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#2080106 - 05/10/13 01:30 AM Atonal Music
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
I don't get it. What am I missing?

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#2080110 - 05/10/13 01:41 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2147
Loc: Canada
Look for colour rather than melody. For three flavours, try late Scriabin, Berg and Boulez. Scriabin's sonatas starting with no. 6, Berg's violin concerto, and Boulez's Derive I and Sur Incises are all good picks.


Approach it in a similar way as tonal music, in that there are climaxes and intense development of small motifs. However, melody and harmony, particularly in serialized works, don't play as much of a role, where the composer may be interested in more colourful effects. However, some composers do other things, like Takemitsu, where regular counterpoint and flow are instead exchanged for a 'soundscape', colouristic effects and sound objects.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin - Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante
Rachmaninoff - Preludes op. 23 nos. 3,4,6, op. 32 no.12
Franck - Violin Sonata

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#2080121 - 05/10/13 02:12 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Very simple: wink



....and as per what Kuanpiano said, have you taken a whiff of this .... grin

Joel: It took me about 1000 years to start really getting it.
OK, maybe about 2. smile
Something that helped: Pieces that bridge the gap within themselves.
The first one that brought me toward something was Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet, most of which is a bit like Brahms with pepper poured on it grin and with some excursions further into the new universe (and then back).


Edited by Mark_C (05/10/13 02:22 AM)
Edit Reason: at first I said 1st quartet by mistake, but I think it's true of that one anyway too

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#2080126 - 05/10/13 02:44 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
btb Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
In my book atonal music doesn't limit itself to the 8 notes in a fixed key ... by taking in the extra 4 notes, giving a palette of 12, Schoenberg and co., were able to
get some "Brahms with pepper poured on it" (thanks Mark).

I treasure my "Survivor from Warsaw" ... such stark reality ... not for the faint hearted

"I cannot remember everything. I must have been unconscious most of the time.

I remember only the grandiose moment when they all started to sing, as if prearranged, the old prayer they had neglected for so many years - the forgotten creed!

But I have no recollection how I got underground to live in the sewers of Warsaw for so long a time. The day began as usual: Reveille when it still was dark. "Get out!" Whether you slept or whether worries kept you awake the whole night. You had been separated from your children, from your wife, from your parents. You don't know what happened to them... How could you sleep?

The trumpets again - "Get out! The sergeant will be furious!" They came out; some very slowly, the old ones, the sick ones; some with nervous agility. They fear the sergeant. They hurry as much as they can. In vain! Much too much noise, much too much commotion! And not fast enough! The Feldwebel shouts: "Achtung! Stilljestanden! Na wird's mal! Oder soll ich mit dem Jewehrkolben nachhelfen? Na jut; wenn ihrs durchaus haben wollt!" ("Attention! Stand still! How about it, or should I help you along with the butt of my rifle? Oh well, if you really want to have it!")

The sergeant and his subordinates hit (everyone): young or old, (strong or sick), quiet, guilty or innocent ...

It was painful to hear them groaning and moaning.

I heard it though I had been hit very hard, so hard that I could not help falling down. We all on the (ground) who could not stand up were (then) beaten over the head...

I must have been unconscious. The next thing I heard was a soldier saying: "They are all dead!"

Whereupon the sergeant ordered to do away with us.

There I lay aside half conscious. It had become very still - fear and pain. Then I heard the sergeant shouting: „Abzählen!“ ("Count off!")

They start slowly and irregularly: one, two, three, four - "Achtung!" The sergeant shouted again, "Rascher! Nochmals von vorn anfange! In einer Minute will ich wissen, wieviele ich zur Gaskammer abliefere! Abzählen!“ ("Faster! Once more, start from the beginning! In one minute I want to know how many I am going to send off to the gas chamber! Count off!")

They began again, first slowly: one, two, three, four, became faster and faster, so fast that it finally sounded like a stampede of wild horses, and (all) of a sudden, in the middle of it, they began singing the Shema Yisroel."

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#2080129 - 05/10/13 02:50 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: btb]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
btb: I know that piece too, and mostly for the same reason I know the quartet: from a course on Schoenberg. (Actually "Bartok, Schoenberg, & Stravinsky" but who's counting.)

And you sort of misspelled one of those words a little! It's more like:

Quote:
....I remember only the grandi-oooooose moment....


