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I don't even consider what I hear as uninteresting music, including that among Classical music. So I won't talk about any composers or musicians unless I find their work interesting and of a certain quality.
Fine, but a lot of the music of 18th and early 19th century Europe was never published and likely is lost for good, so you won't be hearing it, interesting or not. As for that huge pile of mid- to late 19th and early 20th century sheet music I alluded to earlier, most of that has never been recorded, at least not by a major commercial label, so you won't be hearing most of that, either.

I'm not really disagreeing with you, except that there is a process of selection over the centuries where most of the uninteresting music disappears before we can hear it. Even with modern technology, I suspect that won't change much.
 

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I'm not really disagreeing with you, except that there is a process of selection over the centuries where most of the uninteresting music disappears before we can hear it. Even with modern technology, I suspect that won't change much.
Oh, not nearly enough has disappeared. ;) And more is being recorded every year.
 

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Oh, not nearly enough has disappeared. ;) And more is being recorded every year.
:lol::lol: Too many doctoral music graduate students needing to submit a thesis, only to become musicologists needing to publish in academic journals!

Though I must admit, to this day unpublished 18th century music is sometimes found that is truly worthwhile. For example, Luigi Boccherini, himself a cellist, wrote a large amount of chamber music, including many flute quintets (for flute and strings). But in the late 20th century, another set of six flute quintets was discovered in a library in Madrid, where the composer worked for many years, that is attributed to him, I think correctly. These are noteworthy among other reasons for being scored for two cellos.

The late Jean-Pierre Rampal, always on the lookout for new flute music to perform and record, recorded them as one of his last commercial CD releases. These are terrific performances of what I consider to be high quality examples of Boccherini's work, at least as good if not better than his other, long-known flute quintets, for example.

So I can't say all discoveries of long lost unpublished music are worthless. Of course, there are occasional major finds, like that of Debussy's Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon, apparently written for his coal merchant to obtain coal to heat his home during the wartime shortages of the winter of 1917. But for the most part, imo, long unpublished music is unpublished for a reason.
 

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In business we seek our the innovator (starts on the streets) to wear our products. Then we market to the early adaptors (people who matter).
Once it hits the mass market, the innovator has moved on. If you allow your product to reach what we call the laggards, it is done.
That's more or less the whole thing in a nutshell.

The late Bill Cunningham realised this early on when freestyle fashion was starting to get exposure in the '60's. He started as freelance photographer but eventually became what can be called an influencer, working for major publications like the New York Times.

His work didn't only have huge impact on the fashion industry but also stands as a valuable archive of what people where wearing on the streets.

This was a great documentary made towards the end of his life. The promo includes him speaking about why fashion is such an important part of civilisation.

 

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Discussion Starter · #126 ·
I actually meant that comment as a self-referential and self-deprecating joke because like everyone else I have an elitist attitude to music.
(re post #103). Oh well. All I can say is that if someone calls me or strongly implies that I'm an elitist it really hurts. It's so ignorant and dismissive, especially from people who've known me well for a long time. Fortunately it hasn't happened very often. But I'm always wary, more so in recent years as open attacks on classical music have become more common.
 

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I think Sid James is right that the development of popular music as a major commercial phenomenon goes back to the mid-19th century and the creation of a middle class with money and leisure time that could afford to buy a piano for the parlor and lessons on how to play it. Before there were records there was sheet music, and lots of it. But where did the music itself come from? Partly from folk traditions, no doubt about it, and some transcriptions from the opera and symphonic worlds as well, but mainly from a growing group of song writers looking to write money-making hits.

