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#2012649 - 01/11/13 08:20 AM Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"?
BWV 846 Offline
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Registered: 05/04/12
Posts: 103
Loc: Silver Spring, Maryland
In your opinion, which composers try to, or in fact do, appeal most to your head/rational side, and which ones appeal most to your heart/emotions/emotional side? Of course, most will be some combination, but many will probably be more along one continuum than others (say, Chopin vs. Bach).

Why do I ask? I am trying to broaden my musical horizons by listening to more "emotional" music, which I often have a difficult time appreciating.

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#2012654 - 01/11/13 08:46 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
JoelW Online   content
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4890
Loc: USA
Music doesn't really ever change how I feel on the spot, i.e. from happy to sad. The neutral emotion I get from most music is joy. If I really like something, I may laugh or even tear up with joy if it's good enough. But when I'm already feeling a different emotion (anger, sadness, etc) I am able to 'enhance' those emotions with music that fits the mood. I don't think I could ever 'enhance' anger or sadness with any of Bach's WTC. I always find joy in the WTC. As for Chopin, let's say.. the 4th ballade. If I am feeling neutral, it will likely just give me joy because of how amazing it is. If I feel anger or sorrow, it would most likely enhance those emotions. Wow, this post did not answer your question at all, lol. Oh well.

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#2012659 - 01/11/13 08:58 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
Scout Offline
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Registered: 08/20/12
Posts: 48
Loc: USA
Recently I've been enjoying the emotion I find in late romantics such as Scriabin and Kabalevsky. And more surprising (to me) has been the discovery of some of Scarlatti's more lyrical sonatas, which move me these days more than most "obvious" appealing-to-emotion composers (not to slight any of them, I'm a fan of many). The Scarlatti sonatas that I really love and have been working on are K 69, 197, 208, 296, 466. So rich!
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#2012665 - 01/11/13 09:14 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5417
There's music that engages me on a more intellectual level, like Bach's WTC. But then his St Matthew Passion is as emotionally profound as anything else I've ever heard....

Mozart for me strikes the ideal combination, in almost anything I hear from his mature music, from Die Zauberflöte to the Clarinet Concerto to his K414 Concerto and K310 Sonata.

But for sheer emotionalism, I'd listen to Rachmaninoff.
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"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2012780 - 01/11/13 12:54 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
Mark_C Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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EASY ONE. grin

Most rational: Bach

Most emotional: Bach

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#2012802 - 01/11/13 01:30 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Mark_C]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
EASY ONE. grin

Most rational: Bach

Most emotional: Bach


thumb thumb thumb
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#2012811 - 01/11/13 01:35 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: carey]
Mark_C Online   content
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Yeah. smile

I never thought of it this way before, but this is probably why I so easily consider him clearly the greatest ever.

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#2012861 - 01/11/13 02:25 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3830
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
EASY ONE. grin

Most rational: Bach

Most emotional: Bach


This is the best answer. Great!

I've been working on a prelude and fugue from WTC, and every measure is devastating.

-J
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Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#2012866 - 01/11/13 02:33 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
RealPlayer Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2353
Loc: NYC
Most rational? Easy: Tom Johnson. He even has a work called "Rational Melodies." Much of his music is composed according to strict rational or mathematical principles.
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#2012872 - 01/11/13 02:41 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Mark_C]
Tim Adrianson Offline
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Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1100
In one of his essays on his compositional approach, George Gershwin opined that Bach is generally regarded as the greatest ever because of his unmatched ability to satisfy, simultaneously, the needs of the mind with the needs of the heart. He, incidentally, defined himself as a conservative Romantic, which IMO is an accurate assessment.

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#2012941 - 01/11/13 04:30 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3973
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
[...] He, incidentally, defined himself as a conservative Romantic, which IMO is an accurate assessment.



Bach, or Gershwin? (I'm guessing Gershwin.)

BTW, +1 to Bach and Bach. Good one, Mark.
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#2012944 - 01/11/13 04:41 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
Frito Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/09/11
Posts: 146
Loc: Eastern US
Emotions, like music, are not irrational. A different system of logic is involved. One that is not always consciously apparent.

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#2012956 - 01/11/13 05:00 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19582
Loc: New York City
Vitually all the great composers appeal greatly to the emotions. The only two exceptions(for me) would be Debussy and Ravel. I think emotional appeal is the most important aspect for most listeners.

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#2013017 - 01/11/13 06:43 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
So you chaps (including Gershwin)
want to crown Bach ... top dog ... what a bore!

