RockClassical Music of AgesAccordingto a study from the University of Notre Dame, published in journal Poetics, classical music is becomingincreasingly disliked by “high status” young people. The study found thatclassical music is facing more obstacles in trying to reach college-educatedyoung people, the demographic that orchestras and concert presenters covet themost. The most common excuse as to why young people do not like classical musicis that they find it boring.
After taking this class, I find this excuse to beinadequate. It is much more likely that young people today don’t know whatclassical music is. http://www.wqxr.
org/story/study-reveals-music-americans-dislike/Whatis classical music? According to the Oxford Dictionary, classical music isdefined as serious music following long-established principles rather than afolk, jazz, or popular tradition. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/classical_music Classicalmusic spans the course of hundreds of years, including music from Medievaltimes through today. Many people are unaware that classical music is stillbeing composed today, although it is very different to the music that wascreated several hundred years ago. In fact, one of the most interesting thingsI learned in this class was how classical music has evolved over time.
Classicalmusic began during the Medieval Period which lasted from the 5thcentury to the 15th century. It consisted of liturgical music usedfor the church, secular music, and non-religious music. Medieval classicalmusic included vocal music such as Gregorian chants, choral music for groups ofsingers, instrumental music and music that was a combination of both vocal andinstrumental. https://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/Medieval_music Itwas during this time frame that the groundwork was laid out for methods thatwould shape the future of Western music. The most significant advancement wasthe music notational system, which used visual symbols to convey severalmelodic lines of music for others to perform. Other advances regarding rhythmand polyphony, were noteworthy as well. In 1517, Martin Luther set in motion events that led to the Christianchurch splitting into two major divisions: Catholic and Protestant. Thisperiod, known as the Renaissance lasted up until 1600 and led to a surge ofinterest in scholarship, exploration and music. Renaissance music had asignificant impact on the history of music. Sacred music was still predominant,though secular music became more prevalent and more sophisticated.
Therepertory of instrumental music also began to expand significantly. Newinstruments were invented, including the clavichord. The increased value of individualityin the Renaissance is reflected by the changing role of the composer insociety.
Unlike most of their Medieval predecessors, the great prodigies of theRenaissance were esteemed in their own lifetimes, including composers such asPalestrina and Gabrieli whose music remains widely performed today. (Chapter 9 from the book)Betweenthe years 1600 through 1750, music evolved into the Baroque period. The Baroqueperiod featured many famous composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George FridericHandel, Johann Pachelbel, and Antonio Vivaldi. Music during this period washighly ornate, colorful and richly textured compared to its precursors.Composers sought to express human emotions and illustrate events through theirmusic. An increased interest in drama and theatrical elements led to theorigination of opera. Although imitative polyphony remained essential tomusical composition, homophonic music featuring a clear distinction between themelody and an accompaniment became ever more important.
The orchestra evolvedduring the early Baroque period, beginning as an accompaniment for vocal musicand developing into multimovement orchestral pieces. The concerto whichfeatured a solo instrumentalist or small ensemble playing with the orchestra,created interesting contrasts of volume and texture. The next evolution of music was the Classicalperiod from 1750 to 1820, which introduced composers such as Ledwig vanBeethoven, Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Although the nobilitywould continue to play a significant role in classical music, public concertsbecame popular during the Baroque period. Composers started organizing concertsfeaturing their own music and attracted large audiences. The increasingpopularity of the public concert had a major effect on the orchestra.
Orchestralconcerts were intended for large public spaces resulting in composers expandingthe size of the orchestra to accommodate the expanded space. While the end ofthe Baroque period consisted of music that was complex and melodicallyelaborate, the composers of the Classical period shifted their purpose andbegan writing music that was much simpler in texture. New forms of compositionwere developed to accommodate this change, such as the sonata, concerto andconcerto grosso. TheRomantic period from 1820 to 1915 showcased composers such as Johannes Brahms,Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Frederic Chopin, and Felix Mendelssohn. During thisperiod, the aristocratic system fell into decline and composers and performershad to sell their music to the public instead of performing for the royalcourts. Displays of technical skill and a dynamic personality became a must forcomposers. Composers rejected the inflexibility of the Classical period andrelished in their newfound artistic freedom.
New instruments were added to the orchestra and composersexperimented with ways to get new sounds from existing instruments. During thisperiod, composers began to explore the music of their native countries,primarily in Russia and Eastern Europe. Nationalism became a driving force inthe late Romantic period as composers wanted their music to express theircultural identity. The Romantic period saw an admiration for the composer thathas had an influential impact on our own culture. Modern classical music, from 1915 tothe present, is diverse and complex and includes recognizedcomposers such as Claude Debussy, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, IgorStravinsky, and Charles Ives. The twentieth century has been an age ofexperimentation in which composers tend to express their emotions, try newtechniques, and create new notations.
Artistic integrity is valued above theneed to sell music or appeal to the public. Twentieth century composers aremore inclined to emphasize timbre and rhythm than melody and harmony. Melodiesare longer, phrases are less clear, and form became more difficult todistinguish. In the 1950’s, the development of sound generating equipment andsynthesizers established electronic music.
With these tools, composers could controlevery detail: rhythm, dynamics, pitch organization, timbre, reverberation, andeven the way a tone was begun and released. Inmore recent years, performers such as 2Cellos and the Piano Guys have begun tomix classical music with other genres. By mixing classical music with othermusical influences, classical music becomes more in tune with youngerdemographics. It opens the doors for classically trained musicians to bewelcomed in a variety of places, from concert halls to underground clubs.
Mixinggenres gives a new and unique flavor to music that would have otherwise gonestale. As Luka Silac of 2Cellos expressed, “We try to make a revolution, notonly with cello playing but with classical music. Presenting it to a youngergeneration in a different light, showing how cool it can be.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/25/arts/international/2cellos-classical-crossover-for-the-win.
html In conclusion, classicalmusic is considered the music that evolved over time and many composers haveinfluenced many of the formation of music. The classical music’s foundationthat was established is still used today and will continue to be used in thefuture. That is why it is important for people to understand the music becauseit is the music that will survive and continue to change over time.