Classical music: a brief analysis

Punch Howarth

A brief explanation of Classical is a necessary opening as there are music forms other than Classical; Pop music that changes with culture modifications, Jazz that stresses invention and individual expression, Folk music relating to culture groups are but a few among others. Some vocabulary relating to Classical are serious, old, complex, highbrow, difficult, long, intellectual, elegant, none of which is actually true. However, there are two ways to listen to music. One is to just listen and enjoy, and the other is to study what the music is all about as to the structure and meaning. Fundamentally, Classical music requires composers-performers-forms-listeners.

Usually to become a composer, it starts with piano mastery followed by composition studies and germane ideas. Also it can’t be something already composed; it must be original! The performers of music must also be highly trained and includes instrumentalists, vocalists and conductors. It is also an advantage for any musician to live close to top music schools and major symphony orchestras to find great teachers and to hear top performers.

Forms of Classical music are many. In vocal music there are cantatas, masses, requiems, opera buffo and grand opera. Instrumental music has more variety.

Symphonies and string quartets usually have four movements and concertos have three, again usually. Other forms are: overtures, tone poems, suites, ballets, marches and various dance forms.

The final movement of this brief essay is listening. One can accomplish this in various ways: going to concerts, listening to a neighbor practice, watching an opera, ballet or concert on TV, recognizing music in a movie or in a commercial, listening to a CD at home or in a car, watching a DVD either you own or rented. A major way to enhance being musical either by listening or performing is through music education in all levels of schooling, particularly public school music appreciation, band, orchestra and choir.

Hopefully the reader will enjoy these summer diversions about music. The prime focus upon SASO will return in  September.