domenica 27 luglio 2014

Classical music for mainstream pop fans


if you are a MTV addicted or better
if you like ABBA, Michael Jackson, last records by Muse and Radiohead, Paul Mc Cartney, Sting, first Beatles albums, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake...
If you think that best Queen albums are in the eighties (Flash gordon, Hot space, The miracle) and you enjoy David Gilmour's Pink Floyd much better than Syd Barrett and Roger Waters eras  (The division bell, Pulse, A momentary lapse of reason are your favorite ones). If your favorite Genesis albums are sung by Phil Collins (Wind & Wuthering, Duke, A trick of the tail, And there were three) and not by Peter Gabriel.
If you love rap and '70 disco and hate alternative rock and metal.

If all of your schoolmates and coworker tease you because you understand nothing about music, ...
well just relax, take a cheap champagne bottle (or Evian water) and celebrate!

You are in a privileged position to learn classical music.

My suggestion is to listen at first to the common practice program:

1) Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven
2) Schumann, Schubert, Brahms
3) Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti
4) Liszt, Chopin, Wagner
5) Dvorak, Bruckner, Richard Strauss

without any fear.
You can just go to theaters and try to have some fun with random listenings, watch operas on DVD, jump from a classical radio station to another with little effort.
You will  need few minutes of effort to get used to complexity but your listening techniques are now the best for classical music (they are the worst for rock and minimalism by the way).

After you get used to the common practice repertoire you can just enter the world of jazz and contemporary classic from the main door:

1) second Viennese school (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Luigi Dallapiccola...)
2) ragtime, Louis Armstrong, swing, bebop (Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sonny Rollins, Lester Young...)
3) avant-garde serialism (Boulez, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Schnittke...)
4) great Americans (Ives, Copland, Elliott Carter, Bernstein, Zappa...)

2 commenti:

  1. I've always seen mtv funz at the low-end of "blue", and such i thought they have to approach higher-quality popular music or the easiest-to-listen orchestral Works by Baroque composers such as Telemann, Vivaldi, Rameau or Lulli before doing it with "common practice" Classical Music.

    But now, i've remembered until 11 years old i just was a plain pop fan, then after having abandoned every sort of music listening for two years i immediately appreciated Mozart's piano Concertos.

    Also the timbrical aspect played an important role, because i was much more used to the polite, clean sonorities of mainstream pop and as such appreciating Classical Music with its ordered, yet very complex textures was an easier task for me: those loving highly-distorted, fuzzy sonorities hidding lowly ordered, trivial or even chaotic structures and chord patterns effectively use to have more difficulties.

    1. Well, my list is based upon the idea that harmony vs linear counterpoint is the main driver of differences between listeners.

      This is a huge semplification because the parameters are many.
      Of course this list cannot be a universal fit.

      Homophony plus even regular time signature (like in Mozart's or Italian operas) could be catchy to many pop songs listener.
      This was my idea. But if anyone finds a hook somewhere he should take profit, besides my lists.

      Anyhow I just finished reading the book by Aaron Copland and I reccomend it.