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I've always thought of classical vs romantic as attitude towards social hierarchy.

In the classical era the patron decided what type of art would be created. Most (western European) art was created by commission from the Church or the aristocracy. Artists were regarded as paid employees. Think Mozart.

In the romantic era there was a new spirit of individualism and a turning against hierarchy. The artist was now an independent creator driven by internal compulsions. Think Beethoven.

This was supposed to be reflected in the type of art produced. Mozart was supposed to produce entertainment. Beethoven wanted to produce music that appealed to the emotions, especially those not discussed in polite company.

I think the division still exists. Musical comedies, TV shows and poster art are "classical". The creators are artisans working on a defined project.

Serious dramas, academic music and much current painting and sculpture have their subject matter and treatment set by the artist.

There are, of course, overlaps. Movies can be of either type. Big studio pictures are formulaic while small idies go where their creators want them to.

I think the situation in pop music is harder to define. Most bands tend to play in accepted styles. I think this is due to a lack of imagination and a desire to be commercially viable. This is not a criticism, the number of genius who can define a new genre at any time is always limited.

Perhaps the easy availability of production and distribution facilities for both sound and image will allow those who don't tread the well-worn path to find audiences. Text publishing has been liberated since the web became popular and there are now millions of people writing and posting.

The problem becomes one of your audience finding you. There may be a new Shakespeare out there, but how do we know? Being noticed in a mob isn't easy. This part of the picture still needs work.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Thu May 22nd, 2008 at 09:43:22 AM EST

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