Joshua Bell Plays His Fiddle For Some Pocket Change

Pearls Before Breakfast describes how a well-known classical violinist played during rush-hour in a public building – a street musician – to see how many would stop, listen, and maybe throw him some change, to a performance people would pay $100 a ticket for in a formal setting.

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.
Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he’s really bad? What if he’s really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn’t you?

A great read.

I predict this story will spread around the blogosphere quickly.

4 Replies to “Joshua Bell Plays His Fiddle For Some Pocket Change”

  1. There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article by a NYC subway musician in her blog
    She interprets the situation differently from the Washington Post reporters… I thought you might find it interesting.

  2. > There is a great response to the Joshua Bell article

    Yes, an interesting post and comments at that site. I posted a comment, asking HOW a “professional” busker attracts a crowd though, which the author didn’t spell out? I don’t see how someone can do anything while playing, like doing a jig or something, although that’d be cool.

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