ghosts passing by

If a tree falls in the woods, & no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? What if over a thousand ppl are there?

One of the greatest musicians in the world played for free, & barely anyone noticed. The Washington Post did an experiment, & they had Joshua Bell, one of the greatest violinists of our time to play in a Metro station plaza during rush hour. You’d have to pay at least $100 a seat to see the grammy-winner perform live. He played some of the most beautiful (& challenging) pieces of classical music written.

The Washington Post wanted to see if their ppl had time for Beauty? If a supremely talented violinist playing a 3.5 million dollar violin was playing in a commonplace setting (in a t-shirt, jeans, & a baseball cap), will ppl take notice & observe beauty?

How often do ppl stop in wonder of rainbows? It’s a really interesting article, & they video-taped the whole thing! You can read the article here: Pearls Before Breakfast.

Spoiler alert!!! Only 7 out of almost 1100 ppl actually stopped to listen for at least a minute. When Leonard Slatkin heard of this hypothetically, he propositioned that said violinist (not realizing it would be Joshua Bell) could draw a crowd of about 100, & make about $150. Oh, did I mention that he put some seed money in his case & turned it around; as a street musician. And he made 32 bucks & some change.

Ghosts: that’s what the Post called these ppl just passing by Bell whilst he played.

Oh, & you can listen to his complete performance here.

3 thoughts on “ghosts passing by

  1. There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog:
    She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters… I thought you might find it interesting.

  2. Thanks Anon,
    Yeah, ppl can go to the Saw Lady’s blog to check out her take on it all. I did read her comments yesterday.

    Basically, she contends that Joshua Bell is not a good busker. I don’t think that’s true. When he gets into the music, he really gets into it. I’ve often gotten lost & ended up w/ watery eyes watching some classical musicians; esp cellists & they’re playing sitting down!

    I think it’s more us & our inability to really appreciate anything if it’s not on our own terms. We will pay upwards of $65 for a tic to see a performance, but don’t expect us to drop what we’re doing here & now to take in a spur of the moment thing.

  3. Great article (even if the author is a bit haughty, lol) … but in the end I think the article’s author treated the incident holistically (or as much as he could).

    Yeah, I think the “busking” comment is a bit unfair. I mean, I’m sure if he used busking techniques he would have had a little more success, but it’s not like he was shunning the people passing by.

    However, I think the main reason people simply passed by is that classical music isn’t that popular amongst the general public. I mean, what if he had done a popular film score or even a Celine Dion song. People wouldn’t have recognized him, but they might have stopped due to the familiarity of the tune and realized this was an outstanding musician.

    I think a similar experiment, like S-Mac singing at a line for the rodeo or replacing a showing of 300 with the 400 BLOWS, would produce a similar result. The average person may have one hobby or art form they are passionate about, but they will be ignorant about many others.

    In the end, I dunno. I listened/watched to one of the clips and I was surprised at how phenomenal he sounded. I know nothing of classical music, and I don’t know what I would have done if I was walking by. But I hope I would have listened for a while and dropped in a dollar.

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