Classical music lovers discussion

What is the classical music today?

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Héctor (new)

Héctor | 305 comments What elements define it? I only ask...

message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken Contemporary classical? I thought it was an oxymoron. Kind of like you have to be dead x number of years before they (Catholics) make you a saint or they (USPS) put your mug on a stamp of approval.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

The same that have always defined it.

message 4: by Héctor (new)

Héctor | 305 comments Satie, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Varese, Cage, Ligeti, Nono, Stockhausen, Berio, Adams, Corigliano, are classic music?

message 5: by Ken (new)

Ken Satie makes the cut (IMHO).

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

"Satie, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Varese, Cage, Ligeti, Nono, Stockhausen, Berio, Adams, Corigliano, are classic music?"

Not classical as in Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven and other music between roughly 1750 to 1830.

But in the demotic sense of classical music (Western Art music) then yes, they are.

Even though the composers you mention are rather incongruously juxtaposed.

message 7: by Héctor (last edited Feb 23, 2008 06:10PM) (new)

Héctor | 305 comments Wikipedia: "The major time divisions of classical music are the early period (which includes Medieval (476 – 1400) and Renaissance (1400 – 1600)); the Common practice period (which includes Baroque (1600 – 1750), Classical (1730 – 1820), and Romantic periods (1815 – 1910)); and the modern and contemporary period which includes 20th century classical (1900 – 2000) and contemporary classical (1975 – current)."

I suppose that this group covers the entire period.

Welcome new music!!

message 8: by Florita (last edited Feb 25, 2008 01:50PM) (new)

Florita (Ms_Rita) | 220 comments Mod
This was bound to come up. I am glad it has. Certainly my original conception was for it to be a group for 'non-pop' music, if you like, from the middle ages to the present day, not just the mid 18thC to mid 19thC European genre. By all means add non 'western' idioms or anything else you see fit.

So what is classical music? Anything written by people who are classically trained? It's the same conundrum as 'what is art'? There is a huge global 'fine art' industry that is conceptually dross. Obviously, not all 'instrumental' music is 'classical' (and not all classical music is instrumental). Not all music created by people with a classical training is classical. And 'classical' can be influenced by popular idioms such as jazz - eg Stravinsky, Copland and Barber.

On the most basic level it is to do with a combination of conception and execution 'above' a certain standard, but who arbitrates that standard?

James, what do you think?

message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

'What is the classical music today' I took to mean what is contempory classical music.

I suppose classical music has its genesis in the creation of music for serious purposes, e.g. Gregorian Chant. Plus, monks were literate and this literacy was eventually extended to the notation of music, giving 'classical' music a distinct advantage, both as regards its history and dissemination.
Eventually secular themes were embraced as being serious, e.g. French polyphonic songs of the Medieval era.

Western Classical music is distinctive because of how developed its harmony is. I believe it would be fair to say that of all music cultures, it's the most harmonically advanced. This distinction can also be made against European folk music (whence -at least originally- pop music came).
Of course, various modern and post-modern composers have endeavoured to introduce rhythmic complexity comparable to that of other cultures, and perhaps played down the harmonic element (or using chords for percussive effect, e.g. the 'plastic' chord of F flat 7 combined with E flat 7 in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring - perhaps mimicking Russian folk songs).
Inevitably though composers always return to a predomination of harmony, or harmony born from the combination of distinct melodic lines (counterpoint), lest they succumb to how T.S. Eliot described Ezra Pounds attempts to introduce Japanese prosodic effects into his poetry: 'deracinated'.

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert | 19 comments I tend to be suspicious of strict distinctions between "classical" and.. anything else. I live in a city which has one classical radio station. They would never dare play anything by Glass, Riley, Stockhausen, Berio, or even Schoenberg. Even Mahler and Stravinsky are heard rarely. But on the other hand, they devote a full night each week to "pops" recordings of tv themes and showtunes.
I think it's a lot more important to understand what a piece of music does - whether it's Copland or Corigliano, The Velvet underground or "Louie Louie" - that to categorize it...

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

There's a similar thing in the UK (Classic FM).

Still, I don't think that it's been misused to the extent of losing its original meaning.

message 12: by Florita (new)

Florita (Ms_Rita) | 220 comments Mod
No, I think you're right - Classic FM is a bit more adventurous than that, though their supposedly user-configurable web service is a bit pants.

You're supposed to be able to choose from five (I think) genres - baroque, classical, 'smooth classics', etc - and programme it to know what you like. But after about 15 minutes it starts playing White Christmas and then when you reset it to, say, baroque again, it just plays the same tracks you have expressed a liking for in the past.

I listen to Radio 3, of course ;) , as can anyone, thanks to the miracle of the internet.

message 13: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 6 comments It is not enough to define "classical music" as music written by those with classical training. If we do that, we would have to accept the work of Sir Paul McCartney and Billy Joel as classical music. It is something more specific about the music itself. Robert is right that the effect of the music is more important than any question of category. Nevertheless, it is an interesting and challenging question.

I am also led to wonder, what do we mean by "today"? Schoenberg, Stockhausen, and Stravinsky are all dead after all, so "today" is already becoming a somewhat elastic term.

It is fair to consider that "classical music" has a certain feeling about it; the recognizability of instruments, the absence of electronic tones that are so prevalent in pop, the sharp focus of rhythm that jazz rebels against.

Regardless of any personal taste regarding the quality of the work, I would say that the closest thing to this that you find, being written by composers who are literally at their instruments today and may yet have their best work ahead of them, is film scores. The work of Ennio Morricone, Elliot Goldenthal, Trevor Jones, etc., while it may have been designed for the purpose of enhancing cinematic images, works as effectively in the concert hall as anything by Schumann, Dvorak, or Tchaikovsky.

message 14: by Aehecatl (new)

Aehecatl | 2 comments I think that, like in the other arts, the music is really changing, I enjoy to listen John Cage, Luciano Berio, Mauricio Kagel,Kim Kashkashim, Schoenberg. In another hand is difficult to define "classical music", because the classic period was in the century of Haydn, Mozart, maybe Beethoven. But the really problem is that we have not defined the term "classical music" yet. So we use "classical music" to referd a type of music that isn´t simliar to rock music or dance music. How can we to name this music? This is the first important thing to catalogue the classical music today. To weighing we don´t have the real definition, we know teh essencial of this music.

back to top