Einstein’s Violin (Pt. 2)

January 6, 2008

Well, today I climbed, after a descent to the “beach” of large rocks at the wind farm. 507 steps, and quite steep as well. A nice bit of exercise for me.
Continued reading Eger’s book. Brought up some more interesting points – one of which I am a fan – the need to consider the audience.
He brings up examples starting with Schoenberg, and moving through to Yoko Ono, of how classical music in the second half of the twentieth century scared audiences away and kept them away. It turned classical music into an elitist genre – only if you can understand this will you enjoy it.
I have studied Schoenberg’s music, and many other modern pieces. As a “musicologist” I can understand this music. I can appreciate the methodology behind it, and the meaning and reasons for it. However, as a listener, I would not choose to listen to it. If there was a choice between a concert of Beethoven or Schoenberg, I know which I would choose.
As a composer, I also understand the necessity to shape my compositions. if I make my music too pleasant to the ear, critics will claim that it’s commercial rubbish – catering for the masses, yet if I make it too complex, there will be no audience, and who really wants to play to a full house of critics?
I think some time studying the scores of John Williams might prove fruitful. While I know he has stolen classical themes in the past, I am also aware that he writes great music for films, which are often quite atonal, yet also pleasing to the ear.

In an unrelated note, it has come up a couple of times today – business. Eger, early on in his career, wasn’t much of a businessman and missed out on cashing in on a lucrative project that he was involved in.
Beethoven despised the business side of music, and a friend encouraged me to consider all sides of music, and stressed not neglecting the business side of my studies. I am planning on taking the second semester of 2008 off from uni, so I might look into taking a business skills course at TAFE or somewhere.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

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