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199217Sophisticated music (was: Native languages of the Americas ...)

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  • Jörg Rhiemeier
    Oct 21, 2013
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      Hallo conlangers!

      On Monday 21 October 2013 17:30:00 Garth Wallace wrote:

      > On Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 4:04 AM, Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets
      > <tsela.cg@...> wrote:
      > [...]
      > > Not necessarily. At home I can get two TV channels devoted to classical
      > > music. Both also feature jazz concerts prominently. So clearly for the
      > > people who run those classical music channels, jazz falls under the
      > > "classical music" moniker.
      > I think it has more to do with the fact that they are both now
      > considered "sophisticated music for intellectuals".

      When will they start playing progressive rock? That certainly
      also is sophisticated music for intellectuals ;)

      > > And indeed, I've heard more than once people arguing that jazz was the
      > > proper evolution of classical music in our modern times,
      > Music-history-wise, that position's pretty hard to defend. Although
      > there's been influence (in both directions), jazz just plain did not
      > originate in the classical tradition.

      Indeed not. Some modern jazz musicians attempted to incorporate
      some concepts from the classical tradition into their music, but
      jazz simply does not originate in the classical tradition and
      thus cannot be considered the "proper evolution of classical
      music in our times".

      But the victory of the serialist avant-garde after 1945 (before
      1945, there still was the classical modern current represented
      by Hindemith, Stravinsky and others; and that was considered
      the mainstream of modern classical music, and the avant-garde
      was a specialized minority current) left a vacuum. There simply
      is a demand for music that is new, sophisticated and listenable.
      The avant-garde was new and sophisticated but widely considered
      unlistenable. And what happened? People "discovered" modern
      jazz, which gave them new, sophisticated and listenable music.
      (Bebop, the first genre of modern jazz, began about 1940.)

      History repeated itself when modern jazz began to stagnate and
      was eclipsed by free jazz in the 1960s. Again, the new
      sophisticated music was "unlistenable" to many. Again, there
      was an unfulfilled demand. And that is part of the reason why
      progressive rock became so immensely popular in the late 1960s:
      it fulfilled the demand for new, sophisticated and listenable

      The decline of classical progressive rock, no as much due to
      punk or disco (which appealed to *different* audiences than
      progressive rock) as due to the hostility of rock journalists
      whom the progressive rock musicians gave too little "sex, drugs
      and rock'n'roll" to write about, and also due to unmistakable
      stagnation in the works of the major progressive rock bands,
      left a yawning gap, and most people seeking sophisticated music
      turn to classical music and modern jazz, grudgingly accepting
      that "no good music is made anymore these days", often being
      unaware of the fact that progressive rock never really died,
      but continued to flourish in the unlit no-man's land between
      mainstream, underground and avant-garde.

      I somehow do not expect hip-hop or electronic dance music
      to spawn anything that can be compared to modern jazz or
      progressive rock in its sophistication in the foreseeable
      future, though. These musics seem way too limited and
      formulaic to me. However, jazz and rock were that before
      1940 and before 1965, respectively, too (at least, those
      genres were at least *hand-made* and not parasitizing music
      recorded earlier), so we are perhaps in to a surprise.

      > > rather than the weird and atonal "modern classical music" that is
      > > being made nowadays.
      > If by "nowadays" you mean "a brief period in the middle of the last
      > century". Even Boulez doesn't really mess with serialism anymore, and
      > he was one of its biggest purists in its heyday.

      Indeed, serialism is no longer the thing in academic music
      composition, and much of the more recent music, starting with
      minimalism and New Simplicity, is indeed quite listenable.
      But the classical music audience has developed a very strongly
      conservative attitude which looks upon anything composed after
      1945 with distrust. The "unlistenability" of "modern classical
      music" is a cliché and a prejudice that few people are willing
      to put to the test. Contemporary academic music, whatever it
      may sound like, exists in an ivory tower at the exclusion of a
      wider audience.

      ... brought to you by the Weeping Elf
      "Bêsel asa Éam, a Éam atha cvanthal a cvanth atha Éamal." - SiM 1:1
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