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Why is classical music unpopular?

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And for god's sake that does not need to have anything to do with V-I. I guess I figure that after all these years we might be able to swallow our bloated pride and say "ok maybe we were wrong about Schoenberg."

Just to clarify, are you saying that Schoenberg's music is crap but everyone treats him like a musical god?

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The audiences hardly get exposed to new music that they are likely to grasp or enjoy, and as a result we have phenomena like "new music" having a negative connotation among listeners.

I refuse to take this seriously if you don't back it up with an example. Stop being butt hurt and actually present an argument against something real.

Think about it. How many classical and romantic composers would have dared hide behind trite bullshit like "you just dont like my music because you dont understand it. You arent educated enough."
I mean, by all means compose whatever the hell you want, but if you're going to sit there riding on a tradition that developed specifically because the audience was meant to be entertained when they went to a concert, quit acting entitled to having a room full of people sit there and listen to something they didnt pay to hear just because you wrote it.

What about music that was written for or grew out of a religious context, that music isn't supposed to be listened to for "entertainment". If anything it's much more of a cerebral experience in that sort of situation. What's to stop composers from writing music which can be experienced in other ways as well, leaning towards the cerebral or "Apollonian" if you will....

Also...again...examples

I feel that in many ways, the way musicians control the manner in which audiences are exposed to classical music sets up some rather strong misconceptions of the nature of the music and composition. Mainly the notion that the reason music fitting into the standard repertoire isnt written anymore is because people are no longer capable of doing what Bach, Mozart, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky did.

Please don't group Tchaikovsky with Mozart, Bach and Brahms ever again.

Your post would be really relevant in....maybe the 1940s? Everything you're "challenging" and BH'ed about have already been dealt with and spawned reactionaries.

How many times have we heard "THE NEXT MOZART?!?!" because there is a 5 year old displaying an unfathomable level of comprehension of music. Do they become the next Mozart? No. There is no room for Mozart in classical music's "high art" culture that we have set up.

Why do we even need a 5 year old kid with rich parents who bought him a violin when he was 2 and somehow managed to vomit out an 18th century style opera in this day and age? Is that your idea of progress? I think it was Schirmer that just signed some 16 year old kid...or maybe it was Boosey and Hawkes? Anyway, the music is questionable, but it's perfect for someone that doesn't want to be challenged in anyway. There is music that you play for someone who is dead, dying or comatose, and there's the music you play for someone who gives a crap.

Fair enough. I'm sorry if that came across as directed specifically at composers. It's not really just about the composer at all, so I apologize for making it sound like that. If I sounded bitter, it is because there is a very prevalent bias toward a specific kind in music that overshadows the reaction of the audience. I understand that this has been a movement in all of art over the last century, but I suppose I have a bit of a problem with the fact that in the case of music, presenting art isnt just giving a person the option of looking at something such as a painting, where they look as long as they like and move on. It entails requesting the undivided attention of giant room full of people, and asking them to listen for... how long? It varies, but if it is put into a program, it is fairly long.

I agree with your last point, but it's so general that I don't know anyone that wouldn't agree with it.

Anyway, what music is it...where there is a "very prevalent bias toward a specific kind of music that overshadows the reaction of the audience)"? In America alone we have John Corigliano, Chris Theofanidis, Joan Tower, Chris Rouse, Stephen Bryant, Jennifer Higdon, John Williams, John Mackey, Johnathon Newman, Anthony Iannaccone, John Adams, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich etc etc etc all getting played on a god damn regular basis. I made a point to just stupidly list all of those composers because those are all composers whose music orchestras and directors like to program (maybe not Glass, but classical musicians can be whiney primadonnas). These composers write music that "audiences like" and usually make it a point to write that sort of music. You know, music that sounds "fresh" but doesn't stray too far away from 19th CENTURY EUROPEAN CLASSICAL TRADITION (wouldn't want to stray too far away from that, we might start getting influenced by Brazilians or something, perish the thought). Composers aren't required to "write for the audience", that's a really stupid notion; composers can have whatever motive or intent that they want. A lot of composers write for performers and want their performers to enjoy their work, because good performers do actually like challenges. I know Carter and Tower are both in this camp. But seriously though, for performers who whine about the music they play, if you want an easy job and don't want to be challenged then go join a Pops Orchestra for chrissake.

