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Classical Attitude

Posted by bj on Friday, December 12, 2008

There's been a lot of banter back and forth on the forum about whether classical training will or won't benefit a fiddler who aspires to oldtime. This blogpost is not about that, it's about the attitude that's come out during these discussions. And I feel that some background into what's formed my own viewpoint might help others to understand why I sometimes use the term "classical weenie".

I will preface this post by saying that I'm sure not everyone in the classical world is guilty of this. But it's a prevalent enough thing that it's bothersome and annoying to those of us who have encountered it, and we've encountered it many times. It's the "Classical Attitude".

I've encountered this attitude many times in my life, but never was it so evident as it was when I decided that I was going to stop procrastinating and start learning to play fiddle. As with most things I do, I first went out locally to do some research on purchasing a fiddle.

There's a great shop only 8 blocks from me that, though they have other instruments, obviously specializes in stringed instruments that are bowed. You walk in, and the whole back wall and the area in front of it is a mass of fiddles and their paraphernalia, as well as violas, cellos, and basses. That was my first stop. And I was awed. Until I asked them if I could try out that fiddle, pointing to one on the wall. I was told, "We don't sell FIDDLES here. We specialize in fine VIOLINS." This sentence was uttered with a look of disdain and a nose in the air. In my experience since, I've discovered that the attitude is usually accompanied by a 30% bump up in the prices. Sometimes more.

Later in the journey, when shopping for a fiddle teacher, I encountered the same sort of thing. Over and over and over.

It culminated in the one time I didn't encounter that attitude-- the woman owns a music studio in Phillipsburg, and she was enthusiastic to find me a teacher and said she had other students who wanted to learn. She herself was not a fiddle teacher,but she'd keep me on the list and let me know when she found one. I got a call a couple weeks later, and after my repeated question about whether this teacher could teach fiddle, she insisted he could.

So I took a couple lessons from him. He was 22 years old and a child prodigy who had graduated from JOOliard (emphasis his, and biography came directly from him, and I have no corroboration as to whether it was true or not.) I won't go into all that happened at those two lessons, but since I never got to put a finger down on a string during those whole two lessons, let's just say that I saw we weren't going anywhere. I also, during the course of the lessons, asked a lot of questions. And found out I'd been lied to. The man was a total classical snob who hates any of the informal music that makes up the fiddler's repertoire. And he had an agenda. He was going to convert me to be a classical snob just like him.

Needless to say, that didn't happen.

Now, truth is, I've listened to a fair bit of classical music over the years and even like a fair bit of it. I'm charmed anew every Christmas season by the music of The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, as well as his other Ballets, love the piano etudes by Chopin, and have listened spellbound to Dvorak. So it's not like I have a prejudice against the music itself. But I do very much hate that ATTITUDE.

It's come out on the forum in an insistence of rigidity in technique, form and outlook. We MUST hold our bow a certain way, we MUST clean the rosin off our instruments, we MUST do this or that or the other thing. Balderdash.

And, in my humble opinion, attitudes like this need some serious puncturing, since they're filled with hot air. You people who sport this attitude need to seriously get OVER yourselves! Hence the invention of the term "classical weenie".

So be forewarned. If you're one of the ones who get uppity in your Classical Attitude, you WILL be hearing a whole heap of irreverence from me.

46 comments on “Classical Attitude”

janepaints Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @12:27:42 PM

Keep yer radar turned on. There's Old Time Weenies, Rock Weenies, Jazz Weenies, Folk Weenies (oops an oxymoron there), Rap Weenies, Bluegrass Weenies, Celtic Weenies (but there-spelt 'Weanusillies') and Country Weenies.
Thus, I tend to stay at home, well-armed and supplied, with guards posted at all hours, lest any dang kind of weenie launch attacks.

bj Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @1:34:11 PM

Though I know you're right, there seems to be something especially inflated about the Classical Weenies. At least the other Weenies I can find SOME common ground with, some areas in which we can interface and be civil, but the Classical Weenies seem to be determined to recognize none of it.

FiddleCat Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @3:16:08 PM

Kinda reminds me of a joke I heard one time.

