A discussion of tennis stars, because is US OPEN WEEK
There’s another musical analogy here. Middle-class people used to play instruments. The only way to hear music at home was to make it yourself. The ability to play the piano or sing was a basic part of a certain bourgeois upbringing, of public education. And this meant that audiences who went to hear professionals play had a direct and immediate relationship to the performance. Many people listening to Paderewski in Carnegie Hall had played or had tried to play the music he was playing, or at least could relate to what he was doing. The gap in ability was great — that’s where the thrill came from — but not so great that it was incomprehensible. Then recordings came along and the relationship between listener and performer shifted, became far more remote and abstract.