The erudite and popular culture and music.

Essay by stellaraCollege, Undergraduate November 2003

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When we think about concepts like erudite and popular we feel tempted to consider them radically different like black from white or good from bad, but if we analyse the question carefully we will see that both concepts have a lot in common and sometimes their limits can be quite ambiguous.

In general, we consider erudite what is only accessible to a privileged class and popular what is accessible to the majority of people. Commonly, when we think about what is erudite, we think on beautiful things of great cultural value, but when we take the concept popular, we associate it to vulgar or low quality stuff. However, if we think about Brazilian music, for instance, we will find that the greatest artists and compositors are considered popular rather than erudite. On the other hand, if we think about opera or classical music, which are considered expressions of erudite culture, we will find a lot of great pieces of art, but some of them, were classified as popular in their time; some of the greatest symbols of erudite culture today were even considered vulgar in the past.

Another point to have in mind is that we are living in a world where everything is accessible; we have access to a great amount of information, pieces of art and even music with just one click in the mouse. We could never say that operas like "Carmen" or "La traviatta" or classical music like "The Fifth Symphony" by Beethoven are erudite because they are not accessible to the mass, we can listen to any of these works on the radio or even on the internet, we can find CDs of them very easily in any shopping or supermarket, I can even risk to say that they are as accessible as Funk,