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Popular or classical piano pieces?

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by pianoman342, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    There are some piano pieces that are not to be considered “classical music” because they do not have elements of classical music. That is to say, songs that have a harmony that has little more going for it than a formulaic I – IV – V chord progression.

    Some piano pieces, however, from a musical analysis point-of-view, use diminished, augmented and in the case of one of these pieces, a two chord made into a seventh with a flat fifth! However, I wouldn't say they are jazz (at least not free-improvised like bebop)

    These are tuneful ditties written in the early 20th century, by various American composers. There is only one of these on the site, the "Rialto Ripples"

    “Poor Buttermilk” (1921) by Zez Confrey:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYQXucRsiHU

    “Rialto Ripples” (1917) by Gershwin and Donaldson:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2R0oQH2aXY

    and “Church Mouse on a Spree” (1936) by Frank Froeba
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9bYcWK23KI

    are they classical or popular?
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I consider it popular piano music, but not like as in today's 'pop' genre. It's a little tricky though....Gershwin can almost ride the line between classical and jazz/popular. I think I'm just going to call the music "classical popular" music. :)
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    That works! :)

    I tend not to trust wikipedia for much, considering random people can edit the articles, but there is an article I found on it that talks about the fusion of jazz and classical music, called "the third stream."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_stream

    That said, what about the first and second stream? Don't bother checking wikipedia, I already did :p No results returned for either the "first stream" or "second stream" :?
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Define classical, define popular.... There is only good or bad music.
    Having said that, define good, define bad .... :roll:
     
  5. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Easy enough.

    Good music is listened to (and relistened to) by many

    Bad music is listened to (and liked) by very few, if any.

    Don't know if that is totally objective, but its simple enough.. :lol:
     
  6. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    You must consider that "popular" in a way has replaced folk music. in the days of Haydn and Mozart the peasants did not sing Don Giovsnni's aria but had their own music, made by themselves, for themselves. strains of this did make into learned music. "Populal" is a genre that only appears in the 19th century and then t mean little more than music that appealed principally to people with little musical education. Stephen Foster comes in here. Then dance music was popular too. Think of the Strauss family.

    What is the difference bewtween then and now? of course the folk musician knew no muscal theory in the same way that any pop music star does not, while someone like Stephen Foster could read and write music, while the Strauss family members were musicians.

    Is Gershwin popular or is he leaned? Could someone with no musical education write what he wrote? Could someone without any idea of theory or even notation put Rialto Ripples on paper?
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't think of popular music replacing folk music. Folk music is still alive and kicking where I live - except I don't really care for most of it.

    Stephen Foster had quite a sad and early end to his life, didn't he? Another young man struck down in his prime. He lived two years less than Chopin, but died of unnatural causes. A little like Alkan, if I remember correctly. Alkan was killed when a large bookshelf fell on him, and Foster died from falling onto a piece of porcelain which broke into pieces and sent a piece right into his head.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Plausible, and true in many cases, but rather too simplistic. Millions listen to rap and hardcore. Does that make this good music ?
    Hmmm.... define music :roll:
     
  9. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

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    I think, if I have earbuds in my ears and I'm sitting next to someone on a bus. Say I was listening to something like Kanye West or Nicki Minaj (granted, I probably wouldn't unless I'm tuning into a radio) and the person next to me asks, "hey, what are you listening to?" I'd say, "I'm listening to Kanye West," or whoever. But if I was listening to Beethoven, Debussy, or Bach, and someone asks me "hey, what are listening to?!" I'd say, (regardless of the classical composer) "I'm listening to music" with some conviction that I wouldn't have if I was listening to some pop singer whos on the top of the charts.

    That's my rant :)
     
  10. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    If in live performance you are allowed to stand, dance, eat, drink or talk, then it isn't "classical;" if on the other hand you're supposed to sit and pay great attention, then it's "classical." :D
     
  11. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    :shock:

    Agreed that this is the modern perception, for which we need to thank Wagner, Mahler and Toscanini, who made their audiences behave; but this would mean most opera up to the XVIII century and beyond is not classical. Chairs were missing from the audience and were only to be found in the boxes (the Bolshoy Theatre still has no seats, but chairs, which can be moved at will - I know that because I had to endure a performance of Don Carlo there, sitting on one of those uncomfortable red chairs, whith boast neither upholstered backs or arms). People used to play cards during Handel's operas and oranges were hawked, assignments were made and buisiness was discussed. When Toscanini insisted that the lights should be turned off and latecomers refused entry, there was great protest and, for a time at least, he had to climb down.

    I would say this behaviour you mention for the "classical" audience, while being very conductive to good listening (I would hit someone behind me who began peeling an orange or cracking jokes) also leads to the perception that "classical" is not "for us", but is something omly for those who can sleep without messing their pyjamas up.
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I would not call it "folk", because we mostly know who composes it. Folk music is music that has evolved over the millenia and any one piece of music is the product of endless, nameless, hands, a group composition, if you will. There is even a term for that: Folk Revival.

    A little aside. Did you know that a lot of English folk music has been collected in the States? Incredibly enough, some folk songs which had almost vanished in England were found to have survived intact in the Appalachians. From Wikipedia article "Appalachian music":

     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Richard, that's very interesting!
     

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