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I feel a certain intolerance with kitsch. I see others around me immediately view it as a form of elitism or snobbery. I don't mind the label, as long as I can keep bashing the stuff I hate.
 

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Seriously, what do we mean when we say "elitism" or "elitist" about classical music?
There is nothing elitist about classical music. Anyone - certainly, anyone with intact hearing - has the ability to hear it, to listen to it, to learn to "understand" it, to learn to enjoy it, to allow oneself to be transformed by it ...

Instead of conjuring up vicious fables about classical music's "elitism", these "anti-elitists" ought to be clamoring to make classical music more accessible and affordable for everyone.
 

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I have been accused of being an "elitist" because of my defense of contemporary music.
 

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Examples of elitist attitudes?

"Film music isn't classical music."
"20th C classical is degenerate."
Heh. You would have to convince me that film music is classical music. Film music is whatever it needs to be for films. According to a professor of mine, it's good or bad music. What does that mean? Classical music has to be excellent enough to look towards a serious future, as any serious art. Its intent is serious and hopefully universal, not situational.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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Heh. You would have to convince me that film music is classical music. Film music is whatever it needs to be for films. According to a professor of mine, it's good or bad music. What does that mean? Classical music has to be excellent enough to look towards a serious future, as any serious art. Its intent is serious and hopefully universal, not situational.
I don't have to convince anyone. Note the question mark in my opening sentence.

The two statements are crude summaries of what I have seen expressed in longer form at TC. They represent the view that classical music - usually of the CPT tradition - is of superior quality and that quality must not be debased lest the superiority of the poster be debased. It's not actually a widely held view, but it has been expressed often enough over time at TC for it to be recognisable as elitist.

As for the "film music is/isn't classical" debate, let's leave that for other threads; there's been enough of them.
 

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I've been called a snob and, honestly, I don't even care. If having excellent taste in music and high musical standards is considered snobbery, then so be it.
 
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A follow-up to my post, I remember this one time at work a woman sat across from me in the the break room and asked "What kind of music do I like?" and I said "Classical music". She said "Oh, I have a lot of classical songs on my iPhone." Ordinarily, I would've let this slip by me, but I felt it was my duty to correct her. I replied in a civil way and as nice as I could be, "Actually, in classical music they're not called songs, but are called either pieces or works." She looked at me, slammed her chair into the table angrily and said "You're lame!" I just rolled my eyes and continued to enjoy my snack. :D You simply cannot correct ignorance --- it's too rampant.
 
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I don't have to convince anyone. Note the question mark in my opening sentence.

The two statements are crude summaries of what I have seen expressed in longer form at TC. They represent the view that classical music - usually of the CPT tradition - is of superior quality and that quality must not be debased lest the superiority of the poster be debased. It's not actually a widely held view, but it has been expressed often enough over time at TC for it to be recognisable as elitist.

As for the "film music is/isn't classical" debate, let's leave that for other threads; there's been enough of them.
Historically in the United States this question is interesting. Prior to the 1920s audiences expected to see/hear a mix of music both from the so-called high and low arts. A typical vaudeville show might have a magician, an opera singer, a Jazz band, then a pianist playing Chopin, slapstick comedians, etc.

But attitudes began to change to the point that a composer like Vernon Duke used that name for his Broadway songs and Vladimir Dukelsky for his Classical concert pieces, he wrote along side the others. This has been the case for decades, but opinions are softening again, and have been for a few decades, since the end of the 20th century.

Stephen Sondheim was asked about this question concerning some of his shows, Sweeney Todd, e.g. He said it was an opera when performed in front of an opera audience in an opera house but a musical when performed on Broadway. IOW, the genre was not decided on the content but the venue and audience expectations.

I tend to agree that a work is Classical when it is performed in a Classical music setting and not when it is in a film. If the film music is arranged into a concert suite or adapted into a concertante work and performed by a symphony orchestra it is Classical music - but the same music as it appeared in a movie was made up of musical cues, some lasting a few seconds, others a few minutes, and are not written as one long form work.
 

