Why is classical music a rare taste?

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

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keaggy220
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Post by keaggy220 » Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:47 pm

DavidRoss wrote:
RebLem wrote:Most men, unlike women, are not willing to invest in what grifters call "the long con."
:shock:
RebLem wrote:Most men who like classical music want to listen at home, where they don't have to dress up and where they can fart without fear.

:lol:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... nted=print

An article in the NY Times that states 3 out of 4 classical music CD buyers are men, but women go to more concerts. It seems to fit with RebLem's statement.

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Post by RebLem » Sun Oct 07, 2007 4:45 pm

DavidRoss wrote: the complete PEW report[/url] does address some disparities. For instance: "Men are more likely than women to participate in a big variety of interest groups, like fan clubs or community groups."

(2) As previously stated, the classical music demographic you provided only states the relative percentage of subscribers to that particular service who identified themselves by gender. To think that this provides any--let alone definitive--support for your broad claim that men appreciate classical music more than women suggests that your education lacked training in logic.

I don't know whether more men than women enjoy classical music. I know only that so far those here who've made that claim have failed to offer any support for it. However, out of curiosity I just googled the topic and the first hit was a New York Times article titled, For Musical Appreciation, Sexes Go Their Own Ways, and claiming that "About 16 percent of all men and 20 percent of all women polled said they liked classical music 'very much,' about 25 percent more women than men." The article is an interesting read which may broaden your perspective on the issue. However, anyone determined to prevent facts from interfering with his prejudices should probably stay away.
I am not so determined. In fact, I have now, at your urging, read the entire article from the NYT, and can say there is not much there that I disagree with. I wouldn't say it changed my attitude, but it did refine my perspective, and perhaps bring to the fore things I had been aware of in a more inchoate way. I do recognize myself in the statements about collecting being at least as important as the music. I do listen to music, though. I have tons of books I haven't read, but I buy records with the intention of listening to them. I suspended buying records in May, as I announced here, because I had accummulated such a huge backlog of unlistened to CDs that I want time to catch up. I think I may be caught up by the end of 2008. I intend not to buy any more CDs until I have listened to everything I have bought at least once. But, I guarantee you that everything I have owned for, say, more than two and a half years is something I have listened to at least once. How many have I listened to more than once? Maybe 700 out of about 5000. How many have I listened to more than twice? Maybe 400 or so. I report on all classical music I listen to in my weekly reports in the "What are you listening to?" thread. No secrets. You can track my progress there, if you wish.

Yes, my statement was a generalization, and perhaps overbroad. Generalizations and stereotypes are bad only if one treats other people badly because of them, or if one continues to treat a specific individual in accordance with the stereotype despite evidence that that person diverges from the stereotype in significant ways. I have decried people who do. I have said more than just 4-5 times in this forum that if there is any justice after death (which I strongly doubt) some people are going to have to answer for the fact that Margaret Hillis was never offered the music directorship of a major orchestra.

One little word about workplace sensitivity training. When we got that in the late 90's, the most immediate effect of the training on avoiding sexism was that the men in the office started getting invited to the baby showers, and they started having baby showers for men whose wives or s/o's were having babies. I don't mind telling you it put quite a crimp in my budget. :wink:

I am going to have to stop soon. I am supposed to be at my sister's and her husband's house at 5:30 and it is 3:31 as I write this sentence. My sister is someone who defied a lot of the statistics. She was divorced at 41, and had been a homemaker. Undeterred by the stats about how women's income declines after divorce, she used her contacts--mostly contacts with businesses made through her activities in the League of Women Voters--to find work, first as an office manager for the Albuquerque office of Arthur Young, a major accounting firm, and now, for the last 15 years or so, as the facility manager for a high tech company named Transcore, Inc, Amtech Div. They are the folk that make those
electronic sensors they use to read monthly passes on tollways, among other things. Anyway, when she was over here a while back, I played a piece of music for her which she has been asking to copy--Brahms Ave Maria, specifically. I have ethical problems with that, so I bought the whole 8 CD Nicol Matt box for her for her birthday, which was on Friday the 5th, but which we are celebrating today.

Oh, yeah, that's another stat she defied. They say a woman past 40 who gets divorced has about a snowball's chance in hell of getting married again. She not only remarried, but she married a man nine years her junior, when she was 50 and he was 41. Exactly nine years. She was born Oct 5, 1944, he was born Oct 5, 1953. So I got him a gift, too, and I am going to go to a Mexican restaurant and get some carry out Mexican style ribs for dinner. One stop before that, at a place called the NEWSTAND, which is THE place in Albuquerque for uncommon periodicals, to look for those two issues of the BBC Music Magazine from Sept and Oct the article talked about.