For medication I use a dose of the WTC ... but am much happier under the banner of Count Basie, Artie Shaw and Bennie Goodman.

What a bunch of losers ... championing the Baroque chappie whose ditties might well have got lost in some dusty basement, but for his re-invention by mould-prizing Mendelssohn.

Thus spake a blubbing emotional Zoroaster (getting out his damp handkerchief).

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#2013045 - 01/11/13 07:30 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Mark_C]
MarkH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/08
Posts: 867
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
EASY ONE. grin

Most rational: Bach

Most emotional: Bach


Well done Mark! I was going to say the same.
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Currently Studying: Debussy - Pagodes; Alkan - Cello Sonata 4th movement (duet transcription by Alkan); assorted Dvorak Slavonic Dances

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#2013046 - 01/11/13 07:31 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: btb]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3973
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: btb
So you chaps (including Gershwin)
want to crown Bach ... top dog ... what a bore!


Bach a bore? You cut me to the quick!

In any case, if you're looking for a two-fer in answer to the OP, Bach fits the bill.
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but at least I'm slow.

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#2013159 - 01/12/13 12:46 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
AldenH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas
Hey guys, what about Messiaen? I think he encompasses the spectrum as well as Bach. From the second ever work of integral serialism (modes of values and intensities) to the intense passion of L'ascension and many other works.

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#2013213 - 01/12/13 04:49 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19582
Loc: New York City
double post


Edited by pianoloverus (01/12/13 10:02 AM)

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#2013215 - 01/12/13 04:57 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19582
Loc: New York City
If Bach is, at least for some posters, the most rational or most emotional, why is there so little discussion of his music compared to many other composers in PW threads?

I think the rational part is simply due to the fact that highly contrapuntal music, by its nature, may sound more "rational", i.e. organized, to some listeners. IMO one could just as easily use Beethoven Sonatas or Beethoven Variations as examples of highly organized musical expression.

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#2013293 - 01/12/13 08:57 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4890
Loc: USA
Bach? Really? He's so old and boring. You guys need to get with the times.

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#2013345 - 01/12/13 10:22 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
Tim Adrianson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/10
Posts: 1100
BWV846 -- I guess that, as a general response, I would say listen to more music written in the Romantic era, whether for the modern piano (which was developed in that time) or otherwise. Personally, the composers that I consider especially attuned to the "emotional" component are Liszt, Chopin, Tschaikowsky, Schumann, and Scriabin.

The other general area that comes to mind is modern Opera, which also came to fruition in he Romantic era. I'm not much of an Opera buff, but certainly Puccini comes to mind as a composer heavily weighted to the "emotional" side of the spectrum.

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#2013352 - 01/12/13 10:31 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: JoelW]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Bach? Really? He's so old and boring. You guys need to get with the times.


Actually, Joel, Bach's music is "timeless."

As for the "old and boring" part, read this (from Wikipedia)

"After his death, Bach's reputation as a composer at first declined; his work was regarded as old-fashioned compared to the emerging classical style.[59] Initially he was remembered more as a player and teacher.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, Bach was widely recognised for his keyboard work. Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Felix Mendelssohn were among his most prominent admirers; they began writing in a more contrapuntal style after being exposed to Bach's music.[60] Beethoven described him as the "Urvater der Harmonie", "original father of harmony".[61]

Bach's reputation among the wider public was enhanced in part by Johann Nikolaus Forkel's 1802 biography of Bach.[62] Felix Mendelssohn significantly contributed to the revival of Bach's reputation with his 1829 Berlin performance of the St Matthew Passion.[63] In 1850, the Bach Gesellschaft (Bach Society) was founded to promote the works; in 1899 the Society published a comprehensive edition of the composer's works with little editorial intervention.

During the 20th century, the process of recognising the musical as well as the pedagogic value of some of the works continued, perhaps most notably in the promotion of the Cello Suites by Pablo Casals, the first major performer to record these suites.[64] Another development has been the growth of the "authentic" or "period performance" movement, which attempts to present music as the composer intended it. Examples include the playing of keyboard works on harpsichord rather than modern grand piano and the use of small choirs or single voices instead of the larger forces favoured by 19th- and early 20th-century performers.[65]

Bach's music is frequently bracketed with the literature of William Shakespeare and the teachings of Isaac Newton.[66] In Germany, during the twentieth century, many streets were named and statues were erected in honour of Bach. His music features three times – more than any other composer – on the Voyager Golden Record, a phonograph record containing a broad sample of the images, common sounds, languages, and music of Earth, sent into outer space with the two Voyager probes.[67]"
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#2013355 - 01/12/13 10:35 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: BWV 846]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4890
Loc: USA
'twas but a joke.

