Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 60

Thread: What did Brahms mean by "true dissonance"?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sedona
    Posts
    3,688
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    On Brahms reference to "true dissonance" in Idomeneo, this book suggests the quartet as what spurred him to refer to the dissonance. It is in the footnote of this page 8. Plus he only suggested there is "much less" in Beethoven than in Mozart, not that there wasn't any.

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=A_j...page&q&f=false

    Here is the quartet. Around the 0:43 mark, there is some clear dissonance.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzVg-t7DwXc

    Maybe what Brahms meant was the dissonance creeps in to Bach and Mozart's music in the counterpoint. Example in Bach.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPZKG_168A0

    Some consider this to be the most dissonant of Beethoven's: the opening of the last movement of his 9th. How it is not "true dissonance" is a matter of opinion (and bias).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeT17YeUj5k
    Interesting about the examples! But I don’t hear any outstanding dissonances in either the Mozart quartet or the Bach. To me, they seem typical for each composer and I was expecting some type of a revelation. So I’m puzzled, and perhaps the question is still not answered by what Brahms meant by “true dissonance,” and maybe there’s no clear answer because what people consider dissonance has changed. That’s certainly a heck of a discordant chord in the last movement of the B’s 9th to jar the audience and get their attention for what’s to come, and perhaps he deserves the grand prize after all. Thanks for posting the examples.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-29-2019 at 23:17.
    "That's all Folks!"

  2. #32
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,436
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TalkingHead View Post
    I would also like to say that I don't really understand what Brahms was driving at.
    I don't understand either. But Brahms was first and foremost a professional composer. If he used the term dissonance, even qualified by the word "true," I'm pretty sure he was using it as a technical term, not in some vague or metaphorical sense like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    If one listens to Mozart’s Idomeneo that Brahms refers to, the drama and emotional tension and sense of “true dissonance” fills the air in a very broad sense and is more than just a technical and harmonic dissonances in a few passages of the score. It’s the overall emotional tension, the broad sense of dissonance that Mozart captures so brilliantly that Brahms is commenting on and is escaping the attention of those who are looking for only a series of technical harmonic dissonances. Brahms is using the word in a much larger sense that can be heard throughout this incredible opera... I agree with Brahms: I doubt if Beethoven ever wrote dissonances like this. And yet some still question whether Mozart was a genius.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    On Brahms reference to "true dissonance" in Idomeneo, this book suggests the quartet as what spurred him to refer to the dissonance. It is in the footnote of this page 8. Plus he only suggested there is "much less" in Beethoven than in Mozart, not that there wasn't any.

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=A_j...page&q&f=false

    Here is the quartet. Around the 0:43 mark, there is some clear dissonance.
    If Phil is right about the specific music Brahms was citing, then what he meant was chain suspensions and simultaneous dissonant appoggiaturas among several voices. If I had a score I could be more specific. Guess truth is pretty mundane. And Beethoven did these things too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Interesting about the examples! But I don’t hear any outstanding dissonances in either the Mozart quartet or the Bach. To me, they seem typical for each composer and I was expecting some type of a revelation. So I’m puzzled, and perhaps the question is still not answered by what Brahms meant by “true dissonance,” and maybe there’s no clear answer because what people consider dissonance has changed.
    The dissonance in the quartet is pretty striking. What Brahms probably meant was that he really liked it and in that moment he didn't have any similarly striking examples from Beethoven on his mind.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; May-30-2019 at 01:46.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  3. #33
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sedona
    Posts
    3,688
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I don't understand either. But Brahms was first and foremost a professional composer. If he used the term dissonance, even qualified by the word "true," I'm pretty sure he was using it as a technical term, not in some vague or metaphorical sense like this:





    If Phil is right about the specific music Brahms was citing, then what he meant was chain suspensions and simultaneous dissonant appoggiaturas among several voices. If I had a score I could be more specific. Guess truth is pretty mundane. And Beethoven did these things too.



