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The Social Function of Classical Music and its Future

David Oschefski

Abstract- Using sociological and music research the history and role of classical music's social
function is explored. The history of classical music is outlined to helped show patterns in the
ever changing social function and what had effected it before the 20th century composers.
Sociological effects and studies are then used to describe how music's social function can be
altered or perpetuated by society or even composers. Possible methods to restore a social
function or at least build more interest are investigated, and a call to change the current state of
classical music's social function is emphasised, so not just the educated and high class can
indulge in the music of "the masters."

In today's society it classical music has lost some of its audience appeal compared to
what it once had before the 20th century. With massive leaps in technology, a change of
economics, and many big social movements the world is a much different place now than it was
then. Music written by Bach used to be performed for events and social functions, and while he
was also paid, that focus was on the social aspect. But why is that music not used for those
things today? Why does it seem like classical music has almost fallen out of popularity or at
least have a much different audience now? What has caused this and what can be changed?
My hypothesis for this change in audience and popularity has been an effect of many
things, society, economics, technologies, and also a change in music. I believe the aspect that
touches on all of these is the social one. Music is written for people to enjoy, however, many
people enjoy music differently, and the question of why they enjoy it is almost individual. I will

explore the change of the social function of classical music, and social factors that continue to
have an effect on the seemingly changing popularity and audience of classical music.
I will start with a little of the history of the social function of music. Starting in the
middle ages music had been used in secular and non-secular settings, while one more for
entertainment and the other a ceremonious role. The non-secular music is clearly seen through
church music, but secular music was being performed by minstrels who would travel with
aristocratic figures and entertain them and others with songs, mainly about the aristocrats
journeys or victories.1 Throughout the middle ages music became more in demand for churches,
nobility and the middle class, to improve ceremonies, salute them, and add pleasure in their life. 2
This would eventually lead to court musicians being employed, with many organisations,
churches, public theatres, academic institutions, and even public concerts, preserving music and
even teaching it. Musicians would become court composers and be asked to write pieces for a
number of events, including public concerts, which did so well some composers would freelance
and make at least a decent living from the profits. As court musicians were more common before
freelance composers it shows that music somewhat had a social function that was for
entertainment, but with that being said court musicians were also mainly employed by higher
class individuals, thus also being use as a status marker.
As the mid 1800's approach a change of the music being played in these public concerts shifts.
In the beginning of the 1800's almost 80% of the music being performed in Vienna, Paris,
London and Leipzig was being written by composers living at that time, in the mid 1800's that
1 Henry Raynor, A Social History of Music: From the Middles Ages to Beethoven in Society
(New York: Schocken Books, 1972) , 45.
2 Raynor, A Social History of Music: From the Middles Ages to Beethoven in Society, 55.

figure would be reversed.3 Because of the industrial revolution and the printing press sheet
music was more available and cheaper than ever. This made the works of Beethoven, Bach and
other great composers much more recognizable and popular, the audience began to feel as though
this music belonged to them, they were comforting,4 "classical music is approved music; it is
politically and socially safe."5 It had also changed the view of a musical experience from a
social one to an individual one.6 Concerts had once been used to gather specific audiences not
primarily the listen to music, it was a merely a part of a situation or event,7 it was being used to
fill a social function. "William Weber has recently argued that "the new respect for the masters
was as much a commercial as an artistic phenomenon" growing "directly from the burgeoning
industries of music publishing, instrument manufacture, and concert management."8 This change
seems to me that music was now being taken more seriously, not just by the higher classes, but
now by the growing middle class who can now access this music, and not just hear by play, and
study it. And in a world without recordings, the chances of hearing a Beethoven symphony were
much less than they are now.

3 Peter J. Burkholder, "Museum Pieces: The Historicist Mainstream in Music of the Last
Hundred Years," The Journal of Musicology 2, no. 2 (1983): 117.
4 James Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," The Journal of Musicology 3, no. 1
(1984): 10.
5 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 11.
6 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 118.
7 Ivo Supicic, Music in Society: A Guide to the Sociology of Music, vol. 4 of Sociology of Music
(Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1987), 154.
8 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 116.

