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Thread: Metaquestion: Why do you think posts to the theory sub-forum are so infrequent?

  1. #16
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    You know MR, when I was at my alma mater, there was a fellow student composer who admitted to me that he didn't know much about CP at all and yet, was writing dense atonal pieces (he wasn't the only one btw). This was actively encouraged by the establishment whose ramparts where seemingly impervious to any incursion or indeed influence by traditional techniques and especially to the benefits they impart to a composers development.
    They would not let a budding instrumentalist anywhere near the building unless all scales and arppeggios where mastered at wild speeds, because they would be unable to play concert repertoire. This begs the question as to why they would let composers in who think they know how to handle notes and create cogent music in atonality without any of the valuable learning and insight one gets from studying traditional technique from the 'bottom up'.
    I do get that to be 'new' means breaking with the past, but encouraging a composer to 'fly' without wings so to speak, is only possible for the truly gifted.
    In my own defense, you're completely missing the point I made when I said "I had to understand tonality before I could understand atonality."

    Your statement "This begs the question as to why they would let composers in who think they know how to handle notes and create cogent music in atonality without any of the valuable learning and insight one gets from studying traditional technique from the bottom up" is misleading.
    Jazz players are able to play and create tonal music, without learning about figured bass and ornamentation.

    From what I've seen on this forum, none of the "traditional tonalists" here really know what tonality is.
    They apparently don't understand intervals expressed as ratios, which I've outlined in my many blogs, which is crucial in understanding the hierarchy of tonality.
    They don't understand (or have never mentioned) how dissonance is ranked in this way; or how "harmonic models" can be created in this way.
    Some even refuse to recognize scales other than major/minor, and refuse to recognize modes as "scales "in the modern way, building chords and functions on the steps.

    To them, modes are strictly melodic. This is archaic, non-harmonic thinking which restricts one's view of what tonality is, or how it functions harmonically. It's just a very idiosyncratic, specialized way of thinking, which is myopic, and cares nothing about any "larger picture" or "larger view," even if that were to prove practical.

    In the theory forum, the concept of "chord progressions" in Baroque music was rejected in favor of Bach's figured-bass method, which does not specify roots of chords, but only intervals.

    Sure, they can talk all day about appoggiaturas and figured-bass, but when it comes down to actually "grokking" what tonality is, they apparently don't know because they don't have to, they have no desire to, and they are happily "inside the box."

    I've heard nothing about how scales are made; only how they are used. Such meta-ideas are apparently irrelevant to an academic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok

    I challenge you, or anyone here to discuss tonality in these basic terms, in a civil manner. I very much doubt that you have the tools to do it, from the general impression I get from your post.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-15-2019 at 16:25.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    "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

  2. #17
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    In my own defense, you're completely missing the point I made when I said "I had to understand tonality before I could understand atonality."

    Your statement "This begs the question as to why they would let composers in who think they know how to handle notes and create cogent music in atonality without any of the valuable learning and insight one gets from studying traditional technique from the bottom up" is misleading.
    Jazz players are able to play and create tonal music, without learning about figured bass and ornamentation.

    From what I've seen on this forum, none of the "traditional tonalists" here really know what tonality is. They apparently don't understand intervals expressed as ratios, which I've outlined in my many blogs, which is crucial in understanding the hierarchy of tonality. They don't understand (or have never mentioned) how dissonance is ranked in this way; or how "harmonic models" can be created in this way. Some even refuse to recognize scales other than major/minor, and refuse to use modes as scales in the modern way, building chords and functions on the steps. To them, modes are strictly melodic. This is archaic, non-harmonic thinking which restricts one's view of what tonality is, or how it functions harmonically. It's just a very idiosyncratic way of thinking, which is myopic, and cares nothing about any "larger picture" or "larger view," even if that were to prove practical.

    Sure, they can talk all day about appoggiaturas and figured-bass, but when it comes down to actually "grokking" what tonality is, they apparently don't know because they don't have to, they have no desire to, and they are happily "inside the box."

    I've heard nothing about how scales are made; only how they are used. Such meta-ideas are apparently irrelevant to an academic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok

    I challenge you, or anyone here to discuss tonality in these basic terms, in a civil manner. I very much doubt that you have the tools to do it, from the general impression I get from your post.
    jeez, MR, so much for my chatty,civil tone, forget that in future pal. I should have mentioned that I was referring to concert art music but apart from that, I don't care about your defense, nor where you under attack, I was merely telling you about an encounter I had in my formative years that seemed to follow on from your post.
    As to my ability...check out my website and although you may not like my music, you probably have enough wits about you to see it is well written. I have the tools allright but not the inclination to engage too much with you.