    The dissonance in the quartet is pretty striking. What Brahms probably meant was that he really liked it and in that moment he didn't have any similarly striking examples from Beethoven on his mind.
    Well, you may be right. It’s obvious that Brahms certainly liked the quartet but I still hear nothing striking or remarkable in it other than Mozart is up to his usual high standards as a composer. I must be jaded! But if Brahms is referring to something technically, there has to be an example – and I don’t hear any. I would consider the use of suspensions as quite lovely but conventional. Consequently, I can only interpret Brahms’ idea of dissonance along broader lines of emotional tension and discord. The key for me is to see what the words are in that quartet and whether they represent any dissonance or tension of ideas because they would have to match. Maybe someone can post the words. I was hoping for much more from Mozart and Brahms.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-30-2019 at 02:16.
    "That's all Folks!"

  4. #34
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,436
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Well, you may be right. It’s obvious that Brahms certainly liked the quartet but I still hear nothing striking or remarkable in it other than Mozart is up to his usual high standards as a composer. I must be jaded! But if Brahms is referring to something technically, there has to be an example – and I don’t hear any. I would consider the use of suspensions as quite lovely but conventional. Consequently, I can only interpret Brahms’ idea of dissonance along broader lines of emotional tension and discord. The key for me is to see what the words are in that quartet and whether they represent any dissonance or tension of ideas because they would have to match. Maybe someone can post the words. I was hoping for much more from Mozart and Brahms.
    I don't know, Lark. I think it might be worth a close look at the score. If it didn't involve scrolling through a pdf in the Petrucci Archive, I'd be all over it. There were suspensions resolving up and down interestingly interwoven. Problem is, with wobbly, booming vibrato laden warbling and the low strings sort of spreading, the lines are not well-etched. Definitely worth a look I'd expect. I trust Brahms knew whereof he spoke.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; May-30-2019 at 07:01.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  5. Likes BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist liked this post
  6. #35
    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Sedona
    Posts
    3,688
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I don't know, Lark. I think it might be worth a close look at the score. If it didn't involve scrolling through a pdf in the Petrucci Archive, I'd be all over it. There were suspensions resolving up and down interestingly interwoven. Problem is, with wobbly, booming vibrato laden warbling and the low strings sort of spreading, the lines are not well-etched. Definitely worth a look I'd expect. I trust Brahms new whereof he spoke.
    I found the Idomineo libretto and it’s full of discord. Just look at the first recitative and I hear the tone of that emotional dissonance in some of Mozart’s music as an overriding sense of tension. I’ll have to hear more of the opera and see how the discords in the text play out in sound. It’s a very interesting situation. There are certainly great dramatic reasons for “true dissonance” in the score of the libretto that mention misfortunes, great unhappiness, and blood... It looks like a rocky road ahead for the main characters in this intense, highly emotionally charged opera:

    http://www.impresario.ch/libretto/libmozido_e.htm

    1st Recitative

    ILIA
    When will my bitter misfortunes
    be ended? Unhappy Ilia,
    wretched survivor of a dreadful tempest,
    bereft of father and brothers,
    the victims' blood
    spilt and mingled
    with the blood of their savage foes,
    for what harsher fate
    have the gods preserved you? ...
    Are the loss and shame
    of Priam and Troy avenged?
    The Greek fleet is destroyed, and Idomeneo
    perhaps will be a meal for hungry fish ...
    But what comfort is that to me, ye heavens,
    if at the first sight of that valiant Idamante
    who snatched me from the waves I forgot my hatred,
    and my heart was enslaved before I realised
    I was a prisoner.
    O God, what a conflict of warring emotions
    you rouse in my breast, hate and love!
    I owe vengeance to him who gave me life,
    gratitude to him who restored it …
    O Ilia! o father, o prince, o destiny!
    Ill‑fated life, o sweet death!
    But yet does Idamante love me? …
    Ah no; ungratefully
    he sighs for Electra; and that Electra,
    unhappy princess, an exile from Argos
    and the torments of Orestes,
    who fled, a wanderer, to these shores, is my rival.
    Ruthless butchers,
    how many of you surround me?… Then up and
    shatter vengeance, jealousy, hate and love;
    yes, shatter my unhappy heart!
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-30-2019 at 04:48.
    "That's all Folks!"