How do you know if there is a violinist in the room? The violinist will tell you.

It's sad you had meet people like that. I have had nothing but good feedback if I went to a store around here and told them fiddle instead of violin. Actually most people I run into call it violin, but are not snubed or offended when I would say fiddle.

I'm one of those lucky ones as you know that has a classical teacher, but is more then there for me as my fiddle side comes out. I know he likes it too and even plays along. Plus I seen a banjo hiding in the corner...hehe

You do what you like, how you like it, and enjoy the freedom in how you do it. Try to ignore the snubbies and giggle at them in your own way.

I wish I could say something to help you feel not so frustrated with the way people act. I run into stuff all the time. Really I just do a little giggle and remind myself each to there own.

So cheer up....Sun we are going to have a blast and I promise I won't classical weenie anything your way ;O)

bsed Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @3:40:12 PM

I'm sorry. I couldn't get past the comment that your classical weenie teacher didn't let you put bow to string in two lessons. "Since I am here to learn to play, and seeing as I've done no playing, you've not earned your fee!"

bj Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @3:47:10 PM

LOL! Ohmigod, Dee, you're so right! The violinist WILL tell you!

bsed, I truly wish we lived close enough so I could take a few lessons from you. I have a feeling you would more than give me my money's worth!

OTJunky Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @7:07:47 PM

In defense of the classical folks, it's really, really hard to become a passably good classical violinist. It takes years of work - and the kind of dedication that allows you do that kind of work.

Achieving an acceptable proficiency and familiarity with the repertoire is more than a full time job. And once the work's done, there's so much competition for the few paying positions, that it's rare to be able to make a living at it other than by teaching. So, it must be really frustrating to spend 20 years of your life in "training" and then find out you're not going to make it after all.

I think this is one reason why many classical violinists are intolerant of fiddlers. They want to spend their time with students that they imagine might succeed where they failed and they think there's no time to spend on frivolous pursuits.

And I suspect we can all agree that OT fiddling is the ultimate frivolous pursuit.

So, next time you visit one of those stores populated by a bunch of high falutin' local teaching violinists - take'em a bag of cookies or something.


bj Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @7:22:13 PM

I know you're right, OTJ, but I just wish they didn't have to be so INSUFFERABLE about it. And I don't think the cookies will work. Buying out the store might, but short of that, I'm toast.

Dale Farmer Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @8:38:42 PM

Sometimes you encounter insecure people that devote themselves to their instrument as a coping mechanism. They feel inferior in general but through their skill have the opportunity to feel superior, then have to play the role... They drive me nuts! I see it a lot among amateur musicians too. Competitiveness is so counter productive. On the other hand, last spring I was asked to play guitar at a wedding with an accomplished violinist, a professor at Boston College. I dreaded it big time but he ended up being quite the gracious virtuoso. During the wedding he played masterfully several classical "pieces" without the first look at any sheet music. I was completely mesmerized. But, during the rehearsal we were jamming on some bluegrass and celtic. He was so impressive but kept complimenting my bluegrass playing and was just a blast to be with. He also told me that on the side he played violin in a punk rock band. So, of course, they're not all weenies but I've encountered a few myself. Good post BJ.

bj Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @8:49:23 PM

Yes, of course there are people who are so decent it doesn't go to their heads. I'm glad you got to meet someone who was a great ambassador for the art, as well as open minded enough to play other stuff. Punk rock? Now THAT'S what I call stepping OUT!

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Friday, December 12, 2008 @10:11:55 PM

> "We don't sell FIDDLES here. We specialize in fine VIOLINS."

Any musicologist will tell you that ANY bowed instrument is a fiddle. That includes violins, violas, violoncellos and double basses. Ergo, my conclusion is that the snobbish fellow you encountered was a dern fool who didn't really know what he was talking about. But he was definitely a musical bigot, a first class weenie.