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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Deliberate obfuscators who bludgeon with specialized knowledge the seekers of obvious truths are scrofulous scoundrels. Not even interminable and ubiquitous accusation, insinuation, complaint and self-aggrandizement can undo the atrocities they perpetrate.

    Hold the miscreants in contempt! Impeach them! Vote in 2020!
    This post is in the prose style sometimes employed of Lord Black of Crossharbour, the ex-Canadian media mogul who has just been pardoned by President Trump on his U.S.A. convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business...ex-media-mogul

    As the style worked for Lord Black, let us now bring it to bear on the arcane conundrums of music theory!

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    jeez, MR, so much for my chatty,civil tone, forget that in future pal.
    I thought the tone was condescending, and was biased in a certain direction, as regards this thread.

    I should have mentioned that I was referring to concert art music but apart from that, I don't care about your defense, nor where you under attack, I was merely telling you about an encounter I had in my formative years that seemed to follow on from your post.
    You did address your reply to me:
    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    You know MR, when I was at my alma mater, there was a fellow student composer who admitted to me that he didn't know much about CP at all and yet, was writing dense atonal pieces (he wasn't the only one btw)...I do get that to be 'new' means breaking with the past, but encouraging a composer to 'fly' without wings so to speak, is only possible for the truly gifted.
    This seems to be implying some things which I take offense to.

    I have the tools allright but not the inclination to engage too much with you.
    Then don't.
    "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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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    This post is in the prose style sometimes employed of Lord Black of Crossharbour, the ex-Canadian media mogul who has just been pardoned by President Trump on his U.S.A. convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice.
    You'd better hope that he also got pardoned for being insulting to other members.


    As the style worked for Lord Black, let us now bring it to bear on the arcane conundrums of music theory!
    You mean, as LBJ said, "Let us con-TIN-yah"? Poor old LBJ, the war was what got him in the end. He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.
    "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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    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I sometimes wonder if I'm reading the same thing others see. Why does common interest make people dislike each other, especially in music?

    If you look around this forum, and the groups, you'll see quite a few people interested in science, physics, relativity, cosmology, QM, genetics, and other esoteric natural philosophies... but when it comes to music theory, no way man, cause all I gotta do is listen! Learning how music actually works is just too much trouble! Well, I can appreciate the sight of a rainbow as well as anybody else, but that doesn't rule out wanting to know how it happens.

    If one is not a musician at all, and has no urge to analyze anything for any reason, this may be the only excuse available... but for those who claim to LOVE music, who often analyze it subjectively, as a matter of "taste", are really disarming themselves of a valuable asset not unlike those who talk about all the esoteric topics I mentioned above without ever learning the basic methods used in those fields. In either case they are left holding arguments of passion against those who hold arguments of reason.
    Last edited by philoctetes; May-17-2019 at 17:43.

  8. #22
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    From what I've seen on this forum, none of the "traditional tonalists" here really know what tonality is.
    They apparently don't understand intervals expressed as ratios, which I've outlined in my many blogs, which is crucial in understanding the hierarchy of tonality.
    They don't understand (or have never mentioned) how dissonance is ranked in this way; or how "harmonic models" can be created in this way.
    Some even refuse to recognize scales other than major/minor, and refuse to recognize modes as "scales "in the modern way, building chords and functions on the steps.

    To them, modes are strictly melodic. This is archaic, non-harmonic thinking which restricts one's view of what tonality is, or how it functions harmonically. It's just a very idiosyncratic, specialized way of thinking, which is myopic, and cares nothing about any "larger picture" or "larger view," even if that were to prove practical.

    Sure, they can talk all day about appoggiaturas and figured-bass, but when it comes down to actually "grokking" what tonality is, they apparently don't know because they don't have to, they have no desire to, and they are happily "inside the box."

    I've heard nothing about how scales are made; only how they are used. Such meta-ideas are apparently irrelevant to an academic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok

    I challenge you, or anyone here to discuss tonality in these basic terms, in a civil manner. I very much doubt that you have the tools to do it, from the general impression I get from your post.
    I second mikeh375's response to this laughable posturing, which isn't even worth taking apart (although that wouldn't be hard) and which might be thought genuinely insulting to the unnamed "traditional tonalists" it references were it anything more than an ego trip on the part of someone desperate for "validation." Your idea of "a civil manner" is curious; it's very unconvincing to insist on civility while telling knowledgeable people that their knowledge of a subject is worthless and that they lack even the "tools" to discuss it.

