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-   -   Is classical music still relevant today? (https://www.musicbanter.com/classical/71368-classical-music-still-relevant-today.html)

Burning Down 08-18-2013 08:07 PM

Is classical music still relevant today?
 
In comparison with today's music (pop, rock, metal, electronica, etc). Does classical music still have a place amongst today's audience, or has it been relegated to more specific listeners (i.e. music students, people learning instruments, elderly people)?

WHY or WHY NOT?

I know there are not a whole lot of people on MB who are active listeners of classical music, at least not to the extent that I am. But I know you all have opinions on everything else music related, so I'd like to hear your answer to my question.

EDIT: I have included a poll to get a more specific consensus, but I really encourage you to discuss why you voted YES or NO in this thread and why.

Janszoon 08-18-2013 08:15 PM

I think it still has a place. I mean what else are cities going to do with all those outdoor amphitheaters?

But seriously, the simple fact that there are classical radio stations is evidence that it appeals to pretty large numbers of people. Obviously it's relevant to those listening and still informs how we as a culture think about music to a certain extent.

CoolBec 08-18-2013 08:23 PM

Anything that far removed from contemporary culture always has been (and always will be) somewhat "relegated to more specific listeners". But I wouldn't agree that makes it irrelevant.

Black Francis 08-18-2013 09:11 PM

Even though it's not my thing i do think classical musical is still relevant and i think it will always be relevant

i find it a little boring but i like it as background music for like a game or a movie score in fact i prefer it over some douchy rock testosterone soundtrack i think classical expresses a more genuine feeling way more subtle but clearer but again alone it bores me to death

DriveYourCarDownToTheSea 08-19-2013 12:31 AM

In a sense, classical music (and jazz and some eastern genres) will always be *the* most relevant form(s) of music, because so much ultimately derives from them.

There will always be a sizable segment of the population who enjoys classical music, even if their numbers aren't what they used to be.

People who think classical music is boring, probably haven't listened to enough classical music.

Paul Smeenus 08-19-2013 12:44 AM

I wouldn't wanna even live in a world where Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms weren't relevant.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 07:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Smeenus (Post 1358887)
I wouldn't wanna even live in a world where Bach, Beethoven, & Brahms weren't relevant.

Tell Casper, Patrick Swayze and Slimer I said what's up.

Classical music is only relevant to enthusiasts and those that want to teach the history of music to others. It's like going into the history archives to dig up a lost art form.

duga 08-19-2013 08:25 AM

When you think about it, even when classical was just "today's music" it was really only heard by the rich and influential. There were no recordings, obviously, so you either had to hire your own musicians or head to the nearest venue (which I'm assuming the common man didn't frequent back then). In fact, popular tunes amongst the everyday person were short and catchy songs passed on within their communities... Dare I say that was their version of pop music? Honestly, I don't think much has changed and classical will be around for a good long while.

Paul Smeenus 08-19-2013 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1358914)
Classical music is only relevant to enthusiasts and those that want to teach the history of music to others. It's like going into the history archives to dig up a lost art form.


I've never disagreed with anything you've said as vehemently as this, although I will say that ANY music is only relevant to enthusiasts, to that listener.

Trollheart 08-19-2013 02:19 PM

Of course classical music is, and always will be, relevant. How many ads today can you watch where some classical piece is used? How many bands (including metal bands) use or rewrite classical tunes? Diamond Head use Holst's "Mars" in the opening to "Am I evil?" and with such a powerful opening it always went down well, so that headbangers began to associate "The bringer of war" with DH and metal. Then you have William Orbit's reimagining of Barber's "Adagio for strings", to say nothing of Eric Carmen's "All by myself" being basically a rewrite of Rachmaninoff's "Piano concerto no. 2" (or is it 1?)

Remember that almost all of the music we listen to today, no matter its genre, had its basis in classical music, and who among us doesn't know at least a handful of classical tunes, even if they don't know what they're called or who they're by? Classical music will always be around, always with us and always relevant. That's why shows like "The Proms" are still so popular.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trollheart (Post 1359011)

Remember that almost all of the music we listen to today, no matter its genre, had its basis in classical music, and who among us doesn't know at least a handful of classical tunes, even if they don't know what they're called or who they're by? Classical music will always be around, always with us and always relevant. That's why shows like "The Proms" are still so popular.