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Heh. You would have to convince me that film music is classical music. Film music is whatever it needs to be for films. According to a professor of mine, it's good or bad music. What does that mean? Classical music has to be excellent enough to look towards a serious future, as any serious art. Its intent is serious and hopefully universal, not situational.
I agree with this, but we now have 90 years worth of film music to consider, and plenty of it should be considered "classic" in my opinion. Of course, most of it is dross, but that is true of most genres of music.

I gave what I consider to be a dramatic example of the distinction (pun intended), earlier. In 1954, Leonard Bernstein's great score for On the Waterfront was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Dmitri Tomkin's (imo) workmanlike but pedestrian and uninteresting score for The High and the Mighty. Of course, today, On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden, is considered one of the greatest classic movies. OTOH, The High and the Mighty, starring John Wayne and Robert Stack, has not aged well. In fact, it was ridiculed by the Zucker brothers in their famous, and imo hilarious, 1980 parody, Airplane!

Bernstein turned his score into a suite that continues to be performed in concert by major orchestras, as is the "cantata" for chorus and orchestra that Prokofiev made from his 1938 score for Alexander Nevsky, another very famous classic movie directed by the great Sergei Eisenstein.

For me, Bernstein and Prokofiev, like Kazan and Eisenstein, were great artists who created memorable classics for film. The fact that most movies and their music are unremarkable at best and often downright dreadful is of no relevance.
 

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I don't have to convince anyone. Note the question mark in my opening sentence.

The two statements are crude summaries of what I have seen expressed in longer form at TC. They represent the view that classical music - usually of the CPT tradition - is of superior quality and that quality must not be debased lest the superiority of the poster be debased. It's not actually a widely held view, but it has been expressed often enough over time at TC for it to be recognisable as elitist.

As for the "film music is/isn't classical" debate, let's leave that for other threads; there's been enough of them.
In my experience, music fans who assert that CM isn't superior either know a lot about music or they don't know enough to be able to make a serious comparison list, point by point (CM vs other categories). To me, this is just logical, not judgemental. People on either side might argue with me, but that's what only a forum like this can afford us. Marvelous technology! Obviously, I don't know the level of expertise of every poster making that assertion.
 

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I agree with this, but we now have 90 years worth of film music to consider, and plenty of it should be considered "classic" in my opinion. Of course, most of it is dross, but that is true of most genres of music.

I gave what I consider to be a dramatic example of the distinction (pun intended), earlier. In 1954, Leonard Bernstein's great score for On the Waterfront was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to Dmitri Tomkin's (imo) workmanlike but pedestrian and uninteresting score for The High and the Mighty. Of course, today, On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando and Karl Malden, is considered one of the greatest classic movies. OTOH, The High and the Mighty, starring John Wayne and Robert Stack, has not aged well. In fact, it was ridiculed by the Zucker brothers in their famous, and imo hilarious, 1980 parody, Airplane!

Bernstein turned his score into a suite that continues to be performed in concert by major orchestras, as is the "cantata" for chorus and orchestra that Prokofiev made from his 1938 score for Alexander Nevsky, another very famous classic movie directed by the great Sergei Eisenstein.

For me, Bernstein and Prokofiev, like Kazan and Eisenstein, were great artists who created memorable classics for film. The fact that most movies and their music are unremarkable at best and often downright dreadful is of no relevance.
I suspect that neither Lenny nor Prok nor John Williams said, or wanted to say/explain, that they were composing CM in those projects. I could be wrong. But look at the CM they did compose. Look at the differences.
 

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I suspect that neither Lenny nor Prok nor John Williams said, or wanted to say/explain, that they were composing CM in those projects. I could be wrong. But look at the CM they did compose. Look at the differences.
Obviously, music composed as incidental theatrical music is not the same as a symphony or a string quartet. Perhaps it is closer to opera overtures or intermezzi, or to ballet music. Of course, incidental music has a long tradition, Mendelssohn's incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream probably being the most famous example. That is consistently ranked as one of the most popular pieces of classical music of all time here at TC, and probably with good reason, considering the frequency with which it is performed. Copland's Quiet City and Bernstein's On the Waterfront suites are in the same tradition, as are Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky cantata and Lieutenant Kije suite and a number of works by Shostakovich.

