Friday, June 5, 2015

Seven Habits of Highly Annoying Classical Music Snobs

(This is just for fun, no popular music fans were harmed in the making of this satirical writing.)
  1. They know all this really obscure stuff about music like keys and time signatures and stuff.
  2. They are always listening to weird music by people I have never heard of like the Emerson String Quartet or Pierre Boulez. I mean, how do you even pronounce that? Booolay? Bulezzz?
  3. Half the time, you're talking to them, you don't even know if they are listening or not?
  4. They actually listen to music on "sound systems" with "subwoofers" and stuff instead of a laptop or iPod like the rest of us!
  5. You start to tell them about this great new song you just heard, Lean On by Major Lazer, and they just glaze over and start muttering about "derivative reggae clone with low-fat musical content..."
  6. They are actually proud of never having heard anything by Justin Bieber who is just, like, loved by so many beliebers!
  7. Classical music is the dead penumbra of obsolete white privilege, so why do they act like they have all the good music?
And now, for our musical envoi, "Lean On" by Major Lazer, featurinMØ on vocals:


Anonymous said...

Um... I really hope you're being sarcastic or something. A lot of those things are either minor or really just not true.

1. Keys and time signatures are really, really NOT obscure. If you play a classical instrument, you learn those things AT LEAST within your first year of practice, if not the first six months. Just because we know something about music you don't does not mean you need to get mad. I don't get mad at Albert Einstein for knowing more than I do.

2. If you listen to classical music a lot, you start to learn about more obscure composers and performers. The only reason you don't know what it is is because you DON'T listen to classical music on a regular basis. I don't really listen to pop music, so when you started talking about Major Lazer or whatever, I had no idea what you were talking about. Isn't that the same thing? I had never heard of them before; they seem obscure to me.

3. I don't even know where you're getting that from.

4. Not true. I listen to classical music on my laptop or iPod (well, in my case, just an mp3 player) all the time. And even if it was true, why would listening to good sound systems be a bad thing?

5. Well... that can sometimes be true. But aren't you being a bit hypocritical? What a pop musician do if a classical musician started telling them about this great new Rachmaninoff or Bach piece they heard? I highly doubt they would listen with rapt attention. More likely, they would roll their eyes and mutter something about, "stupid boring classical music with nothing interesting in it... no drums or electric guitar or rap sequences..."

6. Absolutely. Justin Bieber sounds terrible. Not going to lie.

7. What the heck? I have no idea what you're talking about. What does classical music have to do with white privilege? Pretty sure that racism was not very present around the time of Bach or Vivaldi. Also, what does that have to do with whether or not the music is good? You are not making any sense. And what do you mean by "classical music is dead"? Classical music was good when it first came out, and it's still great now. You don't know what you're talking about.

Bryan Townsend said...

As I said in the beginning, this was just for fun. In other words, SATIRE! But I am delighted to finally get a comment.

#3 is a reference to the fact that musicians often seem to live partly in another world--especially drummers.

I think the way to read this piece is to assume that I am kidding all the way through, which I am. I am making fun of both popular and classical music lovers. The popular folks I am making fun of by caricaturing the way they might perceive classical music and vice versa. My last item, #7 is a caricature of the way "new" musicologists talk about the "canon".

Now what you need to read is Jonathan Swift's essay A Modest Proposal about feeding hungry English families by roasting unwanted Irish babies. I'm pretty sure he wasn't entirely serious either!