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#655829 - 12/03/02 01:57 AM Music Appreciation
keyplyr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 101
Loc: Southern California
While I am perfectly aware that not all people share the same degree of respect for the arts, or even have the ability or awareness for such focus, it occasionally will still set my mind to ponder how different we are from each other when it comes to music appreciation.

In the context of a single day, I had a neighbor bang on my door while I was rehearsing and complain about my "noise" only to receive a standing ovation later that night at a performance I did, with ensemble, for the museum of modern art.

For so many, music is wall paper. Most people, it seems to me, are not very connected to music at all. Yes, many people will get into their car and turn on the radio, or insert their favorite tape or CD, but in most cases it serves them as background ambience, not as a creative work to be studied or even given much focus at all.

So what's different between people, that one would have a profound connection, an absolute need, and another person exhibit such apathy or even irreverence?
_________________________
If you dig Jazz visit
http://www.apassion4jazz.net

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#655830 - 12/03/02 11:03 PM Re: Music Appreciation
lucy in the sky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/02
Posts: 76
Loc: New York City
Keyplyr,

I don't think that it is about appreciation for music; it is about control.

Last night, we had our first experience with a neighbor complaining about music coming from out apartment.

My husband sat down at the piano and started to quietly play just the melody line of some classical piece he is learning. A few minutes after ten, the phone rang and the man who lives upstairs huffily berated my husband for playing at such an hour, and then hung up on him. The whole matter was quite odd--the projected hubris that perhaps contributed to our neighbor not to being able to stay on the line to hear my husband explain that he had lost track of time and would stop playing. Or, perhaps, a fear that caused him to forget that my husband, known to everyone in this building because he is president of its board, is kind and courteous--and nearly unfailingly so.

This evening, our five-year-old daughter's teacher arrived to give her her lesson. Even though the lesson ended before nine, each time the phone rang, I wondered if it would be our neighbor calling to complain that the piano had been played for too many hours today.

I would never put the experience of hearing an adult's and a child's beginning practice into the same category as that of hearing an accomplished professional. Still, I wonder if it is disheartening to you to find your playing unwelcome at what must have been a civilized hour or, is it merely maddening?
_________________________
Lucy

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#655831 - 12/04/02 05:56 PM Re: Music Appreciation
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1511
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
Neighbours disturbed by piano playing ? Quite a few people on the forum must live in very close proximity to neighbours. Either that or insulation isn't very good. I live in a pretty ordinary brick house and even if I really belt it out it's hardly audible outside further than a few yards away. How do you get on with playing a symphony on a hi-fi ?

I've noticed that piano sound from wooden houses carries much further than that emanating from brick houses. I used to live in a wooden house and the neighbours certainly heard me there. They never complained though; I must have been lucky I guess.
_________________________
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

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#655832 - 12/04/02 06:18 PM Re: Music Appreciation
okat47 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/01
Posts: 193
Loc: Canada
I've never had the problem of neighbours complaining- which is odd considering I play both piano and trombone. Rather, they always compliment me on my playing when they see me. This is nice, I suppose but it makes me very self-conscious: practice is not exactly something I want people to listen to.

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#655833 - 12/05/02 07:48 AM Re: Music Appreciation
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
haha at least it's your neighbours that complain...with me it's the very people in my house... \:\(

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#655834 - 12/05/02 10:22 PM Re: Music Appreciation
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
okat: Same thing with me; my neighbors like my playing, but I don't really mind if they are listening. They don't know a lot about music: They would probably compliment me if I was playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb". ;\) They ARE nice people, though... One of them took me to the hospital this Summer when I almost cut the tip of my finger off trying to cut a steak. I almost lost all the feeling in the tip... and I'm wandering, so I'll stop rambling now... \:\)

Ben Ruppert
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

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#655835 - 12/05/02 10:24 PM Re: Music Appreciation
The D's Pianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/01
Posts: 624
Loc: Southwestern Oregon
magnezium: Just saw your post. My brothers are ALWAYS whining about my playing, because they're all sports enthusiasts, so they ALWAYS have some game going on the living room T.V. Unfortunately, the piano happens to be in the same room. I don't think they understand that it's more than just a hobby for me... it's my life. So I empathize and sympathize with you. \:\(

Ben Ruppert
_________________________
Musically,
Benjamin Francis
http://www.myspace.com/benjaminfrancis
(I just changed my sig., so no grief, yeah?)
----------
Sofia Gilmson regarding Bach:
"Bach didn't write the subject; he wrote the fugue."

