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Thread: 12 tone is the language of the serious composer

  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I think that is a particularly good 12 tone piece, highly regarded and my favourite! Not all 12-tone music are created equal. I would stop listening for a while, and return to it in a week or 2. I’ve seen it described as a canon with some inversion. But even without analysing it, I probably because if it, that it has an interesting flow and logical. I forgot who wrote it, but said you don’t have to “like” the music, but can still get something out if it.
    It's possible to not like a piece but, nevertheless, 'still get something out of it'?

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    I just listened to Webern's Symphony and here are my impressions:

    Neither part of it was in any way unpleasant or irritating to me, but the first part was mostly incomprehensible, to me it seemed like just a sequence of tones which don't sound bad, but I didn't notice much coherence in it either.
    The second part of the symphony and especially near its end sounded better and I started noticing some patterns, and also I preferred it (the second part) because of more dynamic rhythms and being more lively and dramatic.

  3. #213
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    Also regarding the whole work, I feel it as rather atmospheric, setting a certain mood, expressing some emotions, for example maybe it would work good as music for some historical documentary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJovicic View Post
    Also regarding the whole work, I feel it as rather atmospheric, setting a certain mood, expressing some emotions, for example maybe it would work good as music for some historical documentary.
    Don't you think that most composers of this type of music would feel insulted by your impression? I, too, see the piece as you do - as creating a mood - though I can't say I have any preference for the first or second part; in fact I remain nonplussed as to why he wrote it. I don't deny that the piece appears to have a merit for some though.

    (I'm not suggesting you are insulting Webern's piece by the way).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    You're beginning with the unstated (or maybe unconscious?) premise that melody has no origin in, and is not shaped by, any phenomenon that doesn't contain or imply harmony.
    No; I'm saying that in harmonically-based music, melody is always in reference to harmony and gets its meaning from that harmonic underpinning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    By defining melody as essentially shaped by harmony, you (and Phil, I think) have no choice but to draw from that unproven idea the conclusion that harmony is more fundamental in music. You're also asserting that simultaneity is a necessary foundation for sequentiality. This sounds like (to quote eugeneonagain) metaphysical quackery.
    If music is strictly melodic, with no harmony, then you can grant that melody defines it, as in Gregorian chant or Thai music.

    Still, even strictly melodic music is based on a scale (with instruments built to that end). A scale is similar to harmony in that it is a pre-compositional construct which defines the harmonic color.

    This is essentially what "harmonic" phenomena is; a set of pre-compositional conditions which define the notes (scale) within an octave. "Pre-compositional" means those parameters which are defined before any sequence of events, and before the unfolding of time. It is an abstract idea in that it is not time-dependent for its formation. If you think that abstract ideas are 'metaphysical quackery,' then you are being way too literal and sensual.

    Any single tone is a 'harmonic model' of its fundamental tone and lesser overtones. This is essentially what scales are: ways of dividing an octave, like the harmonic model does.

    BTW, I'm using "harmonic" as a descriptor, not as a noun, so this idea does not have to adhere to any fixed model of "harmonics" as they occur naturally in the overtone series. These scales and harmonic schemes are "models" of an octave, each with its own unique divisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    The function of harmony in shaping melody depends on the development of harmonic awareness and harmonic systems. Melody doesn't begin to exist because of harmony, and there are other factors than the harmonic sense that shape it. To quote myself: "The harmonic series existed in nature before anyone made music. That doesn't make harmony a more basic or essential component of music than rhythm or melody. There is rhythm in nature too, and it's much more open to observation and imitation than the overtones of pitched sounds. Likewise, melody (sequences of pitches) occurs in expressive speech and other vocal expression, human and non-human - as does rhythm - even when there is no awareness of harmony.
    This is true insofar as speech can be seen as "non-harmonic" and totally based on its "melodic" characteristics. When I speak of harmony as being primary, it is usually in the context of harmonically-based music, which includes all Western tonal music. I did not wish to discuss non-harmonic, strictly melodic music.

    This also reveals a problem in referring to "melodies" a somehow self-sufficient. Every note in a melody is a specific pitch, and those pitches have a relation to other pitches. Unless it's a 12-tone melody, these melodies imply a scale or main reference tone, which results in tonality. Even Gregorian chant, which is non-harmonic and strictly melodic, cannot avoid making tonal references through repetition and cadence, even though to analyze it as harmonic would be technically incorrect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    At a certain point in music's evolution, melody begins to incorporate harmony and to systematize pitch relationships. It doesn't grow out of harmony, and doesn't need it; it needs only pitch and rhythm."
    If you are referring to Bach's unaccompanied sonatas, then the harmony is implied, not explicit; still, the harmony is pre-compositionally determined beforehand, and the melody simply elaborates this in various ways.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-22-2018 at 18:05.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    Don't you think that most composers of this type of music would feel insulted by your impression? I, too, see the piece as you do - as creating a mood - though I can't say I have any preference for the first or second part; in fact I remain nonplussed as to why he wrote it. I don't deny that the piece appears to have a merit for some though.

