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Thread: Tristan und Isolde´s follower?

  1. #136
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The above post does nothing but repeat points you've made previously.
    Then you are just as culpable, as I am responding to your comments about what I have said.


    From a cursory glance at your post, you also seem to be rehashing the same old arguments.

    Do you wish to continue this discussion in a more civil manner?
    Last edited by Taggart; Jul-26-2017 at 21:16.

  2. #137
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    All tonal systems are learned - learned, not as ideas or "ideologies," but as intuitively felt relationships governing the activity of tones and our expectations of what they will do.
    I agree. But Western tonality is not a simple harmonic model. It has gone past those bounds. It has arbitrary methods (resolutions, cadences, modulations) which allow it to move its tonic to new stations. In this sense, it is not a "simple general tonality" like most folk and world music, but a specialized system, called Western tonality (the major/minor diatonic system).

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    No tonal system, simple or complex, is more "natural" than any other.
    I disagree. Western tonality is more complex than a didgeridoo player's drone. Both a based on "natural" harmonic models, but Western tonality soon departs from this simplicity, in search of new key areas. This involves arbitrary methods which aid in this process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Nature provides only two things: sounds, and the human brain which perceives and organizes data. The two fundamental principles of a tonal system - centrality (represented in music by a central pitch to which other pitches refer) and hierarchy (represented by a hierarchy of relationships in the pitches used in the system) are fundamental ordering principles that pervade the reality of the world humans experience; they are present in the process of perception, in concept formation, in moral codes, in religious belief systems, in the structures of physical reality, and in social organization.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Moreover, the tonic as a point of departure and return expresses the common trajectory of both physical action and emotional experience.
    I disagree. "Points of departure and return" are characteristic of Western tonality. Indian raga, for example, does not depart from its tonic, and the Indian system of classical music represents a highly spiritually-evolved culture. Perhaps Westerners should learn a lesson from this, and learn how to "sit still."

    In my personal view, "departure and return" are ideological characteristics which exemplify Western Man's desire to colonize new territory, and to dominate "static" natural cultures such as India by the British. Thank God for The Beatles!

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    No ideas ("ideology" is misleading) need be present either to produce a tonal system or to perceive the tonal relationships in music.
    Music is non-representational, so if it represents an ideology, this will be on an unconscious, metaphorical level. Too heavy for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Tonalities are not "ideological" as a consequence of having integrated more pitches and pitch relationships into their systems, nor as a result of harmonic complexity making tonal centers less salient.
    I question your use of the term "tonalities" in this context. Western tonality must be considered as a singular type of music system, which originated as a simple harmonic model (the diatonic scale), but which evolved into a more complex system which only "refers" to the tonality of its original harmonic model. As you said, Western tonality integrated more pitches and pitch relationships into its system, and as a result of harmonic complexity made tonal centers less obvious, until they became abstractions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Unstable, indirect and ambiguous references to tonal centers are still tonal functions…
    No, they are not literal tonal functions, but only refer to tonal functions. They have become abstractions, and thus are part of the "ideological syntax" that we know as Western tonality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    ...and do not depend for their origin, perception or identification on "ideologies."
    "They" (Western tonality) certainly do not depend on their origins in any literal way! If one perceives "them" (Western tonality's procedures) as "real" tonal functions, this is because one has assimilated the syntax. As I said earlier, Wagner would probably sound like noise to Rameau until he had "adapted" his perceptions to this strange new abstract "tonality."


    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Serialism, as a procedure for constructing a musical composition, as opposed to an intuitively perceived system of relationships in a musical idiom, is a thing essentially different from tonality.
    But not that different from "Western tonality." Both are arbitrary. If you keep using the term so loosely, then I will have to continue with these interruptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The only relationship it (serialism) has to tonality is that someone thought it up as a way to compensate for the loss of tonality as an integrating function in composition.
    Western tonality is now only "referring" to tonality, as a way of interpreting all chromatic notes in the context of a diatonic scale. Western tonality itself has shown that this increasing root movement and chromaticism resulted in a restless, rootless, almost chaotic state, and it was hardly distinguishable from early atonality and 12-tone music. Strauss' Metamorphosen is a good example, and Schoenberg's Op. 11, and Berg's Piano Sonata No. 1….So if you are going with Western tonality, you'd better go "all the way"...


    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    And the thinking up, as well as the subsequent exploitation of the technique, had a great deal of actual ideology attached to it. Symptomatic of the difference is the fact that Wagner, in all his correspondence, his nine volumes of writings about nearly everything, and his recorded conversations, had almost nothing to say about harmony, while Schoenberg and his atonalist successors devoted a great deal of time and ink to discussing it.
    Well, that's because Western tonality was the prevailing power. Wagner didn't have to speak about it, it was a given...

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    It does appear that "tonal ideology" is of little use even to a harmonic "progressive" who assumes tonality as the bedrock of his work, while it becomes a necessary recourse, in the nature of elaborate explanations and justifications, for one who rejects that foundation.
    As I said, this is like goldfish in a bowl, who are unaware that they are. The Western tonal environment (ideology) was "invisible" to those players who were immersed in it.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-26-2017 at 21:12.

