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#1202692 - 05/20/09 10:38 AM nadia boulanger
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
'composers don't choose to compose, it chooses them' nadia boulanger....just wanted to get some thoughts on her quote and maybe some insight into her background...
rada
www.pianopassions.com

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#1202733 - 05/20/09 11:33 AM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: rada]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2698
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
That's as much as saying: I don't compose because I like to. I compose because I must. I don't know if anyone specifically has stated that, though I guess I just did. But it sounds like something I've heard before.

BTW, I've taken lessons from someone who studied with NB. We were working on a choral piece I was writing and his focus was on honing the melody and then making the music paint the words. In his methodology you cannot work too hard on the melody. You craft it and recraft it and if it doesn't end up better then you know the first version was good, but you don't know if you can or cannot make it better until you try. Too many would be composers get caught up in the ego gratification of creating music and elect to not do the hard work necessary to create great music.

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#1202800 - 05/20/09 01:21 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Steve Chandler]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
That's as much as saying: I don't compose because I like to. I compose because I must. I don't know if anyone specifically has stated that, though I guess I just did. But it sounds like something I've heard before.

BTW, I've taken lessons from someone who studied with NB. We were working on a choral piece I was writing and his focus was on honing the melody and then making the music paint the words. In his methodology you cannot work too hard on the melody. You craft it and recraft it and if it doesn't end up better then you know the first version was good, but you don't know if you can or cannot make it better until you try. Too many would be composers get caught up in the ego gratification of creating music and elect to not do the hard work necessary to create great music.


I suspect that I fall into that category, but I am seeking composition lessons so at least I am aware of the extent of my ignorance.
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

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#1202859 - 05/20/09 03:29 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Hrodulf]
Tar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 296
Loc: Munich, Germany
I will proudly say that I myself do succumb - moderately - to ego gratification: I'm only human, and am naturally pleased when someone comments positively (or comments at all) to my postings. As long as I remain perceptive and don't run away thinking I'm so amazing that I can compose with earplugs, I think a little bit of ego massage can do more good than harm. It is indeed most encouraging when one appreciates yet another trick of the trade and re-create/re-invents it successfully - and one measure of that success is the acknowledgement of such attempt by an audience. I'm a would-be composer, too, and I believe a balance of reward and hard work is what's needed to further my musical journey.

Just my tuppence-worth.
_________________________
Tar Viturawong
Amateur composer and pianist
Known on YouTube as pianoinspiration
verbis defectis musica incipit

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#1202866 - 05/20/09 03:39 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Tar]
JustAnotherPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/08
Posts: 798
Loc: United Kingdom
I studied with a pupil of N.B.

She used to make him play P&F's from the WTC of Bach. While playing the fugues, she would make him drop any one of the three (or four) voices and sing it IN SOLFEGE. Pretty crazy stuff. Very difficult.

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#1202879 - 05/20/09 04:01 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: JustAnotherPianist]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2698
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I didn't mean to hijack a good thread. Nor did I mean to in any way imply that I've conquered my own ego. I agree with Tar that part of my motivation is ego gratification though it could happen more often. When I get a taste of humility is usually when I am most ego driven. I do believe that being your own worst critic is very beneficial to one's compositional efforts. There are many who create a melody and then fall in love with it before putting it to the test.

BTW, Hrodulf, you do better than you think. However, if you're seeking lessons in order to improve your knowledge of theory and the quality of your compositional efforts then I certainly wish you all the best.

Finally regarding NB, I've also heard crazy things about what she would require of students. Singing a missing line of a Bach fugue in solfegge is crazy. You'd have to be very practiced at solfegge to even attempt it. The French use fixed "Do" (where Do = C, Re = D etc.) so that would make things a little easier. It would be like reading the line and singing the notes (C, D, E = Do, Re, Mi). Now imagine singing that line using the Kodally method with a movable "Do" (where Do = tonic, except in minor where La = tonic). You'd have to calculate the scale degree of every note before singing it.

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#1202886 - 05/20/09 04:08 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Tar]
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
I don't see music composition as ego gratification.
Hell, half the time people don't like what you write (if you're lucky!).

I think the text quoted by the OP is true.
The reason I started paying more attention to music theory is that melodic ideas and notions of the harmonic setting frequently came to me quite easily.
But the fact that I didn't always know how to fully realise my thoughts as fully notated piece of music was frustrating (though I could read music).
So learning more was a way to complement 'inspiration' and be able to bring thought to reality more easily.

