Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for ... Classical Music

How's my mental health today?

Our early spring is helping; as is seeing the buds forming on the trees.

Even though music can send my mind spinning a little too close to the risky realm of the high end of my Bi-Polar Disorder, I have been listening to more and more music lately. My first love was Classical Music; eventually joined by Jazz and Gospel. I've been digging into my music files on my digital storage devices and listening to music I haven't played in a long time.

Late last week I was listening to music when I decided to see what kind of music was available for me to download onto my BlackBerry Playbook. I began by looking under the Genres that were available. Their classification system was rather odd. First of all the list of genres offered was very lengthy, much longer than I had anticipated. When I looked a little closer I saw that Classical, Symphony, Opera, Chamber Music, and Orchestral were all listed as separate categories under Genres. To me they all fit under the Classical heading.

Having been an instrumentalist (violin and viola) I went to the Chamber music listing first and opened it up. The fourth album listed was 'Dukes of Hazzard'. What? I looked again and saw a host of Movie Soundtracks in the Chamber Music menu. That is not what I understand to be Chamber Music.

I went to the Classical Music' listings. Surprise, surprise, surprise; The Rolling Stones made the Top Ten. The twentieth listing was 'The Best Video Game Themes'. More Rolling Stones, Movie Soundtracks were also listed here. Did I miss something in the years I stayed away from music?

I found a bunch of albums by the 'Vitamin String Quartet'. I'd never heard of this group so I explored a little further. All I found was string quartet arrangements of Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, Santana, and others in that vein. I enjoy creativity and surprising approaches to music, but this stuff was boring; the arrangements were incredibly lame. The only thing 'classical' with these guys was their instrumentation. Further on in the Classical Music list I found East Indian music albums and many other 'oddities.'

I don't know who came up with these genres and the music listed under them, but they may as well have saved their time and just listed everything alphabetically in one  big grouping. If I want to find Classical Music I'm going to look in my own music files first.

My top 3 favorite Classical music pieces:
  1. J.S. Bach; The Musical Offering
  2. Bela Bartok; Concerto for Orchestra
  3. Dmitri Schostakovitch; Sonata for Violin and Piano, Opus 134

There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron


  1. The only good place to find music now-a-days is iTunes, anything else is just a waste of time. Glad to see you are listening to more music though. My musical tastes would not be so vast if you hadn't played music all the time when Neil and I visited you!

  2. I love Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Holst's The Planets. Great pieces of music!

    I can see why East Indian music and such are on the Classical Music list (and in truth, I understand the logic behind the string arrangements of pop/rock bands being on there too, but I don't particularly like that idea). I like the concept of including another culture's Classical music listed with Western classical music, because there are SO many varieties of "classical" depending on which country you're from. Classical East Indian and Classical Middle Eastern can be absolutely beautiful... some of their instruments are very different, and they use different scales (half tones, quarter tones) to create such unique sounds.

    I think it would be very ethnocentric of us to assume that the only thing that can be considered 'classical' music is what we know from European composers!

  3. Among my favorites are Brandenburg's Concerto #3 (used to play the first violins' part back when I played violin regularly)and Flight of the Bumblebee, played on a flute. Music soothes the soul, keep listening!

  4. Music is very healing and different types can be used for different things depending on what mood you are in or what mood you want to be lifted in to. I've just found a classical music radio station which I listen to when I'm reading in bed at night. I don't know enough about classical music to say what piece I've just listened to but I usually enjoy the late night programme which isn't too raucous. I look forward to tomorrow's post. Hope you are enjoying the challenge.

  5. Love this post. I love classical music. I find it very healing and soothing.

  6. Good music is healing and mind calming. I love to focus and center myself with great music. Thanks for posting. Good luck with the Challenge.

  7. Really enjoyed this - I play violin but think maybe I should've tried viola, as I like the lower strings best! How about Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor (I think that's what it's called!)? I love that thing, but it's way beyond my feeble skills. Just didn't want to practice when I was younger. My grandmother was a concert violinist - SHE could play it! - and I have her violin. Kinda wish the violin could play it by itself from memory and I could just follow along... lol! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I enjoyed reading this post and was amused at what passed for "classical" in your searching.
    I love chamber music, don't think I could name a top 3, but in that lofty heading would have to be Khachaturian's violin concerto in D Minor. I have an old tape of David Oistrakh and love it dearly.
    Best regards.