Classical music is regularly described as littlest, examine the reasons (and values) underlying this accusation. Is this a fair description of some, all or any classical practices and products? Elitism is defined as the belief that certain classes or groups of people deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority as an intellect, social status or financial resources.
It can also be defined as the sense of entitlement by such a group or class or control, rule or domination by such a group or class. “Specifically classical music emerged and developed in the classical era of 1750-1825, laminating in the exquisite works of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert. However, classical is used in a general sense to mean “enduring” or “lasting”… Len everyday parlance, the term classical covers the repertoire of Western art music, irrespective of the time when It was written”, (Williams, 2003, p. 35).
The underlying arguments which accuse classical music as being elitist involve Bourgeoisie’s idea on value referring to rarity and accessibility of educational opportunities, analysis of musical value of classical music in performance and listening and the level of understanding which classical music requires. In Pierre Bourgeoisie’s work “Distinction, A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste” he argued that class distinctions teach aesthetic preferences to their young and artistic dispositions are the result of social origin rather than accumulated capital and experience over time.
Broodier does not neglect the importance of necessary finance and available time. However this theory does not examine classical musical works themselves. Illustrations of Bourgeoisie’s argument of class distinctions and the implications of social origin are shown in the lifestyles and upbringing of some famous classical composers and musicians. For example; – “Mozart first musical experiences were hearing his child prodigy sister… Their father gave up his career to promote their talents before the astounded royalty and cognoscenti of Europe” (Burrows, 2005 p. 49). “In 1762, Leopold took Wolfgang and Maria Anna on tour throughout Vienna performing for nobles and ambassadors. Later in 1763, Leopard took Wolfgang and Marl Anna on a three and a half year tour throughout Germany, France, England, and other countries… Len 1770 Mozart (only 14) was commissioned to write an opera (Immediate, redid Pont) that of December (http://classicism’s. Bout. Com/do/ accelerometer’s/p/Mozart. HTML). Beethoven was also born into a family of musicians at the Royals Court of Cologne.
His father, was aware of his son’s extraordinary talent and to provided Ludwig with a musical education. “Beethoven was given a thorough music grounding by the Bonn court organist Christian Goth Neff and was soon acting as his deputy… At the age of 17 he left for Vienna to and social origin is one of the reasons which validate the description, that classical music is described as elitist. To some extent this argument would be a fair ascription of some musical practices during the classical era. This is because higher class status would deny many people from pursuing a classical music education and career. In an aristocratic society, a lack of understanding or appreciation of art was considered proof of the lower classes’ inferior sensibilities and intelligence” Monsoons, 2002 p. 19). Today there is more accessibility for everyone to acquire classical music tuition and listening experience. Throughout musical history the age of enlightenment (1750+) gradually increased the access to classical music but this usually had to be paid for. ‘Music was profoundly responsive and affected by the social economic and cultural changes sweeping across Europe…
Music was on its way to becoming democratic and available to many and composers worked to a certain degree in compliance with public taste and the rising of middle class” (Tibias, 2003, p. 41-42). Ere implication of the age of enlightenment has resulted in more accessibility to classical music today. “The work of educationalists and bodies like the Arts Council or National Education Authority is designed to make the high arts more accessible, suggests that the charge of elitism as willful exclusion is unfounded” Monsoons, 2002, p. 17).
