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Thread: I Think I Will Stop Using The Word "Impressionism"

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Default I Think I Will Stop Using The Word "Impressionism"

    The first use of the term "Impressionism" as a label for a distinctive artistic style was by critic Louis Leroy, who, after viewing an art exhibit in Paris in 1874, published a derogatory article in which he referred to the artists as "Impressionists." The title of one of the paintings contributed to that term - Claude Monet's Impression: soleil levant (Impression: sunrise, 1872).
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    Well, there's always Fuzzy Paintings.

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    If we're going to stop using words that were originally derogatory but later accepted, then we're going to have a smaller and less rich vocabulary.

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    The problem with atonality is not that the word was originally negative (so was the term Baroque), but that it is entirely misleading and openly false in its implications.

    Some of the most harmonically rich and lyrical music ever, fully steeped in tradition, and it gets saddled with a term that implies that it's a negation of what came before and lacks something in the harmonic dimension?

    What purpose does the term serve at all?

    It fails to denote any aspect of the music to which it is applied.
    When it is not taken to mean something false, it is taken to mean something that is not implied by the word itself, and is thus misleading.
    The word offers no aid to understanding either how the music is constructed or how to listen to it, so it is not practical for either musicians or listeners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I Think I Will Stop Using The Word "Impressionism"
    Thank god for that! I was beginning to tire of your endless use, misuse and abuse of the word...

    Wait a minute though...what will you do when you want to talk about the critic Louis Leroy, whose use of the term led to ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMamba View Post
    If we're going to stop using words that were originally derogatory but later accepted, then we're going to have a smaller and less rich vocabulary.
    That's so true! Besides that, the term is already in common use in many textbooks and art history books, similar to the term "atonal."
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Anxiety about the language you use sometimes gets in the way of expressing what you mean. We all need a common language, otherwise how can we talk?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    The problem with atonality is not that the word was originally negative (so was the term Baroque), but that it is entirely misleading and openly false in its implications.
    I don't see it as unclear. It means "not tonal." If you take "tonal" to mean "music having a tonal center" then "not tonal" or "atonal" means "music having no tonal center" or music in which a tonal center is not of primary importance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I don't see it as unclear. It means "not tonal." If you take "tonal" to mean "music having a tonal center" then "not tonal" or "atonal" means "music having no tonal center" or music in which a tonal center is not of primary importance.
    Which description does not fit most of the music called atonal.

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    Whether something is a tonal center or not is just like your opinion, maan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Which description does not fit most of the music called atonal.
    Yes it does. Music of the "atonal" and "free atonal" period of late Romanticism circulated all 12 notes continuously. There was constant root movement, and tonality was so weak that it became impossible to analyze it as having a tone center. It was a short step from this "seriously weakened if almost non-existent tonality" of late Romanticism to 12-tone music, which really was, absolutely, "without a tonal center" since it did not use a tonal hierarchy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Yes it does. Music of the "atonal" and "free atonal" period of late Romanticism circulated all 12 notes continuously. There was constant root movement, and tonality was so weak that it became impossible to analyze it as having a tone center. It was a short step from this "seriously weakened if almost non-existent tonality" to 12-tone music, which reallt was, absolutely, "without a tonal center" since it did not use a tonal hierarchy.
    Most of the 12-tone music I've heard has very clear tonal centers. Certainly everything ever written by the Second Viennese School does.

    The use of all 12 pitch classes in frequent circulation does not preclude at all the presence of tonal centers. It's all down to how it's organized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    Whether something is a tonal center or not is just like your opinion, maan.
    No, I think perception of tonal centers is built-in to the way our ear/brain operates (in a normally functioning ear/brain human).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    Most of the 12-tone music I've heard has very clear tonal centers. Certainly everything ever written by the Second Viennese School does.

    The use of all 12 pitch classes in frequent circulation does not preclude at all the presence of tonal centers. It's all down to how it's organized.
    I am interested, do you hear tonal centres in any of this music?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojafApMFCAQ (Brian Ferneyhough Quartet No. 6)

    https://vimeo.com/95120380 (Helmut Lachenmann Pression)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fpLw4cHuvw (Aaron Cassidy The Pleats of Matter)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgfTObtVAQ8 (Salvatore Sciarrino String Quartet No. 8)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MN1JF0AEvw (Liza Lim City of Fallen Angels)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEC6cahOVlI (John Zorn Pandora's Box)

    I am not trying to have a dig or anything. I am generally interested.
    Last edited by Che2007; Sep-02-2015 at 06:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Che2007
    I am interested, do you hear tonal centres in any of this music?

    I am not trying to have a dig or anything. I am generally interested.
    This could easily become an irrelevant issue. "Tonality" needs to be applied to such music in which "tonality or the lack of it" is of primary interest. It's irrelevant when applied to some of John Cage's works, for example.
    Unless you think that perception of tonality is something we do reflexively, to all sound, without discrimination.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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