What's wrong with classical music?
October 4, 2010 7:07 AM Subscribe
"What's wrong with classical music?"
posted by John Cohen (186 comments total)
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That article (1) diagnoses why classical music -- both old
-- has lost its cultural vitality and (2) looks at some proposals for reviving it.The hard, cold truth is that classical music in public places is often deliberately intended to make certain kinds of people feel unwelcome. Its use has been described as “musical bug spray,” and as the “weaponization” of classical music. At the Bathurst Street Subway Station [in Toronto], the choice of music conveys a clear message: “Move along quickly and peacefully, people; this is not your cultural space.” . . .
I recently surveyed a group of undergraduate students, in a music appreciation class that I teach at the University of Toronto, asking for their views on the reasons for classical music’s lack of appeal. Broadly speaking, the reasons they suggested can be divided into two categories: things people don’t like about the way the music sounds, and things people don’t like about the culture that surrounds the music. To my students’ suggestions, I’ve added a few thoughts of my own, based on criticisms of classical music that I’ve encountered over the years. What follows is a litany of reasons – or at least perceptions – that collectively go a long way to explain why large swaths of society can be driven away by my favourite music. . . .