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Thread: "Classical music" came to an end 60 years ago

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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieRUKiddingVarese View Post
    ^His ghost maybe heard and you pass by that billabong
    Or waltzes by as in that Matilda number.

  2. #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think the reason avante-garde music fails for most listeners is that they are disconnected from the immediacy of their being-in-time. They are unable to "be here now" and hear the pitches without the "unnatural" intellectual constructions of Western tonality, namely, the "spreading out over time" of these harmonic principles.

    So, the main problem most listeners have is one of time, and how time and events are experienced. This is because most humans are separated from their beings. They grasp onto "time" as experienced by their egos, which is ultimately an illusion. Einstein would agree that time is an illusion, as well.
    This idea really intrigues me - I've been thinking about it and believe there a lot to this idea as I've experienced music this way myself, at times. I've come to believe there are two levels at which we can listen to music - I think of them as listening to enjoy and listening to understand or appreciate, for lack of better terms. But in my mind, these sort of correspond to being 'in time' or 'being here now' that you describe. In listening to enjoy, we listen in the context of what we expect to hear, what we want to hear, based on our past history, and in that process we judge and compare the music to those expectations - does the music live up to what we want, or does it exceed it or fall short of it? In listening to understand, we listen with a blank slate, just 'being here now' as you say, with no expectations of what should or should not be in the music, just listening for what is and experiencing it in a more pure sense without the interference of our expectations or prejudices. I think both are valid ways of experiencing music and I suspect that all of us listening with elements of both. Thoughts?

    Perhaps we should as the forum moderators to create a special section for the 'philosophy of music'. I'm seeing a lot of interesting discussions in different threads that could easily make an interesting new category.
    Last edited by Thomyum2; Jun-28-2018 at 18:31.

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  4. #363
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    I think both ways of listening are valuable. I have to discipline myself to listen analytically, over time spans, since my tendency is to simply listen.

    To the degree that Classical music is structured in time, and has development, this becomes a necessary way of listening, but becomes equivalent to "reading" or "being literate" in order to fully appreciate the music on deeper levels. Classical music is thus "narrative" in that it follows a line of thought, like a book.

    In music such as Messiaen, Varese, and some Debussy, we are better to listen to it as "sonic events" which happen, without 'development' in the usual sense.
    "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 am the spirit of dead zebras." - It came to me in a dream

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  6. #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Mozart, I'm sure, wouldn't have given a flying fig for any "ideology" of music. Wagner was a philosopher, but not in justification of his musical techniques.
    That's because the "ideology" was unconscious; Mozart and Wagner simply reflected and manifest the power-system they were in, without having to think about it as an ideology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    ...Ideology only became essential to musical composition and comprehension with Modernism, which needed to explain itself, first to itself, and then to audiences who expected music to be a direct, non-ideological experience.
    Modernism needed to explain itself because it was new and novel. The audiences were so inundated, programmed, and immersed in the conventional experience of music that the new paradigm of modernism needed some explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    ...The same phenomenon occurred in the visual arts, as Tom Wolfe hilariously recounts in "The Painted Word." So much for Modernism as a correction of, or liberation from, ideologies.
    Art is not photography. The audience simply could not accept Abstract Expressionism as the new function of art as non-representational.

    So, we "progress" on to Andy Warhol's soup cans, which replaced abstract art. Are you happy now?
    "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 am the spirit of dead zebras." - It came to me in a dream

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    Quote Originally Posted by Logos View Post
    The way Wolfe describes modern art evaporating into art theory makes me expect that eventually avant-garde music will evaporate into total silence--free from all the vulgar limitations of sound. Come to think of it, there have already been a number of experiments of that kind.
    So what is the alternative? Video game music and cinematic soundtracks. I think I'll go back to my Boulez.
    "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 am the spirit of dead zebras." - It came to me in a dream

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  9. #366
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Oh yes. Pity the poor artist trying to be "modern" now that there are no more old traditions to rehash and nothing left to strip away. Not even an audience.
    And pity the poor artist who tries to be "traditional," like Lucian Freud's portraits.

    "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 am the spirit of dead zebras." - It came to me in a dream

  10. #367
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I think both ways of listening are valuable. I have to discipline myself to listen analytically, over time spans, since my tendency is to simply listen.

    To the degree that Classical music is structured in time, and has development, this becomes a necessary way of listening, but becomes equivalent to "reading" or "being literate" in order to fully appreciate the music on deeper levels. Classical music is thus "narrative" in that it follows a line of thought, like a book.

    In music such as Messiaen, Varese, and some Debussy, we are better to listen to it as "sonic events" which happen, without 'development' in the usual sense.
    Very interesting to hear you say this, since it's often the opposite for me - I have to discipline myself to just listen and not let my mind take me away from the music. My natural tendency is to think about the music rather than to just listen to it.

    But your comment takes me into another line of thought - I often think of music as analogous to language. So just as in learning a foreign language, at first it requires discipline to listen carefully to catch each word and translate the meaning to your own language but eventually it becomes subconscious where you don't have to translate any more - your subconscious mind processes the sound into meaning, and your conscious mind just hears meaning, not sounds. So the same with music, when you reach a certain point, you can just listen and hear what the music is 'saying', and experience music in that way, the same way you would hear what person is saying when they speak - the analysis becomes subconscious and you just intuitively understand where you are in the music's story. Music is different from spoken language in that it can be enjoyed without listening - you can listen to music and do other things that occupy your mind and still enjoy it, where you can't, for example, listen to a book on tape while you're talking to someone - you'd have to go back and rewind to hear what you missed. I find that the more I listen to music, the more I have that experience that if I'm not giving it my full attention, I find I've missed something important and have to go back and start again and not get distracted.

