Can music speak across cultures

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpetlore, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. trumpetlore

    trumpetlore Pianissimo User

    Apr 14, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    An observation I've made lately.

    Classical musicians often argue that music can reach across age, culture, and race. I'm wondering if that's something we really believe? I mean, if you look at most people playing Western Classical music, and most people listening to it, there is an extreme lack of diversity in our field.
    What can we do to fix this issue? Many people say education, but that has been a goal for many, many years, and with very limited success. Is there a way we can expand the relm of classical music to appeal to a wider range of audience? How can we each use our own personal artistry to engage the audience?

    I look at a groop like Mnozil. Their technical mastery enables their musical artistry. Their show really can reach across the boundaries, yet many would look down on the for not doing "serious music."
    Does anybody else have thoughts on this?:dontknow:
  2. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    I don't know about classical music, but I think jazz has reached across age, culture and race.

    I think of the many jazz fests across this country and across the world.

    The Detroit jJazz fest was held Memorial Day weekend, a four day event that was standing room only each and every day.

    I Hart plaza there were 4 seperate stages at the same time going from 9:30 am until midnight. There were other venues also away from the main plaza area.

    It was wall to wall people, all ages, all races.

    It did not matter who the artist was, or what race he was, or what type of jazz that was featured, the people came and sat and danced and cheered all day long.

    There were big bands, small combos, vocals, Be Bop, Swing, Dixieland, Blues, screaming sections, mellow solos, unbelievably fast sax players, B3s galore and even electric violins, one soloing with a big band!

    Classical music, I don't know.....but jazz is universal in it's appeal.

    A word about Mnozil Brass.

    I caught them at their first US appearance in New Jersey and NO ONE, jazz or classical musicians alike would look down on them for what they do.

    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  3. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    I like all genres of music.

    But I don't like everything that is included in each genre.
    There is some pop that is great, some pop that is a waste of time.
    There is some jazz that is great, some jazz that is a waste of time.

    I loved going to Maynard concerts in the 1970's, but that was when he was playing covers of pop songs.
    I am completely bored by BeBop, even though it requires great skill, because I think it sounds too much like someone practicing fast scales without thought of making it sound like a song with heart.

    So in reference to classical music:

    I *love* some classical music, such as is often found on "The 25 Greatest Hits of Classical Music" CD's, but I am bored by most classical music.
    That is not because I am ignorant.
    It is because I have specific musical tastes.

    Most people are the same:
    Even if you *educate* them about classical music, that will not necessarily change their musical tastes.
    If they are educated about classical music, they might gain a greater appreciation of classical music, but that does not necessarily mean that they will learn to love classical music and will go out of their way to get it.

    I love big band music of the 1930's-1950's, but I have given up on finding a radio station that plays it.
    I love old songs by Frank Sinatra and Al Martino and Julie London and Dick Haymes, but there are no radio stations that play it anymore because such music is considered to be "dead".

    Classical music will always have a following among a small group of fans,
    just as big band music will always have a following among a small group of fans,
    but trying to gain appeal among a large fan base is probably hopeless because times and tastes change in the general population.

    Just listen to the Soprano female singers that were so popular in the movies of the 1930's-1940's, singing love songs in high thin voices.
    When we listen today with our modern-day tastes, those old recordings make our ears bleed, because musical tastes change.

    - Morris
  4. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    classical and jazz are both universial. The problem for these genres are that by and large the performers don't market themselves at all to a wider audience. the first example of musicians doing it right was the Canadian Brass Quintet. I was fortunate to see them live 5 times. their presentation was a revelation. I believe that any person will like great music if you can get then to listen to it. Esp. in Classical music the performers put too much distance between them and their audience turning off the average person. I've had great success playing music for my middle school students. they really like Mozart. this Friday I played a recording of the Marine band playing a Sousa March for 6, 7 and 8 graders band classes. their eyes got real big, they had never heard anything like that before.

    Bob G
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Morris. I under stand how you feel and I think many musicians feel the same way. But I've had too many people come up to me after a performance, say at a wedding and say how much they enjoyed my playing. this was possibly the first time they had ever heard a live trumpet player at a professional level. I've heard too many musicians classical and jazz play in a ho hum way. Even uneducated people respond to the energy we put into the music. if it's not musicial they won't like it.

