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Pop vs. classical


The problem with most popular music is that once you hear it…you’ve heard it. It’s all right there, in the open, buck-naked, indiscreet and immodest, lacking all subterranean methods of persuasion. It says, “Here I am! Take me or leave me, but be quick about it!” With the best classical music, on the other hand, when you hear it you’ve only just begun to hear it. There is a world beneath the sound. Secrets compounded on secrets, a tormented and profligate past, a creation of order out of chaos, an instinctive knowledge of mathematics and music theory that’s tastefully hidden, rhetorical devices unknown to the listener but dominating him—all of which are concealed behind a simple and spontaneous idealism. In a sense it’s more life-affirming than popular music.

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