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#1558554 - 11/15/10 07:28 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Here's what the band arrangement sounds like (sorry- really bad quality but it's the only one I could find):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnlbyloGMoU&feature=related

Anyway- the point is, there's not only nothing wrong with serial music, but certain examples have enjoyed the same lasting popularity as any other piece of music.

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#1558570 - 11/15/10 07:40 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
I think the original Star Trek used serial music quite a bit. That and Wild Wild West. smile
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#1558599 - 11/15/10 08:12 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
GROUP HUG. LET'S ALL BE FRIENDS PLZ KTHX.

I'm not trying to be annoying gsmonks. I would appreciate it if you were more polite. Why does this have to be so grumpy? Why can't we just have a nice talk about the progression of music? "Exploring New Ground" does not imply Classicism. In a musical context, all it suggests is trying out new or previously unexplored techniques and ideas. The fact that this is the Composers' Forum does not in any way imply classicism. Do you think Composers' are confined to Classical music techniques? There are a lot of composers out there who are much more broad, venturing beyond Classical and even Western techniques altogether. You are dealing entirely with Western classical music; everybody else talking is not. I understand your grouping of composers and styles, but I think a more appropriate term would be "Art music" rather than "Classical music." But enough of the semantics. All I want to explain is that I don't think it's smart to limit oneself to the development of [art] music techniques alone.

I'm very interested in this thread. Partially because this is the type of issue I deal with every day in my compositional pursuits, namely, the exploration of different or modified techniques of composition to expand the musical vocabulary. Partially because I want to see this useless bickering sorted out. About the Schoenberg you posted - I really appreciated the expression and life the orchestra played the piece with. I actually have heard this piece before (we analyzed it at a composition camp I went to). I'm really not a fan of Schoenberg's harmonic language, but that's so much just a matter of personal taste. Harmonically, it feels... confused and directionless. It sounds like it's trying to go places, but it just doesn't. It wavers helplessly in my ears. It feels like a graceful, semi-lucid nightmare.

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#1558754 - 11/16/10 01:26 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: eweiss]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: eweiss
I think the original Star Trek used serial music quite a bit. That and Wild Wild West. smile


Actually, the guy writing the original background music for Star Trek was heavily le Sacre du Printemps influenced, and never wrote any serial compositions for the series that I'm aware of.


Edited by gsmonks (11/16/10 01:30 AM)
Edit Reason: finger boo-boo

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#1558765 - 11/16/10 02:01 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Jared, I get annoyed when you guys repeatedly ignore what this thread is about. I've spelled it out a number of times, yet you guys continually belabour it. That is very annoying.

Enough said.

What I've worked on for many years is methods of composing tone-rows derived from non-serial means. The advantage this has over serial music is that you're able to negate the problem of "painting yourself into a corner", which often happens with serial compositions. Using 12 non-repeating notes is problematic because non-regularity makes pattern-building difficult.

Of course, composers like Schoenburg wanted to get away from sequential movement because that in itself is so cliche in the world of tonal music, and was a good part of the reasoning behind the development of floating tonality, which in its free form is fully capable of being non-sequential.

Richard Strauss' answer was the Tone Poem, a form of programme music with tremendous flexibility. Strauss was not only a master orchestrator, but it is often overlooked that his contrapuntal work lies at the heart of his orchestral clarity and complexity. With most orchestrators, you can break down an arrangement generally to only two or three meaningful parts, but in the music of Richard Strauss there are often up to six parts, written in discrete instrumental groupings.

I want that kind of clarity and flexibility, but not within a tonal music. At the same time, I don't want an atonal music that is wholly dissonant in an uncontrolled, unpleasant manner. My solution was to create tone rows based upon rules of voice-leading which enforce non-tonal movements every so many notes, but which otherwise outline a tonal direction in order to allow a contrapuntal and harmonic structure the ear can more readily latch on to.

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#1558769 - 11/16/10 02:18 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
Do you have an example of something you've written, attempting to accomplish this? Sheet music or recording? That would be neat to hear.

