As Stephen Fry so well puts it, ‘what is this snobbery of music all about?’. Classical music was the only popular music of its time and today all popular music originates from classical music. Classical music is called classical because it was the first foundation where musicians properly recorded their compositions. The era of classical music is when studies of music were first documented – the exploration of scales; major, minor, chromatic. It was the time of copyright – ownership for composers. Musicians became part of royalty and associated with class and hierarchy with requests to write and perform for the kings and queens. Okay it took a while for the money to roll in, but with copyright, respect and support from royalty, the image of a musician soon began to change in the world’s eyes.
The snobbery of music is merely a preference; people always think their choice is better than the next. No music is better than another piece, nor is a genre better type of music. Music is personal, music unites, one piece of music is part of another piece created from before, even a century ago. Alicia Keys uses Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata in Fallin’, mixing soul and classical. Alicia Keys was taught music classically but performs and writes pop, soul, funk, rock and RnB music.
The imagery of classical fans, venues and the musicians is heaps and bounds different to that of pop, hip-hop, rock, punk and soul. And this is where much of the snobbery comes in as well. Classical music is played in posh concert halls or pretty outdoor venues where the middle and upper class audience are seated before an orchestra of musicians smartly dressed in (men in black-tie tuxedos or suits, ladies in ball-gown dresses). 21st Century music concerts are in sports stadiums, concert halls, outdoor venues (they are well branded and facilitated with toilets, booze, fast food, VIP areas), the audience wear what that want – normally matching their icons performing that night like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Pink, Eminem, Kings of Leon, Justin Bieber – whose dress code equates to the more outrageous the better.
Besides the image, the venues, the genres, the music and the fans, which people try to use to separate classical and pop, the outcome is the same. Audiences from every part of the world, simply appreciating music. Some are moved to jump up and down and breakdance, some are moved to tears. Each person has his or her own personal experience with music and who is to say that the punk-rocker watching ACDC last night does not head to the ballet tonight to watch Swan Lake with complete delight. Classical and Pop genres are joined by music, through music and for music’s sake just indulge!
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