I have a problem with the fact that we've spent the last century finding ways to basically trick people into listening to music with a "contemporary" sound. It's not like that's just a practice reserved for the more "avant garde" works. There is genuinely no effort whatsoever on the whole of classical music to put contemporary music that doesnt alienate an audience into a program.

Are you talking just about modernists, or are you throwing the postmodernists in there too? "Contemporary" is such a nebulous loving word, it doesn't MEAN ANYTHING! Nothing inherent anyway, it needs context.

Your profile says your a pastry chef or something. Are you musician? Do you regularly attend concerts? To be honest I'm really confused as to what you're so butt hurt about. Preperation H does wonders AMIRITE GUYS!? I have a brass player friend who uses Prep-H on his lips, no joke. Apparently it works wonders. I digress...

Anyway, this argument would be more interesting if it were 1952 and now 2009 going on 2010 in a few months. Unless you're seriously throwing the past 110 years under the bus for apparently sounding like Schoenberg, I'd have to say all the questions you're asking have already been answered and dealt with.

I love all the "GRR I'M ANGRY AND BITTER, I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO PROVE!!" people who post in threads like this. Do a little more learnin' and a lot less gabbin' and complainin' for chrissake.

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If you would have asked that question 100 years ago, the answer would have been no also. Look! Ligeti and Carter and Copland and Bernstein! 200 years ago, you would have probably gotten the same answer. Like I said before, I think it is astoundingly ridiculous to declare that is no more room for revolutionaries like Mozart or Elvis. There has always been...I think we vastly overestimate the uniqueness of our time.

Perhaps you forget that now we have most all kinds of technologies to do what we couldn't do even twenty years ago, and people are sending music every which way on the internet. Everyone's a musician now. I'd be very, very surprised if anyone, out of the giant pool of individuals we have now, rose to become as big as the few I mentioned. And I'm talking about on-the-news-for-weeks-when-they-die. Was Ligeti on the news for weeks? Copland? Bernstein? Will Carter be? It is not, as you think, astoundingly ridiculous (what an exaggeration that is)... it might just be the truth.

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I'd say Bernstein got a fair bit of news time when he died. Not that I would remember it, but he was verging on ridiculously famous.

That Michael Jackson probably got more doesn't mean much. He died relatively young, and with a controversial past few years.

And honestly, I only saw him on the news the day and day after he died (mainly since I avoid news, and don't care about Michael Jackson).

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Yes, Jackson was controversial, but even that was a small part of all the magazines and TV specials that went out for weeks afterward. Some of the special edition mags might still be in stores. I'm just saying I don't think we'll have hardly anyone in the music business like that anymore. Do we have any living pop superstars at the moment, really huge names that stand far out from the crowd?

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... Do we have any living pop superstars at the moment, really huge names that stand far out from the crowd?

None on the level of MJ, but there are many that stand head and shoulders above the rest - people who

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and never before did that claim create a flat out split between the "common" listener and the "educated" listener.

Are you so sure about that?

Robert Schumann: "Don't let yourself be fooled by the applause which the so-called great virtuosos often get. The applause of the artists should be more worth to you than the applause of the big crowd." (from: "Musikalische Haus- und Lebensregeln", translation by me.)

Or Schubert: "I detest women with their compliments. They understand nothing about music and what they tell me is irrelevant."

Just some random examples to show the elitist attitude of some composers in the past. And the same really applies to a lot of others. There have always (but particularly in the 19th century) been composers (and other artists, poets, etc.) clearly making a distinction between listeners who were able to "get" their music, and "philistines" who couldn't.

