Sunday, January 24, 2010

Future of classical music

I added another blog, Sandow, a prof at Julliard interested in the future of classical music. He has a book, which no doubt I ought to read, and lots of old blog posts, with many interesting discussions, and also a class. This being the internet age, he has the syllabus, readings, and listening material all online and generally available, so folks like me can follow along at home. The course title is Classical Music in an Age of Pop, which I think harmonizes pretty well with my thinking at the moment. Yeah, the community orchestras I'm playing in do spent their time on the traditional literature, familiar to musicians and their loyal audiences. Pro orchestras it's the same deal: I think this is not lack of imagination, so much as just plain respect for the audience -- people like to listen to music that they know. Popular music works, in part, because it's popular: a self-fulfilling status which allows large numbers of people to be familiar with it, know the tunes, maybe have it help define a phase in their life. So people interested in the future of classical music are thinking about how it fits in.

Now me, I always enjoyed playing more than listening. So when I discovered that I really liked contemporary pop, and electronic dance music (YouTube has really helped me experience lots of music I didn't know I might enjoy), the thought occurred to me that it'd be fun to play music that too. But it's not easy. Pop is very clean, very precise, technically. You can get away with a lot of garbage, playing in the middle of an orchestra, that would be totally unacceptable in dance music. And rhythmically, pop can be extremely sophisticated and precise. So I have a lot of work to do, if I want to eg play Basshunter or Lady Gaga tunes, and have them work, musically. Still, it's something to work towards.

1 comment:

  1. The children in after school care today were all singing Lady Gaga happily together as they were waiting for the teacher to check their homework books. Warms the heart :)