right violinist, wrong time?

May 13, 2008 at 08:38 PM · if v.com is a slice of reality, it is easy to see that some posters are more liberal and others are more conservative in terms of pushing the limit of traditional musical expression. what is proper? what is tasteful? hot topics like those even drove some posters away.

do you feel you fit in?

Replies (34)

May 13, 2008 at 08:59 PM · Everybody fits very comfortably in the center of their own comfy universe, stars wheeling overhead in their assigned paths, planets orbiting predictably around their proper suns. Some of us have wider or more eccentric view, delighting in rogue comets, colliding suns, the risk of change and strange, others of us seem rather tightly bound to the warm safe normal herd bound center.

A liberal application of prunes would make it all better.

May 13, 2008 at 09:21 PM · Why limit it to "music"?

Classical indeed, with a smattering of Latin and Homeric Greek, and all the rest of it, I find the world today is deteriorating into a glib superficial tasteless and ever more shallow hypocritical swamp, encouraged by diminished educational standards (the easier to rule you with, my dear) and run by and for the few thousand plutocrats and those who suck up to them.

But so what? I'll be well out of it in a few decades, and meanwhile I have surrounded myself with good food, good music, books and toys. (Perhaps I'm a lot more superficial than I like to fancy myself. Still, there seems no exit from the graveyard spiral that civilisation, so called, finds itself in. I maintain that one must live to one's own standards. Deploring the masses is amusing, of course, but the fact remains that they don't care - apparently they're no better or worse than I am, just in thrall to a different set of values).

May 13, 2008 at 10:23 PM · I don't buy that the world is in decline, musical, moral or otherwise. Especially as a woman, I feel very fortunate to be living now. Even 50-100 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to study the violin, attend fancy universities, get a Ph.D., or become a scientist, as I have.

The pace of the modern world does get me down sometimes, but I don't feel alone in that. Pretty much everyone else I know who is over about age 13 feels the same way.

May 13, 2008 at 10:42 PM · Tasteless compared to what? An Egyptian mummy unwrapping party in some Victorian England parlor during the "Golden Age"?

As for music, anybody who asks "what is proper" is on the wrong track, although see many do. "Tasteless" asks the same question, so... Very superficial and transitory.

May 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM · I agree with Karen. Why the gloomy prognosis? The whole question seemed rather Kafkaesque when I first read it. Al have you been reading Metamorphosis again? (kidding) In the old days (20 years ago - pre internet) there were practical limits to what someone could know and how fast they could know it. What you need to know and what is noise determines your filters.

May 13, 2008 at 11:18 PM · "Al have you been reading Metamorphosis again?"

Prodding yourself with sharp metallic objects is preferable to reading (let alone rereading) Kafka.

That is all :P

May 13, 2008 at 11:46 PM · It does sometimes bother me that something that I love (classical music) is rather unappreciated in our society. I'm fortunate to have a venue (chamber music) that allows me to continue trying to improve and grow. So I have sort of just checked out of the mainstream of music and am doing my own thing - which one can do as an amateur.

As a whole, things are a lot better now than they used to be. There is more information and more communication. But things have sped up to the ponit that we tend to not appreciate the important things in life, which are things that take time - relationships, education, appreciating the arts, science.

May 14, 2008 at 12:36 AM · Greetings,

gotta respond rather tongue in cheek to

>we tend to not appreciate the important things in life, which are things that take time - relationships, education, appreciating the arts, science.

Can`t help feeling the `we` tens to refer to some rather nebuluous unwashed mass. `We` of course, do appreciate everything.;)



May 14, 2008 at 12:43 AM · I remember a psych class where we were asked to complete a sentence like "We..." or "Most people..." Then the teacher said we were describing ourselves in how we finished it.

May 14, 2008 at 01:31 AM · The world has always been a "tasteless" place. Art, excellence, class, intelligence, heart, service to others, spirituality, and dozens of other of the best qualities of human nature and human activity have always had an uphill battle in almost every society and at almost every point in history. But I still have faith in the human capacity to learn, to grow, to appreciate, and indeed to love.

I gave a half-hour talk to a Rotary club a few years ago on the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, with some illustrations (only the melodies played by me, the rest played by Mssrs. Heifetz, Oistrakh, Perlman, Francescatti, and Ms. Wick). I think that probably 95% of the audience never really listened to much classical music (and certainly never had any of it explained in plain English). I think that the other 5% probably didn't consider Tchaikovsky worthy of their attention.

When I showed the essential similarity between the two main melodies of the first movement, and played them next to each other, there were a couple of audible gasps of recognition in the audience. When I heard those gasps, I said, "So much for the criticisms that Tchaikovsky has no subtlety." To me, those gasps from those two people (undoubtedly music lovers who didn't think much of the TVC) were pure gold.

About a half dozen people came up to me after that presentation and said they had never understood until now how beautiful classical music really was. To me, that is a triumph beyond words.

I don't think it should matter what society at large thinks. It only matters what we, each one of us, does within our own personal sphere of influence.

I'm only an amateur, and at that not nearly as talented or accomplished as most of the people who frequent this website. I know that each one of you out there have an opportunity to add something of quality and meaning and depth and beauty to this "tasteless" world that can make it a better place and add something to the lives of the people who hear you. It is - it has to be - a true personal mission.


May 14, 2008 at 01:23 AM · "We" are trying to build a house these days, so "we" are trying to carve out as much time as possible for what "we" find to be the finer things in life. :) There are many things that "we" are having a difficult time fitting in!!

May 14, 2008 at 01:37 AM · long live schizophrenia...

