Thursday, March 23, 2023

On Music

I was driving to an appointment and heard something that resonated with me on the public radio station. It was the "Rustic Wedding Symphony" by Karl Goldmark. For some reason, I sank into deep concentration while I was listening, and at a stoplight, all kinds of thoughts flooded in at once. 

What I mostly thought about was the staggering range of music. Classical music, for the  most part, was limited to the wealthy, and opera as well. Everyone else, though, was listening to an entirely different kind of music, often in "public houses" (inns, taverns, etc.). Bard with lutes or harps in much rowdier settings, with much different subject matter. 

That's a huge oversimplification, of course, because classical music could be performed in smaller settings, too (just not with symphonies, obviously). Religious music was a third category, and it was hugely important. Still, though, classical music had a much-limited reach, both in income and in range. Rural dwellers just weren't going to hear anything like it. 

I wonder how listening to classical music performed by symphonies affected your perception of the world versus someone who experienced music through bards and small bands of performers, and how that translated into how you raised your children and interacted with the world in general. 

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