Well, its 3:44 now, so I really have to get, to coin a phrase, a Move On. :roll:
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Post by Mahler » Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:56 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:I don't know where you live, but I'll bet there's little else but rock and talk on the radio stations where you live.
You might be right but I would not know; I do not usually listen to the radio. Still, I have a deep and lasting interest in classical music. How come? It is because I caught it somewhere - as part of movie soundtracks or as background music in TV documentations - and went from there. There is also a lot of classical music on TV, but most young people I know use it only to test their reflexes (read: how quickly they can turn it off). This is why I do not see a lack of exposure but a glaring lack of interest in what is available.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:24 am

Mahler wrote:How come? It is because I caught it somewhere - as part of movie soundtracks or as background music in TV documentations - and went from there. There is also a lot of classical music on TV
Most classical music in movies and TV is not presented as classical music. It's presented as background music. Unless something takes off and generates a lot of "unearned media," such as the Pachelbel Canon that was used to back up a Polaroid commercial in the mid-70s, the Rutter carol "What sweeter music" used to back up a car commercial in the 90s, or the ubiqitous O Fortuna, people are going to think it's just part of the wall paper - they would never have occasion to find out how it was different from the rest of the score. It might be credited on a soundtrack, but how many people like music in a movie well enough to go out and buy a soundtrack? And even if they did, there's no guarantee the piece would be credited or included in the cd. I can think of several instances when the soundtrack composer did a riff on a classical piece and didn't bother to credit it.
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Mahler
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Post by Mahler » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:24 am

Corlyss_D wrote:Most classical music in movies and TV is not presented as classical music. It's presented as background music. Unless something takes off [...] people are going to think it's just part of the wall paper - they would never have occasion to find out how it was different from the rest of the score.
I agree that there are many people of whom this is true. I know some who constantly rave about the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, but when I recommend Dvorak's Ninth to them, they are uninterested, no matter how obviously the score was "borrowed" from that source.

Still, there are exceptions to your rule. I myself was introduced to classical music by Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings as well as Bach's "Air" from the Orchestral Suites, both of which I heard in movies. I did not purchase the soundtracks but went straight for the originals and have explored classical music from there.
"Auch das Schöne muss sterben."

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Post by pizza » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:55 am

I think the lack of interest derives from the change in our social habits. At the turn of the last century, many middle-class homes and even some working-class homes had pianos; many people were amateur instrumentalists; and it was considered socially important to be able to play together and to make music on an informal basis at home. That naturally maintained a general interest in professional musicianship and classical music.

The ease of pushing a button to get our music today changed all of that. The missing ingredient is effort and almost anything that can be acquired without any personal effort is viewed as transitory and relatively unimportant.

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Post by The Ninth » Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:01 pm

I think the key factors are more free time and disposable cash among the young. Those are what made a profitable, widespread youth culture possible. Once those came about, the popularity battle was essentially over.

Rock began as kiddie music. Some guitars with a fun beat to get teens and young adults to dance. It was only later that it aspired to wider and more "lasting" cultural relevance, to be "Art" rather than just entertainment. But even when that happened, the focus on youth culture remained. The music came packaged with a "lifestyle" of rebellion, idealism, sexual freedom, and questioning of authority, meeting the emotional needs of adolescents struggling to define themselves.

But eventually, the people who were those original adolescents buying into the "music as lifestyle" phenomenon grew old. They became the record industry execs and producers of the music for the next generation, and they promoted a music and a culture structured along essentially the same lines as the stuff they had imbibed years earlier, speaking to the same concerns that occupied so many of their hours as they listened to rock records in their bedrooms: sex and love, a desire for uniqueness and independence, and the "oppression" of parents who didn't understand them.

Rock and pop tend to speak to the concerns of a particular age group. The old saying goes, "If it's too loud, you're too old." And music that is intended to be incomprehensible or even (ideally) offensive to anyone older than thirty has a special appeal to a certain newly-enriched subset of the population.

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Post by DavidRoss » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:06 pm

Nice digression, 9th--thanks! What I don't understand is why it still has so much appeal among the middle-aged. Nostalgia?
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:33 pm

There was a long-standing show on NPR hosted by probably the two best classical DJs in the US, Martin Goldsmith and Robert Aubrey Davis, both of Washington DC origin, called "Songs for Aging Children." I only listened to it by accident because I cannot stand that music myself and never could, but obviously it is not incompatible with the highest taste in classical.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:28 am

pizza wrote:At the turn of the last century, many middle-class homes and even some working-class homes had pianos; many people were amateur instrumentalists; and it was considered socially important to be able to play together and to make music on an informal basis at home. That naturally maintained a general interest in professional musicianship and classical music.
That point was made in the American Experience documentary entitled Mr. Sears' Catalog, a marvelous bit of sociology based on ephemera. Pianos, guitars, organs, string and wind instruments - a veritable orchestra - were sold thru the catalog because that was the only way people got to hear music, i.e., if they made it themselves. Liszt responded to that realization by creating piano reductions of popular operas and symphonies. Amateur music and the ethos created by making it have been celebrated in several books, including Catherine Drinker Bowen's, Friends and Fiddlers. By the 1960s sociologist David Riesman could seem quaint in saying he had 3 kids so they could play string quartets together. The availability of mechanical sound reproduction deprived family music-making of its monopoly. No need=disappearance.
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DavidRoss
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Post by DavidRoss » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:32 am