It's a remarkable piece.

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#2080134 - 05/10/13 03:07 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it. What am I missing?
The first thing that you ARE "missing" is the fact that actually most contemporary music is not atonal, but plenty of other things. The term 'atonal' is generally used for dissonant contemporary music, but that doesn't mean other than the fact that the user of the term has not done his research! wink sorry...

I will confess that I don't enjoy Boulez or Stockhausen too much... I do semi-understand what's going on, but I'm used to other styles of music. But it's not that I don't get it. I just don't enjoy it...

You need to check out various works, from various composers and see what's out there in order to try and "educate" yourself further. Little by little you may come to appreciate various things you thought would be impossible to like.

Take a couple of suggestions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0qoue0JbbU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k40HVQJZYLM (listen to this whole work... Try to see where he takes the various themes)...

__________________________

The idea is that tonality is too "small" or "confining them" for some composers, so they had to break free. Some used systems (Schoenberg) some others took various systems to the extreme (Boulez) while others just decided to do whatever the heck they decided (Schnittke for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vyCc_jFidw An awesome concerto in my book).
_________________________
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#2080135 - 05/10/13 03:07 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
I always take a stiff brandy before having the guts to listen to the piece again ... I'm fortunate to have the score to go with the music.

Again i come up with the trite saying ...
"man's inhumanity to man" ... as the Bard says
"the evil that men do, lives after them,
the good is oft interred with their bones"

PS The OP Joel will never get it about atonal music ... much too young and dizzy.

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#2080140 - 05/10/13 03:25 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6101
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
For me flute music did the trick. I was suddenly fascinated by atonal music.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#2080141 - 05/10/13 03:27 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it. What am I missing?
The first thing that you ARE "missing" is the fact that actually most contemporary music is not atonal, but plenty of other things. The term 'atonal' is generally used for dissonant contemporary music, but that doesn't mean other than the fact that the user of the term has not done his research! wink sorry...


There is a reason for why I used the word 'atonal' and not 'contemporary'. I know what atonal music is, Nik.

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#2080143 - 05/10/13 03:29 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it. What am I missing?
The first thing that you ARE "missing" is the fact that actually most contemporary music is not atonal, but plenty of other things. The term 'atonal' is generally used for dissonant contemporary music, but that doesn't mean other than the fact that the user of the term has not done his research! wink sorry...


There is a reason for why I used the word 'atonal' and not 'contemporary'. I know what atonal music is, Nik.
Ok. Count my post then as an impulsive reply to what I thought was clear... grin

Still though... Can you provide an example of an 'atonal' piece? Cause I'm not sure I can. I can provide plenty of twelvetone, or serial works, works based on quartal harmony, neo-classical and whatever in between but "officially" atonal works, I'm not sure there are too many around...
_________________________
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#2080144 - 05/10/13 03:33 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Nikolas: I think you're getting too involved in the definition. Joel knows what he meant and we do too!
(Do you really not?)

Also it seems you have a narrower concept of the term than the usual understood meaning -- but it shouldn't keep you from knowing what people are talking about when they use the term this way. smile

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#2080145 - 05/10/13 03:36 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Very simple: wink



....and as per what Kuanpiano said, have you taken a whiff of this .... grin

Joel: It took me about 1000 years to start really getting it.
OK, maybe about 2. smile
Something that helped: Pieces that bridge the gap within themselves.
The first one that brought me toward something was Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet, most of which is a bit like Brahms with pepper poured on it grin and with some excursions further into the new universe (and then back).


I thought we were going to start using avocados instead of dirt socks. smile

I will listen to that quartet. Don't know if I'll like it, but I'll listen. I've heard some things about Schoenberg. haha

Quick question:

I know you're a Chopin junky (like me). I assume you get really pumped up by his larger works as do I. Do you ever find yourself feeling that same way when listening to atonal music? The way you feel when listening to (or playing) the more intense parts of the 4th ballade and such...

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#2080146 - 05/10/13 03:40 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Nikolas: I think you're getting too involved in the definition. Joel knows what he meant and we do too!
(Do you really not?)
I'm not sure thus my question and my misguided post before that...

