classical and popular music
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pennylane

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Ever since I started going to this site, my tastes in music have gradually been changing. I've listened to more classical, moved from top 40 pop to... not really obscure artists but what most people would consider better pop/rock, as well as some feet dangling in jazz.

I always get the feeling that classical music is "superior" because of the complexity in its structure, arrangements, modes, depth, etc. My philosophy teacher once said that many people consider music (he was referring to classical music) to be the "purest" art form because it is less confined to one particular culture than other types (many visually based arts require more cultural awareness. many vocal kinds of music require the listener to understand the language). I tend to agree with most of what my teacher said, but lately I've listened mostly to my pop music. I guess sometimes a catchy tune and a thoughtful lyric that reflects my mood or situation is all I want.

Case in point. I just got a recording of Tchaikovsky's 6th as well as Paul Simon's Graceland. I've listened to Tchaikovsky once. I've listened to Graceland maybe 6 or 7 times already.

But I wonder if, eventually, my tastes will evolve to the point where I listen to no popular music at all. So I wonder.... if other people feel (or know) that classical music is probably "better" than other types, but how they listen to those other types.

I realize this is probably either a useless post or a dumb one, or both.

But I guess, what it all boils down to, is, (as one member has quoted), "if it sounds good it is good." And if someone can make something "good" without being overly complex, then more power to him.
 
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Wilson

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Quote:

Originally posted by pennylane

But I wonder if, eventually, my tastes will evolve to the point where I listen to no popular music at all. So I wonder.... if other people feel (or know) that classical music is probably "better" than other types, but how they listen to those other types.

I realize this is probably either a useless post or a dumb one, or both.

But I guess, what it all boils down to, is, (as one member has quoted), "if it sounds good it is good." And if someone can make something "good" without being overly complex, then more power to him.


There is really no need to abandon popular music, and I don't think it would cause you to do so. Falling in love with classical music only enriches your life and listening enjoyment, it won't diminish your enjoyments of good popular music.

I think there are simple and complex classical music, just like there are simple and complex popular music. As long as the music is enjoyable to you, that is all it matters.


Happy listening,
W
 
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phonatic

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Interesting. Hm, I guess I do listen to a lot less pop/rock than I once did, but I still do listen to it, and most of what I still enjoy has proven durable. Good music is durable, whatever the genre.

I have a small collection by Head-Fi standards (a few hundred recordings) of mostly pretty good stuff that I can continue to live with. I think hard anymore before trading stuff in to get new music because I wouldn't like to be parted from most of what I've got. I do however find that what I enjoy varies over time. Maybe that's what you are noticing in your own taste. Though it can be kind of expensive to pursue, music is a wonderful interest to have. There is always something old you never knew about and always something new around the corner.
 
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sleepkyng

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I think different music does different things for me (duh!)

but what i'm getting at is that
yeah Tchaikovsky's pathetique is depressingly beautiful, and at times subtle, powerful, sublime, yadayadayada

but i hold Yo La Tengo's "And then nothing turned itself inside out" right up there with it.
this album is at times: depressing, subtle, powerful, sublime, yadayadayada


apples and oranges.
 
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RobertR

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pennylane:
keep listening to classical and youll begin to discover more of its depth and beauty. Admittedly it takes more effort or concentration to listen to and its not as easy to ignore.
there is light and heavy classical , the tchaikovsky sym. would be heavy compared to the 1812 overture.
just from the sonic aspect there isnt much that can compare to well recorded sym. orch. Its also the best way to evaluate equipment.
 
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oosoo

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Classical vs. Popular is an arbitrary opposition very often deployed on behalf of conservative aesthetics. pennylane's Philosophy professor was doing just that, giving precedence to a particular form of elite culture over other expressions and instituting a hierarchy in the valuation. This sort of aesthetic creed is just what comes into crisis with the emergence of affordable reproduction and mass media. The anecdote also brings into relief the lag between academic culture (so-called liberal arts education and the humanities in particular) and the experience of post-Fordist/global capitalism.

Another consideration is that Western Classical music owes a lot of its cachet to the patronage of the wealthy and of the Church. The experience of the musical sublime is intimately tied to the power the Church once had over bodies, individual and collective consciousness, language, architecture, ritual, etc. Now there are many other interests contesting over the remnants of that historical legacy and producing other forms of seduction, compulsion, identification, meaning, and subjectivity.

And music continues to be one of the highly contested grounds of cultural production and value. If you find yourself listening to one kind of music over another, beware that you have entered into a process of socialization that inevitably closes some doors as it promises to open others. I personally like to keep myself clear of the dogmatic adherence to musical style, trend, or school.
 
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danaa

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As one who listened almost solely to popular music for decades, I find myself mainly drawn to classical these days. A good 95% of my listening is with classical these days. I frequent a classical music board where I've become directed toward certain periods and composers. One aspect which is particularly exciting for me is to personally find a composer who "clicks" with me and open up an exploration of their other works. I've also found that choosing the right recording of a work makes all the difference. I'll link you to the site I referenced above in case you're interested. LINK
 
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blessingx

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It's steak and hamburger. Would be a shame to give up either.*


The “music is the purest art form”/”poetry is the purest art form” argument is always interesting.