    I'm rambling a bit here, but very interested because I'm still trying to understand how we hear or listen to music and why we all experience it so differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post

    But modern approaches are all different, whereas Western tonality is based on the principle of tonality. Therefore modern thinking is less likely to become "ideologically ingrained."
    This does not follow at all. It certainly doesn't follow outside of music and not even for music I think. Ideology has become refined and silent; like advertising everyone claims it has no effect upon them. So it's easy to imagine that we are floating free in a sea of free ideas.
    Last edited by TurnaboutVox; Jul-06-2018 at 09:56.
    "I expect I shall have to die beyond my means." — Oscar Wilde, on accepting a glass of champagne on his deathbed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blancrocher View Post
    You asked for a follow-up before I could edit--I'm not sure I agree with my statement upon further reflection

    Basically, I was thinking "who's as good as the Stones right now?"
    That's an interesting interjection to this discussion of "Classical" music. Anything that is "recorded" (in sound form, or in score) can have a "history" as time goes on.

    The difference is, popular music is usually based on performances (and recordings of performances) of individuals (Mick Jagger's vocals or Frank Sinatra's vocals), whereas Classical music (in score form) is not so much; it is also more like an abstraction, or the "idea" of a piece which can then be performed again and again by different people; only then does the abstract idea (as scored artifact) become a performance.

    "Performance" is therefore contingent upon an audible performance or a recording of it;

    A symphony in score, or a "good song" is an idea or abstraction, waiting to be realised in a performance.

    Now, for popular music, we could have the idea of a "song" or a "standard" ("Fly Me To The Moon," "You Are So Beautiful," etc.), and then judge it by performance, like in Classical music. Example: Do you like Dolly Parton's version, or Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You"?)

    This seems to be the major distinguishing feature of Classical music from popular or recorded music: throughout most of its history, Classical existed in score form only, so performance in the present becomes a focus, but the works are still "abstractions" (like a "good song") which exist as a part of history and another time-period.

    Now, recorded music is beginning to have its own "history," which is a history of recorded artifacts as performances (the Stones' fourth album) or, as an exception to this, a history of "works" (good songs), as in Classical.

    So this "abstraction" of the idea of a piece seems to be the most distinguishing feature of Classical music, and allows it to go back into history before the advent of recorded performances.
    "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 am the spirit of dead zebras." - It came to me in a dream

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomyum2 View Post
    I'm late to join this discussion thread, but the idea that classical came to an 'end' is something I've thought about for many years. I actually attribute it to one thing: the invention of the recording. I've always felt that it was not a complete coincidence that the invention of the recording device coincided with the arrival of atonality. If you think about it, this invention changed the whole economics of music (which is a whole topic in and of itself) but the effect was to both make music more accessible while at the same time 'cheapening' it and turning it into a disposable commodity. In modern times, recorded music is so widespread that while we still enjoy it, we don't really value it as much any more. After all, we now largely just use it as background sound for whatever else we're doing. So for composers who really want to say something new and communicate an idea to their listener, and not just provide entertainment or background sound, it's inevitable that they would use sounds that challenge the ear. And also inevitable that people who are accustomed to see music purely as a form of entertainment aren't going to be accepting of that. So the fact that many people don't want to be challenged by classical music doesn't mean it has come to an end.

    Schoenberg once said of his 12-tone work that someday the milkman would be humming his tunes. We're not there yet, but I think he had an important point.
    I've read through all 25 pages of this. Lots of interesting comments, some getting pretty far afield. I've quoted the above from Thomyum because it is on-topic(!) and the closest to my own opinion on the matter.

    I think classical music did in fact croak about 100 years ago and it was Thomas Edison who done it. Music making in the home used to be a major entertainment option in the 19th century. It could be engaged in daily. People who put some effort into "appreciating" music got more out of it, and they taught their children the way of it. But it took some effort to hear themes, development and so forth. Beginning with Edison we started to get way too many entertainment options. Recordings, movies, radio, television and eventually video games and the internet. Lots of instant gratification with little thought or effort required.

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    . . . . . . . .
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jul-03-2018 at 00:36.
    Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things. —Ray Bradbury

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    That's because the "ideology" was unconscious; Mozart and Wagner simply reflected and manifest the power-system they were in, without having to think about it as an ideology.



    Modernism needed to explain itself because it was new and novel. The audiences were so inundated, programmed, and immersed in the conventional experience of music that the new paradigm of modernism needed some explanation.



    Art is not photography. The audience simply could not accept Abstract Expressionism as the new function of art as non-representational.

    So, we "progress" on to Andy Warhol's soup cans, which replaced abstract art. Are you happy now?

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    I believe we cant begin to answer questions or share many opinions before we build a consensual foundation about WHAT IS "CLASSICAL MUSIC".
    Is it a specific body of music works by composers during a specific time period and location? or mabe it is any music based on the theory/stylistic approach those musicians used before? How do we draw the borders about time and place or in use of musical resources in each case?

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    I often say (please, note, with my tongue firmly in my cheek!) that the classical composers stole all the best tunes. By the time the 20th century arrived there was nothing left (especially for the Devil). I taught myself to appreciate Classical music when I was 17 (I joined WRC and simply played the LPs over and over until the music "clicked"). It's not too much of an exaggeration to say in the beginning I couldn't tell Bach from Bartok. I bought only one piece of 20th century music. Once I'd listened to it enough, I remember muttering, "Okay, I can follow it, but I still can't like it." I listened to the radio quite a lot so, once I'd got to the stage of being able to follow anything, I heard more than enough 20th century music to know I would never like it. I rather envy people who do.

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