I have a problem with the fact that we've spent the last century finding ways to basically trick people into listening to music with a "contemporary" sound.

Sure, I don't like it either when concert managers try to "sneak in" avant-guarde works with a Beethoven symphony. If you only pair them, so people actually listen to the contemporary piece, that's a rather patronizing stance and simply tells the audience that it's expected of them not to like the new work. Of course, that doesn't mean old and new pieces shouldn't be combined at all. And it's certainly not like this is the only format new works are presented in. I'm constantly going to concerts that have -only- contemporary music of this sort, and if they're organized well, there are plenty of people in the audience - which clearly shows there's no need to "trick" the audience into anything.

There is genuinely no effort whatsoever on the whole of classical music to put contemporary music that doesnt alienate an audience into a program.

But see, this attitude is just as patronizing to me. Any program will not be liked by all people. And some programs will be liked by more people than others. But just not programming things that you think "the audience won't like anyways" is just telling the audience that you know what they like and what they don't like and that you are "sparing them" from something they are bound to dislike. A respectful attitude towards the audience is one in which you put forward music that you want to present and let them decide how to think about it.

Or, since we started with quotes of dead white males, let's also add a quote by Goethe: "One cannot show more respect to the audience than by not treating it as riffraff."

Plenty? Where are all of the orchestras having "nothing but new music" concerts for these plentiful people?

Since when are orchestras the end of all in music? Orchestras are often some of the most conservative bodies you'll find in music and a majority of 20th/21st century music has -not- been written for orchestra. Look for ensembles in various sizes, or soloists, and you'll find plenty that focus entirely on "avant-guarde" and similar music and indeed give concerts that tend to be sold out.

But that aside, I've been to lots of concerts by orchestras which had "nothing but new music" in large, full halls.

Besides, Mozart did not really consistently overshadow his contemporaries, and had his share of downs, but that's not the point.

I meant from the perspective of later decades/centuries.

I mean, I could understand your point if we instead had lots of different composers writing music being played in concert halls and entering the repertoire, but that's just not the case.

But see, now we have to get into arguments about what constitutes "lots" etc., which is a bit pointless. The point is that if you're a contemporary composer and don't happen to unfortunately write in a way which really nobody but yourself likes, chances are that you -can- get your works performed. No, maybe not huge symphonies and operas all the time. No, maybe not quite enough to live comfortably off it. But if you do some little things on the side (teach, perform, be a music critic, or something entirely different like being a lawyer, chemist, or shepherd) and don't ask for an all too luxurious life style, chances are that you can dedicate quite some time to composing.

Oh, and:

Please don't group Tchaikovsky with Mozart, Bach and Brahms ever again.

Seconded :P

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For the record, I think the human condition will be able to stay intact if people in already well-to-do countries went without the opportunity of hearing Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. I'm sorry I just get angry people just say, "Well can't the government just feed it more money AHURRR HURRR DURRR" and act like that's the end of it...as if the money doesn't come from anywhere and as if that money will go directly to the purported "interest".

FWIW, did you know about these separate, indepedent scientific studies?

http://www.musicianbrain.com/papers/Forgeard_MusicalPractic_EnhancedVerbal+NonverbalReasoning.pdf

http://www.violinsuzuki.com/documentos/Brain%20-%20Journal%20of%20Neurology%20-%20Suzuki%20method.pdf

Did you know that asian countries that are on the rise (China, South Korea), are fostering strongly the art music education in small kids?

Should western countries watch passively how asian are trying to get advantage for their future generations, and let that western kids will be fed up with crappy music instead of having a quality music education?

I mean, the idea is not making millions of musicians, the idea is taking advantage of study of art music as a BRAIN DEVELOPMENT TOOL...BTW, a 'collateral effect' would be INCREASED instant audience (parents and relatives of the kids who will learn about what the kids are learning and that will attend concerts, boths kids concerts and classical concerts as a way to nurture kids interest in quality music) and in the long term, the 9999 of 10000 who will not become professional musicians, will at least become, EDUCATED AUDIENCE who won't be convinced by crappy music so easily....

