"Love follows knowledge."
"Beauty above all beauty!"
– St. Catherine of Siena

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Music Tuesday: Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland

The other day I came across this post in American Thinker , “Why Criminals are Afraid of Classical Music.”   I had never heard this, but the author, Enza Ferreri seems to think it’s common knowledge.

Many young people, especially the anti-social, dislike classical music so much that it can be played to discourage them from intimidating, harassing and robbing.

This experiment has been successful over many years in countless locations.

The earliest occurrence was in the mid-1980s, when Canadian outlets of 7-Eleven played easy listening and classical music to disperse teenagers loitering outside. After that, companies from McDonald's to Co-op, transport authorities, housing estates and shopping malls around the world have employed this method.

She goes on to list various places across the globe that have used this concept to discourage bad behavior.  Then she tries to draw some reasons:

The evidence seems plentiful. Why, then?

The simplest explanations, in the time-honored scientific tradition of Occam's razor, should be considered first.

Teenagers, especially those with uneducated ears, don't like classical music, and they think it's not "cool" to be seen by their peers listening to it.

Still other explanations are in the nature of classical music itself. Much of it conveys a sense of order, symmetry and beauty, that conflicts with the disorder and ugliness in the minds of hooligans.

Musicologist Giovanni Bietti explains that Beethoven -- who was convinced that music could make a great social contribution -- Mozart and Haydn had a rational image of music, which is why in their works the initial contrasts are always resolved through the rules of composition, giving order to thoughts. This discourages those who don’t accept the rules.

It’s like the link between criminal behavior and rap, through the rap lyrics and the "music" -- or rather cacophony -- itself.

I don’t know if I’m completely convinced, but nonetheless it’s very interesting.  So in an effort to keep the hooligans away from my blog, here’s one of my favorite classical pieces, a well known 20th century work by the American composer Aaron Copland, "Fanfare for the Common Man."

A thought just occurred to me.  My ear is so attuned to German and Italian classical composers, that it is striking when you hear an American composer.  The “language” of the music seems very American to me.


  1. Oh my goodness, Copland is one of my favorites. I love everything he wrote. It does have a uniquely American feel. He uses recognizable themes and turns them every which way to create something stirring and beautiful.

    And, wow about the thief deterrent. Maybe that's why our house has stayed safe. Oh, and God. :)

  2. Brilliant piece of music. One of my favorites. Used it years ago as an Intro to a radio program.

    God bless.

  3. Our daughter played this piece in Wind Ensemble.

    Loved it then, still wonderful today! Thanks for posting this, Manny.


  4. Glad you all enjoyed it. It really is a great work.

  5. This is vely intelesting. I have an incorrigible child- perhaps I will have continuous classical music playing during the daytime hours. Perhaps it will settle him down....