Thursday, March 06, 2008

Stop and Hear the Music

I read a post on Midsummer Meandering's Blog today about going to the symphony. While her post was mostly comedic, mine is not. Awhile back Isaac shared with me a news story that detailed the findings of a social experiment. The results were somewhat surprising and a little sad to me. Its not unlike my previous post asking the question "who decides what is art-worthy?". In the midst of our hustle and bustle we as a culture have lost sight of what is truly beautiful.


A writer for the Washington Post recently decided to try a social experiment to find out if commuters in a subway station would recognize musical genius if performed by a master virtuoso in the guise of an ordinary busker. So the trap was set: Joshua Bell, one of the world's greatest violinists, along with his $3.5 million instrument crafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1713, played 43 minutes of masterpieces in a Washington metro station on a typical Friday morning. The results were depressingly predictable. Of the 1,097 people who rushed by, only seven stopped to listen to the music for more than one minute. Another 27 tossed some money in his violin case, and the rest were completely oblivious to the spark of beauty interrupting their otherwise dull day.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so interesting! That was beautiful music to say the very least! I think I would have stopped. When I visited to NYC, I stopped for tons of music I heard. I guess mainly because I never had seen that sorta thing so I dunno, maybe if I was a native out there and too busy, I wouldn't have!

Can you believe how much that violin cost?!?!?! Oh, I love the violin! My ex took me to a symphony once, L.A. Philharmonic. Pretty cool. Not the ex, just the music...hehehe.



JAN said...

That is incredible! Violin music stops me dead in my tracks-whether it's a 7 year old playing or Joshua Bell.
We have lost sight of what is beautiful and have lost the desire to create beauty even in our own lives. People long ago used to put so much time and craftsmanship into their work, whether they were making quilts, furniture, clothing, or even shoes. Now it's all store-bought disposable everything. And WE have WAY more free time than people used to have. They had to scramble to make everything from scratch and yet they still took the time to make things beautiful.

JAN said...

One other thing-While we were at the symphony last Saturday, we noticed that we were some of the youngest people there! I think the lack of appreciation for "all things beautiful" is going to increase as time goes by.

Big Doofus said...

Incredible. I know that I wouldn't have noticed who he was, but I think I would have stopped. I hope I would have stopped.

They could have gotten more people to stop if they would have had Jerry Springer standing next to the guy.

It's official. Culture is dead.