The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27366   Message #340484
Posted By: Grab
14-Nov-00 - 11:32 AM
Thread Name: Proper Music?
Subject: RE: Proper Music?
The situation...

In the UK (for non-UK 'catters) we have 3 main music radio stations. There's Radio 1 which is targetted at teenagers and clubbers (mostly dance music and boy-bands); Radio 3 which is classical (with some jazz); and Radio 2 which is everything else (folk, blues, rock, musicals, jazz, world music, anything pre-1999, plus a fair slice of light classical too). Anything else, you need to listen to a commercial station which is nearly always middle-of-the-road pop.

TV has almost completely stopped covering music. The only regular TV programmes are Top of the Pops (weekly top 40, ie. all dance and boy-bands) and Later with Jools Holland (very good live music, but shown at 12:30 at night). The Proms gets coverage too (3 hours a day for 3 weeks a year IIRC, mainly light classical). Other than that, forget it.

So it's not just the classical folks benefitting - teens and clubbers are getting a heavy boost too, and when it comes to subsidies it's teen music (with manufactured boy-bands) which gets money from record companies cos it's there that they'll make their money back in the short term. Radio 1 has non-stop dance (and this is non-stop; club DJs on the decks) from 7 to some ridiculous time in the morning, plus plenty of play on Radio 1 all week; by contrast, folk and blues get 1 hour each per week. What's needed is another radio channel (or two) to share the burden with Radio 2. As it stands there isn't the bandwidth to do it, but hopefully when digital radio gets started properly we can have channels dedicated to hitherto under-represented styles of music.

I don't go for any of the "class" thing in classical; certainly it's expensive to go to a top-line concert/ballet, but no necessarily more than you'd pay to go and see a top-line rock act (compare and contrast to tickets for Meatloaf, Dire Straits's last gig, Michael Jackson's last tour). Local amateur orchestras don't charge more than a typical amateur pub-and-club group (generally £5-10 depending on quality, for both), and regional professional orchestras don't charge more than a full-price gig (average price £15-25 for a gig by a popular group around here, Halle Orchestra for example charges £18-£30 for tickets). Is this price due to subsidies? Maybe so, but not always from the government; major orchestras can be sponsored by various commercial groups. Incidentally, major pop and rock group tours are often sponsored by commercial groups too (Nike, Pepsi, etc), so go figure.

On the "never trade in my musical freedom for technical facility" front... No! There's no contract signed in blood that says you have to stop playing folk once you've taken some classical lessons! Classical music has spent several hundred years working out the most effective way to play various instruments, and refusing to take advantage of that vast pool of knowledge is just pig-headed. If you don't want to play classical music then fine, but going to a teacher for technical advice on how to play your instrument better is not selling your soul, it's common-sense. I grant you that classical music doesn't encourage improvisation, but you're an adult now and you can choose your own way.


PS. Re-reading that, I don't necessarily mean that Meatloaf, DS and MJ are the world's best acts, just that they're the biggest, or were at the time. So don't flame me on that. (please... :-)