Porcupyn's Blog

June 27, 2009

The violinist at the Metro

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 11:47 pm

Apropos this article. is it really that big a deal that folks ignore a famous name-brand musician at a busy place? For one, folks are in a hurry to maintain their schedule and, more importantly, isn’t that reality anyway?

When reviewing resumes (from fresh graduates, not those with experience) for a job, for the most part, aren’t those coming from lower ranked schools summarily rejected? How many times have you seen folks at music festivals (like, for instance, a tyagaraja aradhana) not respecting the artiste and his/her music and having a nice prolonged discussion with their best buddy* (whom they usually meet only at these gatherings)? Now, this would probably happen even when a world class musician performs though less frequently. Unless the listener pays proper attention, how will he/she differentiate genius from mediocrity?

* = to be honest, I’ve committed this sin too!



  1. s.b., I remember reading this story in the W.Post Sunday section last year. I think the point of Joshua Bell’s experiment was to prove that most so-called music aficionados are not really that; for them, the medium (as in the trappings of the concert, the auditorium, etc.) truly is the message.

    Comment by bhel — June 29, 2009 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  2. bhel:

    I also heard about the Joshua Bell story somewhere a few months ago. Maybe on the news, or maybe I read it too.

    So, you are saying that folks go to concerts for the ambience, not really to listen to the music, and that they would be just as happy to listen to, say, me* as they would be to listen to Santhanam, or GNB, or Pandit Jasraj, or … am I right?

    But either way, I still think that part of the reason he did not get the audience he wanted was that people were in a hurry. Even if I were musically inclined and were able to distinguish good music from ordinary, there is still a good chance that because I am at the subway station and need to get somewhere, I just might not have time to wait and listen to the music.

    * – I don’t think I am mediocre, but I am no genius for sure!

    Comment by porcupyn — June 29, 2009 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  3. I would agree with Bhel above, these medium trappings are important in current day music scene, in a way the promotions(either from a company or mostly from peers) add their own aura.most people are average listeners anyway.

    Comment by sachita — July 2, 2009 @ 3:10 am | Reply

  4. sachita:

    Looks like I’m outvoted. 🙂 I guess you guys are right, though!

    Comment by porcupyn — July 2, 2009 @ 6:56 am | Reply

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