Aren't these facts enough to ask for more funding for the serious art music?

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Was Ligeti on the news for weeks? Copland? Bernstein? Will Carter be? It is not, as you think, astoundingly ridiculous (what an exaggeration that is)... it might just be the truth.

Were there allegations that Copland molested little boys?

Well, then, of course not.

You know, I wonder how much coverage Mozart's death got. I'm guessing not much.

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Did you know that the Mozart Effect is rubbish that was disproven?

These studies are simply talking about playing music in general, and OF COOOOUUURSE having a child learning to play an instrument when he/she/it is young will be good for brain development. This isn't friggin' groundbreaking. I know that I'll be doing my kids a favor by having them solve puzzles and read books when they're a kid, having some sort of small child music education thing is obviously beneficial. That has nothing to do with what music it is though. Why would it have to be classical music? I'm not saying don't teach it, I mean we teach Shakespeare, who is just as important as Beethoven or whoever, but let's cut the crap: Someone who reads Hamlet isn't going to automatically be a certified genius and somehow more learned than the person who read Watchmen. If anything, the best person would be familiar with both.

Did you know that asian countries that are on the rise (China, South Korea), are fostering strongly the art music education in small kids?

China is also pretty communist, last time I checked. Stalin was all about THE ART OF THE PEOPLE, so was Hitler. Hey we all know the old cliche, "The Nazis loved classical music." You're essentially making an argument that free and prosperous Western nations should adapt principles which mirror that of totalitarian dictatorships. I don't think that's too big of a logical jump. The governments of China and SoKo have obvious agenda when pushing for that sort of indoctrination. No thank you, I have no desire for my country to be more like China, thank you very much. We already have enough problems.

Should western countries watch passively how asian are trying to get advantage for their future generations, and let that western kids will be fed up with crappy music instead of having a quality music education?

I think this country should focus more on teaching kids about GRAMMAR, science, math and the other things we actually lag behind (do a Google search, some very eye opening statistics just came out a couple days ago).

I mean, the idea is not making millions of musicians, the idea is taking advantage of study of art music as a BRAIN DEVELOPMENT TOOL...BTW, a 'collateral effect' would be INCREASED instant audience (parents and relatives of the kids who will learn about what the kids are learning and that will attend concerts, boths kids concerts and classical concerts as a way to nurture kids interest in quality music) and in the long term, the 9999 of 10000 who will not become professional musicians, will at least become, EDUCATED AUDIENCE who won't be convinced by crappy music so easily....

Aren't these facts enough to ask for more funding for the serious art music?

I don't recall you listing off any facts. I read your post a few times and I just saw a bunch of emotional ramblings (I will drink 10 shots of gasoline if someone pops in here and says HURR AD HOMINEM). I have no problem with the term "art music", but "serious music" needs to go. Music doesn't automatically become more important just because you say it does...just sayin'

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Were there allegations that Copland molested little boys?

Well, then, of course not.

You know, I wonder how much coverage Mozart's death got. I'm guessing not much.

And how much of the news after his death was talking about the court trials he went through?

I don't think it's at all inevitable that we'll have people from our time remembered 200 years from now, at least in a huge way like Beethoven. You have to say there's a decent chance that there won't be anyone idolized and still programmed into concerts the way Classical era composers are now.

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...I don't think it's at all inevitable that we'll have people from our time remembered 200 years from now...there won't be anyone idolized and still programmed into concerts the way Classical era composers are now.

What do you mean by "our era" ... The last 25 years? 50?

Either way, I'm sure there are composers and musicians from "our era" whose importance to art music will be remembered 200 years from now...

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What do you mean by "our era" ... The last 25 years? 50?