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#655836 - 12/06/02 02:29 AM Re: Music Appreciation
magnezium Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 722
Loc: Singapore
it's the exact same thing!!

what do you do in that situation? can you practice with the TV on? I just can't, I get too distracted...

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#655837 - 12/14/02 12:02 AM Re: Music Appreciation
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4110
This is a dilemma I face daily. I am thankful for the support my family gives me, but no one takes the time to listen to me play. (I feel virtually abandonded musically at times..) Of course, when someone does come by, they say two things: "I love classical music!" or "I like the loud stuff, please don't play anymore adagios". At school, it is even worse. There is a blatant disregard for classical music, but as usual, the guitar and drums are worshipped. (Such vulgar instruments when played by some people..) That is why the oppurtunities I get to play a recital in front of an attentive audience is a blessing for me; they will actually appreciate my talent and the great art presented before them.

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#655838 - 12/14/02 01:56 AM Re: Music Appreciation
keyplyr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 101
Loc: Southern California
After giving this incident, and the topic in general, adequate thought, I've concluded that opportunities like this may be very insightful to the critic's true character. What other medium serves such privy as a listener's opinion.

Overcoming the personal defenses even praise sometimes musters, more is said of the one who makes the critique than the one who is the object of their attention.
_________________________
If you dig Jazz visit
http://www.apassion4jazz.net

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#655839 - 12/14/02 11:21 AM Re: Music Appreciation
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Keyplyr,

Lets not forget that walls distort the sound that reaches those who can hear it. So, your shot at delivering pleasant music is already handicaped, even if the sound was welcome.

In my own experience, its sad how much self-consciousness over those that could hear impeded my progress. It is for good reason that interrupting someone elses silence should give us pause. For practicing, that sucks, but it's how it's always been.

I remember an art teacher who once went on about how Monet would cut his urban travel because he absolutely required silence, the product of which is his legacy.

Chris
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#655840 - 12/28/02 01:36 AM Re: Music Appreciation
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
The question of degrees of interest in music among people has fascinated me too for most of my life.

One of the gifts I received from my family and my upbringing was a love for classical music. It may also be a curse. While I have been able to broaden my liking for music to jazz, especially the music from the late 1940's through the mid 1960's, most other kinds of music strike me as essentially inconsequential; "background ambiance, not as a creative work to be studied or even given much focus at all," to use keyplyr's words.

I have noticed that no comparatively deep music even of the classical genre gets programmed on a typical classical radio station (where are they anymore anyway?). All attempts at "crossover" are essentially beside the point. When one waters down something essential by mixing it with inconsequential one gets more "wall paper."

As far as people and their uses for music go, there are numerous stereotypes we would all recognize to some extent. For instance, it is fairly common to find women in particular, of any age, who wishing to style themselves as "upscale" or "sophisticated," gravitate to the acquisition and playing of CD's featuring The Three Tenors or perhaps some collection of mood enhancing classics labeled Adagio, etc. They more than likely wouldn't have the patience, wouldn't in fact even enjoy the effort, to try and follow an entire symphony by anybody, or even a fairly complicated piano sonata. They are rather far more interested in creating a romanticized lifestyle, with themselves cast as diva, looking for the man who will play the role of knight errant or whatever.

