Music Notes: Old Music, Not Dead Music

Posted on 02 October 2013 by admin

Writer Jake Heidbrink asserts that classical music is not boring, browsing music

Staff Writer

It is unfortunate that many members of the younger generation lack interest in classical music.

This lack of interest is not the fault of the youth, but the fault of the older generations for not exposing the music correctly to us. Instead of stressing the universal beauty that can be found in the genre, classical music is left to be listened to optimally in elevators or in department stores. How tragic it is when a Beethoven symphony is catalogued as browsing music when it is every bit as interesting as an album by Kanye West, The Beatles, or Nine Inch Nails. Yet while all of these acts demand attention from the listener due to a mainstream popularity, it is classical music that is shrugged off as simple background music.

The secret to enjoying classical music is becoming engaged with the music as one would with any other popular music genre. Similar to other genres of music, classical music has many varieties. Of course it is hard to go wrong with the classics like Beethoven, Mozart or Brahms. But if one is not interested in any of these composers, they might find something more interesting with the minimalist composers of the 20th century like Terry Riley or Phillip Glass. In any case, the only element required is paying attention to the music as you would to any other pop music act. It is the same music theory, all it requires is attention.

Perhaps it is the snobbery commonly associated with the genre that turns people away from listening to classical music. While the image of a spectacled older man with a penchant for exclusively listening to Wagner and just being an all around elitist has persisted throughout time as the stereotypical classical music listener, it would be a good idea for younger audiences to know who listened to the genre in the past.

These people were not older wealthy elites that remained quiet during performances. To the contrary, listeners were commoners who talked throughout the performance of a Mozart opera, applauding during their favorite parts and shouting to the singers to repeat their favorite aria’s during the entire performance. Alcohol was consumed by a much of the audience during the performance and violence was even known to happen in a few cases, such as the riot that occurred during the debut of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

So let us not fail like our past generations did with reducing classical music to boring browsing music, let us instead be the generation that shot new life and enthusiasm into the genre, renewing interest into one of the most important forms of art.


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