Quote:
Also it seems you have a narrower concept of the term than the usual understood meaning -- but it shouldn't keep you from knowing what people are talking about when they use the term this way. smile
I'm honestly not trying to play a 'know it all' guy or anything like that. I started talking about various works of music with plenty of dissonance in, but after joels' comment I came back to realize that perhaps my post was wrong... that's all...
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#2080147 - 05/10/13 03:40 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19786
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I know you're a Chopin junky (like me). I assume you get really pumped up by his larger works as do I. Do you ever find yourself feeling that same way when listening to atonal music?

No.
But I get things from 'atonal' music that I don't get from Chopin -- it's different kinds of things. And similarly, I need to be in completely different kinds of moods to want to work on one or the other kind of music.
('quotes' around atonal for Nikolas's benefit) grin

Quote:
The way you feel when listening to (or playing) the more intense parts of the 4th ballade and such...

.....speaking of which, the coda of that ballade (the first half of it) points a bit toward atonal music.

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#2080150 - 05/10/13 03:49 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

.....speaking of which, the coda of that ballade (the first half of it) points a bit toward atonal music.


True, but thankfully it resolves into something with a hummable bass-line. grin

I love to hum bass-lines.

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#2080151 - 05/10/13 03:54 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4787
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Nikolas: I think you're getting too involved in the definition. Joel knows what he meant and we do too!
(Do you really not?)
I'm not sure thus my question and my misguided post before that...

Quote:
Also it seems you have a narrower concept of the term than the usual understood meaning -- but it shouldn't keep you from knowing what people are talking about when they use the term this way. smile
I'm honestly not trying to play a 'know it all' guy or anything like that. I started talking about various works of music with plenty of dissonance in, but after joels' comment I came back to realize that perhaps my post was wrong... that's all...


No biggie, Nikolas! Your knowledge of theory far surpasses mine and likely many members here on PW. You can't be blamed for the confusion. Communication error, that's all.

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#2080160 - 05/10/13 04:46 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
ventil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/11
Posts: 148
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it. What am I missing?


One thing that is helpful is to remember that atonality evolved from late Romanticism. Romanticsm had stretched & expanded tonality, though hyper-chromaticism, to the point that it was barely recognizable as tonality. Think late Wagner, Richard Strauss, Reger, Scriabin, etc.

Viewed in this way, atonality really was the, or perhaps I should say a, next logical step. In fact (as I recall - haven't studied it in years), early Schoenberg (before 12 tone) was in much the same vein as late Wagner.

For these purposes, I think of atonality as the lack of a functional  key center and the system that implies: tonic, dominant, subdominant, etc. I agree with Nikolas that atonality and dissonance are not the same thing. I think it would be very difficult to have truly atonal music that is not dissonant, to at least some degree. I'm willing to be proved wrong on that.

By the early 20th century, tonality had been stretched so far, it had ceased to function. You either had to jump off the cliff (atonality), or retreat from it and find something else to explore (Stravinsky, Bartok, Hindemith, etc.).

Personally, it took quite some time of deliberate study before I could begin to appreciate the beauty of atonality on its own terms. I knew I had gotten there when I began to have atonal earworms! 
_________________________
David M. Boothe, CAS

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#2080162 - 05/10/13 04:58 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2469
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
the usual understood meaning


Good morning. I'm not sure what the usual undertood meaning is. When Joel says "atonal music" I don't see what he means, what music he is thinking of.

Joel, can you explain what you mean, what music you are thinking of ?


Edited by landorrano (05/10/13 04:58 AM)

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#2080173 - 05/10/13 06:16 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
Yo Joel, I think Glenn Gould's one of the best ambassadors of this music. While, as with everything, his opinions are singular, his enthusiasm is pretty contagious. There's a good amount of discussion of Schönberg, Berg and Webern in the documentary, "The Alchemist." Aside from that, he wrote a bunch on the topic, again, very interestingly. Find that stuff in "The Glenn Gould Reader." Also, I'd get a translated copy of Schönberg's writings. There's a bunch of art and visual stuff that can help you get into an "atonal" sound world.

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#2080175 - 05/10/13 06:21 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ventil]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7864
Originally Posted By: ventil
I think it would be very difficult to have truly atonal music that is not dissonant, to at least some degree. I'm willing to be proved wrong on that.



A piece for un-pitched percussion would fill the bill, probably. Can't think of any examples off the top of my head, but I'm sure they are out there.

