Saturday, October 17, 2015

Classical struggle for survival

Musicologist Michael Church, writing in The Guardian, examines the threats to classical music – not just the Western/European variety but 14 other art-music styles throughout the world – whose continued existence is threatened by outside (mainly Western) musical influences, cultural commercialism and, in all too many cases, religious fundamentalism:

The sad irony in this: As Church notes, most classical musics were originally religious. (He makes an exception of American jazz – mistakenly, I think, given its close relationship with African-American spirituals and gospel music.) Yet religious fundamentalists are the main threat to musicians in much of the Islamic world.

Western classical religious music is also threatened, less overtly and violently, by the “happy clappy” strains of church music, largely emanating from fundamentalist and evangelical sources.