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Why not have categories similar to the solo-chamber-orchestral classification for instrumental music?

So solo vocal, then small scale vocal music with some accompaniment like art songs, then the large choir works.

But then I'm not sure where opera can be placed. Makes me wonder if a separate category should be made for programmatic instrumental music too
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
Why not have categories similar to the solo-chamber-orchestral classification for instrumental music?

So solo vocal, then small scale vocal music with some accompaniment like art songs, then the large choir works.

But then I'm not sure where opera can be placed. Makes me wonder if a separate category should be made for programmatic instrumental music too
Now I'm thinking to remove categories about complexity.

I wanted to create categories because I was thinking that a solo keyboard might be squashed by a large orchestral work. But now I'm thinking: what's wrong with this? I mean, if complexity is perceived as "quality", what's wrong if a large orchestral work is considered better than a solo because is more complex?

If, for example, someone think that the best piece of Beethoven is the fifth symphony and he thinks this also because it's a symphonic work, what's wrong?

If really want to determine what's the best of Bach, shouldn't we be free to think that he has reached his higher level with orchestral works (if we think so)?


And what about vocal vs instrumental? Isn't human voice just an other instrument, like any other?

What I want to say is that instruments used are an intrinsic part of composition, so I don't know if it really makes sense to separate composition from instruments used.

I think that you touched the right point with programmatic music Vs simple music: simple music must compete with simple music and programmatic music must compete with programmatic music because in the latter there is more than only music involved.

So, what about:
  • Non-programmatic music
  • Programmatic music to listen
  • Programmatic music to watch

What do you think about my reasoning?
 

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Now I'm thinking to remove categories about complexity.

I wanted to create categories because I was thinking that a solo keyboard might be squashed by a large orchestral work. But now I'm thinking: what's wrong with this? I mean, if complexity is perceived as "quality", what's wrong if a large orchestral work is considered better than a solo because is more complex?

If, for example, someone think that the best piece of Beethoven is the fifth symphony and he thinks this also because it's a symphonic work, what's wrong?

If really want to determine what's the best of Bach, shouldn't we be free to think that he has reached his higher level with orchestral works (if we think so)?


And what about vocal vs instrumental? Isn't human voice just an other instrument, like any other?

What I want to say is that instruments used are an intrinsic part of composition, so I don't know if it really makes sense to separate composition from instruments used.

I think that you touched the right point with programmatic music Vs simple music: simple music must compete with simple music and programmatic music must compete with programmatic music because in the latter there is more than only music involved.

So, what about:
  • Non-programmatic music
  • Programmatic music to listen
  • Programmatic music to watch

What do you think about my reasoning?
If we're talking about solo piano, I don't think an orchestral piece is necessarily more complex. There indeed is a larger potential to be complex since an orchestra has more timbral variety and more individual parts, but in my opinion, the gap in potential complexity between a solo piano piece isn't that large that an orchestral piece will always be more complex. This actually works in favor of allowing solo, chamber, & orchestral to all be grouped together. However, I'm still leaning towards having separate categories for each of them, since I think it'd be helpful for people who prefer some genres over others & want to look for the best pieces in that genre.

As for vocal music, I can't speak for others, but I find words distracting enough to put vocal music in a separate category. But if it were just human voices singing wordless notes, then perhaps you can lump them in with instrumental music.

Your ideas about programmatic music are interesting, & I don't see any issue, but I'd like to know what the other members think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Here's something I used for a previous 'game'. It might help. It might not.

Symphony -
Tone Poem/Suite/Overture/Ballet -
String Concerto -
Keyboard Concerto -
Brass/Wind Concerto -
String Chamber -
Keyboard Chamber -
String Sonata/Solo -
Keyboard Sonata/Solo -
Lieder/Madrigal -
Oratorio/Mass/Requiem/Cantata/Chant -
Opera/Operetta -
Thanks, but I want to use simpler categories.
 

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So, what about:
  • Non-programmatic music
  • Programmatic music to listen
  • Programmatic music to watch

What do you think about my reasoning?
I expect for most composers over 90% of the works listeners prefer are in the first category. Personally, I would take the (in my view) logical next step, and do away with the split in categories altogether.

If you want to make a distinction as above (your game, your choice), it would be good to realize though that many classical music lovers primarily listen to operas rather than watch them.
 

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I'd suggest using the following 9 categories:

1. Concerti--violin, harpsichord, piano, flute, cello, oboe, harp, viola, organ, mixed instruments, etc.
2. Orchestral--symphonies (including chamber & choral symphonies)/preludes & overtures/tone poems/ballets/serenades/orchestral song cycles (though you might place orchestral song cycles in category 9 below).
3. Solo Works 1--for keyboard: the piano, harpsichord, organ, & clavichord. Which needs its own category, considering that the solo keyboard repertory is so vast (& especially so with J.S. Bach).
4. Solo Works 2--works for solo violin, cello, flute, lute, guitar, harp, etc.
5. Choral 1--oratorios/masses (including requiem masses)
6. Choral 2--cantatas (sacred & profane), motets, magnificats, stabat maters, misereres, madrigali, psalm settings, vespers, etc.
7. Chamber Music--string quartets, violin sonatas, cello/viola da gamba sonatas, viola sonatas, string trios, piano trios, piano quartets, piano quintets, wind quintets, sextets, string quintets, octets, mixed instruments, etc.
8. Opera/Operetta
9. Lieder, Chansons, Melodies (including chamber songs for voice & instruments)

Is there a musical genre that isn't covered in these 9 categories?

With J.S. Bach, my only question would be where to put The Art of the Fugue, & The Musical Offering? I see them as essentially chamber works, but of course The Art of the Fugue gets played as a solo work, too, such as on the organ, piano, harpsichord. So, it belongs in at least two categories, if not three, as possibly a 'chamber' orchestral work, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
However, I'm still leaning towards having separate categories for each of them, since I think it'd be helpful for people who prefer some genres over others & want to look for the best pieces in that genre.
This is not a problem, because I can assign categories to the different pieces, but the pieces of different categories will compete between each others.

So, at the end of the competion every piece will have a score and a category, so it will be possible to say what is, for example, the keyboard solo with the best score.

I think that the competion categories, however, will be only three:
  • Music without lyrics
  • Music with lyrics
  • Music with images

I wonder if I also have to create subcategories for the lenght. Wouldn't be strange to compare a multi-movement piece of 2 hours with a simple piece of 3 minutes? I don't know. Or, alternatively, should we split multi-movement pieces? The longest work of Bach is a passion of 2 hours and 40 minutes.
 

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As Bach probably wrote the most remarkable single piece of music ever written - the remarkable Chaconne for solo violin - which lasts around 15 minutes, it’s a bit ofa stretch to compare it with a passion which lasts three hours.
 

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As Bach probably wrote the most remarkable single piece of music ever written - the remarkable Chaconne for solo violin - which lasts around 15 minutes, it’s a bit ofa stretch to compare it with a passion which lasts three hours.
I'd easily pick a passion over the Chaconne, and it has nothing to do with length.
 
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