View Full Version : Classical Music

02-25-2010, 06:26 PM
I have a question. I may be a complete moron, so tell me if that is so.

I have seen live/seen videos of/listened to alot of modern rock and metal and country bands, from old guys like Iron Maiden and Heaven and Hell and Judas Priest, to new guys like 3 inches of blood and Black Tide and whatever. I have also seen local bands, cover bands, whatever. I have also seen a number of people playing classical music. Mostly students, but I've also seen some adult concerts.

My question is - Why do most people that play violin, flute, piano, and every other 'classical' instrument have to look at the sheet music in order to play? Is it because they don't/can't memorize it? Is it because most other music doesn't pay alot of attention to detail and there is some wiggle room with the chords, as opposed to the single notes of classical music?

I just noticed that a few days ago....Someone want to explain that to me?

02-25-2010, 06:33 PM
I don't know that much about music, but I did play French horn in band for 5 years, and now I play bass in a metal band, so at least in my experience classical/band music is much more complex, non repetitive, and important to get 100% right, and it would be extremely difficult to memorize. During marching band parts were memorized, and that was much more rock styled music. Metal is simpler and has a more acceptable level of sloppyness.

But again, I don't know that much about music, so there might be other factors I am unaware of.

02-25-2010, 06:43 PM
I look at it like this:

Orchestra's rely on sight-reading to give them their abilities. The players are supposed to look at nearly anything and just play it from sight. I think the big reason why it's hard for metal musicians to understand is this:

When you play rock or metal music, you play all the time for fun. Whether it be playing and learning the music of the bands that inspired you to play, or writing your own music, you play all the time, because there are a lot of applications for guitar, drums, keyboards, whatever. It's easy to stay on top of what you do outside of the full-band element. When you play, say, Oboe - you don't get a lot of opportunity to exercise your playing outside of playing with the full ensemble. So, if you can read music, you can get 100 people to sound "tight" by just placing the music in front of them and having them be able to play it.

Also, it's important to remember that in most orchestral pieces, every different instrument has drastically different parts. It's not like in a metal song where you have simply vocals, bass, drums, and a couple of guitar parts. It can be VERY hard to listen to a piece and hear exactly what the bassoon is playing. That's why it helps to have specifically your instrument's part transcribed for you.

Sorry for the jumble, hopefully that helped a bit.

02-25-2010, 09:05 PM
That makes sense. Thanks.

02-27-2010, 07:27 PM
Pretty much what has been said above. In classical music the pieces change over time and there are many different instruments intertwining, and in some cases the pieces can be up to and including 3 or 4 hours long, and every instrument has to be on the ball at all times. Plus, these people don't generally go on tour or play together all the time, so in some cases they were handed the music a few months before hand for that one performance.

As a guitarist, I can play about a days worth of songs, and even then I would be making mistakes and improvising in most of those songs when I play them, such is most other music apart from Classical. If I were to play a Classical piece with an orchestra, I would have to be on the ball with every note and virtually never make a mistake or improvise. Thusly the sheet music is there so I know what my part is and its timing. You will notice in an orchestra, some players use the sheet music more than others, because some will be better than others or may be very familiar with the piece. Its merely so there are no mistakes.

02-27-2010, 11:38 PM
All valid points, but from experience I can just say that
1. Rock based music is more repetetive and written in favor of the instrument you are playing on
2. You are either:
A. playing a cover that has only 3-5 different parts, one of which you memorize because you love it enough to pick up an instrument
B. playing your own music which you memorize while writing (full band/orchestra musicians almost never write or even choose what they are playing)