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Without a doubt, one of the most meaningful aspects of my life is music—specifically classical music.  I find that nothing has the ability to be more relaxing, more energizing, more saddening, more exciting, or more enchanting than a symphony orchestra on a Saturday evening.  There are three main reasons why I am so passionate about classical music:  First, I was exposed to it at an early age.  Second, I find that it has a mysterious quality that separates it from all other art forms.  Last, I enjoy classical music because a single piece can be heard repeatedly, without the listener tiring of its content.

 I believe that more people would enjoy classical music if they were exposed to it at an early age, as I was.  After a certain period of time, it is natural for any person to become accustomed to popular music—the music that is played most often on the radio, and the music that is most listened to by his/her friends.  Thankfully, my parents have been playing me classical music ever since birth.  For my whole life, I have been drawn to its beauty and power.  After a childhood of listening to classical music, no vast amount of peer pressure could have drawn me away from it.  In fact, classical music has affected my whole perspective on popular music: the latter lacks almost all of the virtues of the former.  Popular music does not have nearly the emotional force that classical music does.  Technically, the intricacy of popular music is neither as high nor as sophisticated as classical music.  If only more people were exposed to it at an early age, they’d be able to appreciate it.

There are but a few art-forms in this world that have the power to evoke such a wide range of emotions: among them are film, literature, and music.  But the thing that distinguishes music from the others is its mysterious “method of operation”; in other words, how does music work?  In literature and film, we are presented with a situation that we are able to associate with a particular emotion.  We have all experienced some form of physical pain at one point or another; therefore, when Voldemort tortures Harry Potter, we are able to associate an emotion with that event.  However, how is it possible to associate that same emotion with the brazen call of a trumpet or the passionate cry of a cello?  We are given no situation to identify with—so how can we get the same thrill from Rachmaninoff as we get from James Bond?  (At least I do.)  This perplexing quality of classical music captivates me.  Admittedly, popular songs do have words, suggesting some kind of situation or story.  But classical music is much more abstract, which makes it more intellectual than other forms of music.

Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa de Requiem is approximately one hour and forty minutes long, yet I could listen to it over and over again, without ever becoming tired or bored.  This is yet another virtue of classical music, and another reason that classical music is important to me.  Because most classical music is so complex, one can hear the same piece repeatedly, and hear something different every time.

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These three reasons have caused classical music to become a large part of my life.  I only wish that more people could share this passion.

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In my SAT tutoring program, students are urged to take a practice SAT every weekend.  And yes, that means four hours of test-taking agony every Saturday morning.  Hardly the most exciting way to start off a Saturday.  Yet, the SAT is far from the actual topic of this particular post.  While taking an SAT a couple of weeks ago, I came across a “Passage One, Passage Two” section that caught my interest.  (A “Passage One, Passage Two” section, for those who are unfamiliar with the SAT, is a part of the test that presents two short passages, and asks you to compare and contrast them.  Sounds fun, eh?)  This specific one was about the virtues of classical music.  Although I myself have much to write about this topic, I was compelled to tear the page out of the test booklet–drawing bewildered glances from my neighbors–so that I could share its content.  Below are both passages.  I plan to elaborate on them both in due time.  I hope that I’m not breaking any sort of copyright laws by doing this, but here it goes…

 Passage 1

Classical music is termed “classical” because it can be heard over and over again without the listener tiring of the music.  A symphony of Brahms can be heard and heard again with the same or even hightened enjoyment a few months later.  It is unfortunate that the Compact Disc (CD) sales of classical music is dismal compared to other types of music.  Perhaps this is because many people in our generation were not exposed to classical music at an early age and therefore did not get to know the music.

Passage 2

Rock and contemporary music has a high impact on the listener but unfortunately is not evergreen.  Its enjoyment lasts only as long as there is current interest in the topic or emotion that the music portrays and that only lasts for 3 months or so until other music replaces it, especially when another best selling song comes out.  The reason why the impact of this type of music is not as great when it first comes out is thought to be because thechnically the intricacy of the music is not high and not sophisticated, although many critics believe it is because the music elicits a particular emotional feeling which gradually becomes worn out in time.

 I’ll spare you the questions that followed.

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