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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 15:06 GMT
Classical attempt to curb loitering
Mozart - a great composer, but "intolerable" to the young
Some people might find the dulcet tones of Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven relaxing.

But business people in a County Down town had hoped it would be the answer to anti-social behaviour.

The town centre manager in Holywood planned to play classical music outside a number of stores to deter loitering youths.

The idea was that young people would think it was uncool and leave.

Steven Dunlop said groups of youths, as young as 15, caused problems in the vicinity of the post office which opens late at night.

"They climbed onto the roof of one building, were spitting on pensioners, abusing other people and creating an atmosphere which was putting off custom," he told BBC News Online in Belfast.

"We wanted to pipe a range of classical music at certain times of the day.. I thought it was an idea worth pursuing."

A similar scheme in Queensland, Australia, was hugely successful.

A local rail company played classical music in train stations and it managed to reduce vandalism, graffiti and a degree of loitering.

The same type of experiment in a Liverpool housing estate also worked.

Different types of music was played at different times of the day and in an area where classical music was played, young people stopped writing graffiti.

Beethoven would probably have been the Liam Gallagher of his time
Myleene Klass
Classical musician

Mr Dunlop, backed by a number of shop owners in Holywood, contacted a professor at Queen's University in Belfast who did a PhD on the effects of music on the human mood.

"He found that young people were into tap and hiphop beats - faster beats of music - and they find classical music intolerable," he said.

"He was prepared to set up a project."

It would have cost in the region of 12,000 for a full experiment in the town. That would have involved the installation of cameras, putting in a music system and employing someone to monitor the data.

But the idea was subsequently turned down by the Community Safety Partnership, based in north Down.

Mr Dunlop is disappointed, but hopeful that it may go ahead sometime in the future.

However, not everyone would endorse the use of classical music as a deterrent to young trouble-makers.

Myleene Klass, a former singer with the pop group Hear'Say, is now forging a career in classical music.

She has called for classical music to be made more accessible to the general public.

Myleene Klass
Klass was trained at the Royal Academy of Music

Klass, whose recent debut album Moving On featured music by Elgar and Beethoven said that classical music remained too "elitist".

In an interview with the BBC last month, she said of classical music: "Let's make it edgy, let's make it current, let's make it exciting."

Klass pointed out that Mozart wrote pieces for the popular audience, and that it was important to stress he was not elitist - although he is now seen that way.

"When he wrote he never wrote with that [elitist] mindset. He was a bit of a party animal. He was a real person, he wasn't a saint," she said.

"He was the Justin Timberlake of his time, and that's the closest thing that people can relate to.

"As soon as you say that, Beethoven would probably have been the Liam Gallagher of his time.

"It's just about putting it into a box that people can understand it in, without necessarily putting it into a classical box."

The traders in Holywood would just have been grateful to have put it in a sound system above their shops.

Myleene Klass plays it safe
31 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Hear'Say star signs classical deal
13 May 03  |  Entertainment
Move to save 'endangered' music
26 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
Mozart 'masterpiece' completed
15 Nov 03  |  West Yorkshire
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29 Apr 02  |  Entertainment
Near'Say: Cloning the Popstars
02 Apr 01  |  Entertainment


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