[size=xx-small]*Vegetarians use your imagination.[/size]
 
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DanG

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Quote:

Originally posted by oosoo
Classical vs. Popular is an arbitrary opposition very often deployed on behalf of conservative aesthetics. pennylane's Philosophy professor was doing just that, giving precedence to a particular form of elite culture over other expressions and instituting a hierarchy in the valuation. This sort of aesthetic creed is just what comes into crisis with the emergence of affordable reproduction and mass media. The anecdote also brings into relief the lag between academic culture (so-called liberal arts education and the humanities in particular) and the experience of post-Fordist/global capitalism.


No, pennylane's professor described some of the value of a certain art form. Classical music has often been written with political intentions behind it or funded by a political body. But the professor argued that classical music does not have to be viewed within that context, that it can in fact be enjoyed by people completely unaware of and unaffected by any of the frivolous factors you chose to throw in to your essay. Even the anarcho-syndicalist peasant couldn't think of a way to tie classism and global economics with a thread that says "hey, I like new kinds of music. what about you?"

Quote:

oosoo writes:
And music continues to be one of the highly contested grounds of cultural production and value. If you find yourself listening to one kind of music over another, beware that you have entered into a process of socialization that inevitably closes some doors as it promises to open others. I personally like to keep myself clear of the dogmatic adherence to musical style, trend, or school.


That's like saying, "as you lie down with the blonde you picked up tonight, be aware that you have blocked off the option of sleeping with the sexy brunette in the corner. Be careful about what you say in bed because you wouldn't want to ruin a chance at a friendship if you stay together for a few months and then break up..."

People listen to one kind of music or another either because they enjoy it or because they were assigned it in class. With the latter, the professor will dictate what kinds of music to listen to and that's hardly a social phenomenon. And when you enjoy a certain kind of music over another it's not a matter of socialization and certainly not dogma. It's music. It's art, it's fun, hooray for music. The only things to be aware of are the tunes coming out of the headphones. And yes, you should even put off worrying about how you're going to eat for the next week after spending so much on those cans.
 
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Jeff Guidry

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^
l
l
l
l

college boys.
 
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oosoo

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Quote:

Originally posted by DanG
the professor will dictate what kinds of music to listen to and that's hardly a social phenomenon. And when you enjoy a certain kind of music over another it's not a matter of socialization and certainly not dogma. It's music. It's art, it's fun, hooray for music.


IMO these are all social phenomena. What your professor says and the things you find fun are social phenomena. Enjoyment is a social phenomenon. You may choose not to treat it as such, but then you are missing on the opportunity to see how its value accrues. I personally have never suffered a loss of enjoyment for reflecting on how music is tied to my consumer habits, or advertising, or faith. On the contrary.

I agree with danaa on the merits of exploring the range of works by one composer or performer. This for me is one way to find a lot of variations that immediately dispel the notions that classical and popular are two opposing ends of the musical spectrum, or that music is somehow detached from the social context out of which it grows. Whether it's the way a classical composer adapts a folk song or the way a rock musician recreates the symphonic sound, neither creates in a vacuum.

Of course, if I have to choose between making sense and music I will choose music everytime. But at the end of the day that's a political choice too.

For a fun listen in classical-popular hybridity I can recommend Scott Johnson's John Somebody (1986) and Patty Hearst (1988), Meredith Monk's Book of Days (1991), Tom Hamilton's Sebastian's Shadow (1997), or Terre Thaemlitz's Oh, No! It's Rubato: Piano Interpretations of Devo (2001).

Sure to put a smile or a frown on anyone's face!

 
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I have never liked the definition of music into pop/classical music. Such definition doesn't only limit the imagination of the listener, but musician as well. In a way, genres really don't exist. They just are a way of categorizing, which style the music sounds like most. If it sounds like nothing what has been heard before, a new genre name is most likely created. Musician should always start from "making music", and finding a genre for it afterwards, if necessary. If a musician starts making "classical" or "jazz", it sure limits his/her imagination.

As another point, classical music has it's shortcomings (as every kind of music) and can't be considered as the unquestioned, eternally "best" and most artistic form of music. The compositions are complex, yes, but also conservative. The strong influence of church limited the freedom of most composers, and the experimentation with sound itself was minimal (i.e the instruments were always quite the same and unaltered). The compositions rely strongly on the rules of tonal music, and there weren't attempts to break those rules and make something totally unique, or at least nothing I know about. Western culture isn't the only one with a music culture, but western classical strictly avoids taking influences from other musical cultures and inventions and really isn't questioning it's own rules, which have been mostly unchanged for centuries.

I'm not trying to bash classical. I like it, just like a lot of music listeners do, but I never would want to stop listening to other types of music as well. Abandoning everything but classical in one's musical taste is a great risk of missing some of the greatest personal musical experiences ever. There are endless amounts of music outside the top 40/MTV lists only because they are too challenging and not commercial enough for an average listener. Not because they would be any worse of less professional. Quite the opposite.

Spend 12$ and get Elend - Winds Devouring Men from www.theendrecords.com. It's a great example, what classical could sound when it's strongly experimental, or download Arcturus - Ad Astra from some p2p network to hear something slightly different. Just two random suggestions. There are infinite amounts of great music out there.
 
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RobertR

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theres been a lot of esoteric responses here re: whether music is a social phenomena or an artistic entity.
imho classical music has a universal appeal that has so far withstood the test of time. Some of bachs works are still in the top 40 and i wonder, as much as i like pink floyd ,where his music will be in 400 years.

it seems that there is something about good music that strikes a responsive chord in our being like when you gaze into the heavens and ponder your origins.
Music for me is like a catharsis of the mind, body and soul.
 
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