    Really, the only sequence of words in your post worthy of our attention is "From what I've seen..." Reading that, we are well-advised to spare ourselves the labor of assessing the rest.
    Last edited by Woodduck; May-17-2019 at 23:54.

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  10. #23
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I'm just playing the same game as I am given. Meanwhile, I can have much more productive conversations with EdwardBast in the "Harmonic Puzzle" thread, and actually get some clarity on some issues.
    If you keep being negative and antagonistic, Woodduck, none of what you say will contribute anything of substance.

    I've already commented on mike375's 'posturing.'
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-18-2019 at 13:38.
    "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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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    That'll be a game of Assumption no doubt.


    [I]I thought the tone was condescending, and was biased in a certain direction, as regards this thread.[/I

    Get over yourself, you mis-interpreted it because of your hang ups, it was meant to be a chatty anecdote and if it carried any bias, so what, it wasn't an attack, merely my opinion based on experience. It was addressed to you in the spirit of a conversation.

    If my post offended you then perhaps you need to harden a little or chill more effectively. Either way you assumed and got it wrong.
    Last edited by mikeh375; May-18-2019 at 14:20.

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  13. #25
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    That'll be a game of Assumption no doubt.


    [I]I thought the tone was condescending, and was biased in a certain direction, as regards this thread.[/I

    Get over yourself, you mis-interpreted it because of your hang ups, it was meant to be a chatty anecdote and if it carried any bias, so what, it wasn't an attack, merely my opinion based on experience. It was addressed to you in the spirit of a conversation.
    If my post offended you then perhaps you need to harden a little or chill more effectively. Either way you assumed and got it wrong.
    No, I don't think so. You generalized students who were allowed to "get away with murder" in composition, while students in performance were held to higher standards, making it sound like "any dummy" (like me?) could write atonal music.

    I don't think most musicians "know" what tonality is, because they're immersed in it; they've never had anything to compare it to, and never had to compare it, in terms of a harmonic system, until they study it.
    This doesn't mean they are "stupid," but that they never had to think outside the box.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-18-2019 at 20:09.
    "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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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I second mikeh375's response to this laughable posturing, which isn't even worth taking apart (although that wouldn't be hard)...
    Stop complaining. Stop replying to my posts. Try saying something about the ideas presented that someone could actually benefit from hearing.

    ...and which might be thought genuinely insulting to the unnamed "traditional tonalists" it references were it anything more than an ego trip on the part of someone desperate for "validation."

    I'm sorry, but this is feeble.
    It becomes very difficult to participate in a conversation when it comes to be dominated by statements as gob-smackingly ignorant as this. It just goes to show that smart people can be idiots on occasion...How much of this trolling do you think we're going to tolerate? Was there anything you wanted to say about Tonality? Or did you just want to make up nonsense about other members who actually do have something to say about it? If you're going to put ideas into the public forum, others will respond to them with their own views, and it isn't up to them to "step back and let you continuously try to speak both for and about everyone. Your arguments are fundamentally incoherent and contradictory, and your numerous pithy posts appear to be little more than special pleading for the ideas you try - without success - to promote. This is a lot of hogwash.

    Your idea of "a civil manner" is curious; it's very unconvincing to insist on civility while telling knowledgeable people that their knowledge of a subject is worthless and that they lack even the "tools" to discuss it. Really, the only sequence of words in your post worthy of our attention is "From what I've seen..." Reading that, we are well-advised to spare ourselves the labor of assessing the rest.
    You are a perfect example of someone who uses obsessive self-repetition to make up for your limited aesthetic sensibility and your failure to understand the difference between taste, opinion and...What does any of this mean? Even where it's comprehensible, there's not much truth in it.
    "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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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    I would like to see those who discuss theory post audio examples of their own work illustrate the points they’re going to make, otherwise the explanations seem to generate into abstract explanations where it’s hard to know if the person understands what he’s talking about. Or post examples by other people that illustrate the points. But without examples, I see no clarity. It would also be nice to see people who are poison to each other avoid each other, and someone has to make the first move. I believe there are many people on the forum fond of both of you.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-18-2019 at 21:18.
    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    ..........making it sound like "any dummy" (like me?) could write atonal music.
    Well, I was saying and meaning the literal opposite to this.

