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Old 06-16-2015, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How does historical context matter?

I started taking piano lessons since I was really young. Despite doing so initially out of my own will, I began to lose interest after some years. I found classical music boring, and felt pop music (with lyrics that I could understand!) much more accessible.

Recently, I have been told by my friend that if I had known more music history it would help me appreciate classical music. I'm wondering if that's true?

Also, I do have pieces that I liked and I still play from time to time. How important is knowing music history in my playing? Of course I know general stuff like for Baroque and Classical don't overdo the dynamics etc. But what's the point in trying so hard to guess how music sounded like back then and replicate it based on the relatively vague guess, instead of playing it in a way that you feel is moving?
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lennny View Post
How important is knowing music history in my playing? Of course I know general stuff like for Baroque and Classical don't overdo the dynamics etc. But what's the point in trying so hard to guess how music sounded like back then and replicate it based on the relatively vague guess, instead of playing it in a way that you feel is moving?
You can pull a lot more inspiration from hundreds of years of music than just a half century. I get what you're saying, though. Starting at square one with strictly classical music can be frustrating and turn somebody off of an instrument quite quickly. The initial stages of learning an instrument should be fun and shouldn't feel forced. Learn what you want to play, study the music you like to listen to, focus on falling in love with the instrument and growing comfortable with it rather than dry technical theory, you can always go back in time later to explore older styles and approaches.

Personally, I spent a decade only learning the modern music I listen to on a regular basis, only learning styles that immediately appealed to me, but nowadays I'm finding myself almost exclusively studying older styles of playing, pulling inspiration from the early days of electric guitar and trying to incorporate those mannerisms and styles into modern rock / metal. There's a lot of music out there, indulge in the styles you love, and save the rest for when you really want to focus on carving out a unique sound.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can never have too much knowledge. Why are you so afraid of extra knowledge? Study the past. History always repeats itself. What happened in the past will happen in the future. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Don't denounce the past. To denounce the past is to denounce yourself.
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