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Is "classical music" the rich man's music? (Read 3203 times)

Offline cuberdrift

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Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
« on: December 26, 2018, 01:28:45 PM »
You need to have time to listen to long pieces. You need to have resources to supply the musicians and instruments. You need to be schooled and know different kinds of music by heart to "appreciate" the performer. And everyone else - the audience, that is - must generally be under the same circumstances for the performance to be well-attended.

European "classical" music seems to refer to the large body of music generally controlled/funded by the wealthy aristocracy.

Is this kind of music generally, thus, the "rich man's music"?

I am trying to examine the issue objectively, without bias.

Offline ahinton

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #1 on: December 26, 2018, 06:23:58 PM »
You need to have time to listen to long pieces. You need to have resources to supply the musicians and instruments. You need to be schooled and know different kinds of music by heart to "appreciate" the performer. And everyone else - the audience, that is - must generally be under the same circumstances for the performance to be well-attended.

European "classical" music seems to refer to the large body of music generally controlled/funded by the wealthy aristocracy.

Is this kind of music generally, thus, the "rich man's music"?

I am trying to examine the issue objectively, without bias.
In a word, no, even though some might seek to have people believe that; consider the prices asked for certain tickets to pop and rock concerts which also cost money to mount.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #2 on: December 27, 2018, 12:44:45 AM »
In a word, no, even though some might seek to have people believe that; consider the prices asked for certain tickets to pop and rock concerts which also cost money to mount.

Best,

Alistair

Enlightening.

However, while it is undoubtedly expensive to watch these live pop or rock concerts, in my view this kind of music is at least well-known among the masses. Is it not true that historically, "classical" music was only listened to or familiar to the elite of society?

Musicologists like to classify Western music as either "Art" music, "Folk" music, or "Popular" music. I thus like to imagine that anything "Art" music is music that requires intensive training, specialization, etc. which has been historically under the control of the elite, while the other two are more "vernacular", designed to appeal to the "common folk".

Offline ted

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #3 on: December 27, 2018, 01:56:20 AM »
Enlightening.

However, while it is undoubtedly expensive to watch these live pop or rock concerts, in my view this kind of music is at least well-known among the masses. Is it not true that historically, "classical" music was only listened to or familiar to the elite of society?

Well I am certainly a common person, some would say vulgar, and these days all I need is a cheap computer and a halfway decent audio system to listen to the whole body of classical music from its beginning to the present day. I am more inclined to say the opposite is true, and that we are presented with a cornucopia of listening and playing options undreamed of until the last couple of decades. Music in general, including classical, has surely never been cheaper to access. Earning a living and art are never wholly compatible aside for a very few people, and luck has a lot to do with who they are. Historically, the assertion is probably true but nowadays the options for earning a living and practising one's art are immeasurably broader.


Musicologists like to classify Western music as either "Art" music, "Folk" music, or "Popular" music. I thus like to imagine that anything "Art" music is music that requires intensive training, specialization, etc. which has been historically under the control of the elite, while the other two are more "vernacular", designed to appeal to the "common folk".

I do not consider that an elite controls how much music I can hear or play, or what sort it is, far from it; possibly others feel that way, I don't know. Neither do I feel a need to be trained beyond a certain point, and certainly not in the creative aspect.

Therefore, overall, I agree with Alistair, the opportunities are there in abundance as never before, regardless of time and money; it's a question of how determined you are and what you want to make of them.
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Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #4 on: December 27, 2018, 03:04:19 AM »
IMO It certainly has its roots as such. Until very recently (historically speaking), composers were mostly (though not all) members of nobility class; even the more "self made" composers (perhaps Haydn choosing to be a musician over a lawyer) still composed for nobility and were members of the noble class. Leisure time certainly was more of a bourgeoisie lifestyle then, as well. Whether or not any music is specifically for people who are rich/poor today is debatable, due to the accessibility of all music via streaming services, but the historical origins of Western classical music certainly lie in nobility.

I find it interesting to compare this with the origins of other genres; consider the socioeconomic differences of going to classical concerts in the 18-early 20th century vs going to see a legend like Miles Davis at the Plugged Nickel jazz club in Chicago.
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Offline william_ni_guang_xin

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #5 on: December 27, 2018, 12:00:28 PM »
Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and a lot of composers aren't very rich, but back in their time their music were performed to and listened by the upper class, they have the means, while the majority of the population consumed folk music. Because back then they don't have recordings, and it's implausible for the people back then, to train enough professional musician, for the  purpose of accesibility of music for all people. it's still not possible today, thank heavens we gave recordings now, hahaha!

