Reconsidering Traditions

Creative | Kansas City

Reconsidering Traditions

Over 400 years ago — the orchestra got its start (back in the 1600-1700’s). At the beginning, it was only stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, string bass). But then the wind instruments and percussion were added, thanks mostly to Beethoven. But where do should they sit when you add them? The back row naturally. Why? Well, for starters the strings were their first — duh! Second, relying on natural acoustics to create the proper balance was pretty important. Note: Beethoven died 50 years before the microphone was even invented. Then you add the fact that higher pitched instruments are mostly on conductor/audience left and the lower instruments are on the right side. Yet humans perceive higher tones with a right ear advantage and lower tones with a left ear advantage — as demonstrated in the Deutsch’s Scale Illusion. This means the entire seating setup for orchestra is setup for the musicians…not the conductor nor the audience! Um — last time I checked the music was for the audience, not the musicians themselves. Yet, this is largely how most orchestras are setup today.

What traditions are in the process of changing or have already changed. Fueling cars with petrol. Lighting Christmas trees with candles. Greeting each other with a handshake. Hazing in universities. Daylight savings time. Spending thousands of dollars on weddings. .

Tradition has value — but when tradition goes against new learnings or technology … there are times to let tradition go.

What methods do I continue to use regardless of common sense because of tradition?

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