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Old 10-11-2022, 11:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Get the Culture Bug! Classical Music for Beginners

One of the criticisms that is levelled at classical music is that it's boring and it all sounds the same. This can be true, to some extent There are classical pieces, suites, symphonies and composers who bore me to tears; I mean, I like a good violin concerto as much as the next man, but some of them just put my teeth on edge. Another common complaint is "I wouldn't know where to start!" Well, this at least is easily dealt with. If you're over the age of maybe eight years you have already started. Whether you realise it or not, you've heard classical music. Maybe it was on TV, in an ad, through a movie or even recorded by one of your favourite artists. I'd be willing to be there are as yet undiscovered tribes living in the most remote parts of the most remote country you can think of, who will recognise certain pieces.

So this is a sort of a primer, an introduction if you will, for those who believe they have never heard any classical music. In this thread I'll be introducing you to the better-known pieces (and later, some of my favourites which may not be that well known) and showing you how you have already absorbed some classical by a process of osmosis. You may not have known it was classical, but it is, and here I'll show you what that tune is you've been hearing in Metal Gear Solid XII, or Final Fantasy XXXII, or whatever game you damn kids play these days. I'll be pointing out what the music in that ad is, or how Star Trek or 24 or whatever used classical music that you didn't even realise was classical music.

Those who are already fairly familiar with the classics will probably scoff and say everyone knows what that is, but it's just possible not everyone does. So, for those who don't, time to enter with an open mind and prepare, perhaps, to hear, to your surprise, music you may already know. Time, in other words, to

Let's face it: without classical music there would be no rock, no metal, no punk, no rap, no hip-hop, no country, no pop … no music at all. If it wasn't for the pioneers of music sitting down at pianos and working with orchestras more than four hundred years ago, and more, who knows how music might have gone, or if it would even have become popular? Classical music allowed the ordinary folk to enjoy the wonders of music, and laid the groundwork for everything that has come after.

And so...

Music, maestro, please!

We start off with something just about everyone will know, but where do you know it from? You've heard it in movies, on TV ads, perhaps even in videogames. It's called “Mars, the Bringer of War”, and it's the opening movement from Gustav Holst's (1874-1924) Planets Suite. It conveys brilliantly and in no uncertain fashion the dark power and hostile stance of not only the planet Mars, but the Roman god of war, after which it is named. It starts low, gets louder as it goes and builds to a pretty deafening crescendo to the end, so be warned if you have your amp/speakers up high!



After that, something to calm down. How about some nice piano? Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827), with another piece you'll have heard, even if you didn't know who it was. It's called “Piano sonata no. 14 in C Sharp Minor”, but it's better known by the name “Moonlight Sonata.”



Let's get things moving again with a bit of ballet (how often do you hear anyone say that??) - This is the waltz from Sleeping Beauty, Ballet Suite Op 66, by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893).



Now how about a nice violin concerto? Here's Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), with "Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major".


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a57Apa4TCfU

And to finish things off, everyone knows “William Tell Overture”, by Gioachino Antonio Rossini (1792-1868). This is the finale, the bit we all know.



Okay, so none of those particular pieces will have surprised you, and many if not all you will have known of, if not actually heard them, but I thought it might be best to just ease you in gently (those of you who are lacking in your knowledge and appreciation of classical music, that is) with some old favourites. As the section grows, I'll add more obscure and less well-known, but equally brilliant and noteworthy compositions and extracts.

So, if after that all you're doing is humming the “Lone Ranger” theme, that's not a bad start!
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Old 11-03-2022, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Most people know of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), or at least of his “Spring” from the “Four Seasons” suite, but I personally prefer the closing concerto, “Winter”...



Johannes Pachelbel (1653-1706) is another name many people will not know, but you're sure to recognise this piece, his “Canon in D Major”. Apologies in advance for the stupid ad before this video.



Proving that there were still some amazing classical musicians alive and writing incredible music well into the twentieth century, this is Samuel Barber (1910-1981), with his moving and very recognisable “Adagio for Strings”. Nice poem with this video, incidentally.



A beautiful piece of music called “Serenade” by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)



Listening to some of this music, you'd perhaps wonder how much beauty can this world hold? Well, here's one more. Franz Liszt (1811-1886), with one of his most beautiful and famous compositions, “Liebestraum”, or “love dream”.



I hope that you enjoyed this second selection of truly magnificent classical music, and if you feel like checking any of the composers here out further, you can more than likely find most of their music online. Failing that, try any of the classical compilations: most of them have few if any bad tracks.
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Old 03-04-2024, 02:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes, there are several ancient musical instruments that are still used in their original form or in similar forms today. One of the oldest known musical instruments is the flute, which dates back tens of thousands of years. Flutes are still widely used in many cultures around the world, and while modern flutes have evolved in terms of design and materials, they still retain many of the same basic principles as ancient flutes.

Another ancient instrument that is still used today is the drum. Drums have been used for thousands of years in various cultures for communication, rituals, and music. Many traditional drumming techniques and rhythms are still preserved and practiced today, especially in indigenous cultures.

The lyre is another ancient instrument that is still used in its original form. The lyre was a common instrument in ancient Greece and Rome, and modern replicas of ancient lyres are still used in performances of ancient music.

Other examples of ancient instruments still in use include the harp, which dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, and various stringed instruments such as the lute and the sitar, which have been used for centuries in various cultures around the world.

While these instruments have evolved over time and may have undergone changes in terms of materials, construction, and playing techniques, they still retain many of the same basic principles and characteristics as their ancient counterparts.
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