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#1922439 - 07/04/12 02:00 AM How are new types of composition created?
FSO Online   blank
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 734
Loc: UK, Brighton
I mean...there weren't *always* ballad[e]s or impromptus. Could it really be just "because I say so" that it exists; um, my thoughts turning to the gnossiennes make me feel it doesn't necessarily have to be neither a widespread decision nor consensus. But...at the same time, it doesn't feel, to me, at the moment, at least, like it makes sense to be able to say "from now on, if it's atonal, in 26+1/8 and made entirely of block chords it's a Verticon" does it? Um...am I missing something vital, being too picky based on mere feeling or is there simply no answer? Thank you smile
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#1922441 - 07/04/12 02:05 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4982
Loc: Europe
'No answer?' I think this thread could create some sort of an answer...

If I'm understanding you correctly, you're curious on how different types of composition are labelled, right? If that's the case then we have a couple of different answers to that. In earlier times, since we have little known 'facts' about composers, their lives, their ideas, etc (there isn't a Bachs' blog lying around), musicologists usually come in and classify the composers, according to era and style, etc.

In later times, and the more we know about composers, the more the composers themselves are attempting to classify themselves, or at least offer some kind of insight on what the heck they're doing in their works. Prime examples would be Messiaen or Ligeti! However, while Messiaen wrote a book about his ideas, and his musical language, I'm not sure if he's tied to a specific technique, or label; on the other hand Ligeti, provided himself the term 'micropolyphony' which helped spread the word about his doings (fabulous doings, imho).

The terms 'ballad' or 'impromptu' refer to forms, or titles of works, rather than types of compositions. If you mean something like that, then it's probably someone (a scholar or a composer) who came up with the type/form and then the rest followed, being afraid to title their works individually (as is the case mostly today).

If you're talking about the actual process of composition, then it's all about the creativity of the composers, their helpers, and their own research and attempting to sound new (sometimes)...

That's all I can think about the subject, being the first one to reply.
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#1922445 - 07/04/12 02:26 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
FSO Online   blank
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/12
Posts: 734
Loc: UK, Brighton
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

That's all I can think about the subject


Well you seem to have covered a lot of angles laugh Not that the other questions aren't interesting (I'm certainly not discouraging their discussion), to clarify, I was initially interested in the first instance of a musical form and what legitimises, in loose terms, it; was a piece titled a, say, sonata and then composers said "well this composition I've just completed is a lot like that one in form, I'll call it a sonata too" or was the form defined? I feel...well, I feel I haven't clarified anything...but, um, I hope I have laugh
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#1922446 - 07/04/12 02:35 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Nikolas Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4982
Loc: Europe
Without having any real musicology knowledge, I think that someone comes up with a form, and the rest just follow.

IT's just a matter of extending the form a little, since as far as I can tell if you take out all fancy stuff in, most forms end up in a type of ABA, ABA', or ABCBA, or something towards that somehow...

In the case of fugue, the master was Bach, so it was quite early.

In the case of sonatas, things came to an end earlier on. And one can probably trace down the differences from time to time and from composer to composer and so on. I mean Scarlati did a lot of sonatas, and so did Haydn and Mozart, but rather larger and fuller. Then came Beethoven who put the sonata to the highest possible form, by extending the 'development' part hugely. Doing sonatas with slow intros (Pathetique), slow 1st movements (moonlight), with 2 movements alone (32nd), etc... And then at some point Listz showed up with a single movement monster (yet fabulous)... And at some point around there the form stop developing... Or at least the developments are not as huge as before.
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#1922471 - 07/04/12 05:56 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4363
There's nothing stopping any composer from giving a new name to any particular piece of music he's composed. For instance, I could call my new piece 'Son of a Sonata' (pace Victor Borge grin) rather than 'Sonatina'. Sonata form is, er, so 'yesterday', and uncool.

Contemporary composers tend to enjoy using literary titles, like Adès's 'Traced Overhead'. But Satie was probably the most inventive - 'Piece in the form of a Pear' etc....

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#1922517 - 07/04/12 09:29 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Sequentia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 60
There are many ill-defined boundaries in the realm of form. To this day, analysts disagree on the structure of Beethoven's Op. 133. In the case of Bruckner's approach to the sonata allegro form, there is no clear division of the end of the development and the start of the recapitulation. (The same kind of phenomenon can be seen, for instance, in Dvořák's music.) Alkan's Sonata has a tempo scheme that is pretty much without precedent. Many composers treated passacaglias as chaconnes. In 1929 David Branson wrote "The term 'sonata' is becoming very elastic nowadays." Concepts of form vary from one composer/era to another, so I wouldn't be too concerned with terminological "inaccuracies".

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#1922521 - 07/04/12 09:34 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Sequentia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 60
Originally Posted By: FSO
Well you seem to have covered a lot of angles laugh Not that the other questions aren't interesting (I'm certainly not discouraging their discussion), to clarify, I was initially interested in the first instance of a musical form and what legitimises, in loose terms, it; was a piece titled a, say, sonata and then composers said "well this composition I've just completed is a lot like that one in form, I'll call it a sonata too" or was the form defined? I feel...well, I feel I haven't clarified anything...but, um, I hope I have laugh


That would obviously depend on the composer. If you read about Beethoven's compositional process (for instance in the case of his Op. 120), you will see that he moved material and movements around a lot. Some composers composed like this (Janáček, for example), while others wrote their music from beginning to end (Mahler being one example).

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#1922557 - 07/04/12 11:43 AM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
A lot of them evolve.

Take the scherzo for example. What started out as a dance in triple time (minuet) was expanded into a three part form in the classical period (minuet-trio.) Eventually, the minuet-trio became the light palate-cleanser between weightier movements of a symphony/sonata.

Then, in the 19th century, it was quite common to play single movements of sonatas in recitals. People might choose to play only the scherzo from a Beethoven or Schubert sonata. Then, people figured they might as well just write a stand-alone scherzo (Brahms Op. 4, for example.) Chopin expanded on that, turning the scherzo into a weightier concert work. (That still retains the basic A-B-A form of the minuet-trio from years before.

Other kinds of pieces have similar stories - evolving from other things. There's evidence that the nocturne may have evolved out of the romance, which itself began as a type of song (which is why nocturnes have a melody-accompaniment type of texture.)

The "Ballade" was a common type of narrative poetry in the 19th century. Composers writing ballades likely borrowed the term from literary works - especially likely since the vast majority of 19th century composers were avid readers of literature and poetry.
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#1922703 - 07/04/12 05:54 PM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: Kreisler]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7422
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A lot of them evolve.


Indeed. The ancestry of the term "sonata" goes all the way back to the 13th century, when it simply meant "instrumental music".

...

Quote:


The "Ballade" was a common type of narrative poetry in the 19th century. Composers writing ballades likely borrowed the term from literary works - especially likely since the vast majority of 19th century composers were avid readers of literature and poetry.


Wasn't Chopin the first to actually write an instrumental ballade? And Mendelssohn a "Song without Words"? And Liszt the "symphonic poem"? Sometimes there really is a single composer who originates a usage, even if the idea is taken from some other source.

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#1922721 - 07/04/12 06:20 PM Re: How are new types of composition created? [Re: FSO]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yes.

I believe Satie originated Gymnopedie (although nobody really knows what he had in mind in choosing that odd title.) Rachmaninoff's "Etudes-Tableaux" are the only Etudes-Tableaux I'm aware of, same for Prokofiev's "Things in Themselves" and "Sarcasms."
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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