Christina Bishop

TwoSetViolin and Classical Elitism

When I was a child I grew up enjoying different kinds of music, but imagine you are a child who is forced to listen and only to talk about classical music and perform only classical music with a classical instructor. Imagine being told that there is only one kind of classical music and that is the environment of the YouTuber’s TwoSetViolin and for them, it may seem normal but in reality, it’s a troubling world where they have a hard time exploring other forms of classical and folk music from all over the world. I feel sorry for the fact that as YouTubers they never really pondered the question; what is classical music and other cultures' definition of classical music? When they do try to explore other instruments they end up mocking musicians and end up offending people who do play those instruments who are also YouTubers like Trent Hamilton, Team Recorder, and many other diverse players. It made me wonder as a tuba player what will be their next target, Candian Brass, Carol Jantsch because she’s a woman tubist?

TwoSetViolin and people like them are part of the problem and not the solution to making classical and folk music of all cultures enjoyable to learn about; it’s the reason why some people cannot enjoy classical music because of it’s gated community of elites who even deem folk music that influenced composers like Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and others as too low brow.

My first real exposure to real Volksmusik was a CD I found at Frankenmuth which opened my ears to all its wonderful diversity of sounds and artists like Ursprung Baum, Tiroler Echo, and many others. As a young woman of German-American descent, it was a relief to me that this music was thriving in Europe again, but in America, it was sad that this music was not being exposed or taught in schools. When I found more Volksmusik on iTunes I wanted to play Kern Baum and Slavko Avsenik polkas which later influenced a Volksmusik genre called Oberkrainer. I wanted to be in a polka or folk group but there are very few and none of them hire women who are Aspberger’s, I wanted to learn theory to understand what makes Volksmusik music. Yet even theory classrooms are gatted by the classical community despite our Circle of Fifths being used by Jazz Musicians who were influenced by German and Austrian folk music forming the foundations of new genres like La Banda, Rock, Pop, and Be-Bop. The way I learned theory was by doing scales and modes all around the circle, and learning from my brass instructor Chuck Russel…

Father

Charles

Goes

Down

And

Ends

Battle

I find it sad that such knowledge has to be gated, locked, and sealed by the elitist in the classical community when everyone has a right to learn theory no matter what your ethnicity, race, or culture of music you come from. I find it horrible that assimilation and discrimination are still perpetuated by classical musicians no matter if they are two Asian men or of German Descent. In my own community as a tubist, there are firewalls over just playing a BBb tuba or a CC tuba which go back to a time when American Orchestras assimilated German and Austrian musicians and took their folkways away from them and only exposed them to classical culture and only classical culture. Although some tuba players will not admit to this assertion it’s more than just CC tubas just sound good argument. No classical musician should ever feel fear about exploring or playing other genres of music that are not classical canon; by doing this they are doing something TwoSetViolin is afraid of or is too scared to do. Admit that the gatekeeping of classical and jazz is wrong for many reasons and finally do something to combat elitism.

Tuba player, creator of Struwwelkinder and The Flying Circus Orchestra