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Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:19 am
by The Kirk Store Called
Is there any widely-accepted coherent definition of classical music (for the purposes of quizbowl distributions that delineate classical music, ex: ACF)? It seems to get somewhat dicey and nuanced when it comes to 20th century works in the orchestral tradition. A mixture of google + HSquizbowl forums have not found me any previous discussions on this.

Re: Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:12 am
by vinteuil
I think that the short answer to this is that nobody has such a definition—people have been arguing about this distinction for ages now.

Re: Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:00 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
kroeajueluo wrote:Is there any widely-accepted coherent definition of classical music (for the purposes of quizbowl distributions that delineate classical music, ex: ACF)? It seems to get somewhat dicey and nuanced when it comes to 20th century works in the orchestral tradition. A mixture of google + HSquizbowl forums have not found me any previous discussions on this.
What are these dubiously classical 20th-century orchestral works that you're talking about?

Re: Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:37 pm
by vinteuil
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
kroeajueluo wrote:Is there any widely-accepted coherent definition of classical music (for the purposes of quizbowl distributions that delineate classical music, ex: ACF)? It seems to get somewhat dicey and nuanced when it comes to 20th century works in the orchestral tradition. A mixture of google + HSquizbowl forums have not found me any previous discussions on this.
What are these dubiously classical 20th-century orchestral works that you're talking about?
in before Boulez Conducts Zappa

Re: Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:16 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
vinteuil wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
kroeajueluo wrote:Is there any widely-accepted coherent definition of classical music (for the purposes of quizbowl distributions that delineate classical music, ex: ACF)? It seems to get somewhat dicey and nuanced when it comes to 20th century works in the orchestral tradition. A mixture of google + HSquizbowl forums have not found me any previous discussions on this.
What are these dubiously classical 20th-century orchestral works that you're talking about?
in before Boulez Conducts Zappa
Yes, Frank Zappa's classical music is classical music. If this album came up as a clue in a Pierre Boulez tossup, that would presumably be fine. But a classical music tossup on Zappa should probably never happen below CO level (if it should even happen at all), simply because the classical pieces he wrote are too obscure. Actually, leaving aside Zappa: the reason not to ask about most classical pieces by non-classical composers is not because they are "not classical music", but rather because as pieces of classical music, they were (with a couple of exceptions) of minimal lasting cultural significance. It's the same reason a poetry tossup on Faulkner is a dumb idea: he wrote real poetry; it's just not of enough importance to be worth asking about.

Re: Is there any widely-accepted definition of classical music?

Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:34 pm
by Cheynem
Zappa's a pretty cool cat. I could see a pretty decent "Other" tossup on him that mixes some of his various genres and activities as clues (which quite frankly to me, is the best usage of "other" in the distribution, but I'll save that battle for another time).