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tarnalberry

An Interesting Experiment

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... were to play some of the most difficult works known on his Strat at a subway station in street clothes with his violin case open, like any common street musician? Would anyone know? Would anyone care?

beauty and context?

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

-- from "Leisure," by W.H. Davies


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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Wow! That's the reason I don't live in DC anymore.

Some of the best joys in life might be standing right in front of us.


Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

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Now if he were in Bloomington, IN where he grew up, he would have been appreciated! There's a guitar player there who stands on the street corner there and is really good. He makes a very good living doing that. He says it's better money than he could make playing at clubs, etc. I couldn't find the newspaper article I read about it a long time ago, but I was shocked at how much it said he made ... a very good wage.

I saw a string quartet playing on the street in Chicago. They were four sisters, wonderful musicians. People were standing around everywhere watching them. They had a sign up that said they were playing themselves through college. Apparently they were making enough by playing there on weekend nights.


gluten-free 12/05

diagnosed with Lyme Disease 12/06

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i find it amazing that every single child who passed by turned to look at him. what an inspiring article. we really should take more time to notice the beautiful things in our lives each day.


Sweetfudge

Born and raised in Portland, OR; Currently living in Provo, UT

Gluten-free since June 2006

Also living with Hypoglycemia since 1991

Dairy-free for good since summer 2008

Started IBS diet and probiotics at GI's recommendation - Fall 2008

Also avoiding: potatoes, beans, crucifers, popcorn, most red meat, coconut milk :(

Started eating a Paleo diet Spring 2011. Love it!

The grass is always greener where you water it.

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When I was a grad student at Juilliard, my roommate and I used to take our instruments to the corner of Broadway and 72nd and play duets for an hour or two--and we would usually earn $20-40. But that was in the 80's. Maybe times have changed, or maybe it's just a DC thing.

The really eye-opening thing is the part about the children...

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Hum, I was listening to the music and didn't even notice the children. Guess that's a good thing?


Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

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Hum, I was listening to the music and didn't even notice the children. Guess that's a good thing?

I was referring to the text: "But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away."

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It certainly was an interesting experiment but I'm not sure any of the generalizations being made (I saw this posted and discussed on a music forum also) are valid. I listened to all of the clips and I can say that even if I'd know that he was famous I wouldn't have stopped to listen. That is not an instrument I enjoy listening to.

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While I can't add much to what's been said, I wonder just how many people actually take the time to read that article. After all, it is a sound-bite and one-liner driven society.


A spherical meteorite 10 km in diameter traveling at 20 km/s has the kinetic energy equal to the calories in 550,000,000,000,000,000 Twinkies.

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It certainly was an interesting experiment but I'm not sure any of the generalizations being made (I saw this posted and discussed on a music forum also) are valid. I listened to all of the clips and I can say that even if I'd know that he was famous I wouldn't have stopped to listen. That is not an instrument I enjoy listening to.

OUCH!!! :(

However, I would sort of agree with you in that I don't think he chose the kind of pieces that would make most people stop and listen. Now, if he had done an encore piece like this: http://violinmasterclass.com/scales_qt.php...tn=Performances, I bet he would have had a huge crowd.

Performance is pretty much the same thing, on stage or on the street: you have to play pieces that the audience is going to like. That Bach Chaconne he played (twice) is a gorgeous piece, but very heavy and somber, especially first thing in the morning!

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I think it was an interesting experiment, and I think in another location, perhaps more people would have stopped to listen.

A busy train station is not the ideal place to expect people to stop and listen to music of any kind. People in a train station are there because they have a train to catch. They have to get to work, or their meeting, or home to their kids. I think if this were outside in a park (not a street corner) the results may have been a bit different. People in a park generally aren't in a hurry to get anywhere, so they can spend some time listening. I'd be willing to bet that most people can tell the difference between a good and bad violin player, but not between a good and a great player. Know what I mean?

While I can't add much to what's been said, I wonder just how many people actually take the time to read that article. After all, it is a sound-bite and one-liner driven society.

