Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Fascinating

From the BBC

Winning a classical music competition is not just down to the performer's musical prowess, a new study suggests.

An artist's stage presence could be even more important when it comes to evaluating a recital.

The research, published in the PNAS journal, found that people shown silent videos of piano competitions could pick out the winners more often than those who could also hear the music.

8 comments:

Derek said...

Interesting. I see they also had a third group who could hear but not see the players and that this group couldn't pick the winners any better than chance.

So once you've reached a certain skill level, it all comes down to stage presence.

Mark Wadsworth said...

D, actually, the whole thing is outrageous.

We know that pop stars like to dress up, and that they are judged to some or a large extent on what they look like, fair enough. The classical music fans (or indeed "serious rock fans") sneer at this.

But it turns out that these classical music snobs are even worse.

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Derek said...

Know what you mean. It's all just "shows" to me whether it's rock an roll or baroque and barcarolle. But you're right, the snobbery is outrageous. I've done a fair bit of amateur opera, choral work, etc. in my spare time and I can confirm that the opera people like a nice costume as much as anyone else, so any sneering is totally out of line.

Funnily enough the classical fans seem worse than the classical singers. Back in the 1980s Kiri Te Kanawa visited the pub in the small Scottish village where I used to live. I guess she was on holiday. The regulars used to sing there more or less every night, mostly folk and C&W. She happily joined in. It made the night.

Pablo said...

It all boils down to appearances - what things look like. It's the same with fruit + veg. these days - it looks great + tastes like shite. No-one knows their arse from their elbow.

Mark Wadsworth said...

D, top woman, that Kiri.

P, too true. My wife sent me to Waitrose to get some elbows for dinner, but I ended up looking at the arses.

The Stigler said...

Derek has basically nailed it. You get a cellist at the level of Royal College of Music, you really struggle to choose between them.

The business of classical music is as much about image and branding as pop music. You can't make much selling a string quartet playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons because there's hundreds of string quartets doing it. So what you do is to cultivate stars, brands. You dress up a posh boy like Nigel Kennedy as a West Ham fan with spiky hair and you have created a brand. You can then charge £11 because it's the Nigel Kennedy recording.

The Stigler said...

Derek has basically nailed it. You get a cellist at the level of Royal College of Music, you really struggle to choose between them.

The business of classical music is as much about image and branding as pop music. You can't make much selling a string quartet playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons because there's hundreds of string quartets doing it. So what you do is to cultivate stars, brands. You dress up a posh boy like Nigel Kennedy as a West Ham fan with spiky hair and you have created a brand. You can then charge £11 because it's the Nigel Kennedy recording.