Friday, March 23, 2012

Going to the Symphony

Going to the Symphony can be a wonderful experience, but did you know that the form that we know as "the symphony" today took shape in the 18th Century?
It grew from the Italian overture, or the piece of instrumental music heard at the beginning of an opera, that sets the tone of the operatic story to come. Another type of form it evolved from is the "ripieno concerto", a concerto-type form designed for strings, with no solo instruments. Antonio Vivaldi wrote alot of this type of work, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach, whose most famous ripieno is the Brandenburg Concerto #3!
And, the vast majority of syphonies at the time were written in major keys, which is easy on the ears, and makes for a pleasant experience even for those not particularly familiar with the depths that sophisticated symphonic music can go. Basically, most symphony performance focus on enjoyable music, thereby increasing the attendance and exposure!

And of course, there is certain etiquette that makes the for a richer experience. The word "etiquette" means card or placard, which were posting with rules to follow for all in attendance! And these rules were followed with strict adherence. This was developed during the reign of King Louis XIV (early 1700's). Of course that was France!  Later on and in other lands, though, a musician like Mozart expected his audience to enjoy the experience of the music concert in a much more different manner. During his performances, people could eat, drink, talk, and he was delighted if they burst into applause.
Through the 19th Century, and today, we are back to the high-brow audience of the silence during the performance, the chastisement of one who claps at the wrong place, taps a foot, or even whispers to his fellow attendee.
I think I like a happy medium where you can hear the music, but be able to express one's appreciation or joy.


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