Yeah, I agree with Andrew (Hart) here. People new to quizbowl are probably a lot more likely to have buzzable literature knowledge than music knowledge. This is not to say that all people fit into this category, and that we shouldn't have music questions in the canon. However, I do agree with Hart that people like Shakespeare, Austen, etc. and their works are greater in number and probably more accessible than composers and their works like Beethoven, Bach, etc.theMoMA wrote:My response to Andrew is to ask whether Bach's askability reflects something unique to quizbowl, or a reality of knowledge in general. I think it's mostly the latter. There are fewer scholars of music than literature, and the study of literature is one of the core tenets of secondary education in this country. Surely some of the reason that music is less represented in quizbowl than literature has to do with the way that quizbowl works, and maybe if we were forced to write five music tossups per packet, we would figure out how to do it better. But at the same time, it's easy to imagine that a group of reasonably well-educated people could name more works of Shakespeare, Austen, Ibsen, Twain, etc. from the most essential information about those works than could do the same with prolific composers like Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, etc. People come to quizbowl with a lot more knowledge of literature than music, which is the primary reason for the ratio between those categories.
Another issue is that music has fewer quizbowl appropriate works to ask about because of the nature of how musical compositions are named. Sure you have some works with unique names (i.e. Moonlight Sonata, all of those Bach works you listed), but I believe the large majority of a composer's opus is stuff with names like "Beethoven's Piano Concerto #7" or "Bach's 3rd String Quartet". There's simply no way that tossups on these works will be easier to convert than tossups on "Academic Festival Overture" or "Enigma Variations". This is not unique to music. For instance, the Federalist Papers are extremely important documents that come up all of the time in US History courses. However, they're very infrequently asked about in quizbowl because they don't have unique names. Tossups on Federalist #10 would be a lot more frequent if it had a nickname like "The Anti-Faction Paper".
Sure if you expanded music to 4/4 eventually people would start to learn how to identify things like "Beethoven's Piano Concerto #7" from clues, but I'd wager this would be a lot more "artificial" than current tossups on difficult literature works like the 8th most important play of Henrik Ibsen. Pretty much anyone who reads The Vikings at Helgeland will at least remember its title, while I'm not convinced people who listen to "Beethoven's Piano Concert #7" (if such a work actually exists) could get it without being introduced to the quizbowl-important clues from it.