[2 SIDES 1 ISSUE] Classical vs. modern music; which is more enjoyable?
January 6, 2022
Based on the number of listeners of different types of music every year, the top ten most popular music genres are PopHip-hop and Rap, Rock, Dance and Electronic music, Latin music, Indie and Alternative Rock, Classical music, K-Pop, Country, and Metal in order. The classical music genre is 7th, so why would one compare it to all 9 other genres of music on this list and more?
The truth is that classical music is not really a genre, but many different genres fit into the concept of ‘music from the past’. There were different periods of ‘Classical music’ that have existed for the past 6 centuries. First, there was Early Music which there are very few manuscripts or recordings of the pieces that you can find today. Following this time period, there was the Renaissance period, which lasted around two centuries following the Early Music period.
After this period of music, there was the Baroque era which lasted until about 1750. This was really the first time period that people recognize today, with composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi just to name a few. Following this generation of composers and performers, there was the Classical period. This shift was largely due to the works of Italian composer Domenico Scarletti, who paved the way for composers like Mozart and Beethoven, two of the most well-known composers today.
The next era of music was the Romantic period, from circa 1830 to 1900, and following this period was the Modern Classical period.
After centuries of development and experimentation within the ‘Classical genre,’ many different genres of music emerged, the music that is most popular today. So what really is the better genre of music?
Modern music is better
Junior Julia Colbert argues that modern music is better because it appeals to a larger audience. “I think that modern music is better because it can appeal to a larger group of people. Although classical music is more complex, it is harder to understand to truly enjoy. Messages can also be better conveyed with modern music as there are lyrics, which help the listener relate and connect to the song,” she said.
Although classical music might have more complex rhythms, harmonies, and melodies, it might not appeal to everyone. “Very few have the musical IQ to understand the complexity of classical music and to be able to have an emotional response to it. Lack of complexity does not necessarily mean a lack of emotion, as it can be argued that modern music’s “simplicity” makes it easier for listeners to have an emotional reaction to,” Colbert said.
Classical music is better
According to sophomore Henry Choi, he thinks “that modern music is worse because, over time, music has gotten less complex, with very basic rhythm and melody, whereas classical music has many layers of complexity to it, with several layers of music to a melody.”
Choi continued that the complexity of classical music creates more emotions. “While one may be able to relate to modern music through lyrics, I’d argue that it is easier to relate to music through the emotions it conveys. The complexity of classical music is what allows it to portray such in-depth emotions, whereas modern music’s lack of complexity means a lack of emotion, making it harder for the listener to relate to,” he said.
In conclusion, although the classical music audience is relatively small compared to the rest of music consumers, classical music has been around for so much longer and paved the way for other genres of music, therefore it is the better genre.