This created the concept, as described by Burkeholder, of the "masterpiece," or a "museum

piece." These "museum pieces" had lost their original social function, dances were not being
danced to, ceremonial pieces were being played with a ceremony, these pieces were being played
instead as art pieces.9 While this still caused the audience of 'classical' music to grow it also
made it much more difficult for even prominent composers to write pieces that were well written
and would make them popular.10 Many orchestras and organizations and institutions were now
maintaining a classical repertoire and somewhat ignoring new music.11 This had changed the
relationship between the musicians and the audience, where musicians had once responded to the
demand and commands of the people who were paying them or at least supporting, was now
almost lost in 'serious' music as composers started to write what they wanted to, to sound
different, and not what the "mass audience" wanted.12 "It became increasingly the pleasure of a
cultured elite rather than an immediate communication between men and women... a divided
society was left to make do with a divided art."13
In almost a century the public concert had changed the way music was soon to be written. With
the "mass audience" wanting pieces sounding similar to Bach and Beethoven because of their
new accessibility and familiarization with their works, some composers found it difficult to find
their own style while having a lasting value. It even changed the social function of public
9 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 119.
10 Christopher Ballantine, Music and its Social Meanings, vol. 2 of Musicology Series (New
York: Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers, Inc, 1984), 10.
11 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 2.
12 Supicic, Music in Society, 164-165.
13 Raynor, A Social History of Music, 355.

concerts to being almost an academic setting itself. This drove composers, such as Schoenberg
and Webern to create music that had no social function, "music that was very difficult to listen to
and very rewarding to analyze and study."14 This proves to be problematic on its own however
as with no social function it would never be heard or outside of an academic or concert setting,15
"communication with an audience became secondary as the ideal of creating music of lasting
value became paramount."16
This is a time where I believe that the classical music audience starts to diminish or at least begin
to alter. While there is still music being written with a social function, such as religious music,
movie background music, etc, "the popularity of classical music continues to be specialized,"17
"its audience is by and large elite."18 With the trend of new composers writing more difficult
music it seemed to attract or imply this music was more for an intellectual audience.19 "Classical
music is a challenging art form in which many people are uninterested."20 Along with this
seemingly now exclusive style, the ritual of a classical music performance, separated socializing
areas, separated priced seating, little decoration, individual seating, and the lack of

14 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 125.

15 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 127.
16 Burkholder, "Museum Pieces," 120.
17 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 1.
18 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 2.
19 Stephen Davies, "Rock versus Classical Music," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
57, no. 2 (1999): 194.
20Bonita M. Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts can be Fun: The Success of BBC Proms,"
International Journal of Arts Management 1, no. 1 (1998): 19.

communication between the performers and conductor except for a brief, almost organized
applause and a bow, became more misunderstood and created discomfort and a feeling of not
belonging.21 This was the opposite of how popular music was developing, popular music was
becoming much more centered around the voice and lyrics.22 An audience can identify with the
tone of a voice, and lyrics can help an audience express their own emotions, "as if we get to
know ourselves via the music."23 This starts filling the gap of a music with a social function, a
relationship and connection between the composer/artist/performer and their audience and in a
much less complex and academic way.
This would now create and perpetuate a distinction between classes. Music secured an larger
role in social identification, the society would use music "to create for ourselves a particular sort
of self-definition, a particular place in society."24 This was not only true for choosing music we
liked but also by defining music we did not like, music with which people did not want to be
identified.25 This distinction between classes seemed to be an accidental effect from public
concerts, printed music, and composers wishing to write popular but with their own style,
however, there is reason to believe that some composers wanted this to be distinct. Schoenberg
stated that "If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art."26 Although Schoenberg had
written more modern music as opposed to 'classical' music, 'classical' music seems to be an
21 Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts Can be Fun," 17-18.
22 Simon Firth, "Towards an aesthetic of popular music," In Music and Society: The Politics of
Composition, Performance and Reception, ed. Richard Leppert and Susan McClary (Cambridge,
Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1987), 145.
23 Firth, "Towards an aesthetic of popular music," 142.
24 Firth, "Towards an aesthetic of popular music," 140.
25 Firth, "Towards an aesthetic of popular music," 140.