One point of interest I found in the NY Times article I and Keaggy cited was the polling that suggested a taste for classical music is far from rare, that it's actually far more common than we might suspect. 16% of men and 20% of women reported liking classical music "very much."

Those numbers made me think of many I know who like some classical music, but have no training and feel more than a little daunted by it--especially when they say something like, "I really like that piano concerto by Rachmaninoff," only to be told that Rachmaninoff was a hack, that his orchestration sucks, and that only morons like his music.
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Post by piston » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:04 am

DavidRoss wrote:One point of interest I found in the NY Times article I and Keaggy cited was the polling that suggested a taste for classical music is far from rare, that it's actually far more common than we might suspect. 16% of men and 20% of women reported liking classical music "very much."

Those numbers made me think of many I know who like some classical music, but have no training and feel more than a little daunted by it--especially when they say something like, "I really like that piano concerto by Rachmaninoff," only to be told that Rachmaninoff was a hack, that his orchestration sucks, and that only morons like his music.
Which would indicate the need to distinguish between what people buy and what they like? In recent history, recording industry statisticians have ranked classical music sales around three percent of all sales in the recorded music industry. This U.S. proportion has always been inferior to c.m. sales in western Europe, but not by much (around five percent of the market there). It is quite possible that the people who were polled preferred classical music to rock or country music when "listening" to background music in their office or in their kitchen but I doubt that they can be counted on to support a local orchestra or the recording industry.

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Post by knotslip » Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:10 am

I can list many reasons. I have found the same thing as you have - that no one my age listens to this music and most think I'm wierd for doing so. The reasons I can think of are :

No music appreciation classes in most schools - especially in FL

It's not in or cool

It's too complex - Most kids and younger folks get turned off by all of the foreign language plasterred all over these CD's - This makes it hard for them to know what it is

The genre is vast - Without a class or parents that introduced them to it - they don't know where to start and might judge all of the genre on a single piece or two that they heard

Attitude of classical music aficionados - Many of the avid listeners are snobbish and condescending (none on this board of course :D) which makes it tough for a person new to the music to feel comfortable with it and embrace it.

Did I say complex? Sonatas, concertos, etudes, preludes, nocturnes, marches, quartets, quintets, etc, not to mention that pieces are performed by different ensembles, conductors and performers. Pop and Rock are just simpler.

No message - Many teens like music for the lyrics - the message - and that is lacking from classical music, save opera - and they will not listen to opera. :)

I think classical music, for the most part, is grown up music and most won't come to the genre until they've tired of the same ole' music they've listened to for years and yearn for something new. That's what happened with me.

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:08 am

knotslip wrote: It's too complex - Most kids and younger folks get turned off by all of the foreign language plasterred all over these CD's - This makes it hard for them to know what it is

The genre is vast - Without a class or parents that introduced them to it - they don't know where to start and might judge all of the genre on a single piece or two that they heard
Very true. Chart music, C&W etc are just a mote in the firmament of music as a whole and they're an extremely conservative music, easy to assimilate.
Attitude of classical music aficionados - Many of the avid listeners are snobbish and condescending (none on this board of course :D) which makes it tough for a person new to the music to feel comfortable with it and embrace it.
Also unfortunately true and you can count some artists in that too. It isn't helped by people who write about music (for what that is worth) often making it abstruse and high-brow - always use long words rather than short ones - that'll obfuscate 'em! One really needs a bullsh** detector when reading some sleeve notes, critiques and the like.
Did I say complex? Sonatas, concertos, etudes.......... Pop and Rock are just simpler.
...while they don't have a history. In fact, pop and rock are quite complex as a collection of sub-genres. Some of their music is complex (if perhaps intuitive). :)
I think classical music, for the most part, is grown up music and most won't come to the genre until they've tired of the same ole' music they've listened to for years and yearn for something new. That's what happened with me.
Well, yes, most. But some come to it before pop. Myself frinstance and though I listen to "pop" music it's usually in the byways rather than mainstream.

A refreshing view, Knotslip.

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Post by BC » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:31 am

The idea that it's all about education and opportunity strikes me as oversimplification. I know a lot of classically trained music teachers and orchestral musicians who rarely listen to classical music for pleasure: mainly they listen to rock. They have musical aptitude and have been educated in classical music, but (to over generalise) classical music is work, rock is for pleasure.