Just because it is the foundation of all music we listen to today doesn't make it relevant. That's just like saying Latin is relevant today which is it not. It's a dead language that people like to still learn but it has no practical use today.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Smeenus (Post 1359010)
I've never disagreed with anything you've said as vehemently as this, although I will say that ANY music is only relevant to enthusiasts, to that listener.

It doesn't have to be pinned down to whether the person listens to it or not though. Classical music doesn't have a big presence where people that don't listen to that type of music still hear it. Only once in a blue moon compared to other genres.

Paul Smeenus 08-19-2013 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359057)
It doesn't have to be pinned down to whether the person listens to it or not though. Classical music doesn't have a big presence where people that don't listen to that type of music still hear it. Only once in a blue moon compared to other genres.


I disagree. Still love ya, bro, but I flat out disagree.


For example, here in Seattle

Benaroya Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

McCaw Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Millions were spent building those structures in the past 15 years, and they are some of the biggest box-office music venues in the city. And people become newly exposed to this music all the time. It is relevant.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 05:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul Smeenus (Post 1359064)
I disagree. Still love ya, bro, but I flat out disagree.


For example, here in Seattle

Benaroya Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

McCaw Hall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Millions were spent building those structures in the past 15 years, and they are some of the biggest box-office music venues in the city. And people become newly exposed to this music all the time. It is relevant.

That's not an example of relevance though. Sure people come out for it but as a whole nationwide people wouldn't tolerate having to sit through a performance on say a national network.

Don't get me wrong. I do like classical music but I can see the irrelevance

Yeah we should probably agree to disagree we may just keep going back and forth on this one.

Engine 08-19-2013 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359070)
That's not an example of relevance though. Sure people come out for it but as a whole nationwide people wouldn't tolerate having to sit through a performance on say a national network.

Don't get me wrong. I do like classical music but I can see the irrelevance

Yeah we should probably agree to disagree we may just keep going back and forth on this one.

Bolded part is wrong. Check out the revenues of symphony orchestras nationwide (let alone worldwide).

If you mean that the majority of people don't actively listen to classical music then you're right, but you could say the same thing for any artist of any genre.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 05:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 1359072)
B
If you mean that the majority of people don't actively listen to classical music then you're right, but you could say the same thing for any artist of any genre.

Not true. Top 40 radio makes sure that people are actively listening to certain genres and it's nationwide.

Engine 08-19-2013 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359074)
Not true. Top 40 radio makes sure that people are actively listening to certain genres and it's nationwide.

Are Top 40 listeners actually in the majority?

edit: This article says no and explains why:

http://www.playlistresearch.com/questions/0020.htm

djchameleon 08-19-2013 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 1359075)
Are Top 40 listeners actually in the majority?

edit: This article says no and explains why:

Playlist Research - How many people listen to top 40?

I can pull up billboard sales if you want to get technical and show that there aren't any classical releases in the top 10.

So top 40 listeners being in the majority doesn't matter their genres is what I was getting at are being played IN THE MAJORITY.

Engine 08-19-2013 05:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359077)
I can pull up billboard sales if you want to get technical and show that there aren't any classical releases in the top 10.

So top 40 listeners being in the majority doesn't matter their genres is what I was getting at are being played IN THE MAJORITY.

Okay, but I think saying that what is played on top 40 radio stations = what is most relevant is a huge stretch. This logic implies (in regards to the point of the thread) that all music, such as classical, that is not played on Top 40 radio stations is irrelevant. That's faulty logic.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 1359081)
Okay, but I think saying that what is played on top 40 radio stations = what is most relevant is a huge stretch. This logic implies (in regards to the point of the thread) that all music, such as classical, that is not played on Top 40 radio stations is irrelevant. That's faulty logic.

Not that it is most relevant but it's what is being played by the majority of the people that listen to music.

Lord Larehip 08-19-2013 05:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359057)
Just because it is the foundation of all music we listen to today doesn't make it relevant. That's just like saying Latin is relevant today which is it not. It's a dead language that people like to still learn but it has no practical use today.