umbrella term covering from medieval music to avant-garde, which would then group them all
into the 'elite' and exclusive audience. This 'elite' audience and characteristic is perpetuated by
commercialization of classical music, as stated earlier, it is a "comforting" genre for many and
therefore becomes associated with a 'comfortable' lifestyle and 'class'. " It suits the selling of
wine or wine-based mustard just as country-western suits the selling of hot dogs."27
This distinction can be seen in many different aspects from a sociological perspective, through
social mobility, symbolic exclusion, implicit musical boundaries, social groups, even age,
generational cohorts, education and can have an effect of one's musical taste.
Based on the now 'intellectual' characteristic associated with classical music it would be
right to assume that education would definitely predict one's preferred taste of music and their
social class. In Bourdieu's Distinction, using data collected from a survey in 1963, and 1967-68,
there is a clear preference for what Bourdieu had labelled more 'highbrow', or legitimate taste',
compositions, such as the Well-Tempered Clavier with higher educated individuals.28 Using the
participants class fraction occupation he draws a conclusion that shows a positive correlation
between the preference for 'legitimate taste' and occupations requiring more education.29 This
higher education can lead to social mobility, the movement of from one social class to another,
and, according to Bourdieu, social class plays a major role in one's musical taste preference.30
26 Ballantine, Music and its Social Meanings, 92.
27 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 14.
28 Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice
(Cambridge, Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1987), 15.
29 Bourdieu, Distinction, 18.
30 Bourdieu, Distinction, 131-132.

Bourdieu uses the theory of 'aesthetic disposition' to help describe this relationship of social class
and taste. He explains that taste helps one's social orientation, helps them "express one's own
sense of social value."31 This "sense of social value" and social orientation pushes individuals in
social classes to "detached, disinterested or indifferent towards a certain aesthetic of music or
culture, to show their status, help identify themselves."32
The idea of higher class and lower class being divided by a high and low form of culture,
classical and pop music, is more of a generalized concept. Peterson and Kern's findings show
that over a span of 10 years, 1982-1992, there is an increase in highbrow omnivorousness33, that
is someone who has tastes in both high and middlebrow or at least shows openness to appreciate
them.34 This significant change is suggested to have happened because of a structural change,
value change, art-world change, generational politics and status-group politics.35 All these
changes have worked towards a smaller divide or distinction between the classes, or a
breakdown of previous expectations or ideals.
This shrinking distinction between high and lowbrow with the idea of omnivorousness still does
not separate the association of higher classes and some highbrow genres, such as classical music
and opera.36 This could be related to social mobility, as social mobility seems to be more
prominent in a culture where higher education is becoming much more common. However, the
31 Bourdieu, Distinction, 474.
32 Bourdieu, Distinction, 56.
33Richard A. Peterson and Roger M.Kern, "Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to
Omnivore," American Sociological Review 61, no. 5 (October 1996): 902.
34 Peterson and Kern, "Changing Highbrow Taste," 904.
35 Peterson and Kern, "Changing Highbrow Taste," 905-906.

line between highbrow and lowbrow itself is becoming more vague as the rise of mass media is
producing much more cultural products.37
The line becomes more blurred as we take into account individual's tastes and what can change
them one a more personal basis. Class dis-identification and cultural stereotypes can be used to
see a temporary or more lasting effect on one's personal taste. Reeves experimented by showing
vignettes describing a woman with either working-class signals, or with middle-class signals,
then asking for the respondents own cultural preferences.38 The experiment showed that the
working-class participants were more likely to have a negative preference for classical music
after viewing the vignette.39 However, when the middle-class respondents believed that he
woman would not enjoy The Culture Show, a BBC arts and culture show, their preference for
classical music would be more positive.40 This can explained through social value of the self,
and class dis-identification. Within the working-class showing a preference for classical music
runs the risk of one being called a 'snob', being labelled a 'snob' in a social setting can increase
the cultural distance between two people, and in doing so lowers one's social value of the self.41
On the other hand, it seems almost contrary for middle-class respondents. The risk of being
36 Philippe Coulangeon, "Social Mobility and Music Tastes: A Reappraisal of the Social
Meaning of Taste Eclecticism," Poetics 51 (2015): 56.
37 Coulangeon, "Social Mobility," 56.
38 Aaron Reeves, Emily Gilbert, and Daniel Holman, "Class dis-identification, cultural
stereotypes and music preferences: Experimental evidence from the UK," Poetics 50 (March
2015): 50.
39 Reeves, Gilbert and Holman, "Class dis-identification," 53.
40 Reeves, Gilbert and Holman, "Class dis-identification," 58.
41 Reeves, Gilbert and Holman, "Class dis-identification," 59.

