Monday, September 21, 2009

Art and Tradition

One of the ideas I found interesting in the readings was the transformation in people's understanding of art and tradition. As we know, even today, there are a great number of people who, actively or passively, adhere to the idea that the masterworks are meant to be played in a certain way in a certain place for certain people. There is a religious quality to this attitude, and I believe, in light of the past readings (Chapters 2 and 3 in Highbrow Lowbrow), that the religious element is shown to be false and baseless. Regardless, people—in the arts and without, “in the know” or not—believe this idea to be a truth about culture, rather than a product of culture.

I would like to point the reader's attention to a blog by Matthew Hindson I came across that I believe exemplifies the various sides on this idea, to various degrees. Make sure to read the comments on the main post, not just the main post itself; there are some posts that are refuted by the readings, and others that share the spirit of the readings, but not the facts.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I think this concept of tradition is perhaps central to the key issues surrounding the future of classical music. I have two points regarding this "religious adherence" to tradition. The first regards my own performing experiences. I recently performed in Finland. We performed in different venues to decidedly different audiences, but used primarily the same core program. The first venue was a cafe in the heart of Helsinki. It was noisy, people were coming and going, and it was not what would be a traditionally appreciated venue - by either performers or classical music connoisseurs - for a chamber music concert series. However, we had some strong reactions to our program. Business women, tourists, and a few passer-by's talked to us about how the music "touched" them, asked what they had just heard, and wanted to know where we would be playing next. The next concert, a few days later, was held in an old church - a much more traditionally accepted venue for a classical music performance. The audience was also much more purposeful in their attendance, specifically came to hear a classical music concert, got dressed up, applauded at all the "appropriate" times, etc. The reaction after the concert was the same however as at the cafe. The audience wanted to KNOW more about the music - to be part of it, to be part of what they heard. The venue nor audience mattered - the reaction was the same.

So, where does this idea of music being for "certain people" come from? Maybe we're seeking the wrong audience. Maybe it is profit driven. But, I don't think we should "blame" the music as going out of style. It is quite the opposite. I think the attitudes regarding classical music might be going out of style.