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Saturday, March 1, 2014

classical music is the most complex music

Bruce Lindfield's Avatar
Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Brighton, England, UK, Europe
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Originally Posted by fingers
To throw another perspective into the arena.

Jazz is often (not always) limited to music that is from the 1930's-1960's. The the newest tunes most traditional bands play are at least 34 years old. To an under 30 audience these tunes are similar to classical music in that they were written before their lifetime by a dead composer. Some people attribute the success of groups like MMW, The Bad Plus, EST, and even Brad Mehldau to the fact that they are using a more modern vocabualary. Esbjorn Svensson (piano player from EST) goes on to talk about this in a recent Downbeat interview. These groups have the top record sales in jazz.
Ironically, I think you have almost proved the opposite point to your conclusion there! 

So - most classical music is in many ways more complex than your average Jazz tune Jazz and (as you say) was written by people who are long dead. But it can still be enormously popular - so a classical tune is used in a car commercial or something and it is bought by millions - many classical compilations sell huge amounts! 

I remember a piece from Mahler's 7th symphony which is pretty complex and musically sophisticated, being used for a Castrol commercial many years ago and bcoming very popular! 

I don't think it's complexity that is the problem - it's unfamiliarity! So, people love familiar tunes - even if they are pretty complex - if you hear something many times it can fix in your mind forever.

The thing about Jazz is that it unsettles this basic need in us to fix on something we've heard before - it has fewer reference points that stay the same for the listener. I think as musicians, we like this, as it keeps us on our toes and involves us more - but for casual listeners it means they are just "all at sea, without a map"! 
“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.”
Charles Mingus

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