Brilliant musicians created a classical fusion

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From: Tim Hunter, Farfield Avenue, Knaresborough.

I AGREE with Martyn Scargill that most post-50s “pop” has been mainly rubbish (Yorkshire Post, October 22). In fact it’s not surprising that it has been so musically uninteresting, as it has generally been all about image, fashion and the provision of a basic rhythm for people to dance to.

Even then, surely he’d admit that some Beatles and perhaps Simon and Garfunkel songs were quite pleasant.

I am tempted to think, though, that he’s not talking about the difference between classical and pop, I think he may be referring to the difference between “respectable music” performed using instrumentation which was set in stone in the 19th century and “modern” music, which enthusiastically engages and experiments with new instrumentation and technology like synthesisers and electric guitars.

It is true that a lot of music that utilises this new technology is absolutely dreadful. Also, music that utilises tried and tested orchestral instrumentation can be a bit bland, but it at least provides many with a musical comfort zone. What I’d like to know is whether Mr Scargill would lump into the pop world a lot of extremely competent and adventurous music, which cannot be described as classical, because it wasn’t based around 19th century instrumentation.

I am referring to the output of groups that emerged in the late 60s and 70s which became known as progressive rock. In the future, this music may, in due course, be regarded as the modern “classical”, when we finally start to accept that electric guitars and synthesisers are valid instruments.

The kind of groups and artists I am referring to include: Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield and Tangerine Dream.

These were brilliant musicians, some of whom had decided to leave the classical world due to the allure of rock music, which Mr Scargill presumably managed to resist. These groups fused jazz, classical and rock and pioneered the usage of new instruments like the mellotron.

Many of these groups performed major original works with classical orchestras (eg Deep Purple and The Moody Blues) thus fusing old with new.