That certainly depends on how you choose to look at it, doesn't it? What constitutes a practical use? Philology is quite a useful pastime. You take a word like "electricity" which is derived from the Greek "elecktor" which means "gleaming" or "the beaming sun." That gave birth to the word "electron" which means "amber" because amber, as we know, becomes attractive if we rub it. It's strange because we have appropriated the Greek word for the particles that orbit the nucleus and those are the particles responsible for why amber becomes attractive when we rub it because it strips off electrons giving it a positive charge making it want to grab electrons. So when we put certain objects next to this charged amber, they stick to it electrically because the amber is grabbing their electrons in an effort to neutralize its own charge.

We can deduce a few things from this:

§ We relate electricity with amber. Seems obvious now but it might not have been obvious to you a few seconds ago if you only just learned that the two words mean the same thing.

§ English scholars bygone centuries knew Greek. This is important because we then have to ask what the connection is and how it developed.

§ The Greeks did not have electricity. The reason we know the Greeks did not have electricity was because if they did, we would have used their word for it rather than using their word for "amber."

Another thing that's strange is that Amber is a girl's name just as we have the Amber Alert in the States. It was named after a missing girl whose name was Amber Hagerman. In Greek, Elektra is a female name. You may remember her as the sister of Orestes. Her name was also Amber. Why the word is related to femininity I am not sure of. Perhaps because of the attractive force of amber is like the attractive power women have over men. Others say because amber was used as jewelry and so acquired a female quality. But then again, ladies wear jewelry to be more attractive to men. We even call that kind of attraction "electric" or "magnetic."

That brings up another point: Our knowledge of electricity either invented new words in our vocabulary or modified old ones to be used in new ways. As examples, such words as battery, broadcast, conductor, current, force, magnet, potential, tension, terminal, wire, etc. have all acquired new meanings or never existed before the harnessing of electricity. For example, if someone claims to have found a hitherto unknown letter written by Shakespeare and it mentions high tension existing between himself and another playwright, we would know the letter is a forgery written centuries after Shakespeare's life. In fact, we could pinpoint the date of the letter to be no earlier than the late 19th century. How? Because the term "high tension" came from our experiments with electricity and was originally used to describe the state of the space between two electrically charged bodies, i.e. the field. Only later was it used metaphorically to describe a type of human relation or interaction.

So there are no dead languages. When you break them open, the evolution of our consciousness comes spilling out. Is that a practical use? I think so.

"Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue." ---Charles Darwin

Not knowing or listening to classical music is like not knowing what your ancestry is, where you came from, what is your ethnicity--in short, who you actually are.

Quote:

It doesn't have to be pinned down to whether the person listens to it or not though. Classical music doesn't have a big presence where people that don't listen to that type of music still hear it. Only once in a blue moon compared to other genres.
The problem is the young. That's where the music market is. If the young don't listen to classical then it will have a hard time surviving. I see classical CDs marketed all kinds of ways. I found one in the kitchen at work called "Mozart for Your Morning Coffee." They had to find a way to put Mozart's music out there in a way that makes it seem relevant to a younger person's life--listening to Mozart just long enough to sit down and have your morning coffee. Even so, someone left it in the kitchen as a freebie and guess who snapped it up? Classical is fading just as cursive writing is fading. The young see no practical use for it.

Trollheart 08-19-2013 05:50 PM

I actually think classical music is MORE relevant with each passing decade. As each generation gets older it seems inevitably we all want to relax and listen to classical music --- how many times have you heard your parents listen to it? And we all get old, no matter how we try, so it's sort of inevitable that we will all, at some point, maybe not now or even soon, but at some point end up listening to Bach, Mozart et al, even if it's only on Snooze FM when we're 80! Can we say the same about any other genre? Think you'll still be listening to rap, death metal, nu-jazz or even prog at that age? Well I might be listening to the latter, but you know, those long keyboard solos might just send me to sleep at that age! :laughing:

Engine 08-19-2013 05:52 PM

Well, I vote YES it is relevant because a lot of people actively listen to it, both live in concert and in their homes. And many popular, and popular underground musicians (i.e. electronic and metal, and I presume you can find bits of it in Top 40 pop) employ it in the music that they make today.

Janszoon 08-19-2013 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359082)
Not that it is most relevant but it's what is being played by the majority of the people that listen to music.