  7. #36
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Ford Nation
    Posts
    3,879
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    I found the Idomineo libretto and it’s full of discord. Just look at the first recitative and I hear the tone of that emotional dissonance in some of Mozart’s music as an overriding sense of tension. I’ll have to hear more of the opera and see how the discords in the text play out in sound. It’s a very interesting situation. There are certainly great dramatic reasons for “true dissonance” in the score of the libretto that mention misfortunes, great unhappiness, and blood... It looks like a rocky road ahead for the main characters in this intense, highly emotionally charged opera:

    http://www.impresario.ch/libretto/libmozido_e.htm

    1st Recitative

    ILIA
    When will my bitter misfortunes
    be ended? Unhappy Ilia,
    wretched survivor of a dreadful tempest,
    bereft of father and brothers,
    the victims' blood
    spilt and mingled
    with the blood of their savage foes,
    for what harsher fate
    have the gods preserved you? ...
    Are the loss and shame
    of Priam and Troy avenged?
    The Greek fleet is destroyed, and Idomeneo
    perhaps will be a meal for hungry fish ...
    But what comfort is that to me, ye heavens,
    if at the first sight of that valiant Idamante
    who snatched me from the waves I forgot my hatred,
    and my heart was enslaved before I realised
    I was a prisoner.
    O God, what a conflict of warring emotions
    you rouse in my breast, hate and love!
    I owe vengeance to him who gave me life,
    gratitude to him who restored it …
    O Ilia! o father, o prince, o destiny!
    Ill‑fated life, o sweet death!
    But yet does Idamante love me? …
    Ah no; ungratefully
    he sighs for Electra; and that Electra,
    unhappy princess, an exile from Argos
    and the torments of Orestes,
    who fled, a wanderer, to these shores, is my rival.
    Ruthless butchers,
    how many of you surround me?… Then up and
    shatter vengeance, jealousy, hate and love;
    yes, shatter my unhappy heart!
    Maybe the music was intended to fit the lyrics, or vice versa. Either way, I felt that passage was very beautifully dissonant, and yet not chaotic. Here is another example by Bach, which is more dissonant than the other example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPSCHZnjw2k

    I must admit I'm not that familiar with any of Beethoven's works that have this sort of extended dissonance, either with chromaticism or suspensions. His suspensions are usually quickly resolved, or else they are outright dissonant chord clashes from the little I'm aware of.
    Last edited by Phil loves classical; Jun-01-2019 at 05:21.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

  8. #37
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    3,299
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Schoenberg View Post
    We all have heard this following quote:
    "What is much weaker in Beethoven compared to Mozart, and especially compared to Sebastian Bach, is the use of dissonance. Dissonance, true dissonance as Mozart used it, is not to be found in Beethoven." --Brahms

    However, what is meant by that? What is true dissonance?
    Do you think he's driving at a subtler use of dissonance in larger passages? Theres lots of dissonance in the examples many have quoted but listening to Beethoven's use of dissonance and its mainly 'on your face'. Otherwise, i dunno what hes getting at.

  9. #38
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,436
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    Maybe the music was intended to fit the lyrics, or vice versa. Either way, I felt that passage was very beautifully dissonant, and yet not chaotic. Here is another example by Bach, which is more dissonant than the other example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPSCHZnjw2k

