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That's irrelevant. People who are genuinely interested will pursue the music and develop their passion. The rest can stay home and watch football if they're not interested.
That seems beside the point. The main question is why so few people become genuinely interested or at least somewhat interested (many sports thrive not only on the hardcore but also the occasional fans) and how to change it. And not having to travel longer distances to see live classical music could well be a factor here.
 

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Just to play devil's advocate, is it really such a bad thing that classical music isn't popular? Attention is finite, so why should classical receive attention at the expense of other genres?
Yes, why not? If we don't play our favorites, we are bound to lose because everyone else is playing their favorites.
The thing about classical music is that it is quite expensive, especially symphonic music and opera. People need a decade or more of musical education to become professional musician, starting in childhood (and most of this is already now covered by parents, not the listening public). There is a larger critical mass of audience attention needed, otherwise it will become very rare. And this isn't new. For most of its history classical music was dependent on public coffers or rich sponsors, only for some short times some composers could make enough money on something like a "free market".
 

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That seems beside the point. The main question is why so few people become genuinely interested or at least somewhat interested (many sports thrive not only on the hardcore but also the occasional fans) and how to change it. And not having to travel longer distances to see live classical music could well be a factor here.
"So few people"? As opposed to the throngs obsessed with classical art, literature, poetry and theater? Why aren't we discussing why more people aren't interested in Dostoevsky, Rilke, Cezanne and Ibsen? As Zubin Mehta once said, the symphony orchestra is a museum, and museums have had some tough times in recent years, especially those in Iraq, Syria, and most recently, Ukraine. Preserving a long and varied cultural heritage is a never ending challenge. Western classical music is doing rather well on the whole, for a variety of reasons. Of course it will become increasingly expensive and impractical to stage full-scale operas and symphony orchestras, but that is an inevitable aspect of cultural evolution, and doesn't mean those musical traditions will be forgotten entirely.
 

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That seems beside the point. The main question is why so few people become genuinely interested or at least somewhat interested (many sports thrive not only on the hardcore but also the occasional fans) and how to change it. And not having to travel longer distances to see live classical music could well be a factor here.
Most people relate to popular music much easier than the classics, or jazz. It's just that simple and the reasons are pretty obvious. It's more immediate and easy to relate to for most people. It's also quite obvious that in this day and age people don't need to leave their homes to enjoy good music including the classics. Everybody has a big TV with a sound bar and sub, or a/v receiver and speakers for even better sound. Who needs to spend over a hundred dollars or more to drive downtown to go to the symphony? And hope your car doesn't get broken into while you're at the concert. But in the end, classical music is a niche genre so it's never going to be popular. And that's the way I like it. The other folks can pay $200 to go see some big rock star and I can go to the chamber music concert for $25 and not have to deal with crowds and traffic. Be careful what you wish for.
 

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"So few people"? As opposed to the throngs obsessed with classical art, literature, poetry and theater? Why aren't we discussing why more people aren't interested in Dostoevsky, Rilke, Cezanne and Ibsen?
Because this is a classical music forum? Not one about poetry and painting. That was easy. As I explained, CM is not an asset like a Cezanne painting that can go for millions of $$$ and it is not cheap like books but it is very expensive and needs a considerable audience to be feasible. That's not really difficult or controversial either.
FWIW I am similarly (although for some of the reasons mentioned not quite to the extent) concerned about "survival" of other "high culture" like visual art and poetry but didn't see the need to go there in a CM forum.
 

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Most people relate to popular music much easier than the classics, or jazz. It's just that simple and the reasons are pretty obvious. It's more immediate and easy to relate to for most people.
But in the end, classical music is a niche genre so it's never going to be popular.
You are repeating the same statement with different words. What are the obvious reasons? I am not at all sure and I thought one purpose of this thread was to find out in order to change the situation. Why is this an obvious and unchangeable fact? And why is it different in the US, Europe and East Asia?
 

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The reasons why have already been discussed. It's about education and exposure. In America, classical music and jazz are virtually invisible in the commercial world so the only way to combat this is to expose school children to the arts so they understand that something else exists besides commercial music.
 
