14 Apr

Why Classical Music Transcends Time

Many people the world over love and revere the work of the great classical composers. They find joy in the works of Handel and Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. To others just the sound of the names of these great composers makes them turn their ears off. Many think Classical equals boring, however, there are reasons that classical music is considered classic and will last for all time.

Beethoven is now on your smartphoneHave you ever sat down to watch a movie and turned the sound off? Even with no words being spoken you miss out. You find that the movie does not have the same emotional hold on you. The music prods the story along. Sometimes it will make you sit at the edge of your seat in suspense, at other times cheer for the hero’s triumph, or weep for his loss. It is a fundamental building block to a great movie. It is an element frequently overlooked by the moviegoer. We cheer for the actors, the director, the set, the lights, the makeup and the CGI animation, but rarely do we walk out and say “so what did you think of that score?” When a composer has done his or her job on a movie score, it will simply enhance the other features in the movie.

You may think to yourself “what does this have to do with classical music?”. The answer? Everything. In order to make a musical piece work, you have to have a knowledge of how music itself works. As a music major, I have learned a lot about classical music and how important it is in the music scene today. One definition of the word classic is serving as a standard, model, or guide. Classical music is, quite often, a model for composers today. For example, in music theory class we studied about Bach. Bach had a way of writing pieces that take you on a journey as you listen. Bach’s music became a form for other composers to fill out. Ever hear of a Fugue? Well, Bach did it first, and Bach did it right. There are now rules and forms to writing music that did not exist before his time. You may not know them or understand them, but most people with any sort of a musical ear will be able to tell the difference between a piece that follows a proper chord progression and one that doesn’t.

Then there is Beethoven who was losing his hearing by his early twenties. He struggled and toiled over his music, but after his ninth symphony, nobody else wrote another symphony for years because of how great it was. Music like that never dies. To those who think that classical music is dead, you have my sympathy. You are going to miss out on some wonderful things if you choose to never listen to classical music. Just try to block out all the influence of the great composers; but keep in mind the next time you hear your child singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,’ that it is Mozart you’re listening to.

“Alan Baylock has achieved a goal that many artists aspire to, but often fail to reach: he has developed his own distinct sound as a composer. His writing is fresh, and is imbued with a great sense of spirit and fun.”
– Gordon Goodwin (Grammy & Emmy award winning composer/bandleader)

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“Baylock goes beyond the pale and creates moods and textures which challenge a big band to be on their best behavior. I have the highest regard for his writing.” – David Liebman