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#1558881 - 11/16/10 09:43 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Gsmonks,

First off; as far as I can determine, you don't own this website (if you did, I'd probably be kicked off laugh ). Yes, you started this thread, but your postings evoke issues some of us have strong opinions about. When you start a thread in a domain you don't own, you have to take what is offered - and it should be done gracefully. It's not uncommon for threads to take off in different directions. I personally find that interesting on threads I start - and thank the posters for contributing.

It seems you want to control everything said on this thread, much like you have a need to control the way music compositions are constructed. It may work that way in your private domain, but it doesn't work that way in the real World.

Instead of being appreciative of posters sharing their thoughts on music composition, you spit on them when it doesn't suit you.

I can imagine there were probably musicians viewing this thread with the kind of info you were seeking, but were probably turned-off by your rude demeanor.

I sense you're a very accomplished musician. But you definitely need some fine-tuning in dealing with people.

Peace, John smile
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1559109 - 11/16/10 04:30 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: Jared Hoeft]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jared Hoeft
Do you have an example of something you've written, attempting to accomplish this? Sheet music or recording? That would be neat to hear.


I've got hours of examples, Jared, but it's still a work in progress, and I'm not ready to let the cat out of the bag just yet in terms of my own efforts in this area. Also, I'm not working alone on this particular project, and certain areas of the work I consider the intellectual property of others, and they'd take a dim view of anyone sharing the project at this stage.

This is a section of one piece I can share with you if you're interested, which is built on other methods. It's for choir and orchestra, but I have a reduced score that's almost playable on piano.

Johnny-Boy, I am what is known as a "curmudgeon". I'm rude and ageing and cantankerous. My arthritis makes me mean-spirited (that's today's excuse), my hair-loss makes me abrupt and defensive (which is as good an excuse as any), and cats clawing my legs while I'm on the computer make me short-tempered and often downright vile.

So age, cats and arthritis are the real villains here! Remember that, or I'll beat on you with a sack full of kittens!

BTW, what sort of equipment do you have for playing and recording? I've got nada, and everything I know is 'way out of date.


Edited by gsmonks (11/16/10 04:31 PM)

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#1559131 - 11/16/10 05:12 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Then all is forgiven gsmonks. laugh

I wake up cranky myself. I usually smooth out by noon. smile

Best, John

P.S. I'll get back to you later on the equipment.
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1559473 - 11/17/10 07:42 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Equipment (modest compared to many): Motif ES8 Keyboard, Logic PRO (Digital Audio Workstation), Mac OS X, East West Quantum Leap Orchestra (samples), Kirk Hunter Strings, Extreme FX, Evolve (samples), and acoustic piano.
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1560514 - 11/19/10 12:45 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Here's a toy I intend to get for working on vocal and choral music. Check out the demos:

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/sample.html

Here is one of the programmes you can buy in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTXO7KGHtjI&feature=player_embedded

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

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#1560894 - 11/19/10 05:53 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: gsmonks
Here's a toy I intend to get for working on vocal and choral music. Check out the demos:

http://www.vocaloid.com/en/sample.html

Here is one of the programmes you can buy in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTXO7KGHtjI&feature=player_embedded

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DTXO7KGHtjI?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>


Yes, the vocaloid is quite amazing.

I use EWQL Symphonic Choirs when I need background vocals. WordBuilder software allows you to type in the words you want the choir to sing.

I must say, both packages sing in perfect pitch. laugh
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1561004 - 11/19/10 10:26 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
D'you have a link for the EWQL Symphonic Choirs?

How would you assemble music containing this programme and another?

Say, for example, that I was using a music notation/sequencing/digital recording/audio recording programme and wanted to add the programme you mentioned, plus something like Vocaloid?

I can see multitracking them, but how do you sync them?

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#1561222 - 11/20/10 11:37 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I just got the vocaloid and MMD programmes!

Now to figure out how they work . . .

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#1561703 - 11/21/10 11:41 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: gsmonks
I just got the vocaloid and MMD programmes!

Now to figure out how they work . . .


Let us know how it works out for you gsmonks. Sounded really good on the vid.

Yeah, the figuring out part can be frustrating at times.
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1561865 - 11/21/10 05:26 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Here are various versions of MMD. they're freeware:

http://www.geocities.jp/higuchuu4/index_e.htm

Now you can play with Miku, too!

