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My definition of 'Classical Music' (Read 1464 times)

Offline opus10no2

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My definition of 'Classical Music'
« on: August 31, 2014, 04:14:18 PM »
The term 'Classical Music' has frustrated me ever since I became a fan of the Music itself. As someone who got into the Music at around age 15 - I remember having a preconceived idea of what it was like, and what it meant.
This preconceived idea, over my years of falling in love with different Music over the years, would be shattered and rendered completely redundant every time.
I did a little research into how the term became a part of common vernacular and quite annoyingly I realized it's just something that 'stuck' because people were too lazy to think of something else.
The word 'Classical', when used referring to anything other than Music - means something very old. From this comes the commonly misinterpreted inference that Classical Music simply means 'Old Music' - which is glaringly ironic given the fact that 'Popular Music'(I wont even get started on my thoughts on that term :P ) and it's roots existed long before Classical Music ever did.
This 'illusion' is a part of commonly held public belief mostly because the popularity of pieces of Popular Music is much more transient and 'trend'-based.
It's always amusing when people comment on a piece of Popular Music that they love and say 'This will be the Classical Music of the future' - no it wont. A piece of 'Classical Music' is 'Classical' from the moment it's created, it doesn't become ' Classical' over time.
I could go on about the many misconceptions and erroneous ideas people have about what the Music is and isn't - but I'd be here a while. Most people wont give a sh*t about anything I'm writing here, and wont like the Music itself - but the reason I'm quite passionate about sharing these ideas with people is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of those who enjoy it, could potentially enjoy it, and even those who will never enjoy it - but appreciate and respect it from afar.
The real point of what I've tried to understand - and purpose of it - is to break down exactly what Classical Music is - define it - and upon discovery of that definition - rename it.
There have been quite a few other terms used instead of Classical - Art Music being the most common. I find it almost equally as ridiculous in it's passive implication that all other Music besides it isn't Art. 'Serious' Music is nearly as bad - and 'Erudite' Music or 'Legitimate' Music are condescending and silly.
After much consideration - it dawned on me that the simplest of answers was the best.
Written Music is the key to it all! The invention of Sheet Music was the Birth of 'Classical Music'.
The greatest analogy would be that or Architecture -
Before anyone had written plans and design of something they wanted to build, there was a limit to its complexity and scope, they had to build 'by eye' like a Musician played 'by ear'.
With the advantage of Architectural planning - one could design something far more elaborate, analogous to the development of Classical Music after the invention of Sheet Music - it could be constructed - laboured over, perfected, and more complex structures could be designed without the limitations of the human short term 'memory' - Music was no longer limited by RAM - it finally had a Hard Drive! :D
Music before sheet music was always limited by the capacity of 'aural memory'. People played and sung 'by ear' - and by doing so - there was a certain limit to the complexity and elaboration with which the Music could be distributed.
This was how Folk Music was distributed - and it also forms the basics behind the distribution of the majority of Popular Music - it can be retained easily by most people with a couple of listens.
Part of the reason behind the overwhelming and unifying popularity of Music in general is the varying degree of passiveness is can be consumed and enjoyed. It's the ultimate 'Multitasking' accompinament. A completely undivided attentive and focussed listening experience is relatively uncommon - and even it these cases - Popular Music can satiate the needs of the majority of peoples needs.
Classical Music is simply more demanding, and far less rewarding as a passive listening experience. Of course there are those people who enjoy using selected slow and quiet sections of Classical pieces as 'relaxing' background Music - but they are a case apart and are more Classical 'hearers' than Classical 'listeners'. In this regard, it's more like the Multitasking experience of the way most Popular Music is enjoyed.
Classical Music is for everyone, it's a rich Universe of it's own. It isn't a style, it isn't a genre - it is literally half of all Music.
For a piece of Music to qualify as Classical - it need only meet 2 criteria -
1 - It must be written. 2 - It must bear a form that isn't used in most Popular Music.
If you write down a piece of Jazz music - it IS Classical Music.
If you write down a piece of elaborate Progressive Rock - it IS Classical Music.
Those 2 examples provide the most obvious examples of the Recorded age utilizing recording audio to construct elaborate Musical creations - much like Sheet Music would, going beyond the limits of immediate aural memory. To use a computer term - they transfer their RAM to their HD and utilize the increased storage capacity.
Classical Music isn't BETTER than other Music, it's simply different.
For something to qualify as GOOD or BETTER, it must be connected in context to precisely what it is good FOR and better AT. Varying types of music are good for and better at pleasing various modes of listening and kinds of listeners. Classical Music is for people who enjoy Music that rewards attention, repeated listens, and a more immersive all-round experience.
It is crap for anyone who isn't inclined to enjoy Music in that way.
I've still not arrived at a conclusive alternative term for Classical Music - the best I can think of is Architectural Music, Planned Music, Elaborate Music, but they're all clunky and not very catchy. I'm still brainstorming and will hopefully find a name that fits, is descriptive, and has the potential to catch on in some small way.
Labels in Music are a natural phenomenon resulting for Mankinds need to simplify, categorise, and make sense of bigger pictures but they often lead to ignorance and misunderstandings. We can't do away with labels, but we can redefine them and choose new ones that better describe things, leading to less ignorance and more erudition - a quality that should hopefully bring more smiles and joy the the world :D
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Offline coda_colossale

