Social Spaces

Among classical musicians and students, a distinct culture has developed. Because music students dedicate so much time and thought to their art, it only makes sense that we would dedicate many of our conversations to it as well. At UNCSA, one can find students in the music school discussing composers, compositions, rehearsals, practice sessions, and various instruments and instrument types. Outside of the community, the subject matter of these conversations may seem strange, extensive, random, and boring, but they are an indication of the extent to which music is a part of our lives in every way.

Currently, the social aspect of music comes in when there are discussions and demonstrations of musical works. For instance, in one of our recordings, UNCSA music students talk about what they think about Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto, written in the 1860’s. When people have common interests in music, they can create and maintain stronger friendships by talking about music and playing it together, and can forge a stronger connection to the musical past. In another one of our recordings, a violinist talks with her friends about a harpist’s wonderful playing in orchestra. This shows that complimenting others’ musical skills and collaborating musically are vital in sustaining powerful relationships with many musicians.

But the most fundamental way in which musicians’ interactions are shaped is by music history. Among musicians at UNCSA, this plays a vital role in everyday conversation, though it presents itself in many different ways. One of our recordings, for example, is of a college pianist discussing J.S. Bach, a great composer of the 18th century. This is an example of someone who is very enthusiastic about and knowledgeable of music history as a subject. He clearly believes that Bach’s background in the church played an important role in his music, and that it is important to understand when interpreting his music. Another one of our recordings, however, is of a group of violinists making fun of violists (a common occurrence in the string player world). This can be explained by the fact that, historically, viola is an instrument only taken up by failed violinists. In more recent years, viola has come to be respected as a unique instrument and pursuit separate from the violin, but because of its history, these jokes prevail.

However music presents itself in conversations among UNCSA music students, it can be tied to events, customs, and cultural developments of the past. Because classical music has so much history, and because we spend so much time studying, playing, and analyzing it, we are constantly connecting the past our present lives.