I'd be interested in statistics on this, surveys must have been done.

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:42 am

DavidRoss wrote:One point of interest I found in the NY Times article I and Keaggy cited was the polling that suggested a taste for classical music is far from rare, that it's actually far more common than we might suspect. 16% of men and 20% of women reported liking classical music "very much."
Splendid.
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Post by knotslip » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:18 pm

Splendid, yes, but how many of those people that said they liked it actually buy classical music CD's, attend concerts, listen to it regularly or know anything about it? Before I really got into this genre of music, I would have said that I liked it- but I didn't buy the CD's, listen to it regularly or know anything about it. I like exotic cars but I don't own one and have little to do with them other then the occasional drool. Most of the folks that think I'm wierd for listening to it say they like it - they just don't listen to it (until they get in my truck anyway - then they're forced to :D)

:D

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Post by knotslip » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:27 pm

Oh yes, and you can't dance to it or sing along. :D There is a night club culture these days and there aren't many night clubs playing classical music - and if there were I wouldn't think they would stay in business for very long. :) This just isn't the 1700/1800's anymore. Here is a question :
If rock, pop, country and other musical styles had existed back then, would classical music still have been the same as it was? Would it be what it is today?

Just curious about the responses to this question. I think things might be much different (back then and today) if the above were true.
I think the culture and the available selection of music at those times shaped classical music to an extent. But i am new and not very astute on this subject so I will wait to see what others think.

Thanks.

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Post by absinthe » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:44 pm

knotslip wrote:Oh yes, and you can't dance to it or sing along. :D There is a night club culture these days and there aren't many night clubs playing classical music - and if there were I wouldn't think they would stay in business for very long. :) This just isn't the 1700/1800's anymore. Here is a question :
If rock, pop, country and other musical styles had existed back then, would classical music still have been the same as it was? Would it be what it is today?
.
The fact is that there has always been popular music and like today's it was easily forgotten - in the 18th century it was promulgated by wandering minstrels and the like - sometimes books of songs such as those by Thomas Campion. Now it's recorded media that allows us to remember it a little longer. Very little will get into popular music history and (should humanity survive) in 100 years the same discussion will doubtless take place. Few young people today would remember names like Glenn Miller, Lesley Sarony or artists like Marie Lloyd, anymore than they'd know who Beethoven was.

They didn't play classical music in the taverns of old but it didn't die. It was supported by the wealthy and/or urban folk and the church who were once the biggest music publishers.

[/quote]
Last edited by absinthe on Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:47 pm

BC wrote:I know a lot of classically trained music teachers and orchestral musicians who rarely listen to classical music for pleasure: mainly they listen to rock.
:lol: :lol:
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Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:14 pm

The other day I subbed for the choral teacher at a local school. Today I was at the same school as a science teacher and (partly because they wanted to get out of the assigned work) they started asking me about my musical opinions. Mind you, these are seventh graders (12-year-olds). First they asked me about Bob Dylan. At least I can form and state an articulate opinion (not particularly favorable) about him. Then they asked me about another Bob I have never heard of, which they could not believe. Then they asked me about rap "artists" whose names I do happen to recognize, and I took the liberty of telling them I don't even consider rap to be music.

Worry not, folks, I know that with young children you must tell them to form their own taste, which I did, but if asked a question directly like that, I'm not going to lie. Maybe knowing that a teacher likes classical music will sink in with a couple of them. And though the chorus program at that school is in a state of chaos, they do have a good band teacher.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Brahms » Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:18 pm

The ability to appreciate classical music is entirely a matter of genetics ......

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Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:04 pm

jbuck919 wrote:The other day I subbed for the choral teacher at a local school. Today I was at the same school as a science teacher and (partly because they wanted to get out of the assigned work) they started asking me about my musical opinions.
Did you tell them that no good Piano Sonatas were written after Beethoven, just wondering...:wink:
Then they asked me about rap "artists" whose names I do happen to recognize, and I took the liberty of telling them I don't even consider rap to be music.
Agreed, as Ray Charles said on this subject..."Talkin been around a long time, aint nothin new in that"...Rap is not original anyway, it was started in Jamaica in the late sixties, where it was called Toasting...
Worry not, folks, I know that with young children you must tell them to form their own taste, which I did, but if asked a question directly like that, I'm not going to lie. Maybe knowing that a teacher likes classical music will sink in with a couple of them.
That is what one would certainly hope...

