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Thread: How important are titles?

  1. #1
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    Default How important are titles?

    Opus this , and loads of other thats, and then "ode to joy" , "sheep may safely graze" "highway to hell".
    When somebody contempory writes a piece and calls it Study ,Exercise ,Cantata , does it get passed over for a piece that has some sort of literal identity?

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    Senior Member shirime's Avatar
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    I have never heard of a descriptive title being 'passed over' for something with a title such as Study or something like that. It should be noted that forms and genres within classical music have undergone huge transformations and composers' interests have expanded from forms such as 'sonata' or 'symphony' so that those titles might not always be the most appropriate.

    The way I see it, descriptive titles can be helpful when making an allusion to a mood, an idea, some kind of abstract thought or even something more concrete, and these kinds of allusions can certainly help an audience find a way in to the music and allow them to make their own sense of how the music may relate to the title.

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I think titles are helpful for those who relate more to words and find numbers hard to remember - like me, alas.
    My fiddle my joy.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    I think you may find that the named works are in general more often recorded and performed than the unnamed in the same range of compositions (e.g. Beethoven sonatas, Haydn symphonies).
    #I♥CD

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    Senior Member Richannes Wrahms's Avatar
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    Why do I think a bad title correlates to a bad piece? Is it just because it demonstrates "bad taste"?

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    As an active composer for the past 50 years who's attended and still attends many new music concerts, titles both conventional/traditional and not so are both used. I see no evidence that either type of title is deliberately shunned by performers.

    Now on the other hand, I personally feel that irrelevant or flippant titles may turn off potential performers although I have no proof. There's one composer over at the Good-Music-Guide website that constantly comes up with such ones and then wonders why no one or group, outside his circle of colleagues, plays his music.
    "Music in any generation is not what the public thinks of it but what the musicians make of it"....Virgil Thomson

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    Senior Member Fredx2098's Avatar
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    I like all kinds of titles. The traditional "Symphony No. #", "Sonata No. #", etc. Things with a subtitle, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", "Violin Concerto to the Memory of an Angel". I like Feldman's minimalistic and descriptive titles like "Piano", "Violin and Orchestra", "For [another artist]". Things with their own titles like operas, ballets. Short and sweet "pop" titles like "Help!", "Comfortably Numb". Long jokey titles found in emo like "And You're Wondering How a Top Floor Could Replace Heaven", "The First Time I Got F*ed Up Was to The Party Song by Blink-182".

    No type of title would affect my opinion of the music, but personally I do tend to not listen to many "Symphonies" and things with a specific traditional format and structure just because I prefer more unique music.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Titles are not important, just the music. But a catchy title or one that suits the mood or concept of the work may be helpful.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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