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 06:32:30 PM »
 Hello, fellow philosopher ;D

 I think it is, in terms of the physical existence and creation of the organized group of pitches called music, more about the method of composition, rather than having it written down. Of course, if you mean writing it down as a part of the composition process, yes, I agree.

 The term "Classical" is a term that is generally used by our average John Doe to describe the historical background and the cultural heritage of the music. From that perspective, jazz is quite different, having been "evolved" from folk music. There is Turkish classical music too, which is distinguished clearly in terms of both theorical and cultural background from Turkish folk music. What makes one "classical" and the other "folk" is the society they are made for and people that make them, as well as the fact that one is written with it's own theoretical background.

 From an academic viewpoint, music is categorized by the process of composition or the lineage of the theoretical principle behind it.

 Then there is aesthetical principles and abstractness, but it's irrelevant to discuss it here.

 From a contextual point, we can also examine music by the motivation for its creation, i.e. unleashing supressed libido or sublimation mechanism for short, money... In that case, folk music would be classified in the same category as Rachmaninoff and some Mozart (except the Sturm&Drang part) with Justin Bieber.

I think it's more like a Venn Diagram, rather than straightforward categorization.

So, what do you think about this one? The form is eastern, with a taqsim before the piece, it is contextually religious, about spiritual awakening, but the theoretical background is essentially western, it is for a folk instrument and it has been composed a la "classical".

http://sarkilarnotalar.blogspot.com.tr/2012/10/ondort-bin-yil-gezdim-pervanelikte.html



Offline mjames

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 07:06:59 PM »
Old music can be the Beatles too, or some crap from 1000 years ago, or some African crap from 200 years ago.

Classical music refers to music from and/or music that sounds like it came from the common practice period. Don't stress yourself over it, it's all in google.

Offline coda_colossale

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 10:08:10 PM »
Old music can be the Beatles too, or some crap from 1000 years ago, or some African crap from 200 years ago.

Classical music refers to music from and/or music that sounds like it came from the common practice period. Don't stress yourself over it, it's all in google.

So, are The Beatles crap or not?

Offline mjames

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 10:18:42 PM »
So, are The Beatles crap or not?

Depends on the level of your pretentiousness.

Offline coda_colossale

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 10:58:21 PM »
Depends on the level of your pretentiousness.
Over 9000.

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 11:29:13 PM »
Over 9000.

Were that true, you wouldn't have had to have asked.  :P
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline Bob

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #7 on: September 01, 2014, 12:56:34 AM »
Did the Beatles do anything new?  I was just thinking about pop music lasting today.  If it gets popular enough, I suppose it might, just from being accessible and being something that a lot of people know, not because of an impact on music history.  And then there are other tie ins, like culture connections, but those are outside music.


I didn't read the whole thread, but some classical music (Verdi and Mozart I think) was 'pop' music at some point.

Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline mjames

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #8 on: September 01, 2014, 01:33:55 AM »
Did the Beatles do anything new? 