According to Bourgeoisie’s view of accessibility which attempts to validate the elitist concept of classical music through social classes, the greater access to classical music contradicts Bourgeoisie’s theoretical assumptions that classical music is elitist. Although the argument that classical music is far more accessible to wider social classes and audiences this is not a hundred percent Justifiable and true for everybody. “Today only parents with sufficient financial capital and a certain educational background are likely to fund and encourage their children to participate n it” p 19 WYNN…
Today almost every symphony orchestra and opera house has an educational department”. Monsoons, 2002, p. 1 19). An article in the Guardian has the headline “UK ‘shamed’ by music’s elitist label” and says, ‘its an age-old criticism – classical music is elitist for white people only and does little to engage young people more at home on their Play- station 3… The virtuoso cellist Lillian Lloyd Webber has demanded an end to such tired’ assumptions… E said We deed to give access to this music and to orchestral instruments’ Lloyd Webber said that the performance by the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra from Venezuela was frankly shaming to the British cultural establishment. ‘ This concert showed that classical music can be hip and that it is enjoyed by young people from every kind of background’ ” :http://www. Guardian. Co. UK/UK/2007/gag/26/Venezuela. Classicism’s/print). Ere article goes on to say “why should it be assumed that young people will not enjoy It? The problem is that they cantata afford lessons… The problem is nothing to do with
Unite and comfortably off crowds at rock concerts. It is a question of economics, not race, the musician argues. ” Therefore one could say that participation in classical music is elitist to a fair extent, despite the fact that there are signs of greater efforts to make classical music more accessible to everyone. There is the underlying logical argument that if there is greater accessibility of classical music to all social classes, the implication of this would result in an expanse of public demand, thus diminishing the elitist accusation and promoting a ‘bridge gap’ for equality.
Unfortunately, reality does not convey significant participation of this style of music. As Julian Johnson stated “The charge of elitism should be leveled at those forces in society that hinder the development and opportunity of all its members. So why is it today so often the sign of entrenchment, a refusal of opportunity, a denial of cultural or intellectual expressions of the aspiration that we might – individually and collectively realize our greater human potential? ” Monsoons, 2002, p. 5).
The refusal of participation in the new age of opportunity still depicts a conflicting presence of opposing views suggesting classical music is still portrayed as elitist. For many people today Classical music does not connect with everyday life and as such is not relevant. People consider it so full of negativity that they avoid it altogether. “It is seen as a relatively closed world defined by formal ritual and practices that divide it from the everyday’ p 7 WYNN. This view is not entirely true because, “Classical music has a connectivity to life – and the living of it – which is unrequited.
Existing beyond words and visual stimuli – classical music communicates in a voice like no other. (Williams, 2003, p. 4). However there is some classical music Inch describes all sorts of specific life topics such as The Miraculous Mandarin Slalom and Romeo and Juliet portraying the common aspects of love in everyday life, Saint-Sheen’s Carnival of the animals relating to every-day fun in a zoological fantasy, Catholicism’s fifth symphony portraying political strife and conflict as experienced today and Vivaldi four seasons depicting the physiological changes within the year.
It is unfair to say that Classical music is elitist because it does not communicate with everyday life. Some people may also dismiss Classical music because the music is old and therefore of little value today. However this does not mean that it is only of value for old people. Typical Classical music can be engaged in by babies before and after birth by means of Cad’s, specific examples include “Mozart for Mothers-to-be” and ‘Baby needs Beethoven”.
Similar works related to classical music can also be engaged in during child development at Nursery Schools and it has been suggested that Classical Music can increase ones IQ level and increase the standard of intellectual development. In his book “Classical Music, why bother? The author Joshua Finger reflects on the lack of audience for “serious” music such as his own compositions. He Observes that in the world of “classical” music the trend towards an increasingly historical repertoire and an older audience has worsened continually in recent decades. We could ask, does an older audience necessarily make Classical music ;elite?
No, not if one examines the audience who support the proms each year. We see music. An article in the guardian states “An education in Classical music is not elitist” It goes on to say “How often do we meet people who are otherwise cultured and educated, No have no awareness whatever of even the very existence of serious music… ‘ Mould like to mention certain attitudes within the professions of music and music education that have disturbed me most… The first and most common abuse hurled at the likes of me is that an education towards an understanding of, and working with, serious classical music is ‘elitist’…
Michael Billing, discussing this year’s Edinburgh Festival in the Guardian, wrote there is a strange reversal of values, particularly in the media. A concert or opera attended by 1,000 people or more is seen as ‘elitist’, a mall-scale event attracting a dedicated handful is regarded as ‘popular’, I. E. Inverted snobbery at its most pungently destructive’ “. (http://www. Guardian. Co. UK/music/ monocotyledonous/elf). Irish article demonstrates that the perceptive elitist group of people even consider the accusation of elitism out of the question and that it is totally unfair to the general population.
