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What Is The Definition Of "Classical Music?"

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What Is The Definition Of "Classical Music?"

Postby kickassclassical » Thu Oct 02, 2008 6:48 pm

We've noticed there are a few different definitions of the term "Classical Music," depending on where you look and who you ask. So we thought we'd define what "Classical Music" means here in Kickass Classical land.

Here are the choices...

The Definition Of Classical Music #1: The Narrow Definition
The term "Classical Music" was originally created to define the period of European art music from 1750-1825, a 75-year span after Bach and including most of Beethoven. This definition may be technically correct, but it is very limiting.

The Definition Of Classical Music #2: The Broad Definition
This definition not only includes the "Classical Music" period, but every other one as well (Baroque, Romantic, Modern, etc.), and seemingly any other instrumental music - from traditional folk melodies, to modern day movie music (themes, soundtracks and scores), to new age instrumentals, to some Broadway showtunes, and even some easy-listening vocal music.

This is the definition a noob uses when they discover music outside of pop and rock. It's also the definition some people use for the Classical genre field in iTunes to describe anything that doesn't fit into the other genres in their library. This definition is not descriptive enough.

The Definition Of Classical Music #3: The Kickass Classical Definition
Our definition includes Western and European art music created between 1600 and 1900 (the period known as the "common practice period"), and music created after 1900 that follows the style and tradition of the common practice period, and is created for the sake of the music itself - not as a melody of a song or the score of a movie. This definition is just right ;)

And while we're at it, we have one more definition.

The Definition Of Kickass Classical Music...
This of course includes only a small portion of the music described in definition #3 above - music that has transcended the genre. And it includes a few exceptions to our own rule too, in the case of Williams' "Imperial March" and Jenkins "Palladio.")

So there you have it. Our definition of "Classical Music" and "Kickass Classical" for purposes of discussions on this site. We find that it's always easier to understand when we define the terms up front!
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Re: What Is The Definition Of "Classical Music?"

Postby kickassclassical » Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:36 am

Oh and... remember the difference between "Classical" and "Classic."

What's the difference?

Both words describe things that are traditional in nature. In "Classical" vs. "Classic," the subtle difference is this:

"Classical" usually specifically describes the arts, even more specifically the music from a certain period (as explained above), as well as some broad aspects of science, and also Greek and Roman art, architecture, literature, and ideals.

Classical music, classical architecture, classical mythology, the classical period.

"Classic" is more broad, describing something that is of enduring quality, historically memorable, an authentic or typical representation, a standard of excellence:

Classic example, classic design, classic novel, classic car, classic suit, classic blunder.

So all "Classical" things are also "Classic." But not all "Classic" things are "Classical."

Make sense?

And then there are those who confuse "Classical" with "Classic Rock." We just can't help them.
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