Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why Do We Hate Modern Classical Music?

Robert Blumen at The Ludwig von Mises Institute wonders Why Do We Hate Modern Classical Music?

He doesn't answer that, and you won't find the answer here, as there isn't an economic explanation for it. But you will find the answer here.


  1. I love it. And I have bought a few works by them too.

  2. Stravinsky I can believe, but Schoenberg? You will note that though the original article does not name names (one wishes it did), that the author does describe the kind of music he's talking about. True dissonance and sounds intended to violate one's ears are the kinds of works at issue. As he said -- and it's widely acknowledge to be true -- the modern stuff is sandwiched between the popular stuff for a reason.

  3. Troy:

    I think it depends what you mean by "modern classical music." I recently went to a Steve Reich concert, with a large and enthusiastic audience, in spite of relatively expensive ticket prices. I think the reason why composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass and - earlier - Stravinsky are more popular than others is because they make references to and elaborations of contemporary popular music in their music, which is simply missing in the case of Schoenberg, Cage, Stockhausen et al. All successful music (not only classical) seems to need melodies and/or harmonies and/or rhythm that refers to the wider culture. This was true of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, and it remains true today (note also that "free jazz" was much less popular than "jazz-rock fusion," so it's not limited to classical music)

  4. Of course. I make that point on the linked posting, that the stuff that is popular is in fact the stuff that meets our evolved musical instincts -- melody, harmony, and rhythm. These are also typical of the most popular poems, vs. much postmodern verse.