Classical music to some extent can be heard on a regular, informal basis, to support an activity or in an atmospheric background such as in stores & on commercials. It could be argued that we have relegated this genre to a supportive or n atmospheric background and we are in danger of losing its musical impact and status. However this could be viewed as something good in that it equates the general public (all social classes) with something that could be described as elite. However in doing this we can be deprived of experiencing classical music on its own terms with its aesthetic value, stature and relenting.
Julian Johnson describes “To be elitist implies that someone is snobbish and pretentious but also out of touch with contemporary culture, with its disregard for old divisions of high and low, art and entertainment” ? ” Monsoons, 2002, p. 7). The lack of participation and interest of Classical music amongst people upholds the elitist accusation due to its devaluation, this therefore would support Julian Johnny’s economic evaluation of Classical music in which if the act of buying confirms the value of the musical object, then the higher the number of the objects sold, the higher the level of value it is.
A lack of participation in classical music by a collective would without any doubt be Incorporated with a devaluation or scrutiny towards its products. Sometimes this genre of music is difficult to understand and may require a little study and Imagination to fully appreciate but that is the point. Learning expands the mind and using imagination is both fun and exciting. Another factor which underlines the accusation of classical music being elitist and enhances the aspect of scrutiny towards engagement in it, is the level of understanding and intellect required when listening and playing to classical music.
There are differences between the modernist popular music and the traditional classical. For the collective group unfamiliar with this higher level of musical “depth”, this to some extent can provoke a sense of frustration and boredom implicating in an unwillingness to engage in this style and so it can be described as being elite. “The behavior. In popular music we usually hear a single tune which stays the same from beginning to end. In classical music, the theme (or tunes) are not only presented but developed”. Williams, 2003, p. 14). A typical example of the contrast between the complicated and the simple that requires less thought is the popular X factor show. This so called ‘lower level’ of musical standard is evidently very popular amongst the collective which may feel classical music is brain demanding. So is popular music for entertainment whilst classical music is for the serious? The differentiation of the two opposing musical characteristics implicates in the Judgmental value of entertainment.
Classical music (serious) can be perceived to be less entertaining to those unable to cope with the serious demands. There are typically specific examples of works which are described to require an intensive level of concentration as Julian Omission describes. “The high seriousness and aesthetic idealism that usually characterize today’s opera house demanding this high seriousness, for writing music hat was increasingly beyond the technical abilities of the amateur and demanded the concentration or rows of passive listeners” Monsoons, 2002, p. 38).
The lack of artistic knowledge in this segmentation of people would also have an incorporated lack of understanding for the nature of practices in the concert halls diacritically. This reinforces a sense of class distinction and two conflicting segmentations of people, thus supporting the case for elitism. The concert practices that are not encoded through the popular music would without a doubt require time and effort to ageist if one were to engage in the classical music dominant culture system consisting of attitudes, values and beliefs.
Julian Johnson emphasizes this, “No amount of marketing strategies, outreach programs and grants for ‘new audiences’ can get around the fact that art is difficult stuff… It can also require time, care and a non appetitive approach that most people associate with study or work” Monsoons, 2002, p. 88). In conclusion there are a variety of factors which may cause a perception of elitism in classical music. To some extent it can be true that those who wish to participate in he genre can be restricted by the aspects of finance, support and knowledge.
However accessibility is derived away from how it was historically determined through social positions and not by a purely independent choice thus giving allowance for egalitarianism. Classical music can effectively be enjoyed by anybody irrespective of the individual’s location I. E. Home or concert hall and can therefore be perceived no different from a question of personal taste. This would then value the genre of music solely by the individual’s and not a collective, therefore advocating the removal of a cultural barrier.
It would be fair to imply that to some extent anything anyone wishing to engage in requires effort and hard work but people of an advantageous position of support can to a fair extent be on elitist grounds. , “difficult music is especially likely to be dismissed as elitist on the grounds that the language it employs appears to be meaningful to a small group of intellects” Monsoons, 2002, p. 35). It is highly probable that some art is considered elite because of the perceived outlook it implies. But it may be more likely that it is not the music that is elite but those who guard it.