And that, imo, is the fundamental difference between popular music and classical and folk music of any time or culture, or any other longstanding musical tradition. Popular music is created to be the biggest possible hit with as large an audience as possible as quickly as possible. It can and does borrow from longstanding musical traditions, and in turn can be a source for and influence on longstanding music traditions or even result in the genesis of new ones. Its practitioners can be highly skilled and innovative. But most of it exists for its own time, to be forgotten soon afterwards. If you disagree, go to an antique shop that has a huge pile of 19th and early 20th century sheet music and patiently look through it all.
Its also interesting how folk music was particularly vulnerable to the changes brought by progress. The concept of leisure time basically emerges with the industrial revolution. So too, with rail travel, the mobility of populations. Villages started emptying out, people consumed music rather than making their own. So what we had at the turn of the 20th century is a situation where European folk music was threatened, and those who foresaw its demise as a living tradition started to document it (e.g. Grainger was a pioneer, then came Bartok and Kodaly, Holst and Vaughan Williams). Similar things where happening in other places, anthropology starts to emerge as a serious discipline.

There's a rather poignant anecdote relating to this. When he was a child during the early years of the 20th century, Michael Tippett remembered folk songs being sung in his hometown. These had been passed on, from generation to generation. When he returned later as a young man, there where no signs of this. By then, people where probably whistling tunes they'd heard in the music halls or perhaps on the gramophone.

I think it's fair to ask of classical music (and any genre of music) what is unique about it. Instead of things like "why is classical music so much better than xxx (where 'xxx' is invariably either pop music, or music made by black people)" I tend to try to frame it as "What uniquely sets classical music apart?" in terms of style, techniques, practices, and listening conventions.
I think its also useful to look at the ways other music has enriched classical - be it folk, jazz, world music, rock and so on. Without this sort of nourishment, its doubtful that classical would have gone beyond the churches and courts - and indeed, even when it was more or less limited to those, they weren't totally sealed off from the music of the outside world anyway.
 

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Its also interesting how folk music was particularly vulnerable to the changes brought by progress. The concept of leisure time basically emerges with the industrial revolution. So too, with rail travel, the mobility of populations. Villages started emptying out, people consumed music rather than making their own. So what we had at the turn of the 20th century is a situation where European folk music was threatened, and those who foresaw its demise as a living tradition started to document it (e.g. Grainger was a pioneer, then came Bartok and Kodaly, Holst and Vaughan Williams). Similar things where happening in other places, anthropology starts to emerge as a serious discipline.

There's a rather poignant anecdote relating to this. When he was a child during the early years of the 20th century, Michael Tippett remembered folk songs being sung in his hometown. These had been passed on, from generation to generation. When he returned later as a young man, there where no signs of this. By then, people where probably whistling tunes they'd heard in the music halls or perhaps on the gramophone.

I think its also useful to look at the ways other music has enriched classical - be it folk, jazz, world music, rock and so on. Without this sort of nourishment, its doubtful that classical would have gone beyond the churches and courts - and indeed, even when it was more or less limited to those, they weren't totally sealed off from the music of the outside world anyway.
Well said. It's a mistake to look at various musical traditions as static, isolated and unrelated genres. But it's a common mistake, I suspect mainly because such rigid categorizing is a convenient and largely effective way for the music industry to market its product. We see that here. It is no accident that Talk Classical, a commercial enterprise, is based on the principle that there is a specific definable category of music known as Western Classical Music, with all or nearly all music one could think of either clearly within or without that category.

Such categorization can be useful for other purposes, too. But I think it leads to a lot of the acrimonious and lengthy debate here, including the "elitism" issue that is the topic of this particular thread.
 

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I think that the worst part of internet communication is pushing our own values onto others, which can involve categorising them, even though we hardly know them. Ultimately, what we say reflects who we are, not them. Pierre Bourdieu's line that "nothing classifies somebody more than the way he or she classifies" comes to mind.

A lot of what has amounted to important debates on this forum doesn't impinge on my own enjoyment of music. I even doubt whether many of the heated discussions here are about issues which actually matter in the real world anymore.

There are quite a few topics that I now routinely pass off for the red herrings they are. Whenever I do get involved, I inevitably regret it, so ignoring them is the best option. Anyone who has been here long enough will know those topics by heart.
 

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In soviet union many ''ordinary workers'' listened to classical music and composers produced for ''masses'' which didnt make it any less quality...I suspect same would be in ''nazi'' germany which held classical music to highest standard
 

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Yeah like I read in a great book ''Morning of magicians''. ''The medieval knigths and wizards were defeated by shallow, gum chewing human robots''.
 
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