Classical Music For Dummies
Classical music has begun sneaking into the mainstream - if your interest has been piqued, there's never been a better time to develop an appreciation for this incredibly rich, complex, and varied body of work. Classical Music For Dummies lays the groundwork, and demonstrates just how amazing classical music can be.
Classical Music For Dummies
Prying Open the Classical Music Oyster
In This Chapter
Understanding what's so great about classical music
Identifying the seven habits of highly effective composers
Access the audio tracks at www.dummies.com/go/classicalmusic
The world of classical music is a place where idealism reigns, where good conquers evil and love conquers all, where you always get a second chance, where everything comes out right in the end, and where you can have your cake and eat it, too.
Classical music is one of the few living arts. It continues to exist by being constantly re-created, live, before an audience. Unlike the visual arts, classical music envelops you in real time and comes to life before you; unlike literature or theater, it can be understood equally by speakers of any language - or no language; and unlike dance, you don't need to look good in a leotard to perform it.
Classical music is a place to come to for pure enjoyment, for solace, for upliftment, for spiritual transcendence, and - if you follow our suggestions - for less than 25 bucks.
Discovering What Classical Music Really Is
For the purposes of this book, classical music is the music composed in the Western Hemisphere during the past few hundred years (not including recent pop and folk music). It's the music generally composed for an orchestra or combination of orchestral instruments, keyboards, guitar, or voice.
Until very recently (at least in geological terms), people didn't make such big distinctions between "popular" and "classical" music. In the 1700s and 1800s, it was all just music, and people loved it. People would go to the latest performance of a symphony, concerto, song cycle, or opera just as you might go to a concert in an arena, stadium, club, coffeehouse, or bar today - to have fun! They were enticed by the prospect of seeing their favorite stars, schmoozing with their friends, and hearing their favorite tunes. They came in casual clothes; they brought along food and drink; they even cheered during the show if the spirit moved them. Classical music was pop music.
The fact is that classical music is just as entertaining as it ever was. But these days, it's become much less familiar. That's all. After you become familiar with this art form, it becomes amazingly entertaining.
Figuring Out Whether You Like It
Not every piece of classical music will turn you on right away. And that's perfectly okay.
First of all, some pieces are, as we euphemistically say in the classical music biz, more "accessible" than others. That is, some have beautiful melodies that you can hum instantly, whereas others, on first listening, sound more like geese getting sucked through an airplane engine.
See what you like best at this very moment. There are no right or wrong answers; classical music is supposed to be fun to listen to. The trick is to find out what's most fun for you.
Play the first minute or so of each audio track at www.dummies.com/go/classicalmusic . Each is a musical masterpiece, each in a different musical style. The track list includes pieces from the Baroque style (roughly mid-1600s to mid-1700s), the Classical style (mid-1700s to early 1800s), early Romantic style (first half of the 1800s), late Romantic style (second half of the 1800s), and more modern, often deceptively chaotic-sounding style (20th century to the present).
Does one piece appeal to you more than all the others? If so, begin your exploration of classical music by delving into other works in that style or by that composer.
Or, if you love them all, fantastic! Our job just got a lot easier.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Composers
Despite the incredible variety of styles within the world of classical music, certa