I've been reading about the grassroots approach to Miku Vocaloid songs and animation. The industry in this way is very much generated by Miku's own fans. How interesting is that?! The programmes are for sale, but they're also freeware. And the industry is built upon responding to what the fans do. A fan does something that catches on, the industry is there to disseminate and improve upon the idea.

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#1561871 - 11/21/10 05:32 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Incidently, I don't know who that bass player is on The World Is Mine, but he can play in my band any old time!

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#1561881 - 11/21/10 05:45 PM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
I know this is off-topic, but here's Miku's bass-player on his own. You've got to watch it until the end- it's amazing and hilarious at the same time. As I said, he can play in my band any time!:

http://www.dannychoo.com/post/en/22627/Hatsune+Miku.html

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#1562659 - 11/23/10 12:01 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
One area of classical music that can always stand a bit of exploration is the mechanics of rhythm.

I'm not talking about learning about rhythm in terms of instrumentation and rudiments- as music students this much is already within our purview.

What I am talking about is understanding what rhythm is, what it does, and how it works.

We do this as a matter of course when it comes to music history, Harmony and Counterpoint, but rhythm has long been the poor cousin of the elements that go into making Western music.

Some notable examples of near-misses and failures are Darius Milhaud, Dave Brubeck and Gordon Sumner (aka Sting). Darius Milhaud encouraged Dave Brubeck, one of his students, to travel the world and seek out new life and new civilisations; to boldly go where no man has gone before . . . oops, sorry, that was the opening Star Trek monologue. But you get the idea. Gordon Sumner and many others did much the same thing in their search for "new" sounds.

All of the aforementioned are examples of both near-misses and failures: near-misses because in encountering useable elements they inadventently identified areas of Western music that were lacking, and failures because while they inadvertently identified these lacking areas, they borrowed without understanding and comprehension.

In other words, it is one thing to be able to identify a novel and useful thing and make use of it for a time, but it is entirely something else to understand why it is novel and useful. Moreover, the lack of such understanding means that we are forever at the mercy of the next lucky find, to be stumbled upon blindly and purely by accident.

In terms of rhythm, this is because no one as yet has bothered to figure out rhythm's how's, why's and wherefore's. Most of us are able to intuit such things as how rhythm makes us feel, but understanding why those feelings arise is key to understanding how to really take control. And a key area where Darius Milhaud, Dave Brubeck and Gordon Sumner failed is one I'd like to mention now- how to cause rhythm to develop, rather than simply make use of a particular rhythm pattern because of its temporal novelty until it has worn out its celcome.

To start off with, and to conclude this segment, I am going to explain the difference between "straight" rhythm (aka regular) and "swing" (aka rubato).

Straight rhythm and swing have two different types of "feel", but what are those differences, and what is that "feel" exactly?

Here are the differences: straight rhythm causes you to feel as though you were stationary, watching something move. Swing tempo (swing jazz or a Viennese waltz) causes you to feel as though you were moving, whilst your surroundings remained stationary.

In terms of perception, these two aspects of rhythm are polar opposites.

More anon . . .


Edited by gsmonks (11/23/10 12:03 AM)
Edit Reason: the case of the missing apostrophe

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#1563786 - 11/25/10 01:38 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
There is a world of meaning in the term "feel the beat". Until the 1960's it used to be said/believed that only rubato and series' of 3's could make a listener/dancer experience the sensation of movement.

Rubato, or "dragging the beat", can cause a sympathetic/physical response, where the listener/dancer responds by experiencing the change in tempo as a physical "pull". The lilt of waltz tempo and a subito rubato followed by a tempo are two such examples.

Swing jazz consists of an ongoing sequence of rapid triplets which as a body produce the same effect. Certain jazz purists often claim that a jazz triplet is not a triplet, and lies somewhere between a doublet and a triplet, but this claim is patent balogna. Jazz triplets can and in certain rare instances are played in this fashion, but anyone who has listened to thousands of hours of Swing can tell you otherwise.

The Swing triplet is important in this topic because of its ability to produce a physical response in the dancer/listener. Why? Because it raises the question, "How is it able to achieve this effect?"

