There are hundreds of genres in music today. The ‘80’s saw the birth of funk and the ‘90’s saw the birth of teenage pop. Continuously, music changes and adapts to its surroundings. With so many options out there, we sometimes forget the roots and beginnings, that it all began with classical music. This post was inspired by a recent visit to my chiropractor in west palm beach who had classic tunes playing during our session.
To be honest, classical music in itself is a very broad category. Its perception and definition have changed over the years. In the first few centuries of the past millennium, the Persian, Indian and Roman civilizations began classical music, as it was conceived at the time. Following that came the church and secular music, also termed as classical. All commendable and artistic, definitely.
However, what we refer to as classical music started off in the mid-1700s with the rise of prominence of the Venetian schools of music. The names in that era – Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert etc. – still remain the most hallowed and inspirational names in music. Classical music underwent a redefinition during that time, with a focus on simplicity and power. It succeeded the Baroque school of music, which was complex to understand.
With Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart, classical music began to take a tone of simplicity. Size of orchestras increased to lend more power to symphonies. Melody combined with a harmonic progression led to a clearer piece of music. On a broader economic context, music became affordable for the middle-class and common man. Women began to compose, a trend that has since picked up and can be explored in our related post.
In the later decades, jazz emerged and branched off into its own category. That set the trend for a multitude of genres that followed. Yet, neo-classical music remained as the father figure. We would like to think that it is the case today as well. The complexity put into the composition combined with the perceived simplicity during performance alone makes classical music the pinnacle of beauty.
To bring together an orchestra of more than 30 individuals and an incomprehensible variety of instruments requires talent, preparation, diligence and nerves. That cannot be said for any other form of art, in fact. The fact that most orchestras succeed despite the blatantly visible handicap that if one person fails, the whole group fails, is mindboggling.
We commend the raw vocal strength that goes into Blues, the sheer passion exhibited by Rock ‘n roll, and the soul present in Jazz. Yet classical music requires a combination of the three, and much more. It remains the ultimate benchmark for a professional musician.