Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What We Don't Hear

I recall blogging about this back when it came out, but for some reason the other day (perhaps because I've been finding work to be rather all-absorbing lately) I was reminded of this article about an experiment in which world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell spent half an hour playing in a major DC metro station -- performing some of the world's greatest classical music on his Stradivarius-made violin -- and virtually no one noticed.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Jewel did something vaguely similar recently, albeit with different results.

TS said...

I think I have the opposite reaction. The pleasure of music in a typically banal location like a subway tunnel makes it sound all the better to me. I think every dude is a virtuoso.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

I remember that.

I still say it was a rigged story-- it's morning rush hour. Nobody goes out in that unless they're on the way to work, and who budgets "stop for something interesting for fifteen minutes" into their morning commute? Would it be better if there was a follow up-- "X people were fired, today, because they stopped to listen to this amazing violinist on their way to work and were an hour late"?

Want to give a fair option? Do the same thing at the start of lunch. Nobody loses their house because they skipped lunch to listen to pretty music.

Darwin said...

This may also be a white collar vs. blue collar thing. I could get away with being 15 minutes later than I'd planned most days -- pretty much any time I didn't have a major meeting I had to be in first thing (which since I target 8-8:30 isn't often.

I'd tend to assume that most of the government workers going through this station are in the same situation. But I could be wrong.

It would be interesting to see how it worked at lunch or at the end of the day.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

We had a contractor who didn't do his work, read his newspaper all day, never showed up for the mandatory meetings and such things.

The way, after several years of this, that he was finally fired...was because he never showed up on time and they documented it.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

(Federal work-- DOD contractor)

Darwin said...

There are certainly situations in which coming in late is unacceptable, either on a given day or always. (There are some days when I absolutely have to be in for an 8am or 9am presentation.) But at least in my experience, in professional work there are a lot of individual days when not only would people not care if you came in 20 minutes later, they wouldn't even notice. (Of course the flip side is, I also often have to stay late with no notice and no overtime.)

CMinor said...

The time of day certainly skewed the results. Some time ago I read about a somewhat less famous concert violinist who used to have a regular busking gig at an NYC subway station during evening rush hour. He was quite popular with regulars to the station and felt it was a great way to bring classical music to a segment of the public that didn't necessarily buy Philharmonic tickets.

Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Is this the guy, CMinor?
http://undercoverny.com/performances/chen-cong?

The whole site seems to be focused on street performers. (If we're all such philistines, how do these folks live?)

DMinor said...

Actually the one I'm thinking of had a night job with the orchestra--that article was some years ago. But it's an interesting story.

cminor said...

Shoot. That was me.