As for taking lessons from bsed (Bruce): I'd be willing to burn some frequent flyer miles to get you over here for that purpose. I bet Bruce wouldn't mind letting your chauffer (moi) sit in on your lesson(s). You should time it to coincide with the 2nd Annual Goatskin Jam that Bruce hosts in his home; that way you'd meet a number of nice OT and even some Cajun musicians. Maybe we can also get Jane (janepaints) to join you for the pilgrimage. I wonder if she can bring her tenor banjo with her carry-on luggage...

I bet my friend from church who lives in Cary, Illinois (about 40-45 minutes from Bruce) would be willing to put you up at her place if she got to hear us all play music. Just a thought.

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @12:57:44 AM

As you probably could have guessed, I basically agree with you.

They would probably only condescend to eat expensive Austrian cookies!

bj Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @6:00:19 AM

FF, that is a very generous offer. One has to wonder if it's sparked by curiosity. ;-) And you're right, the guy is a derned fool. So is his wife. So is his daughter, the Classical Violin Only teacher. Even after my first experience I still asked them about lessons. Interviewed her for five minutes and (even though she was actually somewhat nice) realized she was very rigidly and snobbishly classical. The apple didn't fall far from that tree.You should have seen her face when I told her some of the tunes I wanted to learn! It looked like someone stuck a lemon in her mouth!

LOL! No, I really don't think that even expensive Austrian Cookies would do it!

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @2:53:57 PM

After I commented,
another thought started percolating around, and I thought I'd share it.
First of all, I agree with you wholeheartedly that this attitude does exist,
and that because it is based on something in human nature, it can
be found in other genres to some degree.
But it occurred to me that there is another issue complicating
things in the classical realm.
The violin/fiddle is an instrument that can sound warm and wonderful
when played well, simply horrible when played badly,
with degrees of barely tolerable and moderately grim somewhere in between.
I think some people get into the classical attitude, or perhaps the attitude gets strengthened, because classical training does seem to fairly often produce tonal results somewhat better than a banshee.
This may be deceptive because they do get a lot of people
to play violin, with a lot of people washing out of the process.

For some reason, after restarting again, I am getting better tone than
I ever did before. If you listen to my version of Lady of the Lake in 1976,
the tone is average somewhat scratchy Old Time tone.
While it does vary, I do fairly frequently have days where I'm getting tone that is quite sweet. I have seen baffled looks on the faces of a couple of classical players that says:
"How is that guy pulling such good tone, when from his hand and arm positions it's obvious he's never gone through the classical system?"
Strangely, I think what made the difference for me was becoming an electric guitarist, and getting obsessive about my electric tone.
I think it taught me to REALLY listen to my tone, and if I didn't like it,
take aggressive action to CHANGE IT. The result is that I'm experimenting more with rosin and bow tension, as well as bow speed and pressure.
I've also noticed that with the improved tone, I rarely have an encounter
with the classical attitude in person. And that includes pro luthiers and pro violinists. If the tone isn't causing them pain, they can listen and appreciate what else is going on rhythmically and melodically.
I'm not certain it would work in all cases, there might be hardcore cases of "classical attitude", but in many cases, if your tone is comparable with theirs (and I'm not talking about vibrato, just bowed tone), they are open minded enough to "give you a pass".
Mark O'Connor is an example of a fiddler whose tone is good enough
that violinists can listen an appreciate the rest of what is going on.
But I think that can happen with straight Old Time players to some degree too- say, if you could sound like the Red Headed Fiddlers,
few classical players could find much to gripe about.
I have also seen that in Canadian Old Time, Texas fiddling, Contest Fiddling, Cape Breton, and Scottish fiddling, the fiddlers seem on the average to pull better tone than in American Old Time, and they seem to get more respect in the classical world.

bj Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @3:10:39 PM

Well, though there may be some merit to your analysis, I've gotta say that I'm never going to worry about whether I meet some classical weenie's idea of the way the violin should sound. Primarily because I think in some ways many have sawn and sanded off so many hard edges that oftentimes they end up sounding bland and homogenized. I never want to sound that way. I will strive for my own version of what good tone means, and fiddlers like Elmer Rich do a pretty dang good job of achieving it. Ironically, the cream of the classical crop seem to, at least to my ear, put a bit of that edge back in, and maybe they can because they can get away with it because they've got nothing to prove to anyone within that super competitive classical world.

fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @7:19:14 PM

Well, in a way that's what I'm saying-
I think you need to be able to get the control to take ALL the edge out-
so you can then PUT IT BACK IN in a controlled the way in JUST THE RIGHT PLACES so as to accentuate the rhythm- as a percussive effect!
In other words, when my bow goes "scritch" I want it to be a deliberate thing, not a random one, as if the "scritch" were some kind of invisible
washboard playing along with the fiddle.

