(mis)Uses and abuses of classical music

I’m sure Pachabel almost certainly had washing machines in mind when he wrote his Canon in D. For f*ck’s sake.

See also this BBC article reporting a school which is playing Mozart to its students during detention as ‘punishment’:

Detentions where pupils are forced to listen to classical music are an effective deterrent against unruly behaviour, a head teacher has found.

A few years back, various train companies decided to weaponize classical music yet again, in another wacky experiment in social control (excellently dissected and ridiculed in this article).

"Is nothing sacred?" from Rushmore

Why is music being used as a threat in this way? Why these particular types of music? Why classical? The people who rubberstamp these ‘deterrents’ have created a vicious circle: they perceive ‘kids’ as hating classical music so they use it as a weapon against them, the result of which is that they grow up hating classical music whilst the rubberstampers have their preconceived notions and biases against young people confirmed and reasserted.

Perhaps there are more pernicious issues behind these baffling decisions: the adults like culture and think the kids are uncultured; the adults like Mozart and Rachmaninov, components of the high culture that they hold in such regard, and assume the kids don’t like high culture such as classical music. To this I respond:
a) stop stereotyping young people
b) stop using culture as a mechanism for social control
c) watch Clockwork Orange for an sarcastic, sardonic vision of what happens at the intersection of youth culture and yer ‘high’ culture.

The music used here is Henry Purcell’s amazing, dignified and dramatic Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary (Z860) (1695), more traditionally rendered here:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s