But then there are the far fewer men and women who do want to follow an entire symphony or opera or whatever through, while they are doing their housework, carrying on some tedious but intellectually demanding professional activity, reading, gardening or whatever else. I assume these to be a tiny minority for whom the enjoyment of the great deep works of classical music is not merely a prop for their lifestyle, but an active part of their lives. Sorry to say but these have ALWAYS BEEN a tiny minority.

It is likewise a shame (or is it?) that so few actually have the interest to enjoy looking at great art in a museum, attend a real live legitimate reparatory play, in the very few locations where one can see one, or attend a live concert of fine chamber or symphonic music or hear a piano recital. This is, regrettably or not, a tiny fractional representation of the great mass of humanity who is perfectly content with what they see on TV or hear on pop radio, or are they?

I have said many times that as an extension of my participation on the pianoworld forums, being an advocate of pianism, meant that I was also an advocate of something very much akin to a religion. In fact people very often describe their dawning interest in classical music in very much the same words as one might use in describing a religious conversion; one comes to know classical music, appreciate its variety of forms and styles, makes the enjoyment of music ("classical" always intended) a part of their lives, realizes that there is something to be enjoyed both on a mental and spiritual plane involving intense emotions with the widest possible range, which can even occasionally verge on the erotic. Nobody involved in rock n roll or even jazz can ever get anywhere near this level of depth. In fact they never even set about trying to do so. I may exclude some of the modern jazz greats of the 40's through 60's. But in general their music has different functions. The function of classical music may be described as deeply personal; to appeal to the vast interior of each individual and in that internal personal vastness to resonate something universal on a par with the religious; communion with God. This resonance is either reached or it isn't. In cases where it isn't, the piece itself could be of a kind that alienates rather than unites. For instance, just picking up examples at random, compare Beethoven's last three piano sonatas to the three piano sonata by Charles Ives and one gets the essence of my argument rather quickly. If one doesn't "get it," then one might be outside the religious experience of classical music in the religious sense, as indeed so many are.

Nice when everyone in a family "shares the same faith." This isn't always so, and may in fact be rarely so. One tries to practice, essential for any musician, but especially for the aspirant to classical music's great gems, while the rest of the family wants to listen to the radio or watch TV. I have finally arrived at the time and place where I set these rules and I happen also to be able to live in a house sufficiently separated from my neighbors that if I wanted to, and sometimes I do want to, I could practice at 3 am without complaint. One consequence is that I spend more time alone, while my daughter (the only other member of my immediate family at this time) goes to her sister's or a friend's to watch TV or a movie. For The D's Pianist, it's more than just a hobby. For most of my life it has been and is a religion. And now being able to do so after so many years, I jealously protect its precincts, but suffer some loneliness as a result; "if he'd rather play the piano or listen to his music than watch a sitcom with me and my friends then I'll just go somewhere else and leave him to be alone with his music."

This is one reason why there should be every effort made to call our coreligionists to unite as much as possible. The first recognition is that no matter whatever else may divide us, we each share an affinity with classical music that is almost religious in nature if not in fact and that we are willing to contend with whomever for our right to practice our religion.

The great works of the masters of classical music are our liturgy, the composers are our saints. Many of us even celebrate their birthdays as saint's days particularly Beethoven's (December 16th) and Bach's (March 21st) with concerts, parties and feasts. The concert halls and other performance spaces are our chapels and sanctuaries where in concerts we seek some solace from the vulgar world we often must endure in the rest of our lives.

In a concert, and only in a live concert, are all the requirements fully supplied; the liturgy is chosen and performed and an audience receives the blessings of the performance so it is not for nothing, not mere practicing. The money paid for subscription tickets helps to support the local clerical staff (musicians) while the performers reap the applause as a heart felt appreciation for their dedicated efforts. A CD performance, as good as it gets, is still something like watching a religious service on TV; nothing like the experience of actually being there.

Some locales are supposedly more favored than others; the big cities have better resources for the arts. But in each of these, a mere fraction of the teeming population is even interested or actively attends (far more attend sporting events) and the audience is generally older and more affluent as only these have the time and patience perhaps to support the fine arts.