And also, it's not really some classical weenie's idea-
it's the general public's as well- and Canadian fiddlers, and Scottish fiddlers and Irish fiddlers and the best Old Time fiddlers recorded in the '20's.
I think sometime we REACT against the "Classical Attitude" by going well, if those Classical Wienies" want me to play smooth, then
I'll play as rough as possible!
But as long as we do that we aren't really free from the "Classical Attitude"- we are being controlled by it, but in reverse.

janepaints Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @7:37:03 PM

I've had few (or none?) bad run-ins with classically-oriented (or classically-trained) violinists. Alex runs a luthiery/violin lesson place right across the street from where I busk, and he's stopped by to comment on my cornerless fiddle and fiddling in general. He also teaches any opf his students interested in fiddling what he's able to, and doesn't denigratre other idioms. Ditto for violinmaker Tom Blatz and master fiddler/partner of many gigs Travis Wetzel. The open-ears outlook of punk is no surprise. John Cale was playing classical music on the BBC at age 10 and first came to the US under the dual sponsorship of Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein, yet he also co-founded the Velvet Underground, produced the first Iggy & The Stooges disc and is one of those folks considered 'a founder of punk.' Patti Smith loves Beethoven. Tom Verlaine studied classical piano as a kid. Joey Ramone studied classical guitar. Punk guitarist Rhys Chatham has gone on to be considered a legit contemporary composer. Police drummer Stewart Copeland has written and scored film soundtracks (and operas performed by major-city classical ensembles). Leading film & tv-soundtrack composer Danny Elfman started in punk band Oingo-Boingo. Ditto for Elliot Lurie, who's composed 'formal' music as well as established himself as a serious jazz player/composer. My punk band in NYC wrote and performed the music for classical ballerina Karen Armitage's debut of her own dance company after she left the Merce g Dance Company. etc. etc. Sometimes the problem with provincial attitudes is, literally, provincial--a function of one's location. In arts-media-culture nexii like NYC, there's always tons of cross-pollenization and mutual respect and curiosity between creative folks across the spectrum of arts & genres. Sometimes local-yokel 'classical purists' (or any kinda purists) in remoter-locales can develop and nurture very narrow-minded outlooks--perhaps spawned (as such things often are) from insecurity and defensiveness--a-feared their passions & talents will earn little-or-no local recognition or respect. So, some become weenies. In my experience, most really-creative people in any field exhibit great curiosity about ALL OF IT--everything they see, hear, read anywhere in the realms of creativity. It's the fuddy-duds who TEND towards 'purism'. (favorite truly-goofy example: Punk-rockabilly band The Cramps--who began as art-school nutcases--wrote a song about artist Marcel Duchamp's painting 'Nude Descending A Staircase'. Their song is titled 'Bare-Naked Chick Falling Down The Stairs'. It sounds like Memphis 1955 instead of Paris 1925. Hee hee.) Another fave example of cross-pollenization: a long-fave CD titled 'Largo.' A diverse group of musicians collaborated on a group of songs inspired by the 'Largo' movement of Dvorak's 'New World Symphony.' Collaborators included The Chieftains, Taj Mahal, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, The Hooters, members of NRBQ, Willie Nile and more. A one-of-a-kind artifact in lyrics, music, traditional-music awareness and rootsy sound. Anybody who digs any kinda traditional-roots musics oughtta check it out. Released on Mercury. One of them touchstone-discs about The Old Weird America, more tapes from the universal basement.

bj Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @7:37:17 PM

Judging by your own ear isn't a reaction against "classical attitude" it's a definition of "fiddler's attitude", which is a very different thing, I think. It's more a personal decision of what you're going to be guided by. I know I'm nowhere near being a good fiddler yet, but the last recording I made I did get more than one comment about "sweet tone". Can it be better? Sure, it can always be better. But that at least tells me that my ear is leading me in the right direction. I'll go where it follows.

