The ‘New’ Old Fashioned Way

The ‘New’ old fashioned can deal with something that has recently become indoctrinated into the old. What do we mean by the old? Classic rock, classical music, classics, the (fill in the blank) canon. The question has always been how does this process happen, how does a composer become a part of the canon, etc. What does not get asked as often is when. When does this process even occur?

One reason is obvious: it is taxing to put a timestamp on these things. Is there a date and time when Mozart was a new old fashioned? How many performances did it take? Of what pieces?

We can see that knotted into this inquiry is that frequent question of how. If we knew the process we could gauge a time table on, say, Mozart’s inclusion into the canon. Lo and behold, we don’t have exact knowledge of how this happens. There is not a definitive science as of this writing and there will probably never be.

Things become even more confounding because we are then stuck with these classics, not knowing their exact origins. It is not that we are clueless either. Historical and theoretical examinations gives us more reasons than not why Mozart is exemplary. That, however, is not our concern. The historical and theoretical take Mozart as a given, as old fashioned. Our concern is that transition from pre-old fashioned to new old fashioned.

Why take up such a mantle? Well, the move from the ‘pre’ to the ‘new’ is something that happens around us all the time. A band gets big, an artist is inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, such and such is now a staple in classical concerts everywhere, the list goes on. In attempting to understand these moments of emergence, we can get at the heart of how musical information spreads, calcifies, and fades.


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