May 14, 2008 at 02:18 AM · yep, better than paranoia in the moonlight.

May 14, 2008 at 02:45 AM · never met her...

May 14, 2008 at 04:23 AM · That was wonderful Sandy. It's great to know you've touched people's lives and made a difference. I think that is the key- we all have gifts to offer and it is wonderful when we find people willing to accept them. In each arena we inhabit, it is possible to learn and grow and share. Each time we get another chance or opportunity to impart our love and joy in listening to or making music, I'd like to believe the experience spirals upwards so we understand a little better or deeper, and feel ever more grateful for the opportunities life affords. I'm glad this site allows that to happen.

May 14, 2008 at 04:56 AM · As usual, I love what Sandy and Ron have to say! Just to add my two cents here: Like truth and virtue, beauty will find its way to reach the hearts and minds at the right time and right place. Let the marketing experts worry about the timing, the quality or the quantity of the recipients.

May 14, 2008 at 11:47 AM · Yixi, I agree. Nicely put.

May 14, 2008 at 06:27 PM · I sometimes feel like I was born 100 years too late.

May 14, 2008 at 08:49 PM · I always wanted to get around on horseback.

May 16, 2008 at 04:31 AM · There's no room for complacency.

From the BBC website today:

Between a quarter and a third of the world's wildlife has been lost since 1970, according to data compiled by the Zoological Society of London.

Populations of land-based species fell by 25%, marine by 28% and freshwater by 29%, it says.

Humans are wiping out about 1% of all other species every year, and one of the "great extinction episodes" in the Earth's history is under way, it says.

Pollution, farming and urban expansion, over-fishing and hunting are blamed.

May 16, 2008 at 05:25 AM · What does that have to do with this thread?

May 16, 2008 at 06:19 AM · Sorry, I thought it was a valid response to this comment:

"I don't buy that the world is in decline, musical, moral or otherwise."

May 16, 2008 at 06:33 AM · I went to their website and read the article. I'd be more worried about such a pronouncement if I had been shown a detailed report on the manner in which the data was collected to produce such statistics.

Otherwise, for data collecting I have only my ten fingers to count the number of bears I see each year, which has been on the rise since the 70's. At this rate, I won't have any fingers left at all.

May 16, 2008 at 07:02 AM · Emily, in India, the decline of the wild tiger population is going hand in hand with more sightings of wild tigers in places where people live. In their natural habitat they were mostly far away and out of sight of human settlements. But this habitat is shrinking as a result of expansion of agriculture and industrialisation. Consequently, the tigers are both declining in numbers and the remaining tigers are ever more often showing up near and in human settlements where they were rarely if ever seen before. It might be similar with bears in Alaska.

May 16, 2008 at 07:35 AM · To explain my skepticism, I read a newspaper article a few years ago about wolverines on the Kenai peninsula where I live. The writer emphasized the reclusive mysterious habits of the wolverine, rarely seen by humans. Then it informed me that wolverines were scarce, and we needed to do something about it. I was beginning to get concerned about the welfare of the wolverine, so I flipped to B5 to finish the article. This is where the writer explained that the population count had been estimated from a fly-over in an airplane.

Ever since then, I've had a pretty big hangup about statistics and methods of data collection.

Benjamin, no one really knows how many grizzly bears are on the peninsula here. The data, according to the Department of Fish and Game, was collected in the 70's from an airplane, and has not been updated.

And to give you some perspective, Alaska's population of 680,000 lives in an area over twice the size of Texas. Encroachment isn't as much of an issue here. And hunting grizzly bears is illegal.

May 16, 2008 at 08:05 AM · PS My finger counting statement was written tounge-in-cheek as an example of primitive data collection.

Methods are much better than that today, aren't they? Or are they? If they are, then they are comparing their new data with old data that was collected with less reliable methods, so the results would be inconclusive.

I am not saying that I believe everything's copacetic with the tigers in India (or the white-backed vulture population, for that matter). I'm just dubious about broad scale percentages that have no explanation as to their origin. Everyone should be.

May 16, 2008 at 07:47 AM · Emily, I am not saying that your skepticism is unjustified, I was just raising the possibility that our personal observations can at times be misleading.

May 16, 2008 at 07:59 AM · I feel that every day it gets harder and harder for classical players to fit in...especially with what they're calling music now a days.

May 16, 2008 at 08:18 AM · Yes Benjamin, you're right. At that point, it's best just to trust what the scientists tell you.

So now that we agree, let's toast. Here's a glass of koolaid, drink up!

May 16, 2008 at 08:20 AM · Sorry, Daniel, I got out of line.

Harder and harder to fit in, I agree. Don't even bother trying...

May 16, 2008 at 08:34 AM · Emily, in matters of life and death, I tend to try to err on the safe side, regardless of what anybody is saying, scientists, politicians, journalists, snake oil salesmen, preachers, whoever ;-)

May 16, 2008 at 09:07 AM · C'mon, just a sip...

May 16, 2008 at 11:11 AM · Ed, you're right, the "otherwise" in my comment was too sweeping. I agree with you about the environment but wanted to keep the thread somewhat on topic. And I still don't buy the musical or moral decline arguments.

May 17, 2008 at 12:36 AM · In Britain there are nearly a quarter of a million abortions each year. Motor vehicles crashes are the number one cause of trauma deaths world wide, surpassing even the toll taken by the casualties of war. There is a pronounced age-related pattern of death, with an increase after age 13 and a peak at age 18 for occupants; there is a peak at age 6 for pedestrian deaths.

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