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"So few people"? As opposed to the throngs obsessed with classical art, literature, poetry and theater? Why aren't we discussing why more people aren't interested in Dostoevsky, Rilke, Cezanne and Ibsen? As Zubin Mehta once said, the symphony orchestra is a museum, and museums have had some tough times in recent years, especially those in Iraq, Syria, and most recently, Ukraine. Preserving a long and varied cultural heritage is a never ending challenge. Western classical music is doing rather well on the whole, for a variety of reasons. Of course it will become increasingly expensive and impractical to stage full-scale operas and symphony orchestras, but that is an inevitable aspect of cultural evolution, and doesn't mean those musical traditions will be forgotten entirely.
Yes, I know this is a CM forum.
Because this is a classical music forum? Not one about poetry and painting. That was easy. As I explained, CM is not an asset like a Cezanne painting that can go for millions of $$$ and it is not cheap like books but it is very expensive and needs a considerable audience to be feasible. That's not really difficult or controversial either.
FWIW I am similarly (although for some of the reasons mentioned not quite to the extent) concerned about "survival" of other "high culture" like visual art and poetry but didn't see the need to go there in a CM forum.
Yes, I know this is a CM forum. My point was, western classical music traditions are surviving at least as well as other classical art traditions. They all require an educated audience that is imperiled when a society fails to adequately support its educational institutions. And all conventional performing arts are becoming increasingly expensive and impractical to stage, as recording, broadcast, and now downloads and streaming take over, imperfect substitutes though they may be.

There is no reason to single out classical music.
 

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I'm new in this forum. I'll introduce myself but I would to write my opinion. For me the people don't listen classical music because they think that it isn't enough listen and appreciate but they have to study the piece. They think that they can't analyze the piece minute for minute they didn't listen it! But we aren't in a school, there is any examination.
It is necessary a less rigid approach, more lightness, just listen.
 

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I'm new in this forum. I'll introduce myself but I would to write my opinion. For me the people don't listen classical music because they think that it isn't enough listen and appreciate but they have to study the piece. They think that they can't analyze the piece minute for minute they didn't listen it! But we aren't in a school, there is any examination.
It is necessary a less rigid approach, more lightness, just listen.
Just listen, don't think, just "be" in the Other world of music and be content with stopping there. Yes, that's many peoples' opinion in just about every technical subject which people find difficult.

It's a pleasant approach and many musicians savor it of course, but really that's a whole higher level which comes after the learning.

You just joined an hour ago. wow! welcome welcome!
 
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Thank for the welcome. No I don't think it is "listen don't think". You can think, it's good, but you haven't to study the piece, it isn't a problem if you don't remember it perfectly. I believe that from listen without think to analyze perfectly minutes for minutes there is a big space.
 

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Thank for the welcome. No I don't think it is "listen don't think". You can think, it's good, but you haven't to study the piece, it isn't a problem if you don't remember it perfectly. I believe that from listen without think to analyze perfectly minutes for minutes there is a big space.
Yes, there is a large space which you grow through, depending upon your opportunites. Where you stop is a personal choice, but people should be aware that there's so much more to music. I've spent a long life with it and I am still often mystified by what's possible, all starting with simple fundamentals which have natural effects on everyone.
 

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Well I'm certainly fine with "Modernism" and I'm not fine with the political meal being made out of it.
I think now that political discussion here has been curtailed, its only ideology that is left. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have some sort of ideological bias. That's not necessarily a problem, but how it seems to work out so badly in online discussions is.

Just to clarify, the comments made about modernism, in general, are not to evaluate its implications on the human experience, whether in part or in entirety, whether positive or negative.
I think there are links between the experience of modernity and artist's responses to it.

Modernism, or whatever label one may affix to changes in the 20th century, may be considered a contributing factor to the decline in CM listenership in western nations. To reiterate, the adoption of change should not mean that one tosses out the baby with the bathwater.
I think that its contribution to any decline, in terms of the music alone, is overrated. There might be a stronger argument in terms of how ideological approaches informed by modernism negatively impacted on music, but I think that's more or less limited to those who where working in music rather than the audience.

