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Learning to appreciate classical music

  • Posted on: May 5, 2018
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If you’re truly serious about becoming a classical music connoisseur, first we have to debunk a myth: classical music is not just Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven and Debussy. Though they are some of the most famous composers, they’re far from the only representatives.

The term “classical” covers any music made during the 1750 and 1820, that includes medieval music, Romantic period music, and even regional styles that vary from country to country. So really, classical music doesn’t cover just one particular style or a small set of composers. Whenever you’re ready to dig in, here’s what you need to know:

Look for the story

Just like pop songs are written about love, parties, or heartbreak, classical music was written with a story in mind. It might be hard to get the story at first because there will be no lyrics hinting at the meaning of the song but try to interpret the instruments and melody. There’s a narrative in there. Know that the tune is trying to tell you something and every sound is there for a reason. A single instrument may have a lot more to say than what you initially think.

Don’t force yourself to like it

If one of the big famous composers just doesn’t do it for you, don’t force yourself to like him. It’s okay not to fall in love with Mozart the first time you hear one of his pieces. There are several other authors for you to choose from, and there’s no shame in going for some of the lesser-known composers. Likewise, don’t fear developing a taste for a piece of music that’s not considered a “masterpiece”. Just let yourself enjoy what you enjoy.

Invest in a sound system

There’s no need in spending two months’ salary in a sound system, but you will need -at the very least- a good pair of headphones. Most classical pieces are very rich when it comes to notes, subtleties and nuances. You just won’t be able to appreciate them if you’re relying on your laptop’s speakers or your phone’s headphones.

Experiment with playlists and radios

Take advantage of the internet, and start listening to classical musical streamings, radio stations, and playlists other enthusiasts have put together.  The more you listen, the easier it will be for you to determine what kind of sounds excite you, and what kinds of composition make you want to skip to the next piece. Let your ears wander.

Go to a live presentation

It’s simply impossible to go to a live presentation and not feel a thing. Listening to an orchestra performing a piece right before your eyes will allow you to make a personal connection which means you will no longer view classical music as a distant art form that can only be appreciated through an intellectual exercise.

Join a community

Find other enthusiasts that will be happy to discuss your new findings and exchange opinions on different pieces. Be careful of finding snobs and purists that have a defined set of rules for liking something. They’ll only make you want to run away from classical music.