    I must admit I'm not that familiar with any of Beethoven's works that have this sort of extended dissonance, either with chromaticism or suspensions. His suspensions are usually quickly resolved, or else they are outright dissonant chord clashes from the little I'm aware of.
    You could always try listening! Listen to the Largo e mesto from the Sonata Op. 10#3. There are dissonant appoggiaturas and suspensions everywhere, just as in the Mozart. They last just as long. Listen to the whole Sonata in A Op. 101. It is a compendium of every kind of dissonance possible within the style. Seriously folks, put those ears to work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Do you think he's driving at a subtler use of dissonance in larger passages? Theres lots of dissonance in the examples many have quoted but listening to Beethoven's use of dissonance and its mainly 'on your face'. Otherwise, i dunno what hes getting at.
    Yes. In addition to the traditional sorts of dissonance Mozart used (see above), Beethoven also had strings of dissonant 7th chords and other kinds of dissonance Mozart didn't much use. Also bold disjunctions not seen elsewhere in the Classical style. Bolder than Brahms as well, which might help to explain Brahms's remarks.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jun-01-2019 at 13:56.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  10. #39
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    7,439
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    Maybe the music was intended to fit the lyrics, or vice versa. Either way, I felt that passage was very beautifully dissonant, and yet not chaotic. Here is another example by Bach, which is more dissonant than the other example.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPSCHZnjw2k

    I must admit I'm not that familiar with any of Beethoven's works that have this sort of extended dissonance, either with chromaticism or suspensions. His suspensions are usually quickly resolved, or else they are outright dissonant chord clashes from the little I'm aware of.
    Over all Phil's observations in this thread align with what I hear, and I suspect (as he pointed out) it is related to use of counterpoint. I just listened to Beethoven's Op. 101 and the second movement of Sonata 7. I do hear dissonances, and a wide variety of them but the aural effect is similar to what I described earlier in the thread in the Haydn piece I posted. In these types of works the thematic material is the foreground and the use of harmony is subordinate to that material. The music is not about creating sustained moods through use of textures or dissonance, the feel is dominated by the thematic relations. Beethoven does show an interest and competence in terms of spicing up those themes through use of dissonance, he is creative and good at this but does not show interest in creating these sustained eerie moods through harmonic textures, as I hear in Bach, Brahms and occasionally Mozart. As Phil pointed out Beethoven tends to resolve dissonance quickly. (And even when he does not resolve dissonance quickly the aural effect is that he does, because the melodic/thematic material in the foreground tends to be very consonant.)

    The end of the 3rd movement of Op. 101 has a sustained and prolonged quirky dissonance, but the aural effect is one of instability, more so than something really haunting as I hear in the music of the previously mentioned composers. The movement of Piano Sonata 7 comes closer to creating a haunting mood through use of texture, (and to a certain extent does achieve this) but on close inspection I think it shows the same kind of thematic treatment and resolution that has been discussed already, just at a slower pace, and using denser harmonies, or perhaps just more of the sustain pedal on chords.

    I love that Bach performance by Hewitt Phil posted by the way, thanks for that.
    Last edited by tdc; Jun-01-2019 at 23:26.

  11. #40
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Ford Nation
    Posts
    3,879
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    Over all Phil's observations in this thread align with what I hear, and I suspect (as he pointed out) it is related to use of counterpoint. I just listened to Beethoven's Op. 101 and the second movement of Sonata 7. I do hear dissonances, and a wide variety of them but the aural effect is similar to what I described earlier in the thread in the Haydn piece I posted. In these types of works the thematic material is the foreground and the use of harmony is subordinate to that material. The music is not about creating sustained moods through use of textures or dissonance, the feel is dominated by the thematic relations. Beethoven does show an interest and competence in terms of spicing up those themes through use of dissonance, he is creative and good at this but does not show interest in creating these sustained eerie moods through harmonic textures, as I hear in Bach, Brahms and occasionally Mozart. As Phil pointed out Beethoven tends to resolve dissonance quickly. (And even when he does not resolve dissonance quickly the aural effect is that he does, because the melodic/thematic material in the foreground tends to be very consonant.)