You play for the general public, so you're going to be guided by that more. Me, I don't really give a hoot. Maybe I will someday, but I don't now. And since I'm my own worst critic, that's probably okay.

bj Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @7:41:07 PM

Jane, I guess I'm provincial. I only listen to OT. ;-)

janepaints Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @7:56:11 PM

Speaking strictly for myself--not making universal statements: the longer I've played, the more genres and approaches I've come to appreciate. On all the instruments I play. As a teen, jazz never grabbed my ear much. A few years later, when I'd developed enough guitar-skill to be able to play jazz, it suddenly became a fascinating genre to both play & listen-to. Ditto for keyboard--by my 40's I'd become pretty nimble on the keyboard, and suddenly classical made more 'sense' and I began playing/writing 'formal' music that, basically, sounded 'classical.' Such trends continue. Tho mainly keen on just playing fiddle tunes, I have regularly-indulged sub-passions for ragtime composers, contemporary 'new music' composers, twangy punky roots bands ala Southern Culture On The Skids, a wide-range of diatonic button-accordion music, greek & west african contemporary pop music...even some opera when the right melodies meet the right voices...also chamber music and shorter classical compositions for violin with one accompanying instrument....somehow, all such sub-interests feed-into, influence and, IMO, enhance the usual 'just fiddling' which continually obsesses me. 'High Art vs. Folk Art is an interesting topic. I've long been a big fan of Culture Clash. Jumble everything up. No more pedigreed dog shows or purebred-anything. United States Of Muttdom, bring it on. Concerto For Kazoo, Fluegelhorn, Slide Guitar and Tympani--Opus #2 in twang tuning. As performed by Itzhak Perlman and Bitsy Calhoun.

janepaints Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @8:11:33 PM

No, you aren't provincial, BJ. That's just where your attention is currently intensely-focused. Provincial would be being a rigid purist about OT, scornful of anything which isn't deemed 'OT Enough.' Tho you're presently passionate about OT, you still dig other musics that have floated yer boat, right? Jazz, blues etc. Narrowing one's focus is good--and perhaps, necessary--when a particular genre really grabs our ears and gives us the chillbumps. Better to become really mad to learn one genre than be like hack gig musicians, who can spend a lifetime 'playing a little bit of this and a little bit of that' to please audiences. They might become widely-fluent but at the risk of never developing a distinctive-individual musical voice/personality/identity. I identify with what you're doing right now--from about 1992-1999 I owned NO electric instruments, NO recordings made with any electric instruments, only listened-to and played OT (and some BG.). Then, about '99, it felt right to open the gates a bit wider. Now, looking back, that period seems something necessary, a process that helped refine and hone certain perceptions and skills. Lotsa people experience similar processes. There's times for Generalized Learning....and other times when Selective Focus is the ticket.

bj Says:
Saturday, December 13, 2008 @8:35:06 PM

Yes, I do, on weekends sometimes, still put on the Willie Dixon, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Stephane Grappelli, Maria Muldaur Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone (VIBES! OH!), Flora Purim, Kandiya Kouyate and others I love. But not every weekend. :-)

Ozarkian DL Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:17:28 AM

ME...I speak what I Redd Foxx might put it : .... fault finding, fumble fingered, frivolous fools,...tho I do enjoy SOME'a thar music. ( LOL ). Richard Greene plays classical country.

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:31:30 AM

Though I absolutely LOVE your alliteration, ODL, I think it should be fumble tongued, LOL! And I'll have to check out Richard Greene. When I'm on one of my brief OT vacations, that is. Just please tell me there are no lyrics about divorce, dogs dying, disaster, disease,deception, delusion, disloyalty, or other dastardly deeds.

Ozarkian DL Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:41:59 AM

No truck-troubles BJ ( LOL ).