  17. #29
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Well, I was saying and meaning the literal opposite to this.
    Then what was the point of relating this situation you encountered? The way in which atonal music was allowed to insinuate itself into academic composition, or to differentiate the requirements of performance vs. composition, or something else? Any context come to mind?
    "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

  18. #30
    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    I see music theory as a way of expanding one's conceptual horizons so that deeper, more solid understanding can be achieved. For instance, in my quest to understand atonality, I realized I had to understand tonality, so that a 'dialectic' could be set up, in which the two things mutually define each other. It does not further understanding to be "stuck in the box" of "given" concepts. Everything must be understood, and to do that, one must recognize essential qualities. To do that, one must have some method of comparison and identification.

    Application, and "doing," applied as 'given' ways of doing things, do not add to understanding if they are routines or activities without a base in true understanding. Also, many of the details of "the assumed" do not add to real understanding, because they are too particular and codified into "lingo" of specialists who usually have no interest in venturing into more generalized territory.
    Composing music is, in fact, application of principles to create a work of art. You don't need to understand fully how the principles were arrived. In math, I've seen a very simple technique like adding 1+1=2 actually having a very complex proof, but we teach it to Grade 1's. The application is seen as more practical. Just as composing (applying) tonal, or atonal music, you don't need to understand the most fundamental principles of how scales are derived, they accept certain principles as givens, that is the starting point.

    A prof once gave the class an example of how a pool player doesn't understand all the physics of friction, etc., but knows them intuitively, and it is enough. There is no point in debating how he won a pool tournament if he didn't understand the fundamentals of motion. Atonal composer doesn't need to know the finer points of tonality. Just enough to apply in practice. That's what I got from Mike's post.

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    In my own defense, you're completely missing the point I made when I said "I had to understand tonality before I could understand atonality."

    Your statement "This begs the question as to why they would let composers in who think they know how to handle notes and create cogent music in atonality without any of the valuable learning and insight one gets from studying traditional technique from the bottom up" is misleading.
    Jazz players are able to play and create tonal music, without learning about figured bass and ornamentation.

    From what I've seen on this forum, none of the "traditional tonalists" here really know what tonality is.
    They apparently don't understand intervals expressed as ratios, which I've outlined in my many blogs, which is crucial in understanding the hierarchy of tonality.
    They don't understand (or have never mentioned) how dissonance is ranked in this way; or how "harmonic models" can be created in this way.
    Some even refuse to recognize scales other than major/minor, and refuse to recognize modes as "scales "in the modern way, building chords and functions on the steps.

    To them, modes are strictly melodic. This is archaic, non-harmonic thinking which restricts one's view of what tonality is, or how it functions harmonically. It's just a very idiosyncratic, specialized way of thinking, which is myopic, and cares nothing about any "larger picture" or "larger view," even if that were to prove practical.

    In the theory forum, the concept of "chord progressions" in Baroque music was rejected in favor of Bach's figured-bass method, which does not specify roots of chords, but only intervals.

    Sure, they can talk all day about appoggiaturas and figured-bass, but when it comes down to actually "grokking" what tonality is, they apparently don't know because they don't have to, they have no desire to, and they are happily "inside the box."

    I've heard nothing about how scales are made; only how they are used. Such meta-ideas are apparently irrelevant to an academic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grok

    I challenge you, or anyone here to discuss tonality in these basic terms, in a civil manner. I very much doubt that you have the tools to do it, from the general impression I get from your post.
    It isn't really that advanced theory, but most "traditional tonalists" know how tonality is achieved. The most basic way to define tonality is the use of asymmetric scales which imply a certain hierarchy in certain intervals. Pentatonic and Diatonic are the most common in Western music. The interval frequency ratios are not the most important, only to those that are not "thinking out of the box" enough . The most stable ones like 2:1, 3:2 for octave and perfect fifth are only for Western music. One scale in Gamelan music is a stretched octave, and significantly out of tune from a perfect fifth. Some use 5 TET some 5 notes out of the 7 TET, and there are other deviations. Their hierarchies is not based on what we Westerners call consonance or low order ratios.

    http://www.neuroscience-of-music.se/pelog_main.htm

    Major/minor tonality only concern 2 specific scales, this is as low-level or fundamental traditional tonalists really needs to be concerned with, in addition to some other much more important concepts, other than how they were derived.
    Last edited by Phil loves classical; May-19-2019 at 02:19.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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