Nowadays, Pop Stars are much richer than their average audience member, I listen to Drake, and he probably have a million times more money than I have, Pop Stars today are also richer than Classical Musicians, I read somewhere that Katy Perry has a networth of around 200 million us dollars, while Lang Lang have around 10 million.

In China, Classical Music is cheaper to listen than Pop music, on our major music streaming sites, all Classical Music Recordings available are free, but all recent released albums of major pop stars, requires money, an average Pop concert ticket is also at least twice the price of an average classical performance ticket.

I think the reason that more people listen pop music than classical, is because pop music is more advertised, plus the fact that most classical music are more complex than pop.

Why even nowadays do we have the impression, that most classical music fans are rich people? perhaps because it's simply true, since rich people probably think that classical music is something aristocratic, thus they would expose their children to it more. At least this is true in China, families in my neighborhood have their kids listen to mozart all the time, and I don't think it's a coincidence that these familes also own million rmb cars.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #6 on: December 27, 2018, 12:51:28 PM »
I imagine there might be a link between being well educated and liking classical music, and if you come from a rich family you are definitely more likely to be well educated. I'm sure the way classical music is perceived among different socioeconomic groups also plays a part in who listens to it, and also the culture where you live or grew up.

It would be interesting to see some actual statistics regarding who listens to classical music.

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #7 on: December 27, 2018, 01:45:13 PM »
It would be interesting to see some actual statistics regarding who listens to classical music.

Here.  :)
Music Album Sales in the US - 2017



You have to take note that it's kind of really unfair here, given that most (if not all) of the genres listed in the chart refer to musical styles developed more-or-less within a century, mostly in the US, while "Classical" is actually the entire body of music in Europe and America for hundreds of years, and it's only...1.1% of the sales. Lol.

For me, the difference between classical music and popular music is that classical music is the kind of music that scholars like and believe is good for whatever reason, and is also old. Because of this, scholars take all efforts to preserve it, to make sure it stays the way it is. Popular music is whatever is popular, period. Of course the popularity won't last forever. And once popular music loses its mass appeal, but is still liked by critics, it will become classical.

It's just kind of frustrating. I'm middle class and most middle class people just don't understand the music I like. They don't feel the emotions, they don't look into them. They just can't understand those emotions, and we who work so hard to try to "produce" these emotions fall short of appreciation or enjoyment of these middle class people. They claim they are busy at work so they have "no time" to listen to "deep music".

Well let's look into this.

Classical music will not be as popular as "Popular Music" because it is music of another time. Classical music was popular during its own time. Nowadays, the body of music scholars define as "classical music" survives through institutions dedicated to preserving it, and it is distributed through concert halls, as well as Classical Music recording companies like Sony Classical.

Popular music will be more popular among people because it is the music of the times. And today, we live in a recording technology culture. Music will be different because of this tool. Anyone can now listen to any kind of music, not like before where only the privileged could access "good music".

Anyway, my conclusion is that A PART of "classical music" was for the rich. Court music constitutes a big part of what scholars have defined as "classical music". And we all know that classical music is classical music for the very reason that it includes the "classics". Today, it is okay not to be rich and you can still afford to buy CD's of classical musicians or perhaps watch classical concerts, but you have to be well-informed enough to have a liking for something of the past. So today classical music is not necessarily for the rich; but certainly it is for the "educated", or those who have a niche fondness for old classics. Klavieronin apparently is right.

You know what? Jazz is the same. At first it's for slaves, for commoners. Then Duke Ellington came and the Caucasians started liking it. Then bebop came, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, etc. Now it's all intellectual and stuff. Art Tatum is now revered as at par with (or higher!) than any classical virtuoso even if Art Tatum himself was on record stating that he never considered himself a concert pianist. It's all about the scholars and intelligentsia saying what's good music and what's not good music. And if something is old and good, chances are it will qualify as "good music", and the educated and/or rich will be its target audience.

