I have a theory about this phenomenon - these people (the one’s that use classical music as background noise) think that classical music all sounds the same. Imagine you bring a friend to a classical music concert. The symphony is playing Beethoven’s 5th, and you’re on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. It’s a brilliant performance, and you feel energized mentally, and even physically! The lights finally go up and you make your way back out to the car, and your friend is all excited, “I just love classical music! It’s so… relaxing!” And you’re like… what? Relaxing? This was such an explosive piece! How can anyone describe that as relaxing?
I’ve seen this exact scene play out many times, which got me to think about why people think classical music is so relaxing or boring, as opposed to any other music. After dwelling on it for far too long, I have come up with a single possible reason, which may be just an umbrella for a million other reasons.
Most people don’t understand classical music.
Alright! Hang on there, it sounds bad I know! The truth is, we live in such a different time now than the time that most music in this genre was written. We have so many different musical mediums and expressions at our disposal, that it seems that classical music is being swept under the rug in a sense. I even find it hard to stay focused on a 3-minute song, let alone a 45+ minute symphony! The only way I can possibly sit through 2 hours of a classical music concert is if I listen for depth and for the subtle musical emotions or stories that the composer was trying to express. Those are things that sound difficult to grasp in something with no lyrics, but it is true that anybody is able to understand classical music. The beautiful thing about it is that there are so many ways that you can interpret any given piece. There is no book written that tells people exactly what to feel when listening to music, which brings me full circle into my own hypocrisy.
Who am I to say that Beethoven's 5th symphony isn't a relaxing piece of music? Why should I be the one to decide that people don't understand classical music because they listen to it when they do their homework?
The reason I bring up this topic is because people are so quick to judge anything they don't fully understand. This can relate to almost everything: politics, cultural differences, religion, and the list goes on. Think about a band or singer that you don't like. If you were to listen to their album, it's possible that you might think, this all sounds the same. But why does it all sound the same to you, but not to their #1 fan? Because they understand that music more fully than you do, perhaps because they can relate to it on a more personal level, or because they have spent more time reading into each individual song on the album.
This can possibly relate to the issue that people have with classical music. Although a lot of people might not say that they dislike the genre, they may not have really listened to enough of it to actually feel anything as a result. This is why I want to encourage you to really listen to music. Not just classical music, but maybe an artist that you judged too quickly. The music world is something that is open to everyone, and music can be something that really brings people together in a world that feels like it is falling apart.
With that, I will end this post in the hopes that you do not only hear, but you also listen.
If you're interested in classical music, but you don't know what to listen to, here are a few of my "What I'm Listening To" Posts:
Thanks for reading --