My teacher said something interesting in my lesson yesterday:
“Everybody loves the guitar, but when they hear it played, they hate it.”
He was talking about classical guitar specifically. Everyone really does like the guitar, it such a part of our culture we have whole video games devoted to fake guitar playing. And the shear number of guitar students at music stores and conservatories around the world speaks for itself. But why is classical guitar such a small niche?
Those of us that play it love classical guitar. We like the sounds it makes and we love the music. In fact, we’re all evangelists of the classical guitar cause–we invite people to concerts, we play for family and friends and we buy the CDs put out by great artists. We all want more people to love classical guitar as much as we do, but they don’t.
The title of the post, “Koyunbaba vs. Bach” is really about this. Bach is extremely heavy and intellectual music–but it sounds pretty. However, it’s not the most exciting thing. Koyunbaba is not a work of profound musical substance, but it’s awesome and anyone who listens to it loves it. In the end that leaves those of us that play/perform with a question: Do we play the really heavy music? Or do we play the simpler, attractive pieces that impress people?
I have a hard time not playing the heavy music because I like it. It’s not as if there’s some secret code and I understand it on some sublime level–I don’t–but it’s fun and challenging to interpret and I think it’s important music which should be played. At the same time, my repertoire has to include those showy, attractive pieces because people like them. I’m not very stuck up about things I play or learn, and I appreciate both the complex and simple. It’s an interesting dichotomy.
What do you think?