Is pop music more honest than contemporary ‘serious’ music in that people want to listen to it and buy it and, unlike a lot of contemporary classical music, doesn’t have to rely on subsidies and grants?I think if contemporary classical music were more accessible (in the sense that the lay person could enjoy it) then the composer could make an honest living. I’m not saying that the quality of contemporary classical music should be compromised, but, after all, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, etc were ‘jobbing’ musicians.

2 thoughts on “Honesty

  1. I see your point, but don’t you think we’ve got to allow that ‘Art’ music might be difficult to understand initially? The composer is usually ahead of his/her potential audience. Some of Mozart’s music was thought to be outrageous when it was first heard. The introduction to the string quartet K465 still sounds dissonant to our own ears even though it was written in 1785. I think we have to accept that some music will seem ‘difficult’ when it’s introduced to us. And it isn’t there just to make money.

  2. Yes, ‘classical’ music may be difficult to understand initially but some of today’s serious music uses artificial methods of structuring that makes it intolerable to the ear. Tonality evolved in a natural way but serialism, for example, didn’t. Yes, some contemporary methods are satisfying to the mind but the ear doesn’t feel at home. There has to be some acknowledgment that there is a connection between the ways in which music that we like is structured and the natural forms of life we enjoy. [I won’t mention anything in detail in case there are young people reading.] I’m sure with some contemporary music it’s a case of The Emperor’s New Clothes. We’re frightened that posterity might judge us to be fools if we say we don’t like something – because we’re conscious of the fact that Mozart was mocked by people when they first heard K.465. Sometimes one has have the courage to stand up and admit that one finds some ‘music’ excruciatingly horrible and that it seems that it’s a waste of one’s life trying to listen to it. I’m sure there’s a way that serious music can appeal to people without cheapening itself.

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