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#2013358 - 01/12/13 10:44 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: JoelW]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
'twas but a joke.

And that's why we have happy faces to put in our posts. grin
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#2013365 - 01/12/13 10:58 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: carey]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4890
Loc: USA
Haha true.






























smile

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#2013369 - 01/12/13 11:07 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: pianoloverus]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If Bach is, at least for some posters, the most rational or most emotional, why is there so little discussion of his music compared to many other composers in PW threads?


Perhaps, in part, because so much of it is difficult to play well - much less memorize.

Quote:
I think the rational part is simply due to the fact that highly contrapuntal music, by its nature, may sound more "rational", i.e. organized, to some listeners. IMO one could just as easily use Beethoven Sonatas or Beethoven Variations as examples of highly organized musical expression.


The music of any of the great composers is highly organized.

But (IMHO) when you analyze Bach's contrapuntal music (particularly his fugues) in depth, it is so "rational" that you wonder how he was able to make it so beautiful and compelling at the same time.

For anyone who might wish to dig a little deeper......

http://www.teoria.com/articles/BWV850/index.html

http://learnbach123.wordpress.com/articles/prelude-and-fugue-in-c-major-bwv-846-from-wtc-i/

http://formandanalysis.blogspot.com/2007/10/bach-fugue-no-9-book-ii-e-major.html
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#2013389 - 01/12/13 11:36 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: carey]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19582
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If Bach is, at least for some posters, the most rational or most emotional, why is there so little discussion of his music compared to many other composers in PW threads?


Perhaps, in part, because so much of it is difficult to play well - much less memorize.
Yes, I think until one has played quite a bit the problems of figuring out the fingering and the ornaments, the technical difficulties(especially in the left hand) not found in later music, and memorization all make each Bach piece a task. My guess is that as one plays more and more Bach these difficulties get easier and and easier to overcome.

I've only played some Inventions, one Partita, and maybe 6 Preludes and Fugues. There are many Bach pieces I'd love to learn, but I'm not sure if I have the patience. I have played a lot more Bach transcriptions than real Bach.

I think a fairly large number of even professional pianists have not played that much Bach starting at least from the time they entered a conservatory. Some seem to have a very small number of Bach pieces in their performing repertoire.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/12/13 11:39 AM)

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#2013400 - 01/12/13 11:54 AM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: JoelW]
Batuhan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 904
Loc: Istanbul
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Bach? Really? He's so old and boring. You guys need to get with the times.


O RLY?
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Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.


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#2013412 - 01/12/13 12:22 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: Mark_C]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
EASY ONE. grin

Most rational: Bach

Most emotional: Bach


You stole my answer!

Originally Posted By: bennevis
There's music that engages me on a more intellectual level, like Bach's WTC. But then his St Matthew Passion is as emotionally profound as anything else I've ever heard....


And those were the two works I had in mind! lol

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#2013449 - 01/12/13 01:41 PM Re: Which composers are most "rational" and most "emotional"? [Re: pianoloverus]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6424
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
If Bach is, at least for some posters, the most rational or most emotional, why is there so little discussion of his music compared to many other composers in PW threads?


Perhaps, in part, because so much of it is difficult to play well - much less memorize.
Yes, I think until one has played quite a bit the problems of figuring out the fingering and the ornaments, the technical difficulties(especially in the left hand) not found in later music, and memorization all make each Bach piece a task. My guess is that as one plays more and more Bach these difficulties get easier and and easier to overcome.


Agree

Quote:
I've only played some Inventions, one Partita, and maybe 6 Preludes and Fugues. There are many Bach pieces I'd love to learn, but I'm not sure if I have the patience. I have played a lot more Bach transcriptions than real Bach.


Very similar to my own experience. And of the pieces I've learned, I've only performed two P&F's, the B flat Partita and the D major Toccata (BW 912) in recital. Although I do have the patience to learn more and try to keep at least one Bach work in the hopper at all times.

Quote:
I think a fairly large number of even professional pianists have not played that much Bach starting at least from the time they entered a conservatory. Some seem to have a very small number of Bach pieces in their performing repertoire.


My impression as well.

However, my love for Bach extends well beyond the keyboard works. Some of the most meaningful musical experiences I've had were when I was a member of the chorus in performances of the entire B Minor Mass and two motets (Jesu, Meine Freude and Singet dem Heern). Amazing stuff !!!!!!!
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