The Harbinger Online

Blog: A God-Selected Ear

Staffer satirizes the idea of classical music being a gift that only a select few can be graced to enjoy. 

Classical music is not for everybody. Few can enjoy the beauty of its triumphant tunes, and only a handful of God-selected individuals can comprehend its complex messages.

Some might naively suggest otherwise. Such people may even go as far as to say that the beauty of Bach or Brahms or Beethoven is that anyone can enjoy their music.

These people are simply unaware of the complexities associated with classical music. Understanding chord structure and voicing is the key to truly enjoying Beethoven; musical commoners simply think they are enjoying it.

This is no fault of their own. Classical music is an acquired flavor that must be first tasted at a young age. It takes the top-notch education of a top-notch mind to feel chills during the theme to Handel’s “Messiah.” Only after dissecting the chord progressions of Shostakovich’s “Ave Maria” can one sense the peaceful ebb and flow of the solo violin’s tune. The opening dark tones of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony fly over the heads of the majority of the population.

It’s unfortunate that deciphering classical music is like reading hieroglyphs for these people, for they are the ones who fill the auditorium at East choir, band and orchestra concerts. Sure, they clap and cheer when the musicians finish their pieces, but most don’t understand what they’re clapping and cheering for. They can’t pick out those pieces’ counter melodies, nor can they identify diminished chords.

The musicians are thus the ones who truly suffer, for the fruits of their labor are continuously lost on an audience that can’t tell C major from A minor. After all, doesn’t the essence of enjoying music lie in understanding the theory behind it?

Of course it does. I already said that.

If only everyone could feel the gravity of classical music! The millions of dollars symphonies spend on violins, violas, cellos, basses, flutes, oboes, bassoons, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, tubas and horns, along with the time of the musicians who play them, wouldn’t be wasted. Likewise, Kauffman Center would be a hub for musical intelligence, not a shack for nostalgic commoners who once played clarinet in middle school.

It’s tragic, really, that they will never realize what is flying over their heads.

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