These works are adapted from music originally composed to accompany a theatrical work, rather than to stand on its own. If you listen to them in their original form without the work they were intended to accompany, they sometimes lack the structure and coherence needed to effectively stand on their own, though sometimes this isn't an issue. However, the works I cite above all were modified by their composers for concert performance.

These works all easily satisfy your definition of 'classical music', which is as good as any.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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In my experience, music fans who assert that CM isn't superior either know a lot about music or they don't know enough to be able to make a serious comparison list, point by point (CM vs other categories). To me, this is just logical, not judgemental.
I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that CM is superior to other genres, including 'film music'?
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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IOW, the genre was not decided on the content but the venue and audience expectations.
That's certainly a dimension to the question of defining genres, and for the purposes of this thread - about elitism - classical "pops" is a somewhat pejorative term to dismiss those at certain venues and with certain expectations. I've seen elsewhere here, the assertion that the BPO wouldn't lower themselves to do a pops concert (and the contradiction that, in fact, they do).

What is indisputable is that for many listeners, their musical taste is wrapped up with who they are. Some liberated souls genuinely don't care what others think about their musical tastes, but for the rest of us limited, flawed humans, we are what we listen to, and we get irked when our tastes are dissed.

That says much more about us than it does about the music.
 

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Examples of elitist attitudes?

"Film music isn't classical music."
"20th C classical is degenerate."
I think for both issues the tension is in the overlap between mainstream classical and other types of music like these. So there's this aspect of what's classical and what's not.

Not all film music of course is classical, but for that which can be described as such (or arising out of the classical tradition), the debate is about what extent it is classical. Its similar with 20th century music, where for example avant-garde and experimental music come out of classical but actively reject most - or even all - of its fundamental principles.

I think that out there in the real world, these sorts of issues are increasingly academic. As far as I'm concerned, what's happening on the ground is what matters. If the overlap between these and mainstream classical blurs, then so be it. I think its not just a trend that's limited to classical music.
 

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That's ceratinly a dimension to the question of defining genres, and for the purposes of this thread - about elitism - classical "pops" is a somewhat pejorative term to dismiss those at certain venues and with certain expectations. I've seen elsewhere here, the assertion that the BPO wouldn't lower themselves to do a pops concert (and the contradiction that, in fact, they do).

What is indisputable is that for many listeners, their musical taste is wrapped up with who they are. Some liberated souls genuinely don't care what others think about their musical tastes, but for the rest of us limited, flawed humans, we are what we listen to, and we get irked when our tastes are dissed.

That says much more about us than it does about the music.
Personally I don't give a hoot about labeling genres other than as a method of classifying a large music collection. I have a masters degree in Library and Information Studies so issues of taxonomy are a priority for me.

As for gauging the quality of music, I follow the adage offered by Duke Ellington: "if it sounds good, it is good music."
 

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I've been called a snob and, honestly, I don't even care. If having excellent taste in music and high musical standards is considered snobbery, then so be it.
:) What is having "excellent taste in music"?

I think I know what you mean by high musical standards but would enjoy conformation, would be so kind as to define that too?

Thanks
 

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A follow-up to my post, I remember this one time at work a woman sat across from me in the the break room and asked "What kind of music do I like?" and I said "Classical music". She said "Oh, I have a lot of classical songs on my iPhone." Ordinarily, I would've let this slip by me, but I felt it was my duty to correct her. I replied in a civil way and as nice as I could be, "Actually, in classical music they're not called songs, but are called either pieces or works." She looked at me, slammed her chair into the table angrily and said "You're lame!" I just rolled my eyes and continued to enjoy my snack. :D You simply cannot correct ignorance --- it's too rampant.
To be fair, there are some classical pieces that can fairly be called songs. But yes, generally pieces or works.

I do enjoy her reaction, lol.
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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Personally I don't give a hoot about labeling genres other than as a method of classifying a large music collection. I have a masters degree in Library and Information Studies so issues of taxonomy are a priority for me.

As for gauging the quality of music, I follow the adage offered by Duke Ellington: "if it sounds good, it is good music."
I don't give a hoot either. Please don't think I do. I'm not the one insisting on it in this thread.
 
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