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Thread: Will originality in music eventually become impossible? Is it already impossible?

  1. #16
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    as long as we have differing personalities, there will be originality.

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  3. #17
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    Originality might eventually become impossible since the ear (and brain) can only sense a finite number of discreet tones at a finite frequency. But I assume the thread is concerned more with periods of hundreds of years and not billions or more.

    The modern era has given rise to more originality than ever before. Change in classical music has exploded. There certainly seems to be a lot of new work being done now.

    With the advent of electronic music, composers have been freed of the need to tie music to the available musical instruments and the ability of performers. They can explore timbres never produced before and combinations of those timbres. They can explore mixtures of sound that enormously expand what we have ever heard. One interesting question is whether there are large "areas" of this "musical space" that humans will basically not enjoy. I'm not saying that no one would ever enjoy them but rather that composers won't find them useful/interesting to explore. I feel we're a long way from knowing the answer to that question, and therefore, we're a long way from reaching the limits of originality.

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    Senior Member Novelette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    There are also the studies saying that pop music has become increasingly homogenized, with fewer types of chord movements used. It's no surprise that if you limit yourself so severely, you'll run into repetition before long. Art music has been renewing itself for centuries, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down now.
    Mahlerian, that reminds me of this...

    http://www.hooktheory.com/blog/i-ana...-what-i-found/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Novelette View Post
    Mahlerian, that reminds me of this...

    http://www.hooktheory.com/blog/i-ana...-what-i-found/
    That site's good for a laugh. I'm all for people learning music theory and how it relates to what they hear, no matter what kind of music it is. But that article is so far off-base as to be appalling. All of their "analyses" (at the time) were done as if songs were in the major. That's why not all songs have a I chord in them. Like I said, it's nice to teach people something about theory through avenues they're familiar with (see below), but not nice to mislead them into thinking they're learning something about how music works when they aren't.

    This one is even worse:
    http://www.hooktheory.com/blog/in-de...ly-exaggerated

    This study of The Beatles' songs is much more theoretically sound, and I think it would teach any person raised on pop/rock something about how music works.
    http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/...notes_on.shtml
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Jan-26-2013 at 00:56.

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    ...........
    Last edited by SturmUndDrang; Jan-31-2013 at 17:08.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SturmUndDrang View Post
    No. Originality is still very possible. The problem is that so many of us have become conditioned to perceive it in a monolithic sense. We've been programmed by modernist and other propaganda to largely equate originality with novelty - this or that "new" technique or even audacious stunt. I believe that if we can get ourselves to see the bigger picture - that lasting, pervasive change is often gradual and slow, and often first traced to serving some practical purpose (like the beginnings of Western notation) - we'll be in a better position to recognize originality when we see it. I like the quote by Ralph Vaughan Williams (I may be paraphrasing slightly): "Don't try to be original. If you have anything original to say, it will happen without trying." In short, we're too conscious of "being original." I'd like to see us move back to a situation where originality occurred under the auspices of service and accountability to someone/something outside the individual composer. Bach, Haydn, Handel, and even Mozart were private or public servants, and we're still living with their subtle forms of originality. Actually, I see that we are slowly moving toward that model. In my opinion, many of the really "original" and dynamic things happening in music are happening in media (film, video games) music - where "originality" is a by-product of composing within very circumscribed limitations.
    I have no idea whether you're right or not but this is a fine first post!
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    Senior Member Novelette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    That site's good for a laugh. I'm all for people learning music theory and how it relates to what they hear, no matter what kind of music it is. But that article is so far off-base as to be appalling. All of their "analyses" (at the time) were done as if songs were in the major. That's why not all songs have a I chord in them. Like I said, it's nice to teach people something about theory through avenues they're familiar with (see below), but not nice to mislead them into thinking they're learning something about how music works when they aren't.[/url]
    Yeah, I take those "analyses" with a huge grain of salt. Still, the point is surely correct about homogenization of rock music. =\

  10. #23
    Senior Member Hausmusik's Avatar
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    science, for some reason it has been redacted now--?

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    I don't know if this story about the time when Brahms and Mahler met at a laskeside resort in Austria is true, but "Se non e vero, e ben trovato ".
    Here's how it goes : Brahms and Mahler were having a conversation at the resort beside a lake .
    The older composer was near the end of his life and stated gloomily that there was nowhere for music to go .
    Mahler replied "Look at the lake - there goes the last wave " !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hausmusik View Post
    science, for some reason it has been redacted now--?
    Well... it was a fine first post. He or she must be coming up with something even better!
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

  13. #26
    Senior Member Petwhac's Avatar
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    Originality cannot become impossible I believe.
    Look at we humans, we are all basically copies of each other but it's the detail which gives us our individuality and it is the individuality that we value.
    Every great composer has a distinctive 'voice' which becomes apparent in spite of themselves. Even when they use the age old method of learning their craft, namely imitating their predecessors. Also within one composer's ouvre each new piece needn't be original, just individual or distinctive and have a degree of uniqueness.
    What is it that makes one of Bach's preludes different from another? If number 1 of the 48 was original, was number 20 or number 45 equally original? In the detail, yes. In the general concept, in the structure, in the types of figuration and harmony, not really.
    How similar is a Schumann piano trio to a Beethoven? They are very similar yet so very different.

    Is it impossible to write an original story or novel? There are only a few themes; love, death, jealosy, revenge, etc. And there are only 26 letters in the alphabet and a few thousand words yet next month a new and original book will be published.

    Pop music illustrates this very well. It uses very very restricted collection of chords/harmony and melodic shapes yet does Irving Berlin sound like Burt Bacherach or Elton John or Alicia Keys. Does Punk sound like Rockabilly?

    It's all about the detail and also about musical context. Putting old sounds together in new ways.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    The next simple ditty not wholly like the last simple ditty answers your question.

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  17. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    The next simple ditty not wholly like the last simple ditty answers your question.
    You talkin to me?

  18. #29
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    It is totally impossible. o3o its all been derivative since Pope Gregory took credit for the work of anonymous monk composers. I don't know why I bother writing anything :O

    Real answer: nope, and to ask such a question is silly ^^

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  20. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petwhac View Post
    You talkin to me?
    Desperately -- to anyone who thinks the possibility of the probability of what pitches are used in what manner + the variable of rhythm are all 'just about to run out.' :-)

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