Beyond Bach Beethoven Brahms

There was always classical music centuries before Bach, Beethoven or Brahms, and there always hasve been and will always be great artistic geniuses  excelling in the art and extending the musical horizon of each generation, although everything about music will always evolve with time.

In the beginning

The Troubadours and the Canzioneiri of the middle ages co-existed with the religious musicians of the churches and synagogues in the same milieu without bothering with the forced distinction implied in 'classicl music' so typical of today, especially in the English- speaking countries. In most other languaages it's just 'music', the qualification 'classical' is used strictly for the period or the school or style, for instance to apply this to the music of Haydn, Mozart or early Beethoven as opposed to that of, say Hildegrd von Bingen or Claudio Monteverdi, or Bernstein or Gershwin. In reality classical music can hardly be pigeonholed neatly into historical, geographical or stylistic categories.

Classical Music Now

 It's not a museum piece but is yesterday's. today's and tomorrow's music, very much alive and kicking! Just consider, the last compositions of John Lennon or even Michael Jackson antedate those of Elliott Carter or George Crumb or Thomas Adés!  But who would count the first group as classical musicians?

Does it really matter? The term classical music often connotes a certain esoteric arty exclusivity, which  unfortunately misses the point of music making. In the present culture of consumer-oriented  instant gratification, diminishing  attention span and a  self-denigrating inverted snobbery, this is understandable but hardly defensible.

Missing Universality of Music

Before we point our fingers, however, we must admit our own narrow-mindedness. By classical music we really mean the predominantly diatonic harmonic and contrapunctal languages in the musical  tradition of Western Europe and North America. This does not embrace Indian classical music, the ancient Persian music or the Chinese operatic tradition except as an occasional curiosity.

As for music from other more remote  areas and times, even a cursory interest is sadly missing!