They most certainly did.

Offline Bob

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 01:39:15 AM »
They most certainly did.

What?  Something with Indian influences maybe I'm thinking...

Or piccolo trumpet I think but that's not too revolutionary.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #10 on: September 01, 2014, 01:39:55 AM »
They most certainly did.

I don't think Bob's question related to chemistry.  ::)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline mjames

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #11 on: September 01, 2014, 02:01:50 AM »
I don't think Bob's question related to chemistry.  ::)

 ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) to you too prick


I and many others believe that the beatles had a revolutionary impact in songwriting in modern day music. 1950s, 60s, and 70s was pretty much the era of game changing in modern music. Sure they might not have affected classical music, but when it came to pop music they were kings of their time. Not to mention how many hundreds of thousands of musicians they inspired, and those in turn became influential musicians too.

Example of non classical revolutionary musicians:
Led zeppelin, fathers of rock
BB king, king of blues
Jimi Hendrix, Jesus of the psychedelic scene
Etc

I dislike it when snobbish classical musicians (not saying you are) only attribute important composers/musicians to classical fags like mozart and chopin. It's like they refuse to learn anything outside their own bubble of smug.

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #12 on: September 01, 2014, 02:56:28 AM »
I and many others believe that the beatles had a revolutionary impact in songwriting .... It's like they refuse to learn anything outside their own bubble of smug.


FYI, my bubble of smug is all encompassing.

IMO, the Beatles seemed more revolutionary than they actually were by a long margin. Their popularity meant that it was through them that a number of innovations first came to more general notice, and so for many people they were the first place they heard these things. All pretty much old hat to their more switched on contemporaries, though - and I don't mean their classically oriented contemporaries.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #13 on: September 01, 2014, 03:28:50 AM »

IMO, the Beatles seemed more revolutionary than they actually were by a long margin. Their popularity meant that it was through them that a number of innovations first came to more general notice, and so for many people they were the first place they heard these things.

Not to argue, but isn't this often true for classical music as well, even some of the famous composers?

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #14 on: September 01, 2014, 03:42:59 AM »
Not to argue, but isn't this often true for classical music as well, even some of the famous composers?

Undoubtedly. Perhaps to a lesser extent, though.

It is something more likely to happen with contemporary music (including contemporary "classical" music) simply because of what we get to hear. Time is inclined to rectify some, but not all, such errors - though this is less true for the more general/casual audience.

To the extent it is less true of classical music today, it is largely because it has almost no audience outside the true aficionados. Even on a forum such as this, consider how much discussion takes place of contemporary trends in "classical" music - and by contemporary here (and I really shouldn't have to point this out) I mean happening now.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #15 on: September 01, 2014, 03:51:36 AM »
Even on a forum such as this, consider how much discussion takes place of contemporary trends in "classical" music - and by contemporary here (and I really shouldn't have to point this out) I mean happening now.

Obviously too little. Maybe we should have a plinky section...

Then again we might end up spending time with something that was never even expected to last as well as with some "rare gems" of the future.

Personally I am also limited by my general disinterest in symphonic and vocal music and also "new age" type of music... One really needs to dig deep to find new interesting piano/chamber music...

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #16 on: September 01, 2014, 03:56:39 AM »
Maybe we should have a plinky section...

Oh come on. Plinkers are so last century.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #17 on: September 01, 2014, 03:58:40 AM »
Oh come on. Plinkers are so last century.

So what's going on now? I'm sure you if anyone could point me to something I find interesting  :)

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #18 on: September 01, 2014, 04:29:33 AM »
So what's going on now? I'm sure you if anyone could point me to something I find interesting  :)

There's a lot, and a lot of different things. Quite a state of flux, it might be said, which makes it interesting, but also makes it hard to point in any particular direction.  Your tastes have, in any case, always seemed a little difficult for me to understand, and quite different in many ways to mine. That makes it hard to give you a shortlist.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #19 on: September 01, 2014, 04:40:29 AM »
There's a lot, and a lot of different things. Quite a state of flux, it might be said, which makes it interesting, but also makes it hard to point in any particular direction.  Your tastes have, in any case, always seemed a little difficult for me to understand, and quite different in many ways to mine. That makes it hard to give you a shortlist.

