Why classical?

Why on earth should you give classical a go? Here are 5 good reasons to start listening:

  • It’s richer and more rewarding than popular music – Classical takes a much longer time to “get” than popular music, which is intended to be picked up quickly, by the widest possible audience. It takes just a listen or two before the melodies of most four-minute songs from the radio become embedded in your head, and then you’re stuck whistling Baby One More Time all day, and cursing Britney. It doesn’t take long to understand a piece. Classical takes far longer to parse. It can take five or six listens before you even begin to hear recurring melodies, but the more you listen the more you understand. It just doesn’t “wear out” like most popular pieces do after repeat listens, in fact it gets better.
  • It’s an intellectual challenge – Popular music tastes good to everyone, classical is an acquired taste. You have to put some serious effort into it. Thats true for other artforms as well, but for some reason people seem to give classic literature or great paintings a more serious go than they do classical music.
  • It’s more varied than you realize – You might have heard people claim that different composers sound totally different, but you might well also not believe them. I didn’t. It’s true though. If you try listening to pieces composed in 50 year steps, starting from Bach and ending at Adams, you’ll probably find something which appeals to your tastes. As you listen more and more, those tastes will expand like crazy.
  • It’ll make you sound impressively cultured – Okay, so this one is a bit cheap, but it’s true. There’s something extremely satisfying about hearing a song playing in the background and casually remarking: “Ah! The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto!” to your group of friends. It’s nice to occasionally be a bit of a smug bastard.
  • It’s cost effective – Classical recordings are often half the price of popular CD’s, especially if you buy them used. You can often get multiple CD sets for around ten dollars. Additionally, the quality of the music is uniformly great. Do you ever feel ripped off when you shell out fifteen or twenty bucks for a new album, only to discover that seven out of the ten tracks on it suck? Well, that pretty much never happens with classical.