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Perception...

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
Thanks: 194
Registered: 12-08-2007

Perception...

Perception
In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.
This experiment raised several questions:
*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Enjoy life NOW… it has an expiration date
11 REPLIES
Midnight_Caller
Rising Star
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Registered: 15-04-2007

Re: Perception...

Quote from: artmo
Enjoy life NOW… it has an expiration date

That is so true life is short, try to enjoy life while you can.  Wink
Community Veteran
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Re: Perception...

Social experiment, or stunt to sell some newspapers?
I think what you can conclude from this is that a lot of people aren't going to recognise great classical music if they hear it. How many people do you think would have realised how good the performance was if they'd been walking slower, or paused for a minute? I don't think it would have made much difference.
nanotm
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Re: Perception...

a better idea would of been to survey those people scurrying past and finding out if any of them liked classical music and or violin sounds in general
personally unless its a folk tune there's a good chance I wouldn't even glance sideways to someone busking, and that's perhaps far more pertinent to the social question at hand than who or on what instrument someone is playing but what there playing and what does the audience think, to me classical music on its own is at best boring and at worst comical (like when my school band tried to do it with a rat running round the stage ....)
I applaud them for taking the intuitive though but given the way a bloke with a boogie box can inspire a few dozen people to dance spontaneously in train station with some modern music it has to be far more about the choice of music than the location or peoples speed of traversal
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,862
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Perception...

"Good music"... played by "a talented artist(e)" in those surroundings, forced on  2,000 people........The Violin is a screeching sound at the best of times.... no matter how "good" or "talented" the player is... nor how much the violin was "valued" at... Some of the best Jazz music, during the 20`s 30`s and early 50`s & 60`s was also played on violins, valued at a millionth of the one you quote... likewise some of that same jazz was played by some of the very best Jazz players of the era on cheap upright pianos, with cheap Bass and sax, trombone.drum kit. etc....
The perception that was "tried out" completely forgot that those who WANT to hear THAT kind of music, WILL enjoy, and appreciate it...in a concert hall....
however... the 2,000 (mobile) audience. probably perceived it as a guy just trying to make a few dollars, in an environment that was not intended to be used for musical concerts.... without actually working for a living, (like they were )... ... also.... classical music is not to everyone`s taste...
The sound of the violin in that underground situation must have sounded like a cat being stretched. The acoustics must have been terrible... contributing to the feelings of the 2,000 mobile audience, that" the sooner we`re outa here"  ( hear ? ) the better.... hence they continued on their respective journeys  with all haste....
Personally.  I don`t like people in the street, making music, of whatever kind, which includes jazz,  as "buskers".. ( generic term ).. it invades my space, with no escape, unless leaving the very area where I wanted to be...It is the same as sitting in a queue of traffic, and the sun is beating down on the traffic, along comes a mobile disco, and stops next to you, or within earshot, and 180 db of obnoxious sound is belting out of the door panels and boot of the car... no escape.. not your kind of music and nowt you can do about it...  UGH Sad
Waldo
Grafter
Posts: 473
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Perception...

It's like deja vu all over again.
I wonder if more money would have changed hands if the classical violinist had been moonlighting in a Doom Metal band.....just to shut them up  Smiley
Community Veteran
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Re: Perception...

I saw this video when it first came out, and the immediate reaction was ' heathens, done know what they're missing'. U don't particularly like violins but I could appreciate the irony of it.
However, after thinking for a bit I realised that if you had dancing naked girls the reaction would be pretty much the same..people just needed to get where they are going.
A better, truer test would be to have the violinist busking in a park on a Sunday, when people have done to stop and listen.
As fit buskers, I actually don't mind them providing the provide entertainment and are not just blowing aimlessly on a tin whistle, looking for the cost of their next can of special brew!
I saw these guys in Cambridge one day, and spent a happy half hour listening to them. Very good. My six year old granddaughter half killed herself dancing. Smiley
The Caverners in Chelmsford - 24 December 2012:
Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Perception...

@Waldo, what goes around comes around I guess Wink
Buskers on the London Underground are now vetted before they can play.
Community Veteran
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Re: Perception...

Buskers are really annoying... especially on the underground... it is the same thing as those people with earphones turned up loud and you are next/near them and can hear the noise, but can`t get away from it..... UGH... ban buskers.... band earphones  ....
There should be a law against it.....  Angry
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Perception...

We don't have that problem with buskers on the London Underground.  Smiley What underground is it you refer to?
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,862
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Perception...

Erm...... see post number 7  Roll eyes Roll eyes Cheesy
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
Thanks: 194
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Perception...

As I said on LU the buskers are vetted so we don't have a problem with them Roll eyes