labelled a 'snob' is much lower considering the similar social positions between the respondent
and the vignette, so showing a positive preference for classical music may actually improve your
social value as the other person may see the value in this preference.42 This use of classical
music in class dis-identification has shown the success in perpetuating classical music for a more
'elite' audience, and to continue to change the social function of classical music from
entertainment or social experience to a status marker.
This association of higher education, classical music preference, and social mobility can be seen
again in Stern's analysis of surveys on arts participation from 1982 and 2008. Stern looks at in
birth cohort, age and educational attainment as factors for arts participation, such as attending
events like concerts, reading literature, going to museums, etc. Within these surveys Stern find
that the classical music attendance had fallen from 13% in 1982 to 9% in 2008.43 He shows that
while age and cohort do play a significant part in arts participation they are not as strong as
education attainment. 44 This higher education usually leads to a higher occupational status and
that showed " higher rates of appreciation for potentially "elite" cultural forms" and " higher
rates of appreciation for middle- and lowbrow forms as well."45
This brings us back to the 'omnivore' idea of taste preference for the higher class, which was
much more associated with the generations from the World War II cohort and the early Baby-

42 Reeves, Gilbert and Holman, "Class dis-identification," 59.

43 Mark J. Stern, Age and Arts Participation: A Case Against Demographic Destiny,
(Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts, February 2011), 34.
44 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 42.
45 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 16.

Boom cohorts.46 Stern had also noted that between 2002 and 2008 the amount of omnivores had
dropped significantly and with that there was also a decline of arts participation, as omnivores
had been responsible for 58% of all events attended since 1992.47 This link between cohort,
omnivorousness, and a fall of events attended could very much in fact account for the 4% drop in
classical music attendance notes earlier, as he states, "while the aging of the arts audience was
real, it was less a product of changes in people's taste and behavior, than of the aging of the
overall population."48 While aging may be a result of these numbers there was still a decline in
youth interest, this could be related to a change in the social function of music as a status marker
as Stern states, "Cultural participants were no longer willing to let their social status define what
cultural tastes were acceptable for them"49 and "The ability of established or emerging arts
groups to attract participants will have less to do with the age distribution of the population than
with their ability to connect to the creative aspirations of their potential audiences."50 This is a
prediction that in order for classical music to stay relevant with the population they must once
again have a social function as more than just a status marker and more towards an entertainment
Unfortunately, this status marker function is still being frequently employed, however, there is
still hope for classical music within symbolic exclusion. Symbolic exclusion is the rejection or
acceptance of musical tastes or aesthetic dispositions of older members of a social class by newer
46 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 19.
47 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 20.
48 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 18.
49 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 22.
50 Stern, Age and Arts Participation, 22.

members of this class. For example, if a person had started in the middle class and successfully
moved into a higher social class, becoming social active and aware of others in the class this
person may decide to reject their taste in opera while accepting classical music as a new taste and
keeping pop music as a preference usually excluded from higher classes. This would help the
individual to still become accepted within the social but also become distinguished within it.
With musical tastes Lizardo and Skiles show that people with higher education are more likely in
2012 to dislike classical music, 17% chance, as opposed to an 8% chance in 1993. Interesting
enough, participants with lower education showed a negative change in the probability of
disliking classical music for social exclusion.51 The one issue with Lizado and Skiles findings is
that many music genres seem to be becoming used less for social exclusion, most classes are
accepting multiple different genres and tastes, only country, bluegrass, folk and religious music
showed a higher probability of being disliked by higher education and higher classes.52 This,
once again, points to the omnivorousness of higher classes, and the declining use of classical
music as a status marker.
The concept of omnivorousness is based on whether an individual likes or dislikes highbrow and
lowbrow tastes, but as Sonnett explores, there is also feelings of indifference and ambivalence
towards musical genres and styles. Sonnett surveyed students from the University of Mississippi
about their musical tastes on a 7-point scale so students could clearly identify if they "liked it a
lot," had "mixed feelings," or "disliked it," and also a "don't know" space.53 His results showed
that classical music was in fact one of the most disliked genres with 50% of students, and also
51 Omar Lizardo and Sara Skiles, "Musical Taste and Patterns of Symbolic Exclusion in the
United States 1993-2012: Generational Dynamics of Differentiation and Continuity," Poetics
(2015): 8-9.
52 Lizardo and Skiles,"Musical Taste and Patterns," 7.