    (I'm not suggesting you are insulting Webern's piece by the way).
    Probably they would feel insulted but I just expressed how I experienced it. I listened to it 3 times today, and now I can't remember any specific musical phrases, ideas, etc... except for some short parts nearing the end of the piece. But I do remember the mood it set and the general feeling of it.

    On the other hand, after listening to a Beethoven symphony, I get not one but multiple earworms, and I could reconstruct large parts of it in my mind.

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  8. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZJovicic View Post
    Probably they would feel insulted but I just expressed how I experienced it. I listened to it 3 times today, and now I can't remember any specific musical phrases, ideas, etc... except for some short parts nearing the end of the piece. But I do remember the mood it set and the general feeling of it.

    On the other hand, after listening to a Beethoven symphony, I get not one but multiple earworms, and I could reconstruct large parts of it in my mind.
    I feel insulted on their behalf ... Seriously, It is not intended to be some background music just for atmosphere, but to fully hear the various tones/ intervals. ot is not important to like/unlike it as much as hear it and experience it. You do have to let go of some previous notions of how music "should" be, if you not yet initiated. This is where the snobbery comes in...
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I feel insulted on their behalf ... Seriously, It is not intended to be some background music just for atmosphere, but to fully hear the various tones/ intervals. ot is not important to like/unlike it as much as hear it and experience it. You do have to let go of some previous notions of how music "should" be, if you not yet initiated. This is where the snobbery comes in...
    I remain curious regarding the relative unimportance of 'liking' such music as you say.

  10. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    I remain curious regarding the relative unimportance of 'liking' such music as you say.
    I feel liking is unimportant because it is based on things too complex to take seriously. From my own angle, I have a soft spot for music that is nostalgic and pleasant. Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess makes me feel the most emotion more than anything, but my mind is divided, and is often more interested by music I like less. That is my personal dilemma. 12 tone music is not also for me easy to like, but I find a lot of it fascinating.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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  12. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I feel liking is unimportant because it is based on things too complex to take seriously. From my own angle, I have a soft spot for music that is nostalgic and pleasant. Ravel's Pavane for a Dead Princess makes me feel the most emotion more than anything, but my mind is divided, and is often more interested by music I like less. That is my personal dilemma. 12 tone music is not also for me easy to like, but I find a lot of it fascinating.
    Indeed, Ravel's Pavane is an excellent piece.

    I'm intrigued by this PLC - so the Webern 'Symphony', you like it or are just fascinated by it?

  13. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    Indeed, Ravel's Pavane is an excellent piece.

    I'm intrigued by this PLC - so the Webern 'Symphony', you like it or are just fascinated by it?
    Mainly fascinated. But after a while I liked it a bit, or some. But I prefer Prokofiev to Webern. Even Schoenberg in the end couldn't deny the power of tonality. Bernstein talked about it in one of his lectures. People thought he was a sell out when one of his last pieces was tonal.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    Mainly fascinated. But after a while I liked it a bit, or some. But I prefer Prokofiev to Webern. Even Schoenberg in the end couldn't deny the power of tonality. Bernstein talked about it in one of his lectures. People thought he was a sell out when one of his last pieces was tonal.
    I've always assumed that we are only fascinated by pieces that we really enjoy; yet, you say that such is 'too complex to take seriously'.

    I'm rather baffled PLC.

    I hope you don't mind me pressing you - I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say

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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    I've always assumed that we are only fascinated by pieces that we really enjoy; yet, you say that such is 'too complex to take seriously'.

    I'm rather baffled PLC.

    I hope you don't mind me pressing you - I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say
    What does PLC mean, anyway? Couldn’t find it in the urban dictionary I mean us not liking some music doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. I think music that is more interesting is better than well-liked, in a more objective sense. Of course “interesting” can be relative also.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

  16. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    What does PLC mean, anyway? Couldn’t find it in the urban dictionary I mean us not liking some music doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. I think music that is more interesting is better than well-liked, in a more objective sense. Of course “interesting” can be relative also.
    Sorry:
    PLC=Phil loves classical

    I see, you can appreciate what seems well constructed music even if it's not quite your thing aesthetically speaking.

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