The Ninth
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Post by The Ninth » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:54 pm

DavidRoss wrote:What I don't understand is why it still has so much appeal among the middle-aged. Nostalgia?
That might be part of it. Another thing, I think, is that it may just be more difficult for a person who grows up listening mainly to simple, easily accessible music to break into more "opaque" kinds of music once he's an adult, than it is for a person who grows up listening mainly to classical (or another "less accessible" type such as jazz) to add some "easy" forms to the collection of music he enjoys.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:04 am

Like several other members here, I was just born to "classical" music. We always had a piano in the house, my grandmother taught and played piano in a movie-house (when she was young).

I learned to listen and memorize works before I could read (3 years old).....back then it was Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Richard Strauss. For my fourth birthday I wanted a new recording of "Till Eulenspiegel".

I never---not even as a teenager---enjoyed popular music anywhere near as much as "serious" music. The old masters seemed always to be in me somewhere.......

Jack
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Post by keaggy220 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:50 am

DavidRoss wrote:One point of interest I found in the NY Times article I and Keaggy cited was the polling that suggested a taste for classical music is far from rare, that it's actually far more common than we might suspect. 16% of men and 20% of women reported liking classical music "very much."

Those numbers made me think of many I know who like some classical music, but have no training and feel more than a little daunted by it--especially when they say something like, "I really like that piano concerto by Rachmaninoff," only to be told that Rachmaninoff was a hack, that his orchestration sucks, and that only morons like his music.
Most people would refer to the ultra-romantic Andrea Bocelli and ultra- hunky Il-Divo as classical. Since these two examples probably out sell much of what this forum considers classical I would say the numbers above would need to be adjusted by about 99%. :D

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Post by The Ninth » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:07 am

keaggy220 wrote:Most people would refer to the ultra-romantic Andrea Bocelli and ultra- hunky Il-Divo as classical. Since these two examples probably out sell much of what this forum considers classical I would say the numbers above would need to be adjusted by about 99%. :D
There is definitely a point there. It seems to me that the vast majority of interest (such as it is) in classical music is centered around perhaps ten or twenty performers / composers / works:

Bocelli
Pavarotti
Charlotte Church
Sarah Brightman
Moonlight Sonata
Pathetique Sonata
Fur Elise
Four Seasons
Mozart (due to movie depictions and the alleged "Mozart Effect")
Nutcracker
Disney's Fantasia
Aaron Copland

And perhaps the biggest attraction of all: orchestral movie soundtracks.

I think that about covers the popular interest in classical music, but maybe you guys can think of some other things.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:08 pm

The Ninth wrote:Aaron Copland
Copland! Boy! Not in my town.
Corlyss
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:28 pm

The Ninth wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:Most people would refer to the ultra-romantic Andrea Bocelli and ultra- hunky Il-Divo as classical. Since these two examples probably out sell much of what this forum considers classical I would say the numbers above would need to be adjusted by about 99%. :D
There is definitely a point there. It seems to me that the vast majority of interest (such as it is) in classical music is centered around perhaps ten or twenty performers / composers / works:

Bocelli
Pavarotti
Charlotte Church
Sarah Brightman
Moonlight Sonata
Pathetique Sonata
Fur Elise
Four Seasons
Mozart (due to movie depictions and the alleged "Mozart Effect")
Nutcracker
Disney's Fantasia
Aaron Copland

And perhaps the biggest attraction of all: orchestral movie soundtracks.

I think that about covers the popular interest in classical music, but maybe you guys can think of some other things.
Well, it is true that there is something called Pops (you forgot the William Tell Overture :) ), but as with almost all lists here, no two people are going to agree. At one of my former employers (not a school), the copy machine played "Fuer Elise" and they called me in to identify it because no one knew what it was, though they were all very educated persons.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:12 pm

The copy machine? Good heavens. Think what the fax machine could play, as slow as they are with multipage docs!
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Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:15 am

Working in the administrative offices of a university one would think that there were a bunch of intellectuals here----but only four of us play chess and of those four I'm the only one who knows/cares very much about classical music. About three others whom I know (out of circa 130 employees) are concert-goers.

In my (German) chess club, two other members (out of about 24) like/know classical music---and one of those is a Russian from St. Petersburg! (The other is a German chemist---and he only likes pre-Beethoven).

Even here in Germany "pop" is widespread.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Ken » Thu Oct 11, 2007 4:56 am

I'm a bit surprised by the anecdotes that you folks are posting here. Amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances here at graduate school (which numbers a few dozen people), I have discovered a handfull (i.e., five or six) who have at least a passing interest in the music, and a couple more who are as enthusiastic about the music and about collecting as I am. We're youngsters, too!

Perhaps mine is an anomalous situation.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

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Post by DavidRoss » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:44 am

From that NYT article:

"But if women buy fewer disks than men do, they make up for it in concert attendance. While New York's major concert halls report roughly equal attendance among men and women, statistics across the country show women are more likely than men to attend classical concerts. A 1993 report by the National Endowment for the Arts showed 20 percent more women attend classical concerts than men, with 14 percent of all women, compared with 12 percent of all men, attending concerts.

