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Thread: Where are the current composers interested in classical era styles?

  1. #61
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Lately I have been composing "pastiche" with great success. Isn't anything wrong with making music that sounds good to you, there's more right than wrong with that notion.
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    Senior Member some guy's Avatar
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    You can't be serious. After all this thread, and this is where you've ended up?

    Wow.

    Anyway, here's a wee quote. I don't know who said it first. I can find out in a bit.

    "It is the composer's duty to write music that you do not yet like."

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Its just like the modern artist who berates the skilled painter for trying to make money on visual art that resembles the classics, when the modern artist probably lacks the technique to paint things as they actually appear anyway.

    I'm done some guy, I don't agree with you at all. I think you are the one who is misguided. And what I do does absolutely no harm to the world, everyone I've played my pieces for has liked my compositions, found them interesting and fresh.
    Last edited by clavichorder; Apr-18-2012 at 19:08.
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Lately I have been composing "pastiche" with great success. Isn't anything wrong with making music that sounds good to you, there's more right than wrong with that notion.
    While, of course, there is nothing wrong with this for your own pleasure, don't expect other people to take it too seriously. As I said much earlier in this thread, what is the point of imitating composers from 200-250 years ago who, in all likelihood, said it all (and at a very elevated level) at that time?

  5. #65
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    I'm curious to hear more of your viewpoint as to why its disrespectful. From my perspective, composers are sometimes too revered these days, and in the baroque period it was simply thought of as a craft, people borrowed ideas from each other all the time.
    I think there is a wholesale misunderstanding about 'replicate,' which I think did not at all appear in the OP.

    You were talking of course about form and format, not the content.

    I think anyone would agree if you are going to write in the form as well as in the style of, say, Mendelssohn, then why bother. but Different things can, appropriately, go into a similar form or format.

    As far as the old Sonata-allegro 'Sonata' or Symphony,' well, it does seem that is rather out of fashion altogether at the moment. I won't lament that but two things about it should be said - it is still, one way the other, the springboard for many a very contemporary work, and it is, like the key of C major, not 'over forever.'

    Me, I've had enough of it with the old and am not enamored of the idea of a new work in the old format. The idea would have to be appropriate to the format, and, well, I'm quite content with all there is from the early baroque up through the sixties, and later.

    No amount of format is going to make the piece itself interesting -- that must come from the content, and the play of ideas, whether built upon sonata allegro floor plans or on some other basis.
    The big deal, whatever old form or procedure you use, it to make and keep the piece fresh, and that is one effing tall order.
    Last edited by PetrB; Apr-18-2012 at 20:18.

  6. #66
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlackudder View Post
    There are more classical composers now than there was 200 years ago.

    You don't hear their music because they don't have the money to promote themselves.

    You have to throw money at the big concert halls, tv, magazines and radio. If you don't have money you cannot get in.

    These people will stay unknown or perhaps work in film, tv and video games. Their music in some form is heard by millions.

    but i suppose there is much to discourage them from just composing music.

    Oh please - yes, there are tens of thousands of people who write 'original' and yet very uninteresting music, tonal or otherwise, some of them are arch-conservative, some even directly composing 'a la ______.' You just cannot count them, seriously, as part of the body of contemporary artists anymore than you should count those who failed to come up with much of any real quality, regardless of period style, in art schools.

    Film composers are highly skilled, deft and remarkably fast at their craft - some (a lot in my experience) of that music is 'generic' but it servers a purpose and the craft, at the least, is to be admired -- many of them should never be considered 'classical composers' by the very nature of that craft - they are categoric genre-spinners, not 'originators.'

  7. #67
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truckload View Post
    Bravo! Well said. Mozart himself was in no way an innovator. He perfected. What if some billionaire offered a prize of $1,000,000 to the composer who could write a symphony in the style of Mozart? Don't you think that there would be music written just as beautiful, and timeless as Mozart's music?

    Mozart wrote for money. He NEEDED to make money. He had a family to feed and house.

