Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
I'm not really sure what people mean when they use that phrase....
I agree with the other posters that it almost always means something like "music drawing primarily from the Western Classical tradition".Unfortunately the inference when that term is used is that styles of music other than "classical" are therefore "illegitimate". Even the term "classical" can be vague and confusing in itself. The only solution I can think of is to not think too much when one hears the term.
I think context is important.It’s interesting to read the above characterizations of the term “legit” when applied to saxophone players. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I hear the term used to make sure I don’t misconstrue the intent of the speaker/writer.
I’ve always understood “legit” in its current slang usage for many things other than saxophone players. Something “legit” is exceptionally good, and the real thing; not some wannabe or poseur.
This, copied and pasted from the Urban Dictionary:
1. (adj.) A modern synonym for words such as "cool," "ill," "tight," or "dope." Used to describe a noun that is of a particularly excellent quality. The slang use of this term is slowly but steadily increasing in popularity.
2. (adj.) Authentic. see legitimate. ”
My sense has always matched saxoclese's interpretation - it's a backhanded slur against "illegitimate" vernacular musical styles.I think context is important.
Among jazz musicians (in the US), its use is quite widespread as jargon for "straight" or "classical" music. These days, it doesn't seem to have much valence at all and it seems to function purely as shorthand for classical-ish music. I don't think there's any reason to get worked up about it.
That said, my understanding of its etymology (in agreement with datsaxman's suggestion) is that it actually originated as an ironically derogatory term against "legitimate" classical music, which was viewed as unhip (e.g., in much the same way that "straight" and "square" were used to mean "not hip").
I agree. And yeah, I realize that for the most part the term merely refers to those who play classical music. But I've never liked that term because any way you slice and dice it, "legit" in this context implies that any music that is not classical is illegitimate and therefore inferior in some way. Words have meaning and I refuse to recognize this as a legitimate term (pun intended) for classical musicians! I have nothing against classical music and in fact I think most of it is of the highest quality, but I don't place it above all other musical genres.Whoever may still use that term, I just think it is totally archaic.
Either way I don't see place for that term these days.
Yet I don't imagine that you get upset if someone calls a player that you regard highly a "bad mofo" or a "killer player".[A]ny way you slice and dice it, "legit" in this context implies that any music that is not classical is illegitimate and therefore inferior in some way. Words have meaning and I refuse to recognize this as a legitimate term [...]
That depends. I.e.:Ok. What if you drive around in a really small car dressed as a clown playing circus music on a curvy soprano but you studied with Sigurd Rascher?
Legit or no?