Moreover, personal opinions, especially those leaning toward those political, are unrelated to the question of how to bring more people to CM in my opinion.
I think social justice is political. If you look at what reformers in music education like Zoltan Kodaly did, and also Jose Antonio Abreu (who founded El Sistema in Venezuala, which I mentioned), their work was at least in terms of its impact, political. It must be said though that their aim was to build up music education, and their first priority was to achieve their goals, not to serve purely political interests. Abreu, for example, worked with whoever was in power. His program gave many gifted young people a way out of poverty, drugs and violence. His longer TED talk is also on youtube, but in this short clip you can see some of the poor conditions he was working in.

 

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I think now that political discussion here has been curtailed, its only ideology that is left. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have some sort of ideological bias. That's not necessarily a problem, but how it seems to work out so badly in online discussions is.

I think there are links between the experience of modernity and artist's responses to it.
Agree - people have unique ideological bents and preferences. I think that these apply to a more or lesser degree across different aspects of our lives - for example, philosophical or artistic. Also as you point out, these discussions and nuances don't lend themselves well to online discussions and there are many shades of gray.

Another very good point you articulated is that many composers (keeping to CM), especially during times of social change, expressed their interpretation of events. Art imitates life. The Eroica, which did not immediately meet with universal public acclaim, expressed not only struggles in the composer's life, but also his interpretation of social and political upheaval. It is amongst the most frequently performed symphonies in the world today.
 
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I think now that political discussion here has been curtailed, its only ideology that is left. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we all have some sort of ideological bias. That's not necessarily a problem, but how it seems to work out so badly in online discussions is.



I think there are links between the experience of modernity and artist's responses to it.



I think that its contribution to any decline, in terms of the music alone, is overrated. There might be a stronger argument in terms of how ideological approaches informed by modernism negatively impacted on music, but I think that's more or less limited to those who where working in music rather than the audience.



I think social justice is political. If you look at what reformers in music education like Zoltan Kodaly did, and also Jose Antonio Abreu (who founded El Sistema in Venezuala, which I mentioned), their work was at least in terms of its impact, political. It must be said though that their aim was to build up music education, and their first priority was to achieve their goals, not to serve purely political interests. Abreu, for example, worked with whoever was in power. His program gave many gifted young people a way out of poverty, drugs and violence. His longer TED talk is also on youtube, but in this short clip you can see some of the poor conditions he was working in.

That was a thoughtful and diplomatically worded post, thanks. After observing all the lengthy debates here about the role of classical music in today's society for several years, I would conclude that it is indeed hard to avoid their ideological undercurrent. Here at TC, "classical music" mainly means an 18th and 19th century European aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois tradition, and implicit in assumptions that its current cultural role is not as great as it ought to be, as made by the OP in this thread for example, is a judgment on the relative worth and importance of 18th and 19th century European aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois cultural values.

Posters operating on this assumption here often indignantly argue that there is nothing political or ideological about their comments. Yet, 20th century modernism and current popular music over and over emerge as alleged villains, and the ideological implications become clear.

When I point out that in fact classical music can be and often is appealing to young people, and that the discussion of this thread and others like it is largely based on a false premise, the point is largely ignored. This also suggests that an ideological agenda motivates most of these threads.
 

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That was a thoughtful and diplomatically worded post, thanks. After observing all the lengthy debates here about the role of classical music in today's society for several years, I would conclude that it is indeed hard to avoid their ideological undercurrent. Here at TC, "classical music" mainly means an 18th and 19th century European aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois tradition, and implicit in assumptions that its current cultural role is not as great as it ought to be, as made by the OP in this thread for example, is a judgment on the relative worth and importance of 18th and 19th century European aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois cultural values.

Posters operating on this assumption here often indignantly argue that there is nothing political or ideological about their comments. Yet, 20th century modernism and current popular music over and over emerge as alleged villains, and the ideological implications become clear.

When I point out that in fact classical music can be and often is appealing to young people, and that the discussion of this thread and others like it is largely based on a false premise, the point is largely ignored. This also suggests that an ideological agenda motivates most of these threads.
I'm not sure if your comment suggests that young people tend to listen to 20th century modernism (or later) classical music (i.e. the last 2 paragraphs are correlated). When you say classical music often is appealing to young people, could you explain whether you mean some young people listen to classical music or that a significant percentage of young people do. If the later, do you have any data or reasons to believe that's true. I would love to think it's true, but my admittedly small sample suggests otherwise.