Excellent point. So many of us are tied to the clock.


Linda, Mom to Ty (11 years old)

Ty was diagnosed by blood test June 7/05

biopsy Aug 11/05, diagnosis confirmed Aug 18/05

Mom, Dad and big brother Celiac-free.

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I think it was an interesting experiment, and I think in another location, perhaps more people would have stopped to listen.

A busy train station is not the ideal place to expect people to stop and listen to music of any kind. People in a train station are there because they have a train to catch. They have to get to work, or their meeting, or home to their kids.

Right. But the experiment wasn't to see if people would stop to listen if they had plenty of time. Rather, just what would people do when they aren't just enjoying the scenery. Would they depart from their routine, toss aside obligations, etc to take in what was obviously a great performance. It's about priorities.

Now if one were to go into that same exact place, and start handing out 100 dollar bills, I've no doubt people would most definitely stop. Given that, it says a lot about what people value.


A spherical meteorite 10 km in diameter traveling at 20 km/s has the kinetic energy equal to the calories in 550,000,000,000,000,000 Twinkies.

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Don't need the $100 bills, if they were handing out CDs a lot of people would have taken them and listened later. The 1000+ people who walked by there all had different situations in their lives that morning. It just strikes me as arrogant to say "this music I like is more important than anything you have planned today" and somehow put down people who didn't stop.

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In my opinion, the point is that beauty doesn't occur on your schedule or in your own context. It occurs in its own time and in its own context. If you're unwilling to break from your set routine and honor it when it occurs, you'll miss it.

Sure, not everyone loves classical music or the violin, but more than two people on the DC subway do, and none of them stopped, and hence all of those people missed out because they were unwilling to take the time to appreciate the something they might otherwise have enjoyed, simply because it wasn't on their own schedule or in their own context.

What else do they - or we, when we do the same thing - miss out on?


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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I mostly agree but there is a beauty in getting to the office and getting that difficult software feature to work properly. Beauty is found in lots of different places, not just in the classical view of the arts.

But, I'll concede that some people missed something that they would have enjoyed and didn't "replace" it with anything other than a routine trip to a routine job.

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I think we are just generally too busy as a society and too deluged/inundated with constant sensory information....it's disturbing.

But, I can tell you that I for one would stop dead in my tracks upon hearing something that technically difficult and beautifully-played. I happen to like the violin.....but any person playing any instrument so well would capture me, if only for a few seconds......however, I did study classical piano for many years, that may have something to do with it?

Very interesting experiment!


SUSIE

Diagnosed January 2006

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss

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Astonishing. It was obvious he was extreemly talented and was not a begging musician. People loose that interest in beautiful things as they get older. They get drawn off by the constant work, to give yourself more stuff society we now live in. I think alot of them forget how to be happy, they become so cynical. That was such an interresting article!!


~Savoring this new world of dark chocolate~

graves disease 1998

pos blood test sept 2006

pos biopsy oct 2006

gluten-free since oct 2006

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It could also be as simple as people didn't notice. "There's always a guy there playing something, the only difference is this guy had a violin" type of mentality.


Linda, Mom to Ty (11 years old)

Ty was diagnosed by blood test June 7/05

biopsy Aug 11/05, diagnosis confirmed Aug 18/05

Mom, Dad and big brother Celiac-free.

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It just strikes me as arrogant to say "this music I like is more important than anything you have planned today" and somehow put down people who didn't stop.

I didn't get the sense that the people themselves are being belittled in any way. Only that the modern-day pressures and our fast-pace lives are robbing us of the very things we actually, ultimately hope to gain. The things which really matter - happiness, joy, peace, love, etc.

But take note; the children were all drawn to the music. It didn't matter if it was of a genre unfamiliar to them, or whether they happened to like it. They knew it was beautiful. They knew it had an intrinsic value all its own. They recognized the happiness, joy, peace, love, etc. They knew it mattered.


A spherical meteorite 10 km in diameter traveling at 20 km/s has the kinetic energy equal to the calories in 550,000,000,000,000,000 Twinkies.