Popular music is different. It is called popular music precisely because it's about being popular, about being a "hit". It is the same with the operas of before. Operas of before were popular music during those times. Nowadays they are no longer popular, but they are classics.

Point is, there will always be a bigger audience for whatever is the music of the times. But that doesn't mean there won't be a following for old, qualified music. In fact, the followers of the old classics are fewer, but they are kind of more loyal, as I see it.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #8 on: December 29, 2018, 12:27:50 PM »
You need to have time to listen to long pieces. You need to have resources to supply the musicians and instruments. You need to be schooled and know different kinds of music by heart to "appreciate" the performer. And everyone else - the audience, that is - must generally be under the same circumstances for the performance to be well-attended.

European "classical" music seems to refer to the large body of music generally controlled/funded by the wealthy aristocracy.

Is this kind of music generally, thus, the "rich man's music"?

I am trying to examine the issue objectively, without bias.


So much music  is born from humble beginnings ,  including hand-held instruments. The main difference is that the piano requires a room and a stage which requires more money.
but a bunch of hillbillies jamming with guitars and accordions on the porch -not so much

Offline visitor

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #9 on: December 29, 2018, 01:23:40 PM »
In a word, no, even though some might seek to have people believe that; consider the prices asked for certain tickets to pop and rock concerts which also cost money to mount.

Best,

Alistair
i know poor, rich, and in the middle type people that like and dislike classical. so there. :-)

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #10 on: December 30, 2018, 02:21:47 AM »
It's also a question of what is culturally relevant to listeners. Like it or not, the majority of people don't have a strong cultural connection to Bach, Beethoven, etc, while they do with someone like Cardi B. (Funny enough, I like her music a fair amount)
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Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 06:34:58 AM »
It's also a question of what is culturally relevant to listeners. Like it or not, the majority of people don't have a strong cultural connection to Bach, Beethoven, etc, while they do with someone like Cardi B. (Funny enough, I like her music a fair amount)

I dont see it as a relevant question since Bach , Beethoven are hundreds of years old and Cardi B is happening today.
But I enjoy studying historical stuff and beautiful stuff so the Classical station is always available as well as my favorite electronic/rock music stations.  As far as culture, nobody alive today experienced the culture of Beethoven/Bach the way that they did. Experts need not apply.

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 06:49:56 AM »




I think the reason that more people listen pop music than classical, is because pop music is more advertised, plus the fact that most classical music are more complex than pop.


POP is alive today. Classical is OLD . Has nothing to do with being more complex. Some of the best classical melodies are very simple anyhow.  There is quite a bit of pop that I consider to be old too. It is all releative to what you want to explore I think

Offline j_tour

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 02:50:46 PM »
It's also a question of what is culturally relevant to listeners. Like it or not, the majority of people don't have a strong cultural connection to Bach, Beethoven, etc, while they do with someone like Cardi B. (Funny enough, I like her music a fair amount)

That sounds about right to me:  it's down to the notion of "cultural capital," a term invented, AFAIK, by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.

Likely applies to other cultural phenomena, like certain forms of literature, or foreign languages mastered not out of geographical necessity, but because "it's understood" that one knows such and such. 

Even if, as it seems to happen, the "understanding" is not at a very profound level, but enough to fit in at a cocktail party or whatever rich people do.

So, while you certainly have people buying niche clothing devoted to their favorite pop groups (or whatever else), there's not a similar outwardly-signifying trend among classical music fans.

We do have huge 20-CD box sets of the music of Richter or whoever, which are expensive, and probably unlikely to show up on pirate sites or the "dark web" or however more popular music fans acquire music on the cheap, but that's really the only comparable expense between the two realms I can see.

I don't know that it has to do with raw money, but a set of expectations among a certain group of people as to what higher-status music one listens to, food one eats, and a whole set of cultural expectations.
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Offline outin

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Re: Is "classical music" the rich man's music?
«Reply #14 on: May 16, 2019, 01:33:46 PM »
POP is alive today. Classical is OLD . Has nothing to do with being more complex. Some of the best classical melodies are very simple anyhow.  There is quite a bit of pop that I consider to be old too. It is all releative to what you want to explore I think

Are we talking purely of classical era music? We usually use classical to refer to "western art music" which is not necessarily old at all. New music is composed every year and some of my favorite classical music was composed on the 20th century, so not much older than something like Beatles. It's also pretty complex.