    Newness for the sake of newness is a dead end street in a bad neighborhood.
    " Mozart himself was in no way an innovator " Interesting take on what is just known to be otherwise.

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    Senior Member pjang23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    You can't be serious. After all this thread, and this is where you've ended up?

    Wow.

    Anyway, here's a wee quote. I don't know who said it first. I can find out in a bit.

    "It is the composer's duty to write music that you do not yet like."
    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Its just like the modern artist who berates the skilled painter for trying to make money on visual art that resembles the classics, when the modern artist probably lacks the technique to paint things as they actually appear anyway.

    I'm done some guy, I don't agree with you at all. I think you are the one who is misguided. And what I do does absolutely no harm to the world, everyone I've played my pieces for has liked my compositions, found them interesting and fresh.
    Modernists: Telling everyone else how to write their music since 1900.

    Write for the people that actually matter in your life, and ignore all those who are enraged that you aren't obsessed with claiming your spot in history or your place in the ultimate pantheon. I commend you for bringing music to those around you and am glad to see someone else who believes that bringing joy or tears to grandma with his own creation is worth more than the approval of the nameless thousands who want to take it all away from you and tell you to stop composing for being disobedient to their own narrow aesthetics.
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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    I honestly don't think it has "all been said". Do people not like Stravinsky's neo-classical music on here or something? There isn't any reason a composer can't use any form, any instrument, any sound that they want when composing. There is still great and original music to be made in any style.
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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delicious Manager View Post
    While, of course, there is nothing wrong with this for your own pleasure, don't expect other people to take it too seriously. As I said much earlier in this thread, what is the point of imitating composers from 200-250 years ago who, in all likelihood, said it all (and at a very elevated level) at that time?
    I won't expect people like you to take it too seriously at any rate.

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    Senior Member neoshredder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Its just like the modern artist who berates the skilled painter for trying to make money on visual art that resembles the classics, when the modern artist probably lacks the technique to paint things as they actually appear anyway.

    I'm done some guy, I don't agree with you at all. I think you are the one who is misguided. And what I do does absolutely no harm to the world, everyone I've played my pieces for has liked my compositions, found them interesting and fresh.
    I'm supportive of your idea. Screw the naysayers. Do your thing.

  12. #72
    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    I do understand the idea of pinning a sound to an era. The culture and politics of the time do go into defining art of an era. But nobody complained when Romanesque artwork came about. Nobody cried when Byzantine characteristics were taken up in later art. Nobody whined when the characteristics of Anglo-Saxon art were appropriated into other art later. If I love the sound of the harpsichord and I want to compose in that voice then I damn well will do what I please. The sounds may have come out of a certain situation, but that doesn't mean those sounds are inherent in nature to be defined as that era. We may associate a certain characteristic with a certain culture like the Romans, but until it was conceptualized as being so it wasn't Roman in nature.
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  13. #73
    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post

    There is a book written by Nikolai Metdner that makes a case for tonal music and against atonal music. I have yet to read it, but am considering it very much after this debate.
    I'd say save your time: you will find, good arguments, but inconclusive from:

    1.) Composers who wrote successful tonal music
    2.) Composers who wrote successful atonal music

    Point? You're reading a tome from a member of the choir, who successfully wrote Tonal Music. Of course they will argue 'against' atonality.

    Reading a tome from a member of the other choir, who successfully wrote Atonal music, will be an argument for atonality, of course.

    Really, even the Atonal is 'tonal.' centering around a pitch or interval, and that establishes, in a general sense, tonality. One can even fit in a I - V or I - IV relationship in a serial work, and it will be 'serial' and 'tonal.' Don't let some textbook categories, made distinct for teaching purposes only, make you believe they are hard and fast 'rules' or conventions.

