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The Beauty in Discovering Old Music

by John Marvin Scott 2 years ago in classical

There is so much more to the history of music than most people know. We should embrace it with our entire heart, mind and soul.

J.S. Bach—Piano Partita o. 2 in C Minor (BVW 826, Composed in 1726)

What does one consider old music? I suppose if we look at it from this exact moment, music from the 1980s is technically old music. But I want us to go back further than that. Further than the 1900s even. Let's go back to the 1600s. It is close to here where I want to take you first.

Imagine for a moment that we are living in Austria in the mid-1600s. It's quite crazy to imagine, yes? I completely understand. But for a brief moment, let's imagine that that is where we are. You wake up from your night's sleep and head downstairs to eat something for breakfast. You and your family happen to be in a city where the Thirty-Years War wasn't at its peak, so you are able to live a "normal life."

You go about your day, and towards the end of the day, you decide to go and experience live music that evening. You walk into the hall where the musicians are on the stage, warming up. They sit in chairs in a neatly placed semi-circle, and the instrumentation is unique, yet nothing out of the ordinary for you. As the call time begins, the people take their seats, still chatting with their neighbours. You decided to come alone, so you take your seat in silence. You listen. You go home. You go to sleep, rise the next morning, and go about your day as usual.

Life was simpler back then, yes? Life was quite similar to how we live today. The main difference is technology (obviously), and the social circumstance was drastically different then what it is nowadays. When we were living in Austria, we really only listened to Austrian music. There might have been a couple of musicians touring, making their rounds throughout Europe, but that was it. If you wanted to listen to music from other places, you had to go about finding the sheet music yourself and learning it. Musicians back then (and mainly before the 20th century) had to learn music in order to truly experience it. Yes, there was concerts, operas, operettas, and symphonies that you could go and experience as a listener, but the main joy would be to experience it and recreate it and interpret it within yourself.

Why do I believe that discovering old music is a beautiful thing? Well...I bet there is an extremely small population of people who truly understand music history. This means that the music that most people experience has only been created in the last 100 years (if that). If we truly go back and see how far back music truly goes, we will see that music goes back to ancient Greece in Europe, Ancient African tribes, and don't even get me started on East Indian classical music. There is an extreme amount of music history that 99% of the population in the ENTIRE world will never get to experience. Or it might be better to say that they choose not to experience it.

There are a million choices that each person has to make during their lifetime. I truly believe that people choose to not experience the beauty that is music on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I do so myself in certain circumstances. When people choose to not be experienced and knowledgeable in art, I think we lose a sense of beauty in the world we live in. We can go back to the year 400, and find some absolutely gorgeous medieval music for the time. But, we can also go to the 1940s and listen to a beautiful country song written by Hank Williams.

There is a ton of fantastic music out there, and I highly encourage every single person reading this to go out and listen to something you've never heard before. If all you listen to is 2000s pop, maybe go back to the 1970s and listen to some bangin' disco. If you're obsessed with music from the romantic period, maybe go forward a little bit and listen to some traditional New Orleans jazz. I believe we can extract and find positive aspects in everything, especially music.

So go on! Find something beautiful to listen to.

John Marvin Scott
John Marvin Scott
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John Marvin Scott

Musician/Composer writing about my experiences in the world of music.

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