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I don't claim to have any great insight on this one. In the DC metro, there is generally no musicians allowed. That is why the one person considered calling security.

My experience with kids is that their attention is drawn to anything different be it a musician where one normally doesn't appear or a stick with a funny twist. I just think that too much is being read into this.

My sense that people were being being put down for not stopping was the total impact of the article, comments here and on a music message board that has been discussing this article. The "if this were <insert location> the results would be different" and general tone that these people didn't recognize the greatness came across differently to me.

While I didn't enjoy those clips, I do have at least one celiac disease with Mr. Bell performing in a group and I just ordered another so I'm not completely "uncultured". :P

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My sense that people were being being put down for not stopping was the total impact of the article, comments here and on a music message board that has been discussing this article. The "if this were <insert location> the results would be different" and general tone that these people didn't recognize the greatness came across differently to me.

I disagree with your assessment of the article, but I do agree that a lot of commenting on the article is along those lines. I don't think it's the music, the violin, or the area that's important. I don't think it's the fact that not *everyone* stopped. It's the fact that 0.2% of people stopped. The fact that 0.2% of people honored the fact that the world doesn't function on their own personal schedule.

If just 10% of people stopped for just a few seconds, I'd say that the 'experiment' would have been a success, rather than the failure it was. If 20% of people turned their heads as they walked by, maybe even slowing down for a step or two, it would have been a great success. It isn't saying that "YOU" should have stopped, it's saying that, given the numbers, more than two people should have. That's why the whole discussion about Kant and Toqueville was included in the article.

But, instead, people ignore beauty, uniqueness, and interesting things because they're too busy or because they don't want to be involved in anything outside their own world. Both are very self-centered things (and I meant that in a self-centered-bad way, not a self-centered-good way) and cause a net loss for us individually. The same thing would likely happen for a spectacular piece of visual art, theater, dance, gameplay, or all kinds of other things. For that, I do critize people, including myself if I demonstrate that behavior.

Of course we can't all always be "on" or open to working off of our schedule or context, but to never be so is - IM(oh so)HO, the problem. :P

(I should add, as you note, there's beauty in things besides the standard classics - bits of code, circuit design, etc. Regardless of relation to work, it's a good thing to stop to take the time to appreciate it. It needn't be a lot of time, but the act of stopping to appreciate it is valuable. I would go so far as to argue to doing this cross-genre, in areas that are not normally your preference, is important as well, and often overlooked. But not everyone will appreciate everything.)


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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Why is it not okay for people to enjoy music only when it is on their schedule yet the participants in the experiment expect people to conform to their schedule (Friday morning rush hour)?

As I said, my sense of people being put down was not just the article, it was the article and the comments on this and other boards. Granted in the article there wasn't much of that, just in the questions posed in the intro: "Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?"

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Why is it not okay for people to enjoy music only when it is on their schedule yet the participants in the experiment expect people to conform to their schedule (Friday morning rush hour)?

Taken to the extreme, the reason is because it demonstrates a sense of self-entitlement that is not sustaining in any moral system. This example does not take it to that extreme, but it edges on the slippery slope if people find that they are too busy for 'culture' - however you choose to define it (and, as you point out, it needn't be defined via violinists, classical music, or traditional art) - and the society as a whole finds itself losing a well defined culture. We've dismissed this sort of sociology, as a people, but it's played a huge role in the history of civilizations.

I think the article does the point a disservice by not sufficiently distancing itself from the single artform and adequately addressing the abstract concept as a whole. The meta discussion is really far more interesting, and this should just have been a starting point for it. The author touches on it, but - as you mention - seems offended on the musical front.

As I said, my sense of people being put down was not just the article, it was the article and the comments on this and other boards. Granted in the article there wasn't much of that, just in the questions posed in the intro: "Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?"

Yeah, there's some condescension, but I think that was partially due to the audience.

Heh... you've made me realize that my conclusion is that the article needs to be better contextualized. :)


Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"

Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy

G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004

Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me

Bellevue, WA

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