The answer is to be found in two later forms of popular music, namely fast-paced Heavy Metal and Punk Rock. These forms likewise evoke physical sensation from the listener/dancer, and in two very different ways.

The two aspects unique to these forms are often referred to as "head-banging" and "pogo". "Head-banging" is a response to the beat, where the head "bangs" forward on the beat, while the belly and/or hips are drawn forward on the off-beats, so that the upper and lower parts of the body rock back and forth. Punk Rock guitar is all downstroke in a sort of "one-beat", and the physical response in this case is to bounce downward and rebound upward off the dance floor- hence the term "pogo".

While this type of overt physicality is far less apparent in classical music, it is there, nonetheless. The very thing that makes Beethoven's 5th Symphony such an exciting piece of music is the physical response it generates because of it's beautifully crafted rhythmic pulse and drive. The opening of the 4th movement contains elements identical to the phenomenon of "head-banging", and is as physically satisfying as it is musically satisfying.

And now, we are entering a little-known world, that of the percussive element in music.

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#1564329 - 11/26/10 01:34 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
The percussive element in music is the working title of a book I've been working on for many years- a book I may never get around to finishing, for reasons I'm not going to get into here. But I am going to share some of the things I've been working on.

What the percussive element in music means is that there is a percussive aspect to the performance characteristics and utility of all instruments. In turn, we as composers should be paying more attention to this aspect of writing music.

As the percussive element isn't clearly notated, as a general rule, writing music from a percussive standpoint presents a number of unique challenges. Yes, the use of accents makes thing more apparent on paper, but it doesn't address the interrelationship between parts, balance of sections and groupings, and the dual impetus of rhythm plus harmonic progression.

At this point I should make it clear that percussive writing is nothing new- that it has been with us a very long time. But a lucid awareness of the percussive aspect has been hit or miss, and relegated to being understood only in terms of being a strong rhythmic impetus. As such, it has always fallen somewhat short of its true potential.

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#1565014 - 11/27/10 07:12 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
When it comes to the percussive element in music, it is wise to remember the similarities and the differences between the percussive element, percussion and its notation, and the rules of counterpoint. Percussion and its notation are a given, as are the rules of counterpoint, but the percussive element is and remains a grey area. Awareness of it is always there, but on the periphery. Composers use it, but unknowingly. It has always been present as a matter of instinct, but not of conscious intent.

The instrument which best illustrates the percussive element is the piano, because it is a percussion instrument with a linear voice. As such, its technique entails a ready-made vocabulary of both linear and percussive elements. Its polyphonic capabilities allow both the counterpoint of fugue and the principles of rhythmic interplay between multiple percussive elements (best illustrated in certain modern complex Latin-jazz arrangements).

The piano is but one instrument, however, and the possibilities latent in the sectional groupings and cross-arranged combinations of the modern orchestra are truly astonishing.

Minimalist composers are certainly aware of the latent potential of the percussive element, but like everyone else are not yet fully aware of the percussive element for what it is. It is and remains a potential on the periphery of awareness.

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#1566254 - 11/29/10 08:27 AM Re: Exploring New Ground [Re: gsmonks]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 598
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Strangely enough, though it has the appearance of labyrinthian complexity, orchestral counterpoint and the art of fugue is far simpler a matter to address in terms of originality than traditional Western Harmony. After all, Western Harmony is but the outward expression of principles whose origins arose from counterpoint- even from plain chant, its monophonic predecessor.

Coming up with a new and different polyphony is not that difficult. What is difficult is coming up with a polyphony whose sound isn't purely derivative.

A good parallel example is constructing sentences such as this without ever using "the". Or constructing scripts which avoid using "e". Read over both previous sentences and it has to be pointed out that anything is unusual. This is what I mean by derivative. Despite their construction, the sentences just sound like regular sentences. And so it is with altering the rules of counterpoint. Any meaningful change would have to fundamentally alter the outward expression of the music.

This is where experimentation comes in, most of which is doomed to end in failure. Even so, each failure is a lesson learned, which in its turn may lead to success. This is not to say that success is guaranteed, by way of overcoming failure, but that a useful working knowledge is acquired that can not be gained in any other way.

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