Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Is classical music dead?

I've seen this theme arise in the arts and entertainment world for as long as I can remember. Never for any particular reason, every once in a while it's a question that gets asked though not really debated. Helium magazine shows exactly why. Though the 'yes' side has been taking a well deserved beating, their proponents are not bereft of witty observation:

There are those who claim to like classical music. There are also those who claim to like salad, exercise, and preparing their own taxes. In fact, such people are fairly common, so common that there is a name for them as a group. They are called "liars".

Thanks to the many on the 'no' side, Helium's ongoing debate (where any writer, skilled or otherwise, can participate) has been a terrific education on the continued relevance of classical music. Just as inspiring is this conversation at Reddit where poster Stevenup7002 asked if anyone truly enjoys listening to classical music. Judging by the 1000+ comments, the answer seems to be a resounding 'yes.'

Like other genres, classical music will simply occupy smaller pieces of the pie as new ones are squeezed in. While true that today's classical music may not be as revered as other forms of music, and nor will it be studied in the future the way we study Mozart or Bach, the common practice era alone has contributed over three hundred years to the Western music canon. With the exception of jazz, no other classification of Western music can compare, in volume or style, to any one of the three main genres (baroque, classical, romantic) of classical music.


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