The mountain — the one where my book on the future of classical music has been hiding — has cracked itself open. And out of the crack comes…a skeleton. A skeletal outline of what’s going to be in the new, final version of the book.
Previously, as many readers know, I improvised drafts of the book, in a kind of online performance. They’re here. But this is the real deal. A real book. I’ll be unfolding it in stages, in future months. Details to come.
The new skeletal outline gives you some idea of the whole book — what it’s going to say, what subjects it covers, what some of its main points are. What’s not there? Details. Objections that I know people have to what I’m going to write (and of course my answers).
And also missing, inevitably: How much fun I hope the book is going to be. And how much music there’s going to be in it. It’s going to be full of music — descriptions of music, evocations of music, delight in music. In future, more detailed outlines you’ll see how that’s going to work.
But enough. A roll on the xylophone, please. It’s time for the skeleton. Comments welcome. I’m happy with this. It’s quick, but comprehensive: Chapter titles are very much subject to change. Ideas for them are welcome — as are all other comments.
I — The Crisis
Chapter I –Rebirth and Resistance
Classical music is changing. The changes can lead to its rebirth. One reason for change is the classical music crisis – the fear that classical music is receding from our culture, and that its audience might disappear.
But there’s resistance to change, and some people don’t even believe that the crisis is real.
Chapter II – Dire Data
Why the crisis is real.
Proof that the audience really is aging. How dramatically younger it used to be. How its aging signals a very large cultural shift.
Tangible evidence that this shift really happened. The decline in classical music ticket sales. Recent data from the National Endowment for the Arts, and how it shows that the classical music audience will almost certainly shrink.
Chapter III — Falling Behind (The Problem of Funding)
Why money for classical music will become harder to raise.
Chapter IV — Renegade Culture
The central problem — our changing culture. The world has changed, but classical music (mostly) hasn’t. Which explains why people — of all ages — have lost interest in it.
Part II –The Nature of Classical Music
Chapter V — Defining Classical Music
What classical music really is, and why we should save it. Its great tradition.
Chapter VI — The Myth of Classical Music Superiority
Why classical music isn’t better than music of other kinds. Why it’s harmful to think that it is.
Chapter VII — World Gone Wrong: The Failure of Classical Music
Why classical music – in the ways it’s presented today – no longer makes sense. Why it functions now as a refuge from contemporary life.
Part III — Alternatives
Chapter VIII — Pop Music and Popular Culture
Why popular culture is smart and valuable. What it can teach classical music. Why classical music has to coexist with it.
Chapter IX — Classical Music in the Past
How classical music used to be freer, and more expressive. How this can inspire us now.
Part IV — The Rebirth of Classical Music
Chapter X — What Should We Do?
How classical music has already changed. Problems we still have to solve, and recommendations for further change.
Chapter XI — Rebirth for Real
The future. What classical music might look like, after it reconnects with current culture, and becomes a truly contemporary art.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Which means that you may share this, redistribute it, and put it on your own blog or website, as long as you don’t change it in any way. You can’t charge money for it, or use it for any other commercial purpose. You also must include my comments on what’s left out of the outline, and you must give me credit, which means naming me as the author, and either providing a link to this blog post or else giving people its URL.