Is the classical snoozing urge swathed in a double standard?

On Monday, Slate‘s J. Bryan Lowder addressed two attitudes about classical music that seem to be in conflict:  if it’s considered terrible to fall asleep at a concert, then why is it OK to use classical tunes to soothe yourself to sleep? Read his thoughts here:  “Sonata-Allegro Snooze“, 12/7/15

It’s a rather simplistic question, of course, as the two scenarios are quite different, and the way classical music is viewed, used and marketed are very different now, as opposed to the years when most of our concert-going conventions developed.  That’s even beside the point, as there are so many reasons why falling asleep in a concert hall isn’t a good idea — snoring, for instance, doesn’t do much for the enjoyment of those around you. Whether or not you use Bach or Chopin to drift off at night, we won’t judge.

Lowder chases his arguments back and forth in a rather intriguing way, and the piece is worth a look.  But the basic question in his article is answered fairly well by a Britten quote profferred the  very next day in an unrelated post from Overgrown Path (one of our favorite think-y blogs):

‘Music demands … some preparation, some effort… It demands as much effort on the listener’s part as the other two corners of the triangle, this holy triangle of composer, performer and listener’

~ Benjamin Britten, Aspen Award acceptance speech

Enjoy your music.  Just don’t snore.  That’s all we ask.

Leave a Comment

Verified by MonsterInsights