    Bob G
  6. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    I agree with you.

    What I said was not intended to disagree with what you are saying.

    Many people who have no background in classical music who are suddenly exposed to the best of classical music performed in the best way will be amazed at how *great* it is.

    But most of them will not turn into life-long fans of classical music.

    My daughter is amazed when she hears the perfect pitch and rich tone and beautiful styling of Patsy Cline, but my daughter will still never become a fan of classical music, even though she has a greater appreciation of it after having been exposed to the best of it.
    Same with her appreciating "Take Five" from the 1950's, although she will never be a fan of jazz music.

    Some people will indeed become life-long fans of classical music,
    and exposing more people to it *is* a worthwhile endeavor even if it just measn that more people have an appreciation of it without becoming actual fans of it.
    I am just saying that classical music will never be "popular" again among mass audiences,
    just a big band music will never be so popular again.

    Many people love the opening of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" by Bach,
    but many of those same people would be bored to tears sitting through a 2 hour concert of classical music, unless it happened to be the "Greatest Hits of Classical Music" that I mentioned earlier.

    - Morris
  7. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    The closer a musical genre is to its cultural roots the greater the likelihood of its being appreciated by those of a different culture. Classical music, while once the popular music of its day, was (and is) the product of an already highly evolved and civilized (some would argue) set of cultures. Yet it was never really the expression of any of the "primitive" cultures which gave rise to the broad group of European sub-cultures which exist today. Some of their folk music has pre-classical origins which might have cross-cultural appeal.

    I think the statement about music bridging age, race, and culture, is right on when talking about culturally "native" music. That is music which lacks the evolved sophistication of classical music, and which does not require an educated ear to be appreciated.
  8. screamingmorris

    screamingmorris Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 4, 2007
    Regarding "the evolved sophistication of classical music",
    some of the most beautiful classical music is short and simple, such as "Moonlight Sonata" and "Fur Elise".
    Which means that music does not have to be long and complicated to be beautiful, to reach the hearts of the listeners.

    In fact, simple is often better.

    Suppose a woman were to say to me:
    "I feel distress when you are absent, but my pulse rate jumps to 150 beats per minute when you are here, indicating that I obviously prefer your presence to your absence."

    Pretty "evolved" and "sophisticated", right?

    But suppose the same woman were to say to me:
    "I love you."

    Very short and "primitive", right?

    "Moonlight Sonata" and "Fur Elise" are "primitive" compared to the long, complex symphonies, but "Moonlight Sonata" and "Fur Elise" speak to most people's hearts better than the long, complex symphonies.

    Long and complex can be good, even excellent.
    But long and complex are not inherently superior to that which is often labeled as "primitive".

    If "evolved" and "complex" were inherently beautiful,
    then my Dell computer would be considered a classic beauty for the world of art.
    But I doubt that any art museums are going to bid on it.

    Anyway, I am bailing out of this thread for fear that my comments might start a flame war.

    - Morris
  9. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    If you think it's OK to have the last word and bail, screamingmorris, then go ahead. What's wrong with having a online dialog in which there are disparate points of view? It doesn't have to degenerate into a flame war if we are genuinely interested in entertaining what the other parties think. Maybe there's a chance we'll modify our position based on the arguments put forth by another. It's a noble concept, isn't it?

    Anyhow - two things. I used the term sophisticated, not complex, complicated, or long. I don't believe sophisticated and simple are incompatible.
    And "I love you", while short, is hardly primitive, IMHO. In our language, English, no other words come even close to expressing the same thing. Actually, THOSE 3 little words don't even begin to describe what you feel when you are in love. Is is a feeling which denies description. Mere words cannot do it justice.

    But I have drifted off topic. I believe that in many cases, music offers a cross-cultural connection not afforded by language or the visual arts.
  10. Mason

    Mason Pianissimo User

    Oct 7, 2008
    my opinion i reckon all types of music and genres reaches to out through different cultures etc.

Share This Page