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#1429639 - 05/04/10 05:11 PM Surreal Music?
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
I was wondering about compositions and classical music that is considered to be "surreal". I know about Erik Satie, which wrote pieces that are considered surreal. Any information about techniques? composers? books? I have not found any by my own.

Thank you.

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#1429952 - 05/05/10 10:47 AM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ABC]
Claude56 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/02/09
Posts: 470
You mean "serial" music?

Here is an article on what serial music is and a list of serial composers. There is also twelve tone technique which is a system that is used to compose music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serialism

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#1429958 - 05/05/10 10:58 AM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: Claude56]
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6477
Loc: UK
I'm not sure if he means serial music... :-/ While I've not heard the term, it does seem that Satie fits the bill for 'surreal'... Maybe there is someone who can lighten up this whole issue here?
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#1430036 - 05/05/10 01:44 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: Nikolas]
Steve Chandler Offline
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Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 3184
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
It's called serial (cereal) music because it's crunchy when you listen to it. I have not heard of surreal (Sir Real), but OK enough silliness. Sometimes listening to serial music can be surreal.

When I think about surreal art it's generally graphic art where realism is a defined art form. Music is too abstract an art form for there to be an unrealistic option.

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#1430058 - 05/05/10 02:24 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ABC]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: ABC
I was wondering about compositions and classical music that is considered to be "surreal". I know about Erik Satie, which wrote pieces that are considered surreal. Any information about techniques? composers? books? I have not found any by my own.

Perfect example of what I think you're talking about ... 'Afternoon of a Faun' by Debussy. Pretty surreal me thinks. smile
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#1430109 - 05/05/10 03:43 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: eweiss]
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
Serialism sounds like what i was talking about. Twelve-tone technique etc.

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#1430175 - 05/05/10 05:18 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ABC]
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6477
Loc: UK
In that case just check noskillz link. It will offer all input one can take in one evening and even more! Just keep in mind that it's just a technique and an outdated one at that! It's not cutting edge, nobody I know seems to be doing it 'exactly' and it's not so strict. Serialism was the 12 tone series technique expanded to everything about music: dynamics rhythm, etc... So absolutle that it came to an end rather short after it's 'birth'.

Twelve tone, on the other hand is, again, rather strict, but gave birth to plenty of other ideas.
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#1430905 - 05/06/10 06:23 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: Nikolas]
ABC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/05/09
Posts: 38
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycHPFKGd1kU
are serialism or the twelve-tone technique shown in this piece? Can anyone say what is the first theoretical element of it?


Edited by ABC (05/06/10 06:24 PM)

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#1431115 - 05/06/10 10:51 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ABC]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
No. Nothing about the piece is serial. It seems inspired by the French neo-classical composers (Poulenc, Milhaud, Ibert, etc...)

As for the first theoretical element, it's basically a succession of chords, mostly 7th chords, with changes of mode and some rather direct modulations.

You should be aware that there is no recipe for creating this style of music. There are no set rules as there are in 17th-19th common practice harmony/counterpoint or serial styles.

If you're interested in this style, I'd suggest looking at the composers I listed above as well as a few other 20th century composers who might be described as adventurous but not entirely dissonant or atonal. (Martinu, Bloch, Rota, Desenclos, Sancan, and Tansman come to mind.)

Many of these composers wrote piano music, but their piano output is largely ignored - overshadowed by the "big names" that dominate the 20th century landscape.
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#1433356 - 05/10/10 04:22 AM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: Kreisler]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6451
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I love surrealism in art! 3hearts
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#1434661 - 05/11/10 06:03 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ChopinAddict]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6451
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
I love surrealism in art! 3hearts
.... but don't know much about surrealism in music. So I have found this ... Interesting...
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#1434752 - 05/11/10 08:35 PM Re: Surreal Music? [Re: ChopinAddict]
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1569
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I agree with Steve. Music is just abstract sound and we are at liberty to impose personal meaning and association on it as we choose. In painting, for example that of Magritte or Dali, "surreal" has a very specific meaning of brilliantly realistic objects juxtaposed in an impossible, absurd or fantastic context similar to dream material. Unlike visual art, music cannot describe the pencil sitting on my desk in such a way that a naive listener would immediately recognise a pencil from the sound. For this reason I cannot see how "surreal" has any universal musical meaning. A listener could certainly form arbitrary surreal images from musical stimuli though; we probably all do that to a greater or less extent.


Edited by Ted (05/11/10 08:36 PM)
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