I think that most people who write music (especially those who do not do so professionaly) are doing it for similar personal reasons and for individual expression.
They somehow feel compelled to write even if it doesn't always turn out quite as they hear it inside.
So in a sense they are called to write music from inside themselves, nothing outside has compelled them to do so.
I guess this is what Boulanger was saying in a far more succinct and poetic way.

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#1202892 - 05/20/09 04:18 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Steve Chandler]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
I didn't mean to hijack a good thread. Nor did I mean to in any way imply that I've conquered my own ego. I agree with Tar that part of my motivation is ego gratification though it could happen more often. When I get a taste of humility is usually when I am most ego driven. I do believe that being your own worst critic is very beneficial to one's compositional efforts. There are many who create a melody and then fall in love with it before putting it to the test.

BTW, Hrodulf, you do better than you think. However, if you're seeking lessons in order to improve your knowledge of theory and the quality of your compositional efforts then I certainly wish you all the best.

Finally regarding NB, I've also heard crazy things about what she would require of students. Singing a missing line of a Bach fugue in solfegge is crazy. You'd have to be very practiced at solfegge to even attempt it. The French use fixed "Do" (where Do = C, Re = D etc.) so that would make things a little easier. It would be like reading the line and singing the notes (C, D, E = Do, Re, Mi). Now imagine singing that line using the Kodally method with a movable "Do" (where Do = tonic, except in minor where La = tonic). You'd have to calculate the scale degree of every note before singing it.


Thanks, I've contacted three people who had lesson ads online but so far nobody has emailed me back. I guess all I can do is keep trying.
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

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#1202921 - 05/20/09 05:18 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Hrodulf]
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
There was a college in Wisconsin, I think, that offered correspondence courses in composition among other things.
You might want to check it out Hrodulf.

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#1202941 - 05/20/09 05:45 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Allazart]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Allazart
There was a college in Wisconsin, I think, that offered correspondence courses in composition among other things.
You might want to check it out Hrodulf.


Do you happen to remember the name?
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

Top
#1203051 - 05/20/09 09:28 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Hrodulf]
sudoplatov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 78
Loc: Near Dallas Texas
My alma mater seems to offer a correspondence course.

http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/online/music/composition.htm

I still think you can find someone locally.

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#1203059 - 05/20/09 09:37 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: sudoplatov]
sudoplatov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 78
Loc: Near Dallas Texas

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#1203444 - 05/21/09 01:22 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: sudoplatov]
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
Originally Posted By: sudoplatov
My alma mater seems to offer a correspondence course.

http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/online/music/composition.htm

I still think you can find someone locally.


Yes, this was the one!

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#1203473 - 05/21/09 02:42 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: sudoplatov]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: sudoplatov
My alma mater seems to offer a correspondence course.

http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/online/music/composition.htm

I still think you can find someone locally.


That would obviously be best but I havn't had any luck so far.
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

Top
#1203972 - 05/22/09 11:59 AM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: rada]
rrb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 212
Loc: Bend, USA
Originally Posted By: rada
'composers don't choose to compose, it chooses them' nadia boulanger....just wanted to get some thoughts on her quote and maybe some insight into her background...


If you want background, just googling the name turns up 150,000 sites.
The only reason I'm writing this is to quote from Elliott Carter, who studied with ND.
"There's no money in music," he said, "so I can write what I like!"
I guess Carter would be an example of the ND conjecture. Unlike Charles Ives, who quit music to run an insurance business because he did not want to live penniless in a garret, Carter was driven to compose.

I understand ND's statement to mean that a composer faces such immense challenges just getting through life s/he must be under a compulsion. Given the large number of composers who struggled under such compulsion, ND's remark would seem er um unremarkable.
_________________________
Rob

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#1204208 - 05/22/09 06:01 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: Steve Chandler]
anielsen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 1
FYI,

Just this year, a Spanish company has recently released two books featuring exercises by Nadia Boulanger:

Figured Bass 1
Figured Bass II

You can download the introduction and a few sample pages on the web site. They don't distribute in U.S. to my knowledge.

The way this part of Boulanger's pedagogy worked was:

There is an extensive collection of figured basses. Each is meant to have a voice-leading "puzzle" in it (such as when to voice a vi chord with doubled third and when with doubled root). They haven't published the "answer" books yet, but there are teachers out there who know the answers, for example W. A. Mathieu (who, fyi, teaches some students by phone and correspondence) and others who studied with Easley Blackwood at U. of Chicago.

Ari

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#1204221 - 05/22/09 06:42 PM Re: nadia boulanger [Re: anielsen]
sudoplatov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/14/08
Posts: 78
Loc: Near Dallas Texas

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