I am lucky to be able to share some information I am getting from “The Greenberg Lectures’ this particular one being “How to Understand and Listen to Great Music.” Professor Robert Greenberg is a giant in the field of music not only as a teacher but as a composer. There is no way I can do justice to him but I can relay bits and pieces of what he says that I hope will make your listening to music more fun.
I typically write about “Modern Music” say from the 1940s to the present. So I thought I would take myself and my readers to a little different part of the musical spectrum.
I was going to say that I would discuss “Classical Music” but was set straight in the reference information. “Classical” refers to a period of time from 1750 to 1817 although it is also defined through 1820. In any event it defines a period not a type of music. Music that we think of as Classical is actually called “Concert Music.” The more I learn about it the more fascinating it becomes.
In Greenberg’s first lecture, “Music as a Mirror” we find that not all music is entertainment. While of course some is, music also reflects times the composer lives in, their personality and attitude towards life and it may contain a message they wish to send to the listener.
Music can be “aesthetic, philosophical, historical and abstract. It is my advice that you listen to concert music. Part of any learning is listening. It is fun to learn to identify instruments.
Today we look at music and we must consider some realities. Hundreds and thousands of years ago music changed slowly. That was because cultures changed slowly. However today what is popular may be considered stupid ten years from now.
Music experiences constant change. Further, as I said previously, music is self-expression. As time goes by expression changes and finally rate of change increases.
If you listen to music from different time periods you will find that two pieces of music that are very old will be much more similar than two pieces of music from ten years ago and twenty years ago. They will be much different.
One other thing worth mentioning is when comparing two pieces of music instead of a saying they aren’t the same since that is not a measurement it is possible to say they are “disjunct” and if similar “conjunct.” You can use a third piece of music as a reference.
While this will not be my main thrust as far as types of music, to truly understand music we must study all types.
I hope you will enjoy some of these gems of information.
“Music as a Mirror,” “The Greenberg Lectures,” How to Understand and Listen to Great Music, Professor Robert Greenberg