Really? I actually do have an open mind even if it doesn't always seem that way  ;)

I have enjoyed many of your links before...but you are right, I should look for myself... But time is so scarce, I mostly can only follow what is happening up here...sigh...

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #20 on: September 01, 2014, 04:53:04 AM »
Really? I actually do have an open mind even if it doesn't always seem that way  ;)

I have enjoyed many of your links before...but you are right, I should look for myself... But time is so scarce, I mostly can only follow what is happening up here...sigh...

Hmm..

David del Tredici:



Carl Vine:



Rodion Shchedrin:



Fazil Say:



Ollie Mustonen:



Ross Edwards:



Larry Sitsky:



Stephen Hough:



To get you started.  :D
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #21 on: September 01, 2014, 05:05:20 AM »
Thank you! Some I am already familiar with, but some are new. Now I only need to decide whether to start listening or go to work...

Ollie Mustonen:



Of course this is so last century...and a link I sent you earlier  ;D

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #22 on: September 01, 2014, 05:24:54 AM »
Of course this is so last century...and a link I sent you earlier  ;D

Hmm. Mondayitis or Senility.  :-[

To make up... Dianne Rahbee:

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online outin

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #23 on: September 04, 2014, 06:07:11 PM »
Hmm..

Finally had time to actually listen to all these...

David del Tredici:
Sentimentality and drama...not my cup of tea really...

Carl Vine:
Cute, but slightly lacking in the piano department...Ghost players? ;D

Rodion Shchedrin:
I have liked his stuff before but this one wasn't really to my taste...I wasn't amused...
But I actually didn't even think he was still alive  :-[

Fazil Say:
I prefer piano played traditionally...Don't care for gimmicks...

Ross Edwards:
What? You didn't seriously expect me to listen to this? A children's choir :o Luckily there was a warning...

Larry Sitsky:
This one I liked...will listen to again :)

Stephen Hough:
He never disappoints :)
Except his recordings of the Hummel concertos, which I just don't get  >:(

Dianne Rahbee:
Not too bad...

So am I now updated?   :D

Offline coda_colossale

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #24 on: September 04, 2014, 07:00:12 PM »
Fazil Say:
I prefer piano played traditionally...Don't care for gimmicks...
The middle section is actually quite romantic. Actually I believe, considering his whole output, he is the most traditional among the listed.
He does that to emulate the sound of a Turkish instrument, called bağlama. Kara Toprak is actually a folk song.


Hmm..

Fazil Say:



To get you started.  :D

How difficult do you think is that piece, judging from the video? Seems quite intimidating, but I've seen pianists technically not as good as me playing that. I don't find it musically too challenging though.
How would you say it compares to Chopin Op 27-1 or Rach 32-12?

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #25 on: September 04, 2014, 11:00:10 PM »
So am I now updated?   :D

No, but you've started.
"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: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #26 on: September 04, 2014, 11:04:05 PM »
How difficult do you think is that piece, judging from the video? Seems quite intimidating, but I've seen pianists technically not as good as me playing that. I don't find it musically too challenging though.
How would you say it compares to Chopin Op 27-1 or Rach 32-12?

You're asking me a "how difficult. how does it compare" question?  :o Brave or foolhardy.

Actually I haven't seen the score for this one. Say can be difficult, but his writing is quite pianistic and suits the hands rather well.

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline senanserat

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #27 on: September 15, 2014, 01:34:27 AM »
A very informative post, but I highly recommed spacing and using paragraphs
"The thousand years of raindrops summoned by my song are my tears, the thunder that strikes the earth is my anger!"

Offline j_menz

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #28 on: September 15, 2014, 01:42:36 AM »
A very informative post, but I highly recommed spacing and using paragraphs

I highly recommend a quick spell-check, too.  :P
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline Bob

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Re: My definition of 'Classical Music'
«Reply #29 on: September 15, 2014, 02:22:01 AM »
And a period.

Interesting... spell-check does appear to hyphenated.... 



*Bob thinks that makes perfect sense he'd learn that now and then actually be using that in the future.*  There must be some way I can use that...
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."