Comments on

Violins in the Media

Original entry posted: Tue Apr 10 15:59:39 2007

Corvus @ Tue Apr 10 10:24:26 2007 EST

I wonder what his body language was like? I am more inclined to stop and watch a lively and engaging busker, rather than a merely technically proficient one.

Thomas @ Tue Apr 10 10:27:57 2007 EST

Someone else made that point as well, and I think it's a good one. There's a difference between a good street musician and a good concert musician, and it doesn't always have a lot to do with their playing proficiency.

pseudonymous @ Tue Apr 10 11:48:38 2007 EST

I think there should be more live music on the metro.

Yeah, the transvestite puppet show in Paris was a little disturbing, but for every show like that, I was treated to a good guitarist or violinist doing really extraordinary things in a subway station of all places.

I wish people would stop witholding good music simply because they think we don't or wouldn't get it.

Put Bell at Smithsonian on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon and he'll get an audience.

Josh @ Tue Apr 10 11:59:39 2007 EST

Yeah - I don't know what they expected.

I mean it's a pretty much agreed concept of human behavior than when offered something for free people will often accept it for free.

If that thing is of higher value - it doesn't not mean people are significantly more likely to pay for it.

I mean, I hear plenty of street musicians in Chicago. Most are good. Some are very good. In general, people will pay if they actual stop and listen for a while. Kinda like reading a magazine in a bookstore. Most people know the difference between a free browse and abusing the system.

A better experiment would have been allowing people to preview his music before paying the $100 ticket.

Thomas @ Tue Apr 10 12:21:41 2007 EST

Is a $100 ticket really the best price for his playing, even after a preview? I doubt most people would pay that. I guess that's your point.

It's like the Rolling Stones. Nobody's paying the exorbitant ticket prices because of the music. They're paying because the Stones have become a status symbol. To what extent has that happened to most classical music?

I think $100 tickets for violin concerts are part of what leads to pretentious articles about "world-class" violinists. It's a vicious cycle of artificial scarcity.

Brinstar @ Tue Apr 10 14:32:53 2007 EST

Everyone seems to be talking about that article.

I would like to say that I'd stop and listen to him play, but I'm not sure that I would have. Even for buskers that I've given money to (awesome Chinese guy or bagpipe player at Farragut West Metro Station, for example), I was usually on my way somewhere (work), and didn't have time to dally.

I doubt I would have recognised his "genius" either. I know enough to know that someone is a good player, but not enough to distinguish a really good musician from a world-class musician on a cold workday morning before I've had my tea. :-P

Thomas @ Tue Apr 10 14:39:57 2007 EST

I almost didn't write about it, actually. I didn't want to give it attention.

But it's local, and it's musical, and it's really annoying. I couldn't fight it any longer.

Lucretius @ Tue Apr 10 18:12:20 2007 EST

Myself, I probably wouldn't have noticed while I passed him with Chopin's Tristesse playing on my Creative Zen. I get pretty distracted...

Scientifically, this "experiment" is a mess, as you pointed out. I'm curious if we could convince them to try it again (several times) with different artists and repeated in several stations. Then it might acurately depict the cultural vibe. Or would that not be the purpose? (Mr. Tongue, meet Mr. Cheek) :p

Josh @ Wed Apr 11 17:38:17 2007 EST

I'd love to see the reverse. I'd pay good money for the Street Musician's Revue.

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