferior to Classical music which they think of as more complex, more sophisticated, and better in general.

It is my view that the most important culture in the history of music is not the European culture, but African, and other cultures from People of Color, who have been responsible for most of the music in the world, including in large part Western Classical Music.

There is something about being enslaved, oppressed and marginalized, denied your humanity, and often been the victim of genocide, that creates a fertile seed bed for dammed up emotions that are expressed in a complex and rich musical release. As Charlie Parker said, "if you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
But instead of acknowledging the debt, advocates of Classical music prefer to think that their Western European music is a creation of their culture, ex nihilo, and is of higher quality than the music from other parts of the world.
This thread asks the question, "How do we bring back Classical Music for the Average Joe?" Which begs the question, "why must we bring Classical music 'back' to the Average Joe?" Which can mean either of two things: 1) Average Joe would benefit from Classical music being brought back to him or 2) Classical music would benefit from increasing its audience by adding in Average Joe's.
So acknowledging the "debt" would bring classical music back to the Average Joe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,448 Posts
Baby boomers had a relatively rich exposure to classical music growing up. It was in movies and on television. Who didn’t see Fantasia growing up? Who didn’t see Bugs Bunny/Warner Bros. cartoons at theaters? CM occupied a significant section in most record stores. Tower Records had a free-standing CM store on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. It was typical that families have their children take up an instrument and have music lessons which typically emphasized classical music. It is naivety for anyone to suggest that with the increasingly limited exposure to CM during the formative years, at least in North America, the Average Joe will, on average, pick up classical music on their own without some early exposure and guidance.

Classical music is more complex and sophisticated than many other genres including hip-hop. A poster can continue to push a message that to suggest that is heresy, but the continued repetition is not going to change that fact. And inferring that one is saying that classical music is better than other music, when people have the right to their own preferences whether CM or otherwise, is just a way to try to put people on the defensive. Don’t fall for it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
I know most Classical music fans don't care the various influences that created Western Classical Music. Which is a willful blindness since it allows the idea that Classical music has nothing to do with the music of Africans, or Arabs, or slaves, and other outsiders, or vernacular music in general. And it is no accident that those musics are usually seen by Classical Music fans as inferior to Classical music which they think of as more complex, more sophisticated, and better in general.
You never seemed to be all that really interested in discussions of "influences" exchanged between actual classical music composers (for example, you say Wagner is overrated simply because you dislike his music; and I remember your attitude in discussions of certain Classical-era composers related by blood), so why does what role the North African lute played in the development of classical music tradition matter so much to you? It just seems so ironic to me. (And Slavs are Europeans. Be careful what things you categorize as European classical/non-classical in your arguments)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,923 Posts
It is my view that the most important culture in the history of music is not the European culture, but African, and other cultures from People of Color, who have been responsible for most of the music in the world, including in large part Western Classical Music.
So, promote genre crossovers? Such as classical-jazz cross-overs? Is that what you're suggesting? In order to bring classical music back to the Average Joe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
I know most Classical music fans don't care the various influences that created Western Classical Music. Which is a willful blindness since it allows the idea that Classical music has nothing to do with the music of Africans, or Arabs, or slaves, and other outsiders, or vernacular music in general. And it is no accident that those musics are usually seen by Classical Music fans as inferior to Classical music which they think of as more complex, more sophisticated, and better in general.
Does anyone think classical music has nothing to do with vernacular music traditions? This is patently absurd, as vernacular music predates classical music. I'm afraid that this is arguing against something no one actually believes.

It is my view that the most important culture in the history of music is not the European culture, but African, and other cultures from People of Color, who have been responsible for most of the music in the world, including in large part Western Classical Music.
Right. Let's just repeat this again: "People of Color, who have been responsible for most of the music in the world, including in large part Western Classical Music". First, the argument was that classical music is too "white", but now the argument is the absurd assertation that people of colour are responsible for a "large part Western Classical Music".

There is something about being enslaved, oppressed and marginalized, denied your humanity, and often been the victim of genocide, that creates a fertile seed bed for dammed up emotions that are expressed in a complex and rich musical release. As Charlie Parker said, "if you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."
So I'm sure you'll then agree that, as modern people are far, far, far less "enslaved, oppressed and marginalized, [and] denied [their] humanity", this provides a logical basis for modern music, particularly that of the avant-garde, as the avant-garde mostly draws from the privileged intellectual class, being worse than the music of the past.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
6,737 Posts
I know most Classical music fans don't care the various influences that created Western Classical Music. Which is a willful blindness since it allows the idea that Classical music has nothing to do with the music of Africans, or Arabs, or slaves, and other outsiders, or vernacular music in general. And it is no accident that those musics are usually seen by Classical Music fans as inferior to Classical music which they think of as more complex, more sophisticated, and better in general.
But it's worth noting that most classical music fans don't care about early music either - for them, classical music begins with Bach. So by the time the complex, sophisticated, better (as far as they're concerned) stuff comes along, the African or Arabic influence isn't relevant.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,514 Posts
But it's worth noting that most classical music fans don't care about early music either - for them, classical music begins with Bach. So by the time the complex, sophisticated, better (as far as they're concerned) stuff comes along, the African or Arabic influence isn't relevant.
The African/Arabic influence brought the idea of a personal love song sung by a solo singer accompanying themselves on a stringed instrument. Sound familiar? Prior to the slave girls, brought to Spain, who often were used for a variety of entertainment, sexual, as well as musical, music was created anonymously as a mode to glorify God.

However, these slaves sang poignant personal songs of yearning, for freedom mostly, for home, but the early troubadours used this style of singing and transferred it to the idea of the unattainable love, what came to be called "the art of courtly love" (a phrase not coined until the 19th century).

Prior to the time of the troubadours most music of the Medieval period was anonymous, only a few names have come down to us, nuns or prostitutes who wrote music and sang, a few: a Leonin, a Perotin. But nothing like what was to follow throughout the history of music and the cult of personality that began with the troubadours.

With the troubadours, and ever since, the singer-songwriter has had a long run, and there are about 300 troubadours whose names are not only known but their lyrics, (around 3,000) and some music (about 300) has survived.

But it all started with the Arab slave girls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,514 Posts
In the last few years, maybe since 2000, a generation of musicologists are beginning to look critically at how the history of music has been told with an eye to giving proper credit to the forgotten artists, mostly the outsiders. But not without some controversy. Old and treasured narratives about our culture are not corrected without a backlash from vested agents of the mainstream.

Earlier in this thread my post about the Colloquy about this very history, reported by the American Musicological Society, was lampooned as nothing more than postmodern revisionism.

Sad, really.
 
201 - 220 of 346 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top