Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A musical offering

Washington Post did an interesting experiment when they had the great violinist Joshua Bell perform at a crowded metro station during the rush hour. Number of people who stopped and listened: 3. Number of people who passed by without giving a second look: More than 1000.

Read the article and watch the videos here. Smart, poignant piece of journalism. Definitely worthwhile.

It raises a number of important questions:
  • Is context important for a piece of music to be deemed great?
  • Do we have a tendency to associate familiarity with greatness? Do we tend to ignore the unfamiliar, no matter how good it is?
  • In this day and age are our priorities so messed up that we fail to appreciate beauty in life?
Tough questions these....


PS said...

Im just amazed by the street musicians in NYC, I can spend hours listening to them.

This is a very interesting experiment, but I think the result is kindof quite expected.
I'm going for a G3 concert tonight, Joe Satriani and John Petrucci, as good guitarists as one can ever get, probably the greatest living guitarists, but sadly noone was interested in coming along with me.

Roger Waters, on the other hand, almost everyone bought tickets the day the ticket sales opened.

A clear case of hype v/s greatness of music.

Carnatic classical concerts here have typical audiences of around 100-200 ppl, a band like Euphoria or Indian Ocean gets about 500-600 audience, but I heard there was a show by Himesh Reshamiya at Newark sometime back with an audience of about a few thousand.

What do you say about that?

And what do you say about Australian Pink Floyd or Machine v/s Pink Floyd. Ok, Waters and Gilmour composed and wrote all those songs, but in terms of performance, I think these cover bands are better.

Nikhil said...

People generally like to listen to the stuff they are familiar with or is in vogue and popular among their peers. Hence popular music is so er... popular.

But then, I guess the only reason cover bands for classic rock artists are better is that the original members, Waters etc. are pretty old now with their abilities waning. I'm sure Pink Floyd back in the 70s would have kicked any cover bands ass.

Gypsy said...
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