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Snobbery In The Classical World (Read 2034 times)

Offline cadenza14224

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Snobbery In The Classical World
« on: May 24, 2012, 03:23:01 AM »
When I look around Youtube and even here for suggestions on repertoire or maybe just small talk about pieces, concerti, and whatnot, I am so appalled by the amount of stuffiness, elitist, and condescending thought that runs high within conversations of this genre. My story goes as such.

I'm not new to the classical scene, however I am new online to discussing it. After being the only one in my friends group interested in classical music, and having literally nobody in person to have good fruitful/nice discussions about piano music, I turned to the internet to listen to pieces, and discuss favorites, practice techniques, and whatnot. But upon looking through tons of comments on videos and conversations in forums, I was in complete surprise at all the hating, envy, and sheer "one-up"-ing going on in these.

What hurt me the most was the bashing of young children playing highly virtuosic pieces by people who are obviously either jealous or highly conservative about the practice of classical. I mean come on? Is there ANY rule that a technically talented child SHOULDN'T attempt Chopin Etudes or something? I don't get why people get all riled up and jump on the hate bandwagon and say that they shouldn't be playing the song because "they don't have the emotion" or some type of highly conservative hokey like that. They're honestly just hurting the new generation of classical lovers from growing and thriving. Seriously, a damn youtube video IS NOT THE INTERNATIONAL CHOPIN COMPETITION.

The condescension towards amateurs truly hinders the appreciation of this wonderful genre. I say that even if there is a hobbyist or amateur who hasn't practiced scales, run through the bach inventions/fugues, or hasn't had formal training, but is insistent on learning a Transcendental Etude, then they should be supported and mentored, not bashed for trying to do so. So what if it is out of their supposed technical level? If they want to work and practice through it, they should commended for trying, not criticized. 

Also, I don't appreciate it when people compare classical to more modern/mainstream genres and call the latter trash. They are two completely different views of musical thought and SHOULD be appreciated for their contributions to our culture. In the end of the day, both are music, and should be appreciated for what they are, rather than what they are not.

As someone who is truly in love with the piano and the classical genre, I don't want this genre to ever fade; rather more I want it to grow back to somewhat of what it used to be, if not as significant as it was in the early 20th century. But keeping these highly competitive and critical views isn't helping: not all of us are competing in competitions, heck i'm sure most of the classical fan-base are hobbyists (myself included). With the rise of new hybrid acts like the "Yellow Lounge" and the new wave of virtuoso pianists (like Yuja Wang, Alice Sara Ott, Benjamin Grosvenor, Yundi Li, Lang Lang...etc), I'm excited to see where this genre will go in the coming decade. I feel as if the fan-base were to be more open and willing for people to learn about the genre, and allow it to seep through to the mainstream without it seeming like some holy artifact has become tainted, I feel like it can go places and achieve its former glory, rather than die the slow death that it is seemingly going through.

Long live the classical genre and long live the piano. I will keep fighting for this genre and instrument to be an important cornerstone of our society no matter what; and I hope you will do the same. :)

Offline j_menz

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 03:43:02 AM »
I hope you feel better after that.  ;)

Firstly, I am not going to defend every contribution everyone here has ever made to a discussion. With relatively few exceptions, however, most people are expressing views held that stem from a deep love of music. Much of it, though by no means exclusively, rooted in the "classical" genre.

I fear you mistake some of the contributions as being nastier than they are or were ever intended to be. Noone here would, for example, ever discourage someone from playing the Liszt Trancendental Etudes. They may try and dissuade them from attempting to do so without the sort of techniocal and musical experience neccessary to play them. This is because of the very real possibility of injury, of disillusionment or simply because learning pieces before one is "ready" can lead to difficulties in ever being able to play them. These are voices of concern and experience. They are not always expressed as gently as you may wish, but internet fora generally suffer from this.

I find that giving people the benefit of the doubt, and recognising that people here speak from passion, not from snobbery or vindictiveness, greatly assists.

I note that you have not had many opportunities to discuss classical music with others who also love the genre and are knowledgable about it. I can assure you that, as with any subject matter people feel passionately abvout, opinions are deeply held and debate can be very "colourful". This is not exclusive to the people here, nor to internet fora.  I have had the pleasure of long and very heated disagreements with many people over many years in person.  I find it one of the great joys of life.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 04:10:21 AM »
..didnt get that troll yet did you.

I've been subjected to more classical snobbery than I'd like. Its certainly not the reality of everyone with an interest in the area though, I have a good friend with a composition degree and who can play most of the chop etudes who spends most of his time writing trance music.

..and while we're at it, I've been subjected to more than enough pop snobs too.. "music without lyrics is a stupid waste of time"  ::)

Offline cadenza14224

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 04:13:55 AM »
I hope you feel better after that.  ;)

Firstly, I am not going to defend every contribution everyone here has ever made to a discussion. With relatively few exceptions, however, most people are expressing views held that stem from a deep love of music. Much of it, though by no means exclusively, rooted in the "classical" genre.

I fear you mistake some of the contributions as being nastier than they are or were ever intended to be. Noone here would, for example, ever discourage someone from playing the Liszt Trancendental Etudes. They may try and dissuade them from attempting to do so without the sort of techniocal and musical experience neccessary to play them. This is because of the very real possibility of injury, of disillusionment or simply because learning pieces before one is "ready" can lead to difficulties in ever being able to play them. These are voices of concern and experience. They are not always expressed as gently as you may wish, but internet fora generally suffer from this.