It's what is currently selling the best, that's not the same thing as "being played by the majority of the people that listen to music". You're also completely ignoring live music as a way of consuming music, which is a huge part of classical.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trollheart (Post 1359087)
Can we say the same about any other genre? Think you'll still be listening to rap, death metal, nu-jazz or even prog at that age? Well I might be listening to the latter, but you know, those long keyboard solos might just send me to sleep at that age! :laughing:

Actually yes those genres you listed will be listened to by this new generation when they get up in their older age because it has more nostalgia value.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janszoon (Post 1359089)
It's what is currently selling the best, that's not the same thing as "being played by the majority of the people that listen to music". You're also completely ignoring live music as a way of consuming music, which is a huge part of classical.

If you put the stats up for how many people consume classical music live vs. any other genres you will still see a large discrepancy.

Trollheart 08-19-2013 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359090)
Actually yes those genres you listed will be listened to by this new generation when they get up in their older age because it has more nostalgia value.

Well I think when you get older, like really old, nostalgia doesn't come into it so much as relaxation and quiet. And when you put prog, metal, hip hop or any other genre up against classical, I really think that's the one most people will turn to in their old age. Don't get me wrong: not everyone will. There's always gonna be the "hip" grandad or "happenin'" grandmaw who'll listen to those genres, but in general, older people fall back on classical because it's mostly so much easier to listen to. There are no lyrics you have to remember and it's mostly quiet, though not all of course. And it will just appeal more.

Of course, I love it now, and have since my twenties or earlier, but when they shut me away in the nursing home and bolt the door I'm pretty sure it'll be classical I'll be listening to.
Quote:


If you put the stats up for how many people consume classical music live vs. any other genres you will still see a large discrepancy.
Yeah I wonder though. An awful lot of people still go to classical recitals, concerts, specials, proms...

CoolBec 08-19-2013 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Trollheart (Post 1359110)
Yeah I wonder though. An awful lot of people still go to classical recitals, concerts, specials, proms...

It's the best bargain you'll find in live musical entertainment. We get season tickets for the Phil for just a little more than decent seats at one major name pop concert would cost!

Black Francis 08-19-2013 07:00 PM

lol i love the argument when ppl say "you need to listen more to classical more before you dismiss it"

like saying "you just don't get it.. YET"

What if i never get it? Does that mean idk sh*t about music?

For me ive always felt ppl tie classical music to like a cultural person, like its for smart ppl with a refined taste.. but if i don't like it how is it relevant to me? (Chances are it won't be)

I consider it relevant even though i don't like it because alot of ppl do like it and find it relevant and still draw influence from it.. also cause as a musician i need to give credit where credit is due even if its not my music of choice

Sure most pieces puts me sleep but some pieces pull my heart strings and move me (get it? heart strings?) and it moves me so precisely because IT IS classical music so just for that i think it will always be relevant cause no other music can replace it

i haven't voted yet but im voting 'Yes' for sure ^^

Janszoon 08-19-2013 07:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359090)
If you put the stats up for how many people consume classical music live vs. any other genres you will still see a large discrepancy.

Any other genres? Really?

CoolBec 08-19-2013 07:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black Francis (Post 1359117)
For me ive always felt ppl tie classical music to like a cultural person, like its for smart ppl with a refined taste...

Nah..that's such a misconception. You're talking about the snobs that sit down in the expensive seats. They're there to show off their wife's new fur coat and for the most part don't really know $hit about the music. Come sit up in the cheap seats..it's surprisingly blue collar. That and you meet a lot of the struggling local musicians and college music majors..my peeps.

Black Francis 08-19-2013 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoolBec (Post 1359123)
Nah..that's such a misconception. You're talking about the snobs that sit down in the expensive seats. They're there to show off their wife's new fur coat and for the most part don't really know $hit about the music. Come sit up in the cheap seats..it's surprisingly blue collar. That and you meet a lot of the struggling local musicians and college music majors..my peeps.