one of the least liked genres with approximately 11% of students. The interesting result is that
30% of students had mixed feelings towards classical music.54 One case in specific in Sonnett's
article is "Case #4: white female ambivalent", this respondent states that classical music is
"dislike" but she also says that she enjoys listening to it while studying.55 While Sonnett gives
the suggestion that perhaps this is 'social desirability bias,' perhaps the respondent didn't want to
seem 'snobbish', or perhaps it is classical music being used in a different, not so much as social
status marker or for a social function in a group such as entertainment. It is filling a more
individual need, a comforting need, such as when the 'masterpieces' were being played in public
concerts, they were familiar, they were socially safe.
Sonnett's study also brings up the idea that perhaps classical music is not unpopular but it is just
not popular, it could possibly be ambivalent for many people. Social exclusion, class disidentification, cultural stereotypes, and even social desirability bias, the inclination of people to
not like something because others may not find it favourable, could all play a role in this
ambivalent attitude. Maybe if there was no stigma behind liking classical music it would be
better received and accepted.
When it comes down to individual taste preferences it can be difficult to decipher what
has really affected the choices. Coulangeon offers this, "The balance of primary and secondary
socialization influences may indeed vary from one cultural domain to another, according for
instance to the relative influence of family, groups of peers and school. More generally, one
53 John Sonnett, "Ambivalence, Indifference, Distinction: A Comparative Netfield Analysis of
Implicit Musical Boundaries," Poetics (2015): 4.
54 Sonnett, "Ambivalence, Indifference, Distinction," 8.
55 Sonnett, "Ambivalence, Indifference, Distinction," 13.

should expect the process of taste formation to be more anchored in childhood in some domains
than in other ones."56 The primary socialization influences would be family and close friends,
and secondary influences being school, and peer groups.
Davies' article on the differences of appreciation of rock music and classical music shows that
some different people may have different priorities in what they wish to gain from their musical
tastes. Davies' main argument is against Bruce Baugh who believes that "classical works are
appreciated primarily for their forms, and the focus of attention in this music falls more on the
work than the performance. The performer is subservient to the score she follows. By contrast,
in rock music the performance is the object of attention and it is enjoyed and valued for its
nonformal properties."57 While Davies argues that classical music does in fact have nonformal
properties as well, this shows that the two genres definitely have different extents of these
properties and of formal properties.58 These almost two extremes of the same properties can
show the difference as to why rock music has a more social function for entertainment than
classical music. With loud music and dancing permitted one does not feel obligated to be quiet
and sit still or even listen during a rock concert, while a classical concert requires almost all
three, which can be difficult for a young, energetic audience unfamiliar with classical music.
How can a classical music concert become more like a rock concert? Perhaps not to the same
degree but to at least include a more social function. Kolb decided to study one of the most
successful and largest classical music festivals in the world, the Proms. Many features of the
Proms trying to recapture this social function is by lowering ticket prices, and having changing
56 Coulangeon, "Social Mobility," 66.
57 Davies, "Rock versus Classical Music," 193.
58 Davies, "Rock versus Classical Music," 194.

the arena to an open area where the audience can stand, sit or lie in a more informal way. They
also allow audience members in the gallery to bring in food and drink before the concert and at
intermission.59 After some surveying, Kolb had found that 53% of the general population weren't
interested in attending or trying some form of performing art, but 22% who had not participated
before had shown interest in participating.60 Kolb's most interesting findings were the rankings
of people's reasons for attending the Proms. Low ticket prices was the highest ranked reason for
attending, the second was the informality and the quality of performances. Some of the lowest
ranked reasons included "visiting people before and after the concert", "hearing specific
performers," and "finding the music challenging."61 With a "shrinking audience, and declining
government subsidies for operational expenses"62, classical music concerts may soon be forced to
change their social function and the Proms has shown a successful way in doing so.
While classical music is seemingly losing its audience, there are many reasons to believe that
perhaps its audience is more changing rather than declining. Classical music would not be
referred to as popular by many, but a few argue that it is just perhaps not in the financially
successful way that pop music is. Parakilas compares the audience Beethoven has accumulated
over two centuries to the more recent audiences pop music has accumulated over a much shorter
time span.63 He brings up a different perspective or definition of popular, one that is more on
recognizable as opposed to financial, which is reasonable as many pop artists may be forgotten a
59 Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts can be Fun," 18.
60 Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts can be Fun," 19-20.
61 Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts can be Fun," 20.
62 Kolb, "Classical Music Concerts can be Fun," 16.
63 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 2.