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:47:09 AM

"But it occurred to me that there is another issue complicating
things in the classical realm.

So I just reread everything here, since it's become quite an ode! and this jumped out at me. I thought I should mention that most times I encountered this attitude these people had never heard me play even ONE NOTE. So that surmise of yours, though it may have some truth to it in certain circumstances, isn't the whole story. I suspect that insecurity, provincialism, and a couple of the other things mentioned play a much bigger part.

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:50:35 AM

Oh, good, since those dang lyrics are the ONE thing that keep me away from the whole Country Music scene. Especially when some woman starts wailing about how her man done her wrong . . . but she LLLOOOVVVEEESSS him. Makes me wanna take a boot to her butt, foolish cow.

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @7:00:07 AM

Jane, I've been thinking about what you said about what you encountered and the differences in what I encountered. Easton has strong ties to NYC within the Art Community, but seems to have few of those ties within the Music Community, at least from what I've seen. And if you think about it, the No Hope/Lambertville music scene has been a strong and vibrant one for years, and apparently apart from any College or Uni or formal music training. Here in the Lehigh Valley within 20 miles of me, I have Lafayette, Lehigh, Moravian, Muhlenberg, UPenn, NCC, and DeSales. We also have a charter high school dedicated to the Arts, which, from what I've seen, definitely heads the kids in a classical direction. I have to wonder if there's some correlation there in the attitude difference.

Curt57 Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @8:34:30 AM

bj, I think its interesting that most of this attitude seems to come from concert violinist wannabes rather than actual concert violinists. Case in point: the store salesman you speak of. Isn't it interesting that many actual concert classical violinists refer to themselves as "fiddlers". Itzhak Perlman for one.

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @8:56:00 AM

Curt, I do think that's the case, that it's the wannabes. And it was The Store Owner, whose daughter teaches there, and very well may be one of those wannabes.

Curt57 Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:19:43 PM

BJ you might want to talk with Grassapelli about this, too. He is a member on this site.

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @6:26:38 PM

Thanks, Curt.

fiddlepogo Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @7:35:39 PM

Wannabees, yes, that enters into it.
Insecure people may need to feel like they are on the same team
(classical) as the "greats"... never mind that the "greats" are most likely
bored to death with Mozart or whatever and are looking for something challenging and different.

If you play and sound bad, or if you say you are a fiddler and don't play at all,
their belief system remains intact- they need to believe that fiddlers sound
harsh and unmusical.

If you can play with intonation & tone equal to or better than the violin players they hang out with, it can tip their cow, bigtime!
And you know how much fun doing THAT is! ;^D

See, I'm just trying to motivate you!;^)

bj Says:
Sunday, December 14, 2008 @7:48:21 PM

ROFL! Yeah, this is a Holy Cow that needs to be Tipped!

All of you who commented on this blogpost will be vastly entertained by my next one!

IronMommy Says:
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @10:18:48 AM

i don't even have my fiddle yet and have never even fiddled a note, but I agree with a lot of this discussion. I love classical AND Old Time music, but I think I'm going to end up being more of an old-time fiddler than a classical violinist, just because the fiddlin' folk are so much more open, friendly, and welcoming than the classical ones. A beginner can go to a fiddling workshop and feel welcome, whereas I don't think a beginner could go to a classical workshop without some kind of pedigree of where they studied (like JOOliard).

Also, unfortunately, people have this idea that when someone is playing a classical tune, they have to sit still, all dressed up, all formal and basically uncomfortable, whereas when someone is fiddling, it's OK to sing along or dance or at least crack a smile! I would rather play for people who are free to feel light at heart, who are wearing jeans and having a good time, than evoke that "all dressed up" feeling.

I don't think classical was always this way--I think it was the popular music of its time, or at least that it didn't have this snobbery attached to it. It's beautiful music, so it's too bad that it has accumulated all this baggage through the centuries.

bj Says:
Wednesday, December 17, 2008 @10:44:03 AM

You're right about the baggage, IronMommy, and the fact that at one time it WAS the popular music of its time. I gotta wonder when it became this fossilized thing that it seems to be now. However, there was also folk music of the time, and the more formal music played at Court, so maybe even then there were differences. Me, I'd rather just have fun than look and sound like I've got a broomstick up my b-- . . . um, nevermind.

