Love Classical Music

There is no genre as misunderstood as classical music, perhaps with the only competition being jazz in this regard. Millennials generally despise it, generation X generally ignore it, and the baby boomers are about fifty-fifty, and the older generations generally admire it. A lot has been done to enthuse the genre and pass it onto the next generation. However, most attempts just water down the music which pleases no one.

I believe that anyone can love classical music. An understanding of classical music is all I ask for. That is what will make one love it. No amount of persuasion or forcefulness will change someone’s mind. This love can then develop to other music forms, as it naturally will.

Tempo, orchestration and melody may sound like jargon to some, used by those who treat music as if it where designed by people in white lab coats. But, in reality you just cannot understand music without these elements. No matter the culture or the geographical location these concepts come up.

Unlike, films or even books. The genres of music, have exploded in a very short timeframe relative to its age. Music is as old as Lucy. Whilst many forms of music have existed for tens of thousands of years, its development is on the timescale of entire species, whereas literature has only existed since circa 3100 BC (wikipedia article). That is why you will learn more about music from classical music than from classic films about films. In short, music developed more chronologically than spatially.

Therefore, instead of classical music just being another genre like rock or pop, it was the music of its day. The classical period was a mindset on the creation of music, not just music that shared similar instruments or rhythms. And that mindset was a deep understanding of the musical concepts (wikipedia article), therefore you can (in a way) deconstruct a piece and understand what is going on.

It’s a bit like an engineer building a bridge, bridges existed well before the faculty of engineering, but the bridges built by engineers follow the concepts of bridge building. You can still study pre-engineer bridges, but it makes it a lot easier and will give you a firmer ground if you start with bridges designed by engineers. And whilst music post-classical (should I dare use that term) employ the same techniques, the classical period provides such a good basis, that you would be shooting yourself in the foot to ignore it.

Now I should convince you why from this understanding you will find love. To be honest, I cannot, but I can say that I have not known a person well-versed in music who has not all but love for classical music.

A good place to start would be to listen, look around, find a piece you will adore, it shan’t take too long. I personally love Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas (no. 9, 15, 21 and 31 in particular). There are a plethora of great resources for learning a bit about music, but one that is free and very worthwhile is a series of lectures from Yale that is free to watch on YouTube (series of lectures).

One final point I need to make is that this is not about studying music every time you listen to it. Instead its about understanding what makes the music you love so lovely. You will hear time measures, dynamic shifts etc. and these will all allow you to fully engage in a piece. Instead of using music as background noise, have it as entertainment.

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