    Current composers don't even care to discuss or think about either, but use, quite readily one, the other or both in combination, as their needs suit. I recommend the usual student essays with the restrictions of staying tonal, then staying atonal in another set of pieces, and eventually, between the two, WITHOUT FEELING YOU HAVE TO COMMIT TO ONE OR THE OTHER, you will more and more find the tonal language which best suits you.

    Reading about it, from party A or party B, is more a guilty but unproductive intellectual pleasure - something for the older farts who are 'just entertaining' their brain cells, or who like a fun discussion without hoping for a decisive outcome. I don't think, really, with so much else to learn, tend to and practice, there is any benefit in wondering much about the value of each until you have first hand gotten your hand into them, and worked them enough to see what they can and cannot offer -- often you will find both / either without any real limits, but one will do a type of function better than another, again, without adding a 'value' judgement, you will come to your own likes, evaluations and conclusions.

    As a young person getting into composing, your other thoughts, writing in the form And Manner of C.P.E. Bach, for example, is a very legitimate exercise - classic training is going through all the old techniques, getting a handle on them, and each of those will teach you more and more how You can make music, in general, work.

    I can not imagine many a young composer coming up with a truly fine neoclassical work until they had somewhat fully absorbed the gamut of theory and form which went into classical period music.

    The monumental and lovely 'Rake's Progress' by Stravinksy could not have been written by a composer who was not fully conversant with a great deal of the music of the past.... and that neoclassical work is still, today, very very Fresh.

    I think people have mistaken your project intent as 'becoming the composer who writes in the style of C.P.E. Bach' as a sort of mission to bring music back to that era and its forms and aesthetics. In which case, the fact C.P.E. Bach wrote all the C.PE. Bach there is worth having, that would be, uh, pointless.

    My harmony training involved a fair amount of model writing, an ostinato in the period style of the Baroque, expected to also use the harmonic language of the time; a romantic era song, again, Ditto as to harmony, style -- and more... none of that made me become 'imitative or replicating,' but gave me experience, direct, with further understanding of what may have only been intellectual understanding of the theory.

    One student comp, an essay into strict early serial modes (the row was eleven pitches), led to a triptych of songs, sounding 'new' enough -- yet I found they had a very 'Germanic' late-romantic and dark 'expressionist' cast - I think I went with what that language, limited a bit to its first period, did best, and 'where it came from.'

    Model writing is of huge benefit. Write your model piece(s) - do not expect the world to beat a path to your doorstep.

    There is a sort of musician who is very busy writing near-replicate work 'in some old style or other.' We do not hear of them because there is just not enough interest in a 'product' of which there is already so much excellent music.

    The moment that model early classical writing takes a turn to being 'something new' you probably have a neoclassical piece on your hands, something else entirely, and perhaps of general interest to musicians and the public.

    I'm more than fond of a lot of 20th century 'neoclassical' though it should more appropriately be called neoBaroque, or in the case of Martinu, often enough using earlier renaissance forms, 'neorenaissance,' lol.

    Don't let misconceptions of your intent here keep you, in any way, from essays in model writing: model writing is hugely beneficial, and though an 'exercise' or 'student work' nothing to be at all ashamed of.
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    Senior Member neoshredder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
    I do understand the idea of pinning a sound to an era. The culture and politics of the time do go into defining art of an era. But nobody complained when Romanesque artwork came about. Nobody cried when Byzantine characteristics were taken up in later art. Nobody whined when the characteristics of Anglo-Saxon art were appropriated into other art later. If I love the sound of the harpsichord and I want to compose in that voice then I damn well will do what I please. The sounds may have come out of a certain situation, but that doesn't mean those sounds are inherent in nature to be defined as that era. We may associate a certain characteristic with a certain culture like the Romans, but until it was conceptualized as being so it wasn't Roman in nature.
    I think he is referring to the song structure of that era. He probably has studied it in depth. But yeah the same instruments of that era would also be used. It's a great era and would love to hear an extension to that era by modern composers.

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    "Atonalism"' is jut another tool in the toolbox, as with everything else. I do not understand the cults that grow up around these camps.
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