  3. #138
    Senior Member Gabriel Ortiz's Avatar
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    This thread is talking into circles. I am losing faith in this discussion since millionranbows and Wooduck commandeered the thread. Others are too afraid to post in fear of being attacked by a wall of text big enough to protect us from Mongols!

    Western tonality is more complex than a didgeridoo player's drone. Both a based on "natural" harmonic models, but Western tonality soon departs from this simplicity, in search of new key areas. This involves arbitrary methods which aid in this process.
    The definition of what is 'natural' seems too situational to be put in such a broad statement. Less-harmonic songs featuring drones and moans would be more natural? Just because it has existed longer? This is no longer the ancient era of music, music is planned and structured. A common sign of civilized behavior.

    This thread is exhausting to think about.
    Would it save everybody a lot of time if I gave up and went mad now?

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  5. #139
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel Ortiz View Post
    The definition of what is 'natural' seems too situational to be put in such a broad statement. Less-harmonic songs featuring drones and moans would be more natural? Just because it has existed longer? This is no longer the ancient era of music, music is planned and structured. A common sign of civilized behavior.
    The term "natural" is general in itself, but is so "situational" that it can be used to further any agenda, and it seems its most popular use is when comparing Western tonality to serial thinking.

    Natural tonalities in the context of my end of this discussion mean those general tonalities which are based on harmonic models. Music is simple and unified if it is exhaustively referable to a basic scale-type.

    This simplest form and definition of tonality is defined exclusively vertically, not horizontally.

    This means that concepts such as "dimension," "attraction," and "directionality," which are all horizontal ideas, occur after the fact of vertically established tonality, and are "unnatural" in this sense, since they involve the passage of time and cognition.

    Function, and tonal meaning, come first from the instantaneous perception of sound and its inner relations, not from successions of events, which simply elaborate this.

    Western tonality is not "that natural," although, like all similar tonal harmonic-model systems, it started that way.

    Soon after, it departs from its simple diatonic beginnings and becomes a syntax which is based on various mechanisms of voice leading, resolutions, cadences, and chord function, all of which are ways of convincing the ear that the modulation or new key area is a new tonic. A look through any music textbook, such as the one pictured below, will be evidence of this.



    This book, and any similar Western theory text, is an encyclopedia of the different methods, from simple to more complex, used to persuade the ear that it is hearing a new tonic, and the most effective ways to do this. From simple statements of a closely related key, to full modulations to new keys, and various ways of using chromatic chords which lie outside the starting key.

    If the ear must be "persuaded" in effective ways, then major/minor tonality has become a syntax, a set of rules and procedures which are used as a "method" of convincing the listener of the "naturalness" of tonal relations, especially those which involve departure, travel, and return to a key area.

    Don't get lost in your assumptions; Philip Glass and Terry Riley did not, and they are at the forefront of "civilized" music, Glass having studied with Nadia Boulanger.

    CP Western tonality, and its unstable diatonic scale, and the key signature system, are designed for travel and movement through different key areas, and this makes it complex, as well as unnatural, to the degree that it is a syntax which "departed" from its natural beginnings.
    I'm not criticizing this, but you can't call it 'natural.' Compared to what?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jul-27-2017 at 22:41.

  6. #140
    Senior Member Gabriel Ortiz's Avatar
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    The concept of syntax has been rendered completely otiose unless described in the simplest of forms ( phrase, CADENCE, phrase, ANOTHER CADENCE, etc etc, try not to go mad while listening ). Even Bernstein describes that the concept of musical syntax quickly contradicts itself as soon as a phrase refuses to resolve, and instead modulate into the next phrase. Applying this in comparison to grammar would create a paragraph like this:

    Chompski hates Skinner but Skinner hates Chompski however do either have ill intentions? If you grant Chompski one request then again if you don't grant him that request you my allow him or not allow him to proceed violent acts of aggression followed by quick repercussions and a sudden halt in grammar development i might add.

    Moving on...

    Applying these same ideas to music sound great as far as traditional Western harmony will allow, but not in the context of the syntax-musical relation that you seem so adamant about.

    millinrainbows, re-reading your previous I realize we are more or less on the same page as far as syntax goes. I do think syntax will make a nice discussion, so long as we limit the amount of Norton lecture quotes allowed.

    CP Western tonality, and its unstable diatonic scale, and the key signature system, are designed for travel and movement through different key areas, and this makes it complex, as well as unnatural, to the degree that it is a syntax which "departed" from its natural beginnings.
    So you're telling me that any pre-contemporary piece must resolve every phrase? Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven etc, etc frequently modulated. Contemporary music took this idea, and artistically developed it in more complex ways, certainly, but it's 'unstable diatonic scale' is just as unstable as the Phrygian mode in the context of diatonic-ism. The concept of harmony and progression you are explaining to me seems to be in the most basic of forms, meaning that leniencies almost always apply to these rules. Schoenberg admits it in ' Fundamentals of Musical Composition ', Forte, Tchaikovsky, Korsakev, etc, etc.


    Edit: It seems this thread is MODULATING to syntax! What fun.
    Last edited by Gabriel Ortiz; Jul-31-2017 at 03:01. Reason: Cleaned it up a little.
    Would it save everybody a lot of time if I gave up and went mad now?

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