year after having a hit song, while Beethoven will be known for ages. Parakilas also brings up
how classical, or "new", music is used now as 'background' music.64 While 'background' music,
such as soundtracks for movies or video games, may be used for a commercial use at times, I
believe it also has that social function that may be lacking in the 'masterpieces' in the concert
hall. Many orchestras now play soundtracks with movies or even video games as live concerts,
and it may be "valued for its geniality than for its genius"65 it is still being appreciated, at some
level, musically.
Fortunately, there is still interest in learning certain aspects of music. One very popular form is
in singing, with a high public interest shown in large audiences for televised talent shows and
5.2% of adults in a choir or chorale it represents over 15 million people in the US alone who are
interested in singing.66 With such a high interest in performance it's fair to say that those being
trained and singing in choirs are being exposed an enjoying some form of classical music. An
issue that I believe stems from this interest is the need and professional interest of vocalists.
There are many more opportunities to sing on Broadway than in an operatic production or
classical singing, an issue that could have rose from social function.67 Broadway shows are
much more a sociable situation than a classical concert again, but with this demand and
opportunities in Broadway it's a scary thought to think classical music training could become

64 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 13.

65 Parakilas, "Classical Music as Popular Music," 15.
66David Meyer and Matthew Edwards, "The Future of Collegiate Voice Pedagogy: SWOT
Analysis of Current Practice and Implications for the Next Generation," Journal of Singing 70,
no. 4 (March 2014): 439.
67Meyer and Edwards, "The Future of Collegiate Voice Pedagogy," 441.

unpopular or unwanted itself. Luckily, the functional cross training between the two genres can
better prepare individuals and only make them better performers.68
While classical audiences still seem to diminish Dempster offers stats that classical music is not
dying, but rather almost blossoming with spending on performing arts increasing 16% between
1993 and 1998.69 Dempster also looks at the stats that new media has brought to classical music,
such as classical music being listened to on recorded media increased for every age group,
adding that "classical music consumption is heavily influenced by electronic technologies and
media." This shows a shift in how the audience will listen to classical music, it will be "outside
the concert hall," through radio, CDs and even the internet.70 Dempster believes that the classical
music audience is not dying but rather changing the it listens.
Change is what has to happen again to classical music. The social function has changed many
times from entertainment, to status marker, or to having no social function. With these changes
came changes in social views of classical music from a social and enjoyable event to a
misunderstood, academic, individual experience, to a characteristic attributed to a class. In order
to grow and thrive classical music needs to change its function, or at least try to. With an ever
shrinking high class and ever growing middle class, classical music is not fully accepted into the
right one to survive. I also believe that certain ideals held by classical musicians themselves
perhaps need to change, as Schoenberg said "If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not
art,"71 but why can't classical music be art and belong to all? In the 1800s the audience for
68Meyer and Edwards, "The Future of Collegiate Voice Pedagogy," 442.
69 Douglas Dempster, "Wither the Audience for Classical Music?" Harmony: Forum of the
Symphony Orchestra Institute, no. 11 (October 2000): 46.
70 Dempster, "Wither the Audience," 49.
71 Ballantine, Music and its Social Meanings, 92.

classical music was large, why can't the works of Beethoven and Bach or any classical music be
regarded as art but also for everyone. There will always need to be composer like Schoenberg to
progress music but there should always be a balance to make sure the social function of classical
music is not lost, so it can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.


Aaron Reeves, Emily Gilbert, and Daniel Holman. "Class dis-identification, cultural stereotypes
and music preferences: Experimental evidence from the UK." Poetics 50 [March 2015]: 44-61.
Ballantine, Christopher. Music and its Social Meanings. Vol. 2 of Musicology Series. New
York: Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers, Inc, 1984.
Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Translated by
Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

Burkholder, J. Peter. "Museum Pieces: The Historicist Mainstream in Music of the Last
Hundred Years." The Journal of Musicology 2, no. 2 [1983]: 115-134.
Coulangeon, Philippe. "Social mobility and music tastes: A reappraisal of the social meaning of
taste eclecticism." Poetics 51 [2015]: 54-68.
Davies, Stephen. "Rock versus Classical Music." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
57, no. 2 [1999]: 193-204.
Dempster, Douglas. "Wither the Audience for Classical Music?" Harmony : Forum of the
Symphony Orchestra Institute, no. 11 [October 2000]: 43-55.
Kolb, Bonita M. "Classical Music Concerts Can Be Fun: The Success of BBC Proms."
International Journal of Arts Management 1, no. 1 [1998]: 16-23.
Firth, Simon. "Towards an aesthetic of popular music." In Music and Society: The Politics of
Composition, Performance and Reception, edited by Leppert, Richard and McClary,
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