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Started by GyratingTrampoline on Nov 9, 2021 10:36:16 AM
is Western Classical Music superior to other musical forms?

... asked my dad, provocatively.

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GyratingTrampoline - 09 Nov 2021 10:38:43 (#1 of 73)

In my opinion you can't defend such statements because its all subjective innit.

You could make objective statements like Western Classical Music is more harmonically sophisticated than most other music (with the exception of eg jazz), or that Western Classical Music requires more skill in the sense that it takes longer to become proficient at performing or composing it, compared with, for example, folk music from various parts of the world or compared with pop music.

But you can't get from any such objective measures to general conclusion that it is superior

LomaxFairchild - 09 Nov 2021 10:41:12 (#2 of 73)

more harmonically sophisticated

Even that's debatable, being as it's limited to 12 semi-tones per octave.

Sabacious - 09 Nov 2021 10:42:43 (#3 of 73)

An interesting tangent to this from Adam Neely:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr3quGh7pJA&t=
218s

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 10:51:03 (#4 of 73)

or that Western Classical Music requires more skill in the sense that it takes longer to become proficient at performing or composing it, compared with, for example, folk music from various parts of the world or compared with pop music.


Hmm

Western Classical Music is extremely rudimentary from a rhythmic point of view.

How much does your dad know about African Classical Music, GT, to be able to judge the superiority or otherwise of the European Classical variety?

staticgirl - 09 Nov 2021 10:53:01 (#5 of 73)

Also Chinese opera. You can't tell me that isn't very sophisticated (even if I have no idea what is going on.)

GreenFuture - 09 Nov 2021 10:57:08 (#6 of 73)

It's arguable that Western Europe's contribution to harmony, moving away from modes to the system of 12 keys (well tempered klav and all that) was so enormous to the advancement of global music, via much richer harmonic possibilities, that it has a head start.

Other global regions have very sophisticated harmonies, but not AS sophisticated, which is why their modern output often utilises the western system in it's own ways.

It's only a few hundred years old, diddly in evolution terms. The industrial revolution started in England slightly later. When China churns out a squillion gadgets now, do we say "ah-ah"....western based production methods...that makes us superior" Christ, that's probably really clunky lol.

But it's too amorphous a question really.

Jazz can be especially sophisticated. There are rhythms from all over that are way more important a contribution than anything western prior to the 20th Century.

Folk, on the other hand, often prides it self on being simple, but can still be towards the "superior" in its artistry.

I dunno...similar-ish Q: is US pop culture (especially film) "superior"? No. But it's hugely important and often dominant in influence. Those are slightly different things.

Good question. Will come back to it. I've been garbled so far.

RosyLovelady - 09 Nov 2021 11:00:48 (#7 of 73)

So far so good, gf :-)

GyratingTrampoline - 09 Nov 2021 11:05:23 (#8 of 73)

How much does your dad know about African Classical Music, GT



Nothing.

Actually one thing that strikes me is that european classical music has tended to incorporate things that are interesting and/or complex from other traditions. For example in classical music I don't know of any time signatures other than 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 until you get to Bartok, who was into transcribing hungarian folk music. In eastern europe folk music is often in 7/8, 11/8, 13/8 and so on, to the extent that children know how to dance in these time signatures, which they certainly don't over here.

Similarly, western music started experimenting with microtones as soon as composers became aware that other cultures had them.

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 11:08:52 (#9 of 73)

In eastern europe folk music is often in 7/8, 11/8, 13/8 and so on, to the extent that children know how to dance in these time signatures, which they certainly don't over here.


There are also patterns around how time signatures change within a given piece of music, someone explained it to me but it made my head hurt

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 11:09:42 (#10 of 73)

Nothing.


Pretty hard to judge whether other classical music traditions are superior or inferior then, I'd say!

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 11:10:26 (#11 of 73)

Although sub-Saharan African music theory does not have irregular time signatures (according to Bebey)

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 11:12:58 (#12 of 73)

Even making house/techno music is highly skilled - the skill doesn't lie in scoring multiple pieces for a full orchestra, but in other areas. Anyone could get a sampled loop of a drum beat, a bass line, some pad sounds, but unless you know what you are doing production wise, if you play that on a large, high quality PA, it will sound terrible.

Shadrack22 - 09 Nov 2021 11:31:20 (#13 of 73)

What a shame WibbleAgain and Uranrising are no longer here to join in.

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 11:32:15 (#14 of 73)

Or PlunkettDoone - he could answer the question posed using SCIENCE

GyratingTrampoline - 09 Nov 2021 12:17:25 (#15 of 73)

yikes I didn't know Wibble had left

frantastic - 09 Nov 2021 13:17:12 (#16 of 73)

Given that WCM requires much more skill, practice & knowledge to perform or write, why bother? There must be more to it than meets the ear.

FrankieTeardrop - 09 Nov 2021 13:18:50 (#17 of 73)

The music of Yes requires much more skill, practice & knowledge to perform or write, yet it sounds awful

Oldbathrobe1 - 09 Nov 2021 13:20:53 (#18 of 73)

is US pop culture (especially film) "superior"? No.



Mediocrity sells. Things that require effort from the consumer, less so.

frantastic - 09 Nov 2021 13:21:49 (#19 of 73)

I don’t think the music of Yes is particularly difficult to play you just need a good memory since it’s insufferably long.

whitbreadtrophy - 09 Nov 2021 13:27:33 (#20 of 73)

or that Western Classical Music requires more skill in the sense that it takes longer to become proficient at performing or composing it, compared with, for example, folk music from various parts of the world or compared with pop music.

The most tin-eared Western music lover can tell the difference between a trained and practised tabla player compared to someone who thinks they can play tabla.

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