Either way, I'm sure there are composers and musicians from "our era" whose importance to art music will be remembered 200 years from now...

I'm just postulating that there won't be anyone currently making music who is as iconic as Beethoven is now, 200 years from now.

Besides, "art music" is a terrible term.

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I'm just postulating that there won't be anyone currently making music who is as iconic as Beethoven is now, 200 years from now.

Besides, "art music" is a terrible term.

Okay...You may be right, I hope you're wrong. There have been people in very recently whose music (I'd like to believe) will be revered and performed for centuries to come - Duke Ellington comes to mind.

It's hard to say....

Also, what's wrong with "art music"? Music, intended for art.... :dunno: works for me.

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I'm just postulating that there won't be anyone currently making music who is as iconic as Beethoven is now, 200 years from now.

Besides, "art music" is a terrible term.

Mozart wasn't very popular when he was alive, but look at him now, you may or may not like his music, but everyone knows his name. And his music is still being proformed and enjoyed.

I believe some of the less popular musicains (the talented ones) of our age, will be remembered

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Gavin, why the agressive tone? was it neccesary? did I attack you to obtain such answer? If I did, please show me where.....now, let's analyze your answer....

Did you know that the Mozart Effect is rubbish that was disproven?

These studies are simply talking about playing music in general, and OF COOOOUUURSE having a child learning to play an instrument when he/she/it is young will be good for brain development. This isn't friggin' groundbreaking. I know that I'll be doing my kids a favor by having them solve puzzles and read books when they're a kid, having some sort of small child music education thing is obviously beneficial.

Did you really READ the documents in detail? Here they are again READ THEM

http://www.musicianbrain.com/papers/Forgeard_MusicalPractic_EnhancedVerbal+NonverbalReasoning.pdf

http://www.violinsuzuki.com/documentos/Brain%20-%20Journal%20of%20Neurology%20-%20Suzuki%20method.pdf

Did you notice how they separated the groups in the Fujioka et al research?

Did you notice that the only noticeable diference was the music training in one group, being the rest the same social and economic background and similar extra curricular activities?

Did you notice why they chose Suzuki Method on both studies ? not because of a fancy reason....just because SUZUKI TEACHERS WON'T REJECT STUDENTS based on 'lack of natural talent'.....so the music students wouldn't be a preselected group based on talent giving them unfair advantage, even testing of the kids BEFORE the music training was done, and then AFTER the training........Again, READ.

Instead of an empty rant against such 2 serious scientific research.....why don't you post a study more serios that Fujioka et al or Schlaug et al.....If you think you have done a better research on the subject....PUBLISH YOUR DETAILED RESEARCH AND DEBUNK THEM.....

It's quite simple, isn't it? will you do it? When you debunk them, we can continue with the rest of your rant......ok?

Thanks in advance for your answer....

Best regards.

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Okay...You may be right, I hope you're wrong. There have been people in very recently whose music (I'd like to believe) will be revered and performed for centuries to come - Duke Ellington comes to mind.

It's hard to say....

Also, what's wrong with "art music"? Music, intended for art.... :dunno: works for me.

And I hope you're right. My hopes are distinctive from my predictions.

Also, isn't all music intended to be art? Isn't that sort of part of the definition?

Or if you want to say Notorious B.I.G.'s music isn't intended to be artistic, what about all the hobbyists that just enjoy making hip hop beats or simple guitar songs in their time?

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Are you saying people who compose orchestral pieces for a living don't need the money they get from commissions?

Of COURSE some music is intended to be money! That goes without saying. We can't all have money trees growing in our backyards and just compose "art music" for the rest of our lives. Besides, people have artistic intentions for music in every genre.

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Are you saying people who compose orchestral pieces for a living don't need the money they get from commissions?

Of COURSE some music is intended to be money! That goes without saying. We can't all have money trees growing in our backyards and just compose "art music" for the rest of our lives. Besides, people have artistic intentions for music in every genre.