"A 1993 survey by the National Opinion Research Center documented an even greater predominance of women at live concerts, with 18 percent of all women and 13 percent of all men attending classical concerts, a 27 percent greater likelihood for women, said Michael C. Kearl, a sociology professor at Trinity University in San Antonio, Tex.."
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
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Post by keaggy220 » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:09 am

The Ninth wrote:
keaggy220 wrote:Most people would refer to the ultra-romantic Andrea Bocelli and ultra- hunky Il-Divo as classical. Since these two examples probably out sell much of what this forum considers classical I would say the numbers above would need to be adjusted by about 99%. :D
There is definitely a point there. It seems to me that the vast majority of interest (such as it is) in classical music is centered around perhaps ten or twenty performers / composers / works:

Bocelli
Pavarotti
Charlotte Church
Sarah Brightman
Moonlight Sonata
Pathetique Sonata
Fur Elise
Four Seasons
Mozart (due to movie depictions and the alleged "Mozart Effect")
Nutcracker
Disney's Fantasia
Aaron Copland

And perhaps the biggest attraction of all: orchestral movie soundtracks.

I think that about covers the popular interest in classical music, but maybe you guys can think of some other things.
You forgot that catchy tune that United Airlines came up with...

arglebargle
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Post by arglebargle » Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:51 am

Bocelli
Pavarotti
Charlotte Church
Sarah Brightman
Moonlight Sonata
Pathetique Sonata
Fur Elise
Four Seasons
Mozart (due to movie depictions and the alleged "Mozart Effect")
Nutcracker
Disney's Fantasia
Aaron Copland
No one's mentioned "Here Comes the Bride" and Pachelbel's Canon in D?

absinthe
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Post by absinthe » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:32 am

And yet only yesteryear we had "How Deep is the Night" and "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" - that Chopin nicked for his Study and Fantaise Impromptu.... not content with plagiarism he made 'em impossible to play....

.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:04 am

The Ninth's list could truly go on practically forever. In Germany, we could add:

Handel's "Largo", Bach's "Air" from the 3rd Suite, Haydn's "Emperor" Quartet, 2nd mvt (German National Anthem), Schubert's "Trout", "Ave Maria", "Serenade"; Mendelssohn's "Wedding March", Schumann's "Träumerei", Gounod's "Funeral March for a Marionette" (Alfred Hitchcock Presents' theme), Brahms' 5th Hungarian Dance, Dvorâk's "Humoresque", Tschaikowsky's "1812" Overture, Suppé's "Light Cavalry" and "Poet and Peasant" Overtures, Prokofiev's "Peter & the Wolf" and dozens more.

Many of us began our life-long interest and love of great music through these and other early charmers.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Chalkperson » Fri Oct 12, 2007 1:07 pm

&p
Jack Kelso wrote:The Ninth's list could truly go on practically forever. In Germany, we could add:

Handel's "Largo", Bach's "Air" from the 3rd Suite, Haydn's "Emperor" Quartet, 2nd mvt (German National Anthem), Schubert's "Trout", "Ave Maria", "Serenade"; Mendelssohn's "Wedding March", Schumann's "Träumerei", Gounod's "Funeral March for a Marionette" (Alfred Hitchcock Presents' theme), Brahms' 5th Hungarian Dance, Dvorâk's "Humoresque", Tschaikowsky's "1812" Overture, Suppé's "Light Cavalry" and "Poet and Peasant" Overtures, Prokofiev's "Peter ; the Wolf" and dozens more.

Many of us began our life-long interest and love of great music through these and other early charmers.

Jack
That's exactly how I started... :D

piston
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Post by piston » Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:09 pm

I came across this relevant testimony from composer Albert Roussel:
"It is not necessary that a symphony or an opera should become as popular as a song by Mayol [a popular cafe singer]. Of all the arts, music is the most closed and inaccessible. One could say far more of the musician than of the poet that he is completely isolated in the world, alone with his more or less incomprehensible language.... Other than two or three pretty pieces one might write for the public, all the rest, given the present state of give-and- take between music and the masses, will always be destined for very rare listeners."

Currently listening to a third version of his Bacchus and Ariane. First Dutoit, then Martinon (his student), then Baudo. First prize goes to Baudo.

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Post by Wallingford » Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:49 am

Hey, from the time I was a gradeschooler trying to explain to my peers my liking for it (and wondering why the small-town record shops I frequented almost never stocked it).......I've long since given up rationalizing on this whole issue.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by pizza » Mon Oct 15, 2007 5:29 am

piston wrote:I came across this relevant testimony from composer Albert Roussel:
"It is not necessary that a symphony or an opera should become as popular as a song by Mayol [a popular cafe singer]. Of all the arts, music is the most closed and inaccessible. One could say far more of the musician than of the poet that he is completely isolated in the world, alone with his more or less incomprehensible language.... Other than two or three pretty pieces one might write for the public, all the rest, given the present state of give-and- take between music and the masses, will always be destined for very rare listeners."