I find that giving people the benefit of the doubt, and recognising that people here speak from passion, not from snobbery or vindictiveness, greatly assists.

I note that you have not had many opportunities to discuss classical music with others who also love the genre and are knowledgable about it. I can assure you that, as with any subject matter people feel passionately abvout, opinions are deeply held and debate can be very "colourful". This is not exclusive to the people here, nor to internet fora.  I have had the pleasure of long and very heated disagreements with many people over many years in person.  I find it one of the great joys of life.

@j_menz Very well put and I could not agree with you more. I guess if I could elaborate, my plea goes out more to the completely new people out there. As the biggest learning medium nowadays is the internet, I just feel as if the environment for exposure to this genre is more hostile towards newcomers than it is welcoming. I see this "if you don't know anything about it, you shouldn't be here" attitude in a lot of places; and being a proponent to expand the learner/listener-base, I think such manners prove to be aversive for new people. I may be over-thinking the matter; it's just that I would love to see some out-of-the box people discovering/exploring classical. I've blogged a ton about it on facebook amongst friends, and have gotten people who've never set their hands on an instrument checking out classical. I know this may sound like a very futile thought, but a warmer response from people passionate/knowledgeable would be beneficial.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 04:27:09 AM »
..didnt get that troll yet did you.

He's being shipped to a certain library in the Melbourne are as we speak. Hasn't eaten in a week. Be very very careful.  ;D

I've also had some very long and disturbing sarguments with DJs arguing that "music people like to dance to" is just too dull for them to play and that their "artistic integrity" means they are correct in only playing stuff that has the whole dance floor either staring blankly off into space waiting for a beat or falling over their own feet.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 04:30:09 AM »
He's being shipped to a certain library in the Melbourne are as we speak. Hasn't eaten in a week. Be very very careful.  ;D

I'll have to pick up some of this -



^while this is for message boards I'm sure there is some for real life..

Offline j_menz

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 04:35:26 AM »
@j_menz Very well put and I could not agree with you more. I guess if I could elaborate, my plea goes out more to the completely new people out there. As the biggest learning medium nowadays is the internet, I just feel as if the environment for exposure to this genre is more hostile towards newcomers than it is welcoming. I see this "if you don't know anything about it, you shouldn't be here" attitude in a lot of places; and being a proponent to expand the learner/listener-base, I think such manners prove to be aversive for new people. I may be over-thinking the matter; it's just that I would love to see some out-of-the box people discovering/exploring classical. I've blogged a ton about it on facebook amongst friends, and have gotten people who've never set their hands on an instrument checking out classical. I know this may sound like a very futile thought, but a warmer response from people passionate/knowledgeable would be beneficial.

I'm sure we have all wished the internet was a nicer gentler place at times.  That said, I would hope that everyone uses the board appropriately. In particular, the discussions on the performance and repertoire boards (which are designed for more experienced musicians) can reasonably be expected to get fairly heated, but we should all endeavour to be more accomodating on the student, audition and miscellaneous boards.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline j_menz

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 04:36:20 AM »
I'll have to pick up some of this -

Save your money. He's had his shots. 8)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ajspiano

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 04:49:38 AM »
Bioweapons Galore Inc. will sort something out for me.

Offline 49410enrique

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 10:41:19 AM »
i think the snooty pooty pants maybe need to just get over themselves.  i think their dismissive attitude is sad really.  i mean i just don't see people like that having very much fun.

Offline ted

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 12:11:36 PM »
This forum is actually one of the most broadminded as far as that sort of thing goes. We have had a few occasionally who might fit that character but here they tend to atrophy after being ignored a few times. Music and indeed all the arts are there to be enjoyed. Everybody has the right to play and create precisely as he or she pleases. "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" Rules are for fools. On some forums people argue about piano music as if it contained implications to moral law. It doesn't. Therefore there is no sense in criticising someone or their music in any way which doesn't add to their enjoyment of their art. Who likes classical, who likes jazz, who likes pop, who likes any other genre - doesn't matter. Happiness in one's own music really is all that matters in the end. That is becoming more apparent to me the older I get.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline tril

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 12:39:43 PM »
OK, the issue of a virtuoso 5 year old if very controversial and I don't its got nothing to do with snobbery. I mean, nobody would be talking about Mozart today if his dad hadn't push him to become a prodigious kid, right?? Of course is child labour, but sometimes if you really want things in life, something has to give. Its a dogs world out there.

Especially amongst chinese population, piano has become almost the only way, of ensuring your child has a brighter future and emigrates to the US or another developed country. Nobody likes to see a child playing Chopin like a parrot (which they almost do because they're not mature enough), and that's why people comment and just looks wrong. On the other hand, would you blame those parents? would you rather see this kid in a factory making shoes? or being a prostitute? I see these kids as previledged amongst many, at least their parents have enough money for lessons and their kids have a chance of a future.

Offline jimbo320

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Re: Snobbery In The Classical World
«Reply #12 on: May 27, 2012, 03:19:28 PM »
Condenza,
Very well said. You're expressing my very thoughts on this matter.
I chalk it up to how some people need to convey contempt or look down on others in order to feel good about themselves.
I even find this to be true in the professional music world. Lots of people forget about how it was in their beginnings. After reading your post I mentally spoke "it was about time somebody expressed this". Kudos....
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