I think he means there is music out there that's top priority is to make money over artistic expression. "Art" music is music that is the opposite; valuing artistic integrity over popularity.

And, at the very least, you can't dispute that incidental music's primary purpose is to appeal to a mass audience and please the composer's employers.

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And, at the very least, you can't dispute that incidental music's primary purpose is to appeal to a mass audience and please the composer's employers.

While that may often be the case, it doesn't have to be. Movies, video games, and theatre plays aren't inherently more market-oriented than pure music. Sure, particularly in the case of video games that may be very often the case, but probably only because it's still a relatively young medium. So in the end it's a question of how much the composer is willing to stand up for an individual artistic concept, and how "dictatorial" the director/employer is.

But you just have too look at certain contemporary theatre productions (such as Christoph Schlingensief's recent "Fluxus-Oratorium") to see how much "incidental music" can turn into a main artistic focus of a piece created by a non-musician - and be almost indistinguishable from contemporary opera etc.

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True. I didn't necessarily mean *all* incidental music; just the majority. Of course, that's not how I worded my post. My mistake. Didn't mean to generalize.

In reality, in just about every genre/medium of music, you are going to have people who view it as a legitimate outlet for artistic freedom and you're going to have people who care more (if not entirely) about exploiting the genre for potential monetary gains.

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True. I didn't necessarily mean *all* incidental music; just the majority. Of course, that's not how I worded my post. My mistake. Didn't mean to generalize.

In reality, in just about every genre/medium of music, you are going to have people who view it as a legitimate outlet for artistic freedom and you're going to have people who care more (if not entirely) about exploiting the genre for potential monetary gains.

That's true. And I agree that, probably, pop and hip hop are amongst those styles where many artists may care more about the money than the art. But "art music" is such a general term that applies to such a specific music that it ignores the reality that many musicians, indeed in every genre, do it for the love of the art. And throwing the term about certainly doesn't help the common view that classical/modern music is pretentious and elitist.

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True. I didn't necessarily mean *all* incidental music; just the majority. Of course, that's not how I worded my post. My mistake. Didn't mean to generalize.

In reality, in just about every genre/medium of music, you are going to have people who view it as a legitimate outlet for artistic freedom and you're going to have people who care more (if not entirely) about exploiting the genre for potential monetary gains.

That's true. And I agree that, probably, pop and hip hop are amongst those styles where many artists may care more about the money than the art. But "art music" is such a general term that applies to such a specific music that it ignores the reality that many musicians, indeed in every genre, do it for the love of the art. And throwing the term about certainly doesn't help the common view that classical/modern music is pretentious and elitist.

In fact, I would almost argue that people who play acoustic guitar songs for the enjoyment of it are more "art musicians" than contemporary composers of "art music", because - guess what - we as composers eventually want to be paid to do it, while most guitarists don't bother with trying to strike it big.

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..."art music" is such a general term that applies to such a specific music that it ignores the reality that many musicians, indeed in every genre, do it for the love of the art....

That's now how I use it. "Art music" for me implies any music intended to be viewed as art - whether it's John Cage, John Zorn, or Lil' Jon; so long as the creator wants people to LISTEN to it as art, as opposed to music for other purposes.

Sure, there's a grey area (people sat a listened to James Brown, but it was music for dancing... :hmmm:) ...

The point is, I didn't intend for the term "art music" to specify any narrow niche of music...

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That's now how I use it. "Art music" for me implies any music intended to be viewed as art - whether it's John Cage, John Zorn, or Lil' Jon; so long as the creator wants people to LISTEN to it as art, as opposed to music for other purposes.

Sure, there's a grey area (people sat a listened to James Brown, but it was music for dancing... :hmmm:) ...

The point is, I didn't intend for the term "art music" to specify any narrow niche of music...

If that's what you meant, then I guess I don't have a major problem with the term, even though it's ambiguous... but since it's already an established term, people (including me) will think you're talking about Corigliano, Ticheli and such.

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