Currently listening to a third version of his Bacchus and Ariane. First Dutoit, then Martinon (his student), then Baudo. First prize goes to Baudo.
I assume you mean Martinon was Roussel's student, not Dutoit's. He studied composition with Roussel and conducting with Charles Munch and Roger Désormière.

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Post by piston » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:12 am

I assume you mean Martinon was Roussel's student, not Dutoit's
That's correct.... my poor syntax.

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Post by Stonebraker » Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:47 pm

Sapphire wrote:What a crazy discussion.
That pretty much sums up my feelings on this thread.

As for the original topic, I think it's about exposure(sp?). Once I became exposed to the this amazing music we usually lump into the term "Classical Music", I cannot help but introduce it to my friends, most of whom are in my same age group (20-23). Most of my friends listen to modern rock, classic rock, progressive rock, I dont even know what most of those things I just listed are. However, once you get someone to sit down and listen to classical music for 45 minutes to an hour, they are usually captivated. I introduced my friends the way I was introduced, Beethoven 5 (The whole thing for christsake!! not just the blasted first movement!), then Brahms 1, which quickly became Brahms 1-4, then Mahler. Then I came away to school here in Long Island leaving my friends behind. I still however communicate with them and update them as to good listening and local concerts in Maryland.

As usual I digress; speaking for my generation, I think it's hard for people to understand how dramatic the music is, how to let down your gaurds and let the music take you anyplace. That's why when I break down the walls, I make them listen to Wagner, Mahler, Shostakovich, any of the most intense music I can possibly find. A repeated theme throughout this thread is exposure to the music itself. No one ever sat me down when I was a kid and said, "This is the greatest music of all time, just sit here for an hour and check it out", that only happened once I got to college. And once I had to sit down, and listen to the entire Beethoven's 5th symphony, I had a feeling like I never had in my life. I immidietly went home and found the first symphony of Brahms, who was highly recommended to me long ago. I listened to that, then I listened to it again. I listened to brahms first symphony everyday, reading the score along with it, for a good 2-3 weeks. Then I moved to his second symphony. Pretty soon, I was introducing every I knew to it. I hope this was somewhat coherant and contributed to the discussion.
Paul Stonebraker - Promoting orchestral music since '06

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Post by Ken » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:28 pm

^ Being in the same age cohort, Stonebraker, I agree with what you have just said. I find that many of my friends who have differing musical tastes are open and somewhat wanting to explore the Classical 'genre', but they don't know where to start or have no excuse to go down that road. I try to throw good music at them from time to time and some of them have become more curious.

And, yes, sit someone in a quiet room, fire on a performance of Brahms One, and you'll likely come out with a converted music fan.
Du sollst schlechte Compositionen weder spielen, noch, wenn du nicht dazu gezwungen bist, sie anhören.

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Post by karlhenning » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:39 pm

keninottawa wrote:And, yes, sit someone in a quiet room, fire on a performance of Brahms One, and you'll likely come out with a converted music fan.
Depends. There are many paths. Not everyone is going to experience instant conversion thanks to the Brahms Opus 68.

Cheers,
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Post by Stonebraker » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:55 pm

karlhenning wrote:
keninottawa wrote:And, yes, sit someone in a quiet room, fire on a performance of Brahms One, and you'll likely come out with a converted music fan.
Depends. There are many paths. Not everyone is going to experience instant conversion thanks to the Brahms Opus 68.

Cheers,
~Karl
How dare you!

But you're right. I suppose Brahms symphonies 2-4 would do the trick, if Opus 68 isn't available...

Seriously though, do you have any suggestions for symphonies which are very accesible to my age bracket? I usually go with Brahms because that's pretty much where I started, any suggestions welcome. Most of my friends quickly take to Sibelius first symphony, Shostakovich 5, Mahler 1, so I generally use those, but any other pieces suggested will be taken into consideration (then quickly dismissed).
Paul Stonebraker - Promoting orchestral music since '06

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Post by Werner » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:54 pm

I see you're aging, Stonebraker! I remember your original signature at twenty.

I think you've been at it long enough to investigate the field without specific guidance re any particular work. If you're talking about symphonies, think about the likes of Schubert, Schumann, Dvorak, Mahler, or any name from that period that comes to your notice.

You may or may not like what you hear - but that's part of forming your own ideas of what's good, for you, personally.

And then there are concertos - actually, the proper expression of it in plural is "concerti," but who wants to be that formal? Anyway, they are pieces in which a solo instrument is featured alongside the orchestra, with many thrilling beauties to be experienced - and discovered.