Curt57 Says:
Wednesday, December 24, 2008 @1:25:43 PM

For the record, I love classical music too. Absolutely love Pachelbel's Canon in D and, this time of year, I absolutely must see Handel's Messiah performed. But when it comes to making I will stick with fiddle style music.

Brendan Doyle Says:
Thursday, February 5, 2009 @4:43:08 AM

Q: Why are violins smaller than violas?

A: Actually, they're not. Violinists' heads are just bigger.

By the way, the word "fiddle" appears to be about three centuries (13th century) older than the word "violin". I believe I read that if you follow both words back far enough, they come from the same etymological roots.

bj Says:
Thursday, February 5, 2009 @4:59:34 AM

Thanks for the grin, Brendan! I needed it on this drear winter morning, BC (Before Coffee!)

whigski Says:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 @7:19:24 AM

JB: You're right about the baggage, IronMommy, and the fact that at one time it (classical music) WAS the popular music of its time. I gotta wonder when it became this fossilized thing that it seems to be now.

Easy, the popular culture gives it low billing. "Out of sight, out of mind". Reminds me a bit of old time fiddle music.

rastewart Says:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 @9:03:13 AM

Well, let me be a devil's advocate (or weenie's advocate) and point out that classical music isn't in fact as fossilized as it may appear (and as some classical snobs may unfortunately make it appear). New classical music is being written all the time (and yours truly has been guilty of a little bit, not that anyone is ever going to hear it)--some of it incorporating improvisation, experimentation, and cross-pollination with other styles. Even the interpretation of the old warhorses changes over time. Point being, to the extent I'm managing to make any, that what we call classical music is also a living tradition. It's not what I choose to play, or have the chops to play--though I have to admit I'd join a good classical/church choir in a heartbeat if I had the time to give to it--but it's not a collection of fossils.

bj Says:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 @9:09:58 AM

New classical music -- an oxymoron ** wicked grin **

rastewart Says:
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 @2:31:56 PM

Wicked grin acknowledged and reciprocated!

hardykefes Says:
Friday, April 17, 2009 @1:36:03 PM

I will have a nice fiddle next weekend or so (Stradivari for 4.2M).
I'd like to go to the shop and ask them what they think about this fiddle.
I would love to see their faces!!!

Too bad that you had these experiences. But coming from classical world I know exactly what you are talking about.
I did some demonstratin last week for an orchestra, played first a little menuett from Beethoven, then some OT, Bluegrass and Texas swing.
Some people liked it, some other said they'll never play some music like 'that'.

There are weenies in every sector. Soem OT guys reac t the same way buy saying I'll never hold the bow like 'them' or play like 'them'

after all we want to have fun, improve and try out anything we can. A corvette is not a bad car because of the people who are driving them.

Or: "the finger is not the moon"!

I hope you'll don't let predjudice any kind hinder you on your path.

bj Says:
Friday, April 17, 2009 @1:56:02 PM

I'll try not to, Hardy. Unfortunately it is human nature to hold some prejudices. All we can do is strive to be better in all ways, including keeping an open mind. I have gone to bluegrass and Irish Trad jams, and will continue to explore other sorts of music. I however don't feel the desire to explore Classical, at least not as a player. I'll reserve my toedip into the Classical Pool for aural enjoyment only, I think.

So you've noticed that whole Corvette Driver thing too, huh? That is SO weird!

Ozarkian DL Says:
Saturday, April 18, 2009 @5:40:49 AM

Hardy's got tha rite idea ( mix-up the genre's )....& OTJunkys idea is a good'n too ( bag-o-cookies ).....cept..substitute diced PRUNES fer tha choc. chips ( LOL ).

bj Says:
Saturday, April 18, 2009 @5:50:16 AM

And yours is the BEST idea of all, Ozarkian D.L.!!!!!

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