Pop Music VS Classical Snobs

Pop Music VS Classical Snobs

A case for simplicity.
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Luther College, and really the entire town, is well known as a bastion for music. Our choirs, bands, and orchestras are all top-notch and travel the world to show their abilities. It’s a amazing blessing, but it comes with its own problems. For example, the average person will come across way more classical music snobs.

You know the type. “Oh, you haven’t heard 'Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor'? Well, you simply must! So much better than the schlock we hear today.” They’re the kind of people who’ll crap on any music made after the 1950’s even though they haven’t listened to a song made after 1920.

Keep in mind, this isn’t about people who like classical music. It’s, of course, a high quality art form with a deep history and centuries-worth of literature. This is about the people who not only love classical music, but look down from the top of their contrabass clarinet on anyone who doesn’t listen exclusively to Giuseppe Verdi or some other random Italian.

“Pop is the slow destruction of music as an art,” they’ll say. Well, I’ve got news for you. Pop and modern music is exactly what music was meant to be.

A friend of mine recently had the gall to say Beyoncé was overrated and untalented. His biggest complaint and the one I hear most often about pop music is that it’s all simple and is made for people to just party and dance around. Ignoring the fact that Beyoncé’s last two albums were critically acclaimed art pieces and not dance songs at all, music you can dance to and sing along with isn’t a bad thing.

Think about the origins of music, of sound and rhythm. I’m talking the beginnings of human history. Music was a tool for celebration! Entire tribes of people would gather together to sing and dance. If not that, music was a tool for sadness or mourning. Woeful wails would bring the entire community into a shared grief. I’m sure you’re catching on. Music was always supposed to be simple, a tool for everyone to express emotions whether they be happy or sad.

So where does classical music fit? Let’s look at the time period. Classical music’s heyday was a time of great innovation musically, but it was also a time when music stopped being communal. It would be composed to be performed at giant churches or at symphony performances or for rich people’s entertainment. In other words, it was largely for the elites. Knowledge of classical music and the ability to play the instruments in a symphony were often lessons taught to the children of nobles and the rich. Your average layman would be lucky to have heard it live, let alone be able to participate and understand the intense complexity of the music.

Classical music’s great at creating an ambience, but what good is it if it’s not for the entire community? At the time, the communal music, the music of old, was taking form in folk songs. Sure, they were simple. They were happy or sad, easy to play, and easy to listen to. That’s what made them great, and that’s why people remember "Scarborough Fair" more than Dietrich Buxtehude’s "Chaconne in E minor".

The equivalent to classical music today is, well, classical music. The equivalent to folk music today, the music that upheld the traditions all music was built on, is pop. I can’t begin to count how many times friends and I have belted "Crazy In Love" like madmen, and everyone around us who heard knew exactly what was happening. Some pop even transcends language with the energy and spirit of K-pop and J-pop being a hit in the USA (sly anime joke). Sure, some pop music is bad, but there’s something magical about that sensation of knowing that no matter who you are, you share the same spirit of music.

Of course, you can enjoy classical music without being elitist and pretentious. As someone who basically only performs classical music (outside of showtunes), I know I do. It has so much to appreciate and learn from, and without it, modern music may not be in the shape it is today. Just remember, as much as it seems so superior to simple layman’s music, it’s the pop songs that can really feel like music to everyone.
Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

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The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

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Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

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The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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