Then there is music for solo instruments, and chamber music, for small combinations of instruments.

There is an ocean of beauty and greatness available. Don't be afraid to plunge in - set aside what does not appeal to you, and decide for yourself what you really like.

Do pitch in, and keep us posted on your discoveries!

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Post by Stonebraker » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:53 pm

Werner wrote:I see you're aging, Stonebraker! I remember your original signature at twenty.

I think you've been at it long enough to investigate the field without specific guidance re any particular work. If you're talking about symphonies, think about the likes of Schubert, Schumann, Dvorak, Mahler, or any name from that period that comes to your notice.

You may or may not like what you hear - but that's part of forming your own ideas of what's good, for you, personally.

And then there are concertos - actually, the proper expression of it in plural is "concerti," but who wants to be that formal? Anyway, they are pieces in which a solo instrument is featured alongside the orchestra, with many thrilling beauties to be experienced - and discovered.

Then there is music for solo instruments, and chamber music, for small combinations of instruments.

There is an ocean of beauty and greatness available. Don't be afraid to plunge in - set aside what does not appeal to you, and decide for yourself what you really like.

Do pitch in, and keep us posted on your discoveries!
Thanks for all the nice comments. Most valued though are your recommendations of symphony composers; sometimes I get hung up on listening to the same symphonies over and over again, so listening to some Schumann symphonies sounds really good right now. I figure I'll start with him, I believe he only has 4 so that'll be less of an ordeal than 9 schubert or dvorak symphonies. Music brings so much joy to my life, its what Im studying here at Stony Brook.

I do have a few concertos I enjoy, but I find them a bit harder to get into. I think my parents enjoy them more, as they mostly listenin to classical music when I recommend a concert for them to go to. It's easy to be impressed by a players viruosity live, lord knows it's happened to me on many occasions. Do you have any recommendations for approaching concertos? I find that a concerto is merely a symphony with restrictions placed on it. As simple minded as that is, it's hard for me to shake that thought, and sit and listen to a concerto when theres so many symphonies I still haven't listened to!

Don't get me started on chamber music. I've found some that I really love, particularly Brahms chamber music. But it takes a lot more of a "sticky ear" to listen to it, and lot more concentration. Once again, pretty simple minded, but the wow factor of the symphony and the textures available still amazes me.

Anyways, look forward to becoming a little more active here now that I've gotten a little more acclaimated to being a music major at a university, instead of community college.
Paul Stonebraker - Promoting orchestral music since '06

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Post by Mahler » Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:55 pm

Stonebraker wrote:Most of my friends listen to modern rock, classic rock, progressive rock, I dont even know what most of those things I just listed are. However, once you get someone to sit down and listen to classical music for 45 minutes to an hour, they are usually captivated.
I am glad you have had some success trying to lead them your way. So far, such attempts of mine have always had the opposite effect. There have been some who took a couple of steps into unknown territory, but so far, they have always been quick to retreat and stick with pop music. Perhaps it is just the nature of the people I know.
Stonebraker wrote:do you have any suggestions for symphonies which are very accesible to my age bracket?
Bruckner's Seventh. If you like Brahms' symphonies, you will adore this composition (especially the first two movements) which by the way marked Bruckner's final breakthrough. I recommend Sir Simon Rattle and the BSO; at least this is the version I have.

Note: I usually advise against exploring symphonies out of order, but if you really stick with the same repertoire for a very long time (as do I), you might want to skip ahead and experience this symphony now that it will really absorb you. At least that was what happened to me.
"Auch das Schöne muss sterben."

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:30 am

Mahler wrote:
Stonebraker wrote:Most of my friends listen to modern rock, classic rock, progressive rock, I dont even know what most of those things I just listed are. However, once you get someone to sit down and listen to classical music for 45 minutes to an hour, they are usually captivated.
I am glad you have had some success trying to lead them your way. So far, such attempts of mine have always had the opposite effect. There have been some who took a couple of steps into unknown territory, but so far, they have always been quick to retreat and stick with pop music. Perhaps it is just the nature of the people I know.
Stonebraker wrote:do you have any suggestions for symphonies which are very accesible to my age bracket?
Bruckner's Seventh. If you like Brahms' symphonies, you will adore this composition (especially the first two movements) which by the way marked Bruckner's final breakthrough. I recommend Sir Simon Rattle and the BSO; at least this is the version I have.

Note: I usually advise against exploring symphonies out of order, but if you really stick with the same repertoire for a very long time (as do I), you might want to skip ahead and experience this symphony now that it will really absorb you. At least that was what happened to me.
The Bruckner Seventh is a good choice, but the general consensus is that his Fourth is the most easily assessible.

But for real accessibility---go for Joachim Raff's symphonies. Guaranteed to charm and thrill!

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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