Jim Tobin replies to Karl Miller:
>> I guess I don't understand why you would say that not everyone has the
>> capacity to think about difficult music.
> Perhaps they don't know how to go about it. Not everyone has musical
I'm probably a statistical sport, but I loved modern and contemporary
music (some of it, anyway) without musical training. The music I found
difficult was the music most classical-music fans loved: Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and so forth.
I don't know that it is a matter of formal training, although it
probably doesn't hurt and may help. It is, however, important to
learn how to listen. If you're really getting only 20% of the music
at any one time, perhaps melody and rough harmonies are the only things
you will get. The only way this gets any better is to do a lot more
listening, perhaps even to try to make music yourself. Much of my
training came from the practical experience of rehearsing some big work
for performance. I was soon disabused of the notion that I had been
listening with full concentration.
>> indeed an audience, albeit small for the music of Wuorinen, yet it seems
>> somewhat sad to me that his music might be rejected because of his musical
>> vocabulary, versus its content. On the other hand, I can't imagine
>> anyone would be able to grasp its content on a single listening...
> Can you get to the content without having the vocabulary?
Usually, vocabulary merely describes what you hear. I would say that
most people feel the incredible modulation in the "Lux aeterna" of Faure's
Requiem without having the technical vocabulary to describe it.
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