Certainly some people could have ideological reasons for thinking 20th century modernism has caused a decrease in classical music listenership, but I tend to doubt that most do. When I first came to TC, I was stunned by how different and unpleasant the 20th century and contemporary music appeared to me. It was natural to believe that the music was a clear impediment to listening. I no longer view modern and contemporary music that way, but I can understand that view without reference to ideological motives.
 

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I remember my father - he was a teacher of English Literature - being horrified that the school I was at when I was 9 was trying to teach us Shakespeare. He felt it would put us off for life and forewarned in this way I was really wowed with Shakespeare when I was 15 or so. He was all for boys of 9 reading Treasure Island (a book I still love). There are probably musical equivalents to all this. Certainly, I got into classical music early because I wanted to and I wanted to because it was all around me. Mozart came first.

But what of children who grow up in houses with no or few books and no classical music? How are they going to get access or guidance? Much could be done in schools but too many schools are environments that alienate kids and make them feel they are "on the other side" to their teachers. I doubt such schools could do anything with music even if they had the money to include it in their curriculum.
Indeed there are. Some were written specifically to be engaging to children:

Saint-Saëns – Carnival of the Animals
Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf


Others seem to captivate children despite the work not being specifically child-oriented. A lot of Tchaikovsky seems to pop up as child-friendly:

Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture

Tchaikovsky - Capriccio Italien
Tchiakovsky - The Nutcracker
Tchiakovsky - Swan Lake
Mozart – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Bizet – Overture to Carmen
Vivaldi - The Four Seasons
Handel - Water Music
Elmer Bernstein - Theme from The Great Escape
Grieg - In the Hall of the Mountain King

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5
 

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I will here again offer my support--in the face of past massive scorn and disapproval--for Andre Rieu and his like. Granted that he brings a light and airy mix of accessible music to a vast public, in that sense he can be sensibly regarded as a force for promoting or expanding the potential audience for CM, though most of that future audience may largely not be of the committed, earnest sort that some here seem to believe are the only fully worthy folk of the gift of CM.:rolleyes:
 

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I'm not sure if your comment suggests that young people tend to listen to 20th century modernism (or later) classical music (i.e. the last 2 paragraphs are correlated). When you say classical music often is appealing to young people, could you explain whether you mean some young people listen to classical music or that a significant percentage of young people do. If the later, do you have any data or reasons to believe that's true. I would love to think it's true, but my admittedly small sample suggests otherwise.

Certainly some people could have ideological reasons for thinking 20th century modernism has caused a decrease in classical music listenership, but I tend to doubt that most do. When I first came to TC, I was stunned by how different and unpleasant the 20th century and contemporary music appeared to me. It was natural to believe that the music was a clear impediment to listening. I no longer view modern and contemporary music that way, but I can understand that view without reference to ideological motives.
Some Modern CM s very accessible (e.g. Shosty's 1st violin concerto), while other Modern CM is great yet an acquired taste (e.g. Bartok's string quartets). I will never like modern CM (or contemporary CM) as much as I like composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, and Dvorak.
 

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I'm not sure if your comment suggests that young people tend to listen to 20th century modernism (or later) classical music (i.e. the last 2 paragraphs are correlated). When you say classical music often is appealing to young people, could you explain whether you mean some young people listen to classical music or that a significant percentage of young people do. If the later, do you have any data or reasons to believe that's true. I would love to think it's true, but my admittedly small sample suggests otherwise.

Certainly some people could have ideological reasons for thinking 20th century modernism has caused a decrease in classical music listenership, but I tend to doubt that most do. When I first came to TC, I was stunned by how different and unpleasant the 20th century and contemporary music appeared to me. It was natural to believe that the music was a clear impediment to listening. I no longer view modern and contemporary music that way, but I can understand that view without reference to ideological motives.
There's something in the sounds of classical music, no, I think if it's a lasting interest it would include all of the other aspects of music too. The techniques in the long sweep of development, from the simpler sounds of the 4th and 5th, all the way to Shostakovich at least.
 
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