Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mozart before Modernity?

Some sad news from Iran, that president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recently banned all Western music from the country. Daniel Pipes' 1998 article "You Need Beethoven to Modernize" examines the relationship between Western music and culture to everything from technology to economic stability. Here is one excerpt:

Playing the Kreuzer Sonata adds nothing to one's GDP; enjoying an operetta does not enhance one's force projection. And yet, to be fully modern means mastering Western music; competence at Western music, in fact, closely parallels a country's wealth and power, as the experiences of two civilizations, Muslim and Japanese, show.

With the apathy that many classical musicians habitually bear in the course of their musical pursuits, it's almost comforting to hear that some people are genuinely offended by the music that we make.

See also Richard Florida and his theories on the Creative Class and its correlation to economic activity.

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