Submitted by jsdubose015 on Wed, 02/03/2010 - 15:21
What is it about classical music that makes it unique? Why do certain pieces, like Mozart's Symphony in G minor or Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, remain immortal classics, enthralling listeners 200 years after their composition? I believe it has a lot to do with classical music's inherent nature. During the Renaissance, the music of the learned composers, such as Palestrina, was termed "High Art" to distinguish it from the music of the troubadours or the folk music of the common people. The term "High Art" is no longer used, but I believe the distinction still remains. Popular music, in whatever genre, is our modern day equivalent to folk music; the singers and bands the modern day troubadour. In fact, if you look at the old troubadour music of the Renaissance, the subject matter of the songs really hasn't changed all that much. Classical music, on the other hand, still retains its distinction from popular music. It possess a complexity and depth of expression not found in popular music, as well as making artistic and intellectual demands of its performers that far exceeds the abilities required of those in popular music. (This is a general statement of course. There is certainly some popular music that is complex and some performers that are extraordinary talented in music.) Through its complexity, classical music presents a challenge to the minds of its listeners. Listening to classical music is similar to being confronted with a mathematical problem. The complexities of harmonies, of counterpoints, of forms, are significant challenges for the mind to work out. For those of us who love a good challenge, we jump at it, almost irresistibly drawn to it. This is part of the reward we receive from listening to classical music. In conjunction with this, some classical music (I will not include all classical music because the artistic level required of the composer has been attained by only a few) reaches a depth of our being it seems only music has the power to reach. It can awake within us a view of the world, images of creation of such grandeur that we can hardly bear to contemplate them. This is the reason that works such as Beethoven's Ninth and Mozart's Symphony in G minor live on. These works alone have the power to evoke within us the most benevolent and grand view of the world and of ourselves. This is true nature of classical music. This is what we call Romanticism.
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