And finally, classical music and the fine arts belong to maturity and adulthood not to childhood and adolescence. Jazz may as well be termed an adult art form, but rock n roll is definitely best left up to teenagers. I know that I am weird never having related much to anything having to do with teenagers, even though in an odd sort of way they seem to think I'm kewler than a lot of their parents, but I have often wondered how our country can continue to spend so much public cultural attention on maintaining the illusion that life begins and ends in high school? How is it that we have people in their fifties and sixties still touring around the country playing music that was and is fit only for teenagers? WHY DON'T THEY GROW UP AND RETIRE?

Or is it us? Were we all of us classical music people prematurely adult? Are we mistaken in our supposition that life doesn't really begin until one reaches the age of thirty, that in our fifties and sixties we are in the golden heights of our lives? Should we in these years be at our most creative and most responsive? In the brief instant of our lives on this earth, isn't it far better to have known the works of Beethoven than those of the Beatles? If music really matters beyond mere "wall paper" doesn't it matter? Or maybe it doesn't matter. But if it doesn't matter then what gruesome poverty do most of us live in?
_________________________
David Burton's Blog
http://dpbmss041010.blogspot.com/

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#655841 - 12/30/02 03:54 AM Re: Music Appreciation
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
My word, David, you do give us all pause to think. I shall have to come up for air.

I completely agree with you in so many ways and yet disagree completely in one or two very significant ways. I find Ives' sonatas much more worthy of intellectual contemplation than those of Beethoven. I prefer solitary music making and listening to attending concerts, which activity I have not participated in for thirty years. I definitely do not view music as religious - heaven forbid, I loathe religion. Why would I want to associate something so beautiful with something so ugly ?

Those are the points of departure, and they are honestly stated, as facts, without the slightest intention of creating antagonism - that's really the way I am. (No, Keyplyr, fear not, I have ingested neither whisky nor Synermox )

Agreements:

I really have a deep aversion to pop music too, especially that boom boom boom variety we seem to be constantly subjected to as a compulsory accompaniment to every activity, public and private. It reminds me of the noise a press makes in our factory. Now there's a thought - maybe if I recorded factory noises they'd make me wealthy and famous - no, I don't want that really. Most of all, I agree that the decades beyond life's mid-point should be musically the best, both in the sense of understanding and of creativity.

I can't provide an answer to "why ?" though - why only a tiny fraction of the population seems to possess any love of music in the sense you describe. My views are usually termed snobbish, perverted or mad, depending on the formal education and intelligence of the speaker. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps I'm all three. That's okay !
_________________________
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

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#655842 - 12/31/02 05:15 PM Re: Music Appreciation
keyplyr Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 101
Loc: Southern California
classical... can even occasionally verge on the erotic. Nobody involved in... jazz can ever get anywhere near this level of depth. In fact they never even set about trying to do so.[/b]

While I respect your right to voice your opinion, I strongly disagree with this statement. What possible understanding do you have of a of Jazz players' musical intent? You say Nobody as if you have personal knowledge of thousands of Jazz musicians, their lives and careers, and the actual thoughts in their heads while they performed each and every tune!

Could it be your own artistic limitations that prohibit you from connecting with this genre in the way you seem to with Classical music?

I may exclude some of the modern jazz greats of the 40's through 60's. But in general their music has different functions.

I guess this was intended to serve as your 'disclaimer.'

Classical music is a great art form representing hundreds of prolific composers and the times they lived in. Jazz is also great art in that it represents the times it's contributors live in. Be careful to not condemn one in praise of the other.
_________________________
If you dig Jazz visit
http://www.apassion4jazz.net

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#655843 - 12/31/02 05:27 PM Re: Music Appreciation
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I must agree with Keyplyr here. I have been listening to more modern jazz lately and there is certainly plenty to think about. Try improvising and playing jazz yourself - you might find a whole new world you didn't realise was there.
_________________________
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

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