    The end of the 3rd movement of Op. 101 has a sustained and prolonged quirky dissonance, but the aural effect is one of instability, more so than something really haunting as I hear in the music of the previously mentioned composers. The movement of Piano Sonata 7 comes closer to creating a haunting mood through use of texture, (and to a certain extent does achieve this) but on close inspection I think it shows the same kind of thematic treatment and resolution that has been discussed already, just at a slower pace, and using denser harmonies, or perhaps just more of the sustain pedal on chords.

    I love that Bach performance by Hewitt Phil posted by the way, thanks for that.
    Agree. I don't feel it is in Beethoven's harmonic plan to revel in that sort of striking dissonance, but more for dramatic tension. I listened to Op. 101 and Op 10 No. 3, and he uses a lot of intermediary chords that provide stability, even if partially, and never strays out far to my ears. Op. 101 did have some obvious dissonant chord clashes at one point, and the Op. 10 did have an extended section of dissonance in that Largo.
    Last edited by Phil loves classical; Jun-02-2019 at 02:16.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

  12. #41
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,321
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    The question was answered to my satisfaction back on page one.
    "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

  13. #42
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    645
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I agree with many people here that there's no such thing as 'objectively' true dissonance. For example, can we say Schoenberg and Bartok were more objectively proficient at using dissonance than Beethoven?
    But I define 'good art' (such as in classical music) as something that inspires through generations of later artists. Apparently, Brahms in his final years regarded Bach and Mozart's use and control of dissonance more inspiring. (Needlessly to say) Beethoven also inspired later artists on a phenomenally huge scale, but at the same time I think it's wrong to say only Beethoven did all the innovations whereas his predecessors narrow-mindedly clung to old-fashions. Adagio and Fugue K546 for example uses dissonance in a way the strict style wouldn't normally allow. For example, in the fugue (starting at 4:00 ), the subject answers the countersubject starting with a 7th. C (countersubject) B (subject).


    This piece inspired Beethoven in writing his Op.111. He copied it out as a study (Hess 37). It was also known to Romantics such as Mendelssohn improvised on the subject. https://books.google.ca/books?id=K0N3BQAAQBAJ&pg=PA31

    so I ask Philloves (who gave me link this thread): you sometimes seem to diminish Mozart's innovations. by what criteria do you judge how 'innovative' a work is? Say if I write the craziest 'death waltz' with the harshest dissonance ever written, would that automatically make me an innovative composer in terms of dissonance? Just using 'dissonance' is not enough. You have to inspire generations of later artists to be regarded exemplary in the classical canon. From the Brahms and Schoenberg quotes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXlii5kUsjY, I think we can at least say, Mozart (and Bach, Haydn) weren't any less innovative than Beethoven (in terms of amount of inspiration they had on the later artists).
    Last edited by hammeredklavier; Jun-04-2019 at 06:02.

  14. #43
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    6,544
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    I agree with many people here that there's no such thing as 'objectively' true dissonance. For example, can we say Schoenberg and Bartok were more objectively proficient at using dissonance than Beethoven?
    'Objectively true dissonance' and 'objectively proficient at using dissonance' are not the same thing.

    However, I agree that dissonance is a matter of what the hearer perceives.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

  15. #44
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    12,321
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    I agree with many people here that there's no such thing as 'objectively' true dissonance.
    Well, yes, because dissonance is not an absolute quality; it's comparative, always used with "consonance".

    I can say, objectively, that 49/23 is a greater dissonance than 3/2. That's a fact, jack.
    "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

  16. #45
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    645
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default





    14:20 - 2nd violin's chromatic D - Eb - E - F continuously 'conflicting' with the rest of the ensemble

    "Stylistically Spohr's and Beethoven's development as composers took them in diametrically opposite directions. The op.18 quartets are the point which they were closest, but from there their paths diverged. Beethoven moved away from the chromaticism of late Mozart towards a broader harmonic style; it is significant that his only preserved comment about Spohr's music should have been 'He is too rich in dissonances; pleasure in his music is marred by his chromatic melody.'"
    https://books.google.lv/books?id=2MPXSVcdzPUC&pg=PA99


Page 3 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •