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

  1. #31
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    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.
    Then those who do not seek insight, and see things practically, aren't very cogent in discussing theoretical points. From what I've seen they tend to get frustrated and spin-off responses like "that's nonsense," etc.

    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.
    This is rather vague for me, and the use of Gamelon music doesn't make sense, since their music is strictly melodic and has no chords or harmony.

    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.
    Syntax problem with that long sentence above. Confusing.

    Since Western music divides the octave into 12 notes, a tonalist needs to understand the Pythagoran-derived procedure which generated those notes, especially since this lives on in the 'circle of fifths.'

    This video by Rick Beato shows that if one wishes to work with scales creatively, one must understand some principles of how chords are derived from them. Major/minor is very limiting, and this is not "rocket science" as you said.

    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-19-2019 at 05:27.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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  2. #32
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    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?
    Wrong on all counts.
    Ironically (and sadly) the tale was an oblique affirmation of your approach to learning which I was moved to write as a result of my admiration for your autodidactic paradigm. I was saying that the foundational, bottom up approach to technique (a formal academic training, or one in which the student knows CP) was not in much evidence at my alma mater in either the students nor the composition courses and the Institutions approach was not ideal imv for one who wanted to write atonally. I believe one needs a firm aesthetic footing when encountering the massive open fields of atonality if one is to steer through a cogent creative piece. This can be acquired by working through formal training at a formative stage, (granted it's not the only way, but it is a sure bet) because in the learning, one will find oneself artistically speaking and will then be fully, musically self-aware and able for the atonal adventure.
    This belief in the power of formal CP training as a precursor or a necessary step to powerful personal statements in contemporary language is a key I believe, to expressing one's music in the most effective manner.

    The reference to instrumentalists was simply a metaphor, but also useful - a young pianist could not play a concerto with understanding and expressive musicality without years of scale and arpeggio work to free them from technical restraints. Similarly a young composer surely cannot be expected to write
    effectively and with conviction (even sincerity) in atonality unless at the very least they have wrestled with some prior technical procedure. I acknowledge that they could start their learning with strict dodecaphony before venturing into free atonality, rather than CP, but this is not ideal imv because it could be seen as too much of a dictat for younger composers, one that might sublimate natural inclinations and fantasy which would more readily show themselves and become self-evident to the composer in a 'safer' [tonal] environment to start with.

    You clearly haven't bothered to listen to my music and that's fine, but if you had, you would hear atonality in the Clarinet concerto and the Preludes and fugues. That would have told you I was not against atonality, in fact I rummage around in it everyday.

    It's a shame your hubris is getting in the way MR, the post was not an insult to you, far from it. This is the second run-in I've had with you and both times have resulted from misunderstanding. I'll accept that you missed the tone of my post and I might have been able to word it differently to make it clear, but only if you reach over the edge of the pan of home made stew you are sitting in and turn down the gas.
    Last edited by mikeh375; May-19-2019 at 08:20.

  3. #33
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    It's a shame your hubris is getting in the way MR, the post was not an insult to you, far from it. This is the second run-in I've had with you and both times have resulted from misunderstanding. I'll accept that you missed the tone of my post and I might have been able to word it differently to make it clear, but only if you reach over the edge of the pan of home made stew you are sitting in and turn down the gas.
    In that case, mike375, I apologize for my defensiveness, and I appreciate that you have answered my inquiry. It sounds like you have some other good tales to relate, from what I've noticed.

    This leads directly to the original thread question: Why do you think posts to the theory sub-forum are so infrequent?

    I'm on the defensive because of the way I've been responded to. When I mentioned ideas from the book "A Geometry of Music' by Dmitri Tymoczko (from the thread "Decoding Beethoven") it was ridiculed:

    What does any of this mean? Even where it's comprehensible, there's not much truth in it...(you're)
    a naive intuitive autodidact who's easily fooled by name-dropping, diagrams, and scientific-sounding terminology...

    That why I personally do not post any ideas for consideration in this music theory forum.
    When I posted a diagram from Schoenberg's "Structural Functions of Harmony," I got this reply:
    Only a modern rationalist could imagine that all this silly diagramming adds anything to the understanding of a Beethoven sonata. Such doodles are a waste of time to a real musician.
    No attempt to discuss: only a blanket dismissal, with the implication that I was not a "real musician."
    "...
    this thread proposes to "explain" Beethoven's compositional procedures by means of a visual system, and to teach us how to compose music with it as well. It's horsepuckey.

    You resent being corrected, which, unfortunately is bound to happen when you have trouble distinguishing contrapuntal from harmonic events. And if you didn't enjoy dust you'd be reading modern sources on "geometric" methods, parsimonious voice-leading, and various conceptions of the Tonnetz, like the work of the neo-Riemannians, rather than dredging around in the early stages of the field.
    To which I replied:
    All that Edwardbast and Woodduck do is take pot-shots at other people's ideas; notice that they never start any threads. This is a martial-arts principle which they've adapted for internet use: let you enemy make the first move, then strike. I'm used to this sort of behavior.
    What is it you think you know (but don't)? Your favorite third-person "Woodduck" only dislikes "geometric ideas and charts" when they're stuck like barnacles onto things that don't require them. It's lucky for that guy in the video that Beethoven wasn't standing there with a plate of sauerkraut and bratwurst ready to launch at the appropriate target. That would've been much more entertaining than these video games, at least to those of us "spiritual" enough not to have to "rationalize" what we've understood about music - by listening to it - since grade school.

    Your first post on this thread is feeble foolishness and you know it. All you've done since is dig your intellectual grave deeper. Why bother? You're already underground.


    What you have written above is, in music theoretic terms, nonsense. Believer in diatonicism? That is a category no one with training would use. "Quantities in pitch space?" What is that supposed to mean? "the old Church method?" This connects to nothing in reality, or at least nothing remotely related to any of the music under discussion. It doesn't sound like you know any Schenkerians or that you have studied Schenkerian analysis either. They graph nonexistent or implied tonics. "A polemic between simple diatonic thinking and chromatic thinking?" This is a complete mischaracterization of the discussion. Who do you think you're fooling with this pseudo-theoretical word salad?
    After which, I essentially removed myself from the "discussion."
    Last edited by millionrainbows; May-19-2019 at 13:43.
    "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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