I have a couple of friends that study classical music and they have busted their ass practicing and working to pay their tuition fees.

young ppl too in fact younger than me so i don't think its an age or phase thing i think it ultimately comes down to taste

so i hear ya man, i have alot of respect for struggling musicians and i wish nothing but success for them (Even if their music does put me to sleep) lol

Lord Larehip 08-19-2013 08:11 PM

It's not that young people don't listen to classical. It's the NUMBERS of young people that don't. Maybe five percent actually listen or play (if they are taking lessons then they WILL learn some). Some will listen to it as they get older as someone pointed out. Most never will. It starts in the home when you are very young. If your parents owned classical music recordings and played them for you, chances are that you will listen to it as you age, if they don't then you probably won't. I grew up listening to Tchaikovsky and Chopin and remember my mother teaching me to sing "I am always chasing rainbows" while she played the piano. The melody is a Chopin piece. My dad read me the story of the Nutcracker and then gave me an album to listen to. My aunt gave me "Peter & the Wolf" when I was like 9. I played the grooves off the thing. In the West, we seem to be falling behind. You go to Asia--Japan in particular--and young kids (and I mean YOUNG) can play classical, jazz, ragtime, etc. They know our music better than we do and Westerners don't seem to care so I don't know what can be done about it.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janszoon (Post 1359120)
Any other genres? Really?

Yes any other genre as long as it is contemporary music. Strange why you guys are fighting this so hard and think that there are even close.


Below is the total revenue for live performances from a 2011 study

Ballet and Dance $59,164,135
Children's/Family $58,777,398
Classical Music $60,096,039
Festivals (Multi-Category) $9,890,881
Festivals (Single-Category) $96,453,486
Musical Theatre $246,792,376
Contemporary Music $539,274,481
Opera $47,305,786
Special Events $15,799,946
Theatre $65,880,712
Circus and Physical Theatre $55,865,945
Comedy $51,999,602


Source

Janszoon 08-19-2013 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djchameleon (Post 1359133)
Yes any other genre as long as it is contemporary music. Strange why you guys are fighting this so hard and think that there are even close.


Below is the total revenue for live performances from a 2011 study

Ballet and Dance $59,164,135
Children's/Family $58,777,398
Classical Music $60,096,039
Festivals (Multi-Category) $9,890,881
Festivals (Single-Category) $96,453,486
Musical Theatre $246,792,376
Contemporary Music $539,274,481
Opera $47,305,786
Special Events $15,799,946
Theatre $65,880,712
Circus and Physical Theatre $55,865,945
Comedy $51,999,602


Source

I assume that number is the total for all contemporary music. That's not even remotely the same thing as saying any other genre is more popular than classical.

Also, why is Australia your case study here? Seems like an odd choice.

Burning Down 08-19-2013 08:41 PM

That study is only from Australia so its just a sample and not indicative of the whole world.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 08:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janszoon (Post 1359137)
I assume that number is the total for all contemporary music. That's not even remotely the same thing as saying any other genre is more popular than classical.

Also, why is Australia your case study here? Seems like an odd choice.

I only used Australia because I'm lazy and it's the first study that popped up when I did some googling.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Burning Down (Post 1359139)
That study is only from Australia so its just a sample and not indicative of the whole world.

Are you saying Australia doesn't count? hahaha

I'm pretty sure the results are similar worldwide.

I would have to do more extensive research to pull the numbers though

Burning Down 08-19-2013 08:48 PM

I never said Australia doesn't count lol. I just meant if you're going to provide a statistic it would be better if it represented a broader range of countries. Consumption of different genres varies by country based on culture.

Engine 08-19-2013 08:56 PM

Here's a list of Symphony Orchestras in the U.S. I couldn't find financials for them though.

But here's a recent article about the decline in average salaries for working classical musicians in the US. Sad news but still... 80K - 150K annually at the top and 10K - 49K for the average musician.

Considering that most working musicians don't earn even 10K annually, I consider this good evidence for the relevance of classical music.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 08:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 1359149)
Here's a list of Symphony Orchestras in the U.S. I couldn't find financials for them though.

But here's a recent article about the decline in average salaries for working classical musicians in the US. Sad news but still... 80K - 150K annually at the top and 10K - 49K for the average musician.

Considering that most working musicians don't earn even 10K annually, I consider this good evidence for the relevance of classical music.

How much they get paid doesn't made good evidence for their relevance. It just goes to show that that they have to be more trained than the average musician and rich people attend their performances.

Similar to what duga said earlier.

Engine 08-19-2013 09:02 PM

So... relevance is not how much a musician is paid. And relevance is not how much a genre is heard or appreciated. Fine.

Please tell me what 'relevant' means then.

djchameleon 08-19-2013 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engine (Post 1359154)
So... relevance is not how much a musician is paid. And relevance is not how much a genre is heard or appreciated. Fine.

Please tell me what 'relevant' means then.

Why isn't relevance how much a genre is heard?


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