Klarinet Archive - Posting 000077.txt from 2000/07
From: Feanor <feanor@-----.com>
Subj: [kl] "Classical" vs. "Pop"
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 09:48:00 -0400
Well, I guess I should jump in as a performer, composer, and lover of all
music "pop" or otherwise.
One problem that comes when comparing the two is that people often compare
rock SONGS to longer classical works. The longer works can be more
expressive/deeper (choose your adjective), because they have the time to
develop such. If you compare the best contemporary "pop" or rock songs to
the best classical songs, though, they DO stand up. The nineties
particularly were a creative period in Rock music, and it would be unfair
to compare them to Schubert songs, because Schubert would LOSE most of the
time. He can't compete with the orchestration, technical effects, rhythmic
complexity or dynamic range of the contemporary rock song. He only has one
voice and a piano most of the time. Don't get me wrong - I love Shepherd on
the Rock, but some of the INDIVIDUAL songs from "Die Shoene Mullerin" just
don't stand up to something as interesting as Third Eye Blind's
"Semi-charmed kind of life".
Additionally, contemporary music, "pop" or otherwise, is RELAVENT to
contemporary life. I just don't feel that a Mozart aria about writing a
letter is relavent to my life in the year 2000. But I do feel kinship with
even something as slightly innane (but clever and quite funny) as Blink
182's "What's my age again".
A third problem is: What is "Classical" music? and what is "pop"? 150
years ago, there was no distinction. Then a gap opened and was widened, and
the "classical" composers were so proud of this gap that they helped make
it worse. Some still try to today, though we are closer to merging again
than ever. Composers of the 1950's and 60's deliberately wrote music to
annoy audiences (this is a BROAD generality I know), is it no wonder they
audiences were driven away. These day's there are great composers who write
music that is interesting, complex, and enjoyable by wide audiences. But
again, who's classical and who's pop? Sondheim? Glass? Aaron Jay Kernis?
Terry Riley? Pete Townsend? Frank Zappa? And since the word "Classical"
really refers to "old", I'm not sure it's even applicable to myself, though
I'm currently writing a string quartet.
Sorry it was so long.
Food for thought.
(now former) clarinetist, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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