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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000079.txt from 2000/07

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: Re: [kl] "Classical" vs. "Pop"
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 10:40:25 -0400

On Mon, 03 Jul 2000 09:48:00 -0400, said:

> Well, I guess I should jump in as a performer, composer, and lover of
> all music "pop" or otherwise.

Well, I can join you on the first and last bits:-)

> 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".

I suppose you'd have to say that there are wonderful songs in all
styles. I don't think you need to invoke 'orchestration, technical
effects, rhythmic complexity and dynamic range' as necessary attributes
of a good song -- a debatable move, surely -- to make your point.

> 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.

All very well taken points.

Perhaps I'm missing an understanding of precisely what debate you're
contributing to. It seems to me that the discussion in general started
with the review of Kennedy's 'Dome' concert I posted.

The point of all of that was not to set 'pop' music against 'classical'
music. It was to say that classical music has its own very considerable
strengths, and that we should not undermine those strengths in the vain
hope of pushing it to people who may actually not be interested in its
qualities. We do better, even with those people, to represent it on its
own terms.

I'm sure that there are a few people who think that it would be a good
idea to make mathematics simpler, so that more of us could interest
ourselves in it.

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

... I'm not lost! I'm locationally challenged.

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