Is there any other art where fine is necessarily equal to upper class?

To continue yesterday's rant a little bit, here's a very simple question.

In classical music, pre-20th century, only the music of the power elites and that of the church is accepted as "art music". There's a comprehensive equivalence between the music of the top echelons of the ruling estates and "musical quality". Is there any other art where this is the case?

There's plenty of fairly "small" painters and writers that made art purely for themselves or never got anywhere that today are seen as geniuses. Not to mention highly populist ones, like Shakespeare. Are there any composers?

What else could be? Furniture making? (Nope, at least in Sweden "folk" furniture is considered highly valuable and interesting.) Dance? Very closely tied to music, methinks.

Does anyone have an idea of another totally upper-estate genre or a type of classical music that wasn't that of the rulers and that is considered good today? Otherwise I'll be forced to conclude all classical music lovers are unpleasant snobs and all my teachers are apologists for conservatism. :)


Mike said...

Something that occurred to me whilst reading your 2 types of music post was I couldn't think of any Rock'n'Roll style music (by your definition of Rock'n'Roll) before Rock'n'Roll really started. Was there music pre-20th Century that was for the kids in that way?

Possibly naively I tend to think of music in Britan before the 20th Century as Classical or Folk, was there anything else?

Was there youth orientated folk?

Birdseed said...

There was some youth orientated movements, like the Woodcraft Folk or the Vandervogel in Germany, that used folk music vaguely the way you describe. But you'd be hard pressed to consider it "youth music" the way we think of it today - the idea of a generation gap didn't really exist yet.

The jazz age of the 20s, following on from the removal of an entire generation in WWI, provides the first proper youth cultures coming about, but it took well into the forties before music became marketed especially to teens.

I recommend Jon Savage's book Teenage if you're really interested in the subject.

Mike said...

Great, thanks.