The Old, The New, and The Contemporary

Julian Johnson

in Who Needs Classical Music?

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780195146813
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849246 | DOI:
The Old, The New, and The Contemporary

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Classical music is generally considered old music. This is essential for those who value it highly and those who consider it largely irrelevant today. This music contains a common argument and it is judged as “great music” by successive generations. The superficiality of this argument is not hard to demonstrate. It is based on a peculiar characteristic of the postmodern age—the radical shrinking of our notion of the present. A more problematic question is posed by “new” classical music, an awkward phrase that underlines the awkwardness of our historical understanding. The real significance of the historical in classical music lies in its proximity of age. Classical music thus finds itself in an ironic position. Despite its old appearance, classical music makes sophisticated and involved propositions about modern sensibility and thought that remain profoundly significant in modern times.

Keywords: characteristics; postmodern age; radical shrinking; proximity; musical culture; derivative musical

Chapter.  9290 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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