What will classical music turn into?

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Arjuna
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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by Arjuna » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:34 am

I just remembered a story a friend told me at university. One of the other composition students was always fighting with the lecturers because he wanted to compose romantic style music but they wanted him to compose more experimental music. So, one day he decided to test them by quickly jotting down a few pointless notes on a page 2 hours before he was due to hand in an assignment. He then invented an elaborate story on the spot to explain what the work was about. He ended up getting full marks.
Make your own mind up about what this says about contemporary classical music.

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by fredbucket » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:49 am

Arjuna wrote:Make your own mind up about what this says about contemporary classical music.
It says more about the lecturers, I think, and not in a positive way. This wasn't UWS by any chance, was it?

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by rob » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:56 am

fredbucket wrote:
Arjuna wrote:Make your own mind up about what this says about contemporary classical music.
It says more about the lecturers, I think, and not in a positive way. This wasn't UWS by any chance, was it?

Regards
Fred
Quite. It says nothing about music, but it does say a great deal about fashion in teaching and lecturers who ape what they believe to be up-to-the minute ideas in order to appear to be cool whilst understanding sweet f*ck all.

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by fredbucket » Thu Apr 28, 2011 3:05 am

rob wrote:Quite. It says nothing about music, but it does say a great deal about fashion in teaching and lecturers who ape what they believe to be up-to-the minute ideas in order to appear to be cool whilst understanding sweet f*ck all.
You need a new keyboard, Rob. One of the keys doesn't appear to be working properly...

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by rob » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:02 am

fredbucket wrote:
rob wrote:Quite. It says nothing about music, but it does say a great deal about fashion in teaching and lecturers who ape what they believe to be up-to-the minute ideas in order to appear to be cool whilst understanding sweet f*ck all.
You need a new keyboard, Rob. One of the keys doesn't appear to be working properly...
Just as well! But it is this sort of thing that infuriates me. There has been so much rubbish written on our forum over many years about modern music, and with lecturers around who fall for that sort of trick then no wonder there is so much ignorance. Although I really wonder whether it's true. It rather sounds made up to prove a point.

I have a story which on the surface is similar but actually is essentially the opposite of the probably apocryphal jest above.

When I was studying with Melanie Daiken at Morley College - it was a harmony class - we were asked to make a short exercise sketch for piano (though I can't remember quite what guidance or subject we were given). Whatever it was, I took the idea and made a note row out of it, but one which sounded on the surface basically tonal. Those of you that know about these things will know that that the Swiss composer Frank Martin used such ideas as melodies (and I was singing Frank Martin on Good Friday at Kings College Cambridge live on BBC Radio Three). So I took the note row and and a couple of its three primary related rows (I think) and wove something gentle and lyrical in at least three parts - only half a dozen bars. Melanie was entranced though needless to say it left the rest of the class dumbfounded. It did have something: it was lyrical and fairly serene, and because it used all 12 notes it felt as though it was floating. Said sketch is in the garage somewhere I suppose.

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by Arjuna » Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:34 pm

rob wrote:There has been so much rubbish written on our forum over many years about modern music, and with lecturers around who fall for that sort of trick then no wonder there is so much ignorance. Although I really wonder whether it's true. It rather sounds made up to prove a point.
I have doubts myself about how true the story is, but it supposedly happened while I was at uni so it wasn't one of those school yard myths that gets exaggerated over time. I actually met the student in question (but I didn't feel comfortable asking him about the story). I can say for sure, however, that the lecturers were actively pushing the students into more experimental areas. I know because they told me so when I auditioned for the composition degree - one of the reasons I decided not to do the course. I also spoke to another composition student before my audition, and she showed me a work of hers that she said was marked highly but had put very little work into it and admitted she didn't understand it herself.

Also, just to clarify, the story wasn't meant to criticise contemporary classical music (which I personally don't have any problem with) or even the lecturers in the story. When I suggested people make their own minds up about it I meant just that. It could just as easily be interpreted in a positive way - for example you might think it shows how open to new ideas the classical music community has become, or that it shows a fundamental shift in attitudes towards music from the logical (tonal music is logical) to purely emotional. Depending on who you are this could be a good or a bad thing.

I also think it's a mistake to assume that music we don't understand must be worthless. It must have value to someone or else you would never hear about it.
rob wrote:So I took the note row and and a couple of its three primary related rows (I think) and wove something gentle and lyrical in at least three parts - only half a dozen bars. Melanie was entranced though needless to say it left the rest of the class dumbfounded. It did have something: it was lyrical and fairly serene, and because it used all 12 notes it felt as though it was floating. Said sketch is in the garage somewhere I suppose.
That's a shame. It sounds interesting.

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by Dani_area_51 » Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:13 pm

Arjuna wrote: and she showed me a work of hers that she said was marked highly but had put very little work into it and admitted she didn't understand it herself.
I really agree with every thing has been said, mainly about everyone having their own tastes, and being that way, you decide if you like new experimental music or not. But about the quote, I must say that's one of the reasons I started the thread.
Because it looks like to me, while there are some interesting experiments, if you compose music to the point when even you don't understand what you composed that can't be a great sign. That's also interesting the point Arjuna made about tonal music being logical, because I've always thought about that, and not saying everything is not tonal, is bad, because of course it is not!!!!, I am just saying our brain is sort of "programed" to understand and enjoy that kind of music, with all the variables that music has, rather than, atonal or random notes being played.
In the other hand, that experimental non-sense we've been talking about, may be not interely waste of time ( or can it? ), but if the music reaches the stage of making your brain ignore what's being listened maybe, and I said maybe, there's really no advantage on trying to write new stuff like that, and the people could realize it's not working and YES, try to discover new things, but try other road...I am sure there's plenty of them....

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Re: What will classical music turn into?

Post by 4candles » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:19 am

Just read an interesting short article here: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/201504 ... troversies, which leads me to ask if anyone on PP has ever attended a concert where you experienced some kind of controversy in relation to the music being played?
4c

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