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Thread: Music which is meant to depict something

  1. #76
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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with programmatic music, and it makes no difference whether a work is programmatic or abstract . It's true you can't really grasp the programmatic intent of a work without knowing the composer's intention, but this doesn't mean music can't actually depict extra-misc things or have a narrative content .
    If you hear a poem in a language you don't understand, this doesn't mean it has no meaning , and it's the same with programmatic music . You simply need to read the necessary information about a programmatic work before you hear it , and of course, this ha never been easier with the existence of the internet .
    If someone who knows little or nothing about classical music were to hear Debussy's "La Mer " without knowing anything about it, that individual would not guess it's meant to depict the sea in its various elements , but so what ? La Mer sounds like the sea period . Onlypedantic snobs dismiss programatic music out of hand .

  2. #77
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    Couldn't agree more with your summation.

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  4. #78
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    It doesn't take much to find programmed music that sounds like what it says it depicts...If this post is directed at me, then you are confused.

    I don't know who you are and I am not confused. It was merely a post in a discussion.

  5. #79
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    A program can't rescue bad music. All the great program music, probably starting with Byrd's The Battell, can be enjoyed abstractly.

    When I first heard Beethoven's 3rd symphony, I knew nothing about it. I enjoyed it, but when I learned more about it, especially that it was a response to the crisis outlined in the Heilegenstadt testament, my appreciation deepened. I ceased to respect the symphony and grew to love it.

    What about Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique? The fourth movement stands up musically, but to know it's a March to the Scaffold, and that the pizzicato at the end is the head dropping into a basket - well, it's just so much fun! And could Berlioz have achieved such a revolution in orchestral music making without a program to hang it on?

    As for OP's wife, I wonder if she has a form of amusia? Read Oliver Sachs' fascinating book Musicaphilia.

  6. #80
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    I have a question. A piece of music I’ve been enjoying over this weekend is by Chaya Czernowin, called Hidden. It’s clearly got a provocative title, and I was surprised that she goes further in the score, viz.

    HIDDEN is an attempt to get at what is hidden underneath expression or underneath music. It attempts to reach even further where there is a barely audible presence, which is on the edge of our perception. We do not know this presence, and it might be foreign, undecipherable. HIDDEN is a very slow moving 45 minute experience transforming the ear into an eye. The ear is given space and time to observe and orient itself in the unpredictable aural landscape. It is an underwarter, submerged landscape of rocks, inhabited by low vibrations which are felt rather than heard and with layers and layers of peeling away fog. Monolithic groups of sonic ‘rocks’ are seen/ heard from various angles. The piece is about observation; it tries to trace/ perceive/sense the emergence of expression. Chaya Czernowin
    Is this music which is meant to depict something? Is it weaker music for being so? You can hear it easily enough


  7. #81
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    And is this meant to depict something, the title suggests it is


  8. #82
    Senior Member RICK RIEKERT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    And is this meant to depict something, the title suggests it is

    It depends on whether you choose, for example, the pioneering and allegedly patriarchal interpretation of Artaud and Starreveld, which sees the work as depicting a narrative of betrayal and mistrust; where the Apollo voice or the ‘male page’ is seen as well-balanced, rational and notated in a very rigid and structured way, and the Cassandra voice or the ‘female page’ is rather chaotic, hysterical and all over the place. Or you may choose the feminist interpretation of Dr. Ellen Waterman, which analyzes the narrative as depicting Cassandra's emotional evolution, as a woman in a patriarchal society. In which case, the work depicts sequentially 'blind ambition', 'formation of an individual voice', 'choice', hysteria', 'resolution. 'self-knowledge'). There are, of course, other possibilities. Ferneyhough says he sees the piece as gender-neutral. Really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    How can it be both evocative and abstract? I mean, if it's evocative it has to evoke something, and that something is the extra musical meaning of the music.

    Ha ha! Got ya.
    I understand what SanAntone said as "capable of evoking anything", not as "evocative of one thing in particular".

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