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#2080189 - 05/10/13 07:08 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Very simple: wink



....and as per what Kuanpiano said, have you taken a whiff of this .... grin

Joel: It took me about 1000 years to start really getting it.
OK, maybe about 2. smile
Something that helped: Pieces that bridge the gap within themselves.
The first one that brought me toward something was Schoenberg's 2nd String Quartet, most of which is a bit like Brahms with pepper poured on it grin and with some excursions further into the new universe (and then back).


It's not my style to use smily faces, but if I did, I would use one here. Hoo ha!

Tomasino


Edited by tomasino (05/10/13 07:10 AM)
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#2080192 - 05/10/13 07:23 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ventil]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
A couple of random thoughts:

Atonal does not mean serial/twelve-tone. Ventil is right - there are two aspects of tonality: a vocabulary and a syntax. The vocabulary of tonal music is harmony and melody based on major/minor scales. The syntax of tonal music is functional harmony and the importance of the dominant/tonic relationship.

In a very real way, much of Debussy is atonal. Even though he used the vocabulary of tonal music, he often deliberately avoided its syntax (no authentic cadences or standard bass/soprano counterpoint.)

In almost the opposite way, some Prokofiev is atonal as well. While there are definite moments where we sense a strong leading tone and contrapuntal motion towards a goal, the 7th sonata (1st mvt.) avoids the tonal vocabulary of major and minor scales.

Schoenberg is an interesting case, because while he avoided both the vocabulary and syntax of tonal music, he embraced its gestures. Schoenberg is like Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" - the words are made-up, the grammar is made-up, but the rhythmic flow of the words remains familiar.
_________________________
"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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#2080207 - 05/10/13 08:07 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7864
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A couple of random thoughts:

Atonal does not mean serial/twelve-tone. Ventil is right - there are two aspects of tonality: a vocabulary and a syntax. The vocabulary of tonal music is harmony and melody based on major/minor scales. The syntax of tonal music is functional harmony and the importance of the dominant/tonic relationship.

In a very real way, much of Debussy is atonal. Even though he used the vocabulary of tonal music, he often deliberately avoided its syntax (no authentic cadences or standard bass/soprano counterpoint.)

In almost the opposite way, some Prokofiev is atonal as well. While there are definite moments where we sense a strong leading tone and contrapuntal motion towards a goal, the 7th sonata (1st mvt.) avoids the tonal vocabulary of major and minor scales.

Schoenberg is an interesting case, because while he avoided both the vocabulary and syntax of tonal music, he embraced its gestures. Schoenberg is like Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" - the words are made-up, the grammar is made-up, but the rhythmic flow of the words remains familiar.


I'm glad you mentioned Debussy - I think people often get too hung up on the Second Viennese stuff, and forget his contribution to all this. And then there is Abel Decaux, who some people say wrote the first real atonal piece.

I linked it elsewhere, but this very good documentary on Milton Babbitt is pretty wide-ranging and touches on a lot of this stuff, so I'll give the link here, too...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf_Zfpq3gqk

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#2080215 - 05/10/13 08:29 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Schoenberg is an interesting case, because while he avoided both the vocabulary and syntax of tonal music, he embraced its gestures. Schoenberg is like Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" - the words are made-up, the grammar is made-up, but the rhythmic flow of the words remains familiar.

Jabberwocky

Twas bryllyg, and ye slythy toves
Did gyre and gymble in ye wabe:
All mimsy were ye borogoves;
And ye mome raths outgrabe.

And by "gestures," I take it you mean the rhythmic flow of motivic development? The parallel makes good sense, but surely there must be more to it. Lewis Carroll's poem is a one shot deal, and is "useless" (to quote Boulez), beyond being an expose of the gobbledegook he was parodying.

How does Schoenberg's serialism get beyond this in a way the ticket buying public can understand?

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#2080248 - 05/10/13 10:04 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13792
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think the only works by Schoenberg that successfully reach a "ticket-buying" public are his programmatic ones with accompanying text - Pierrot Lunaire, second quartet, and Erwartung. (And Verklaerte Nacht, but it's tonal.)
_________________________
"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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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#2080262 - 05/10/13 10:24 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2313
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I don't get it. What am I missing?


If you want to understand, here's a good start: Leonard Bernstein answers Ive's Unanswered Question: Whither music.
_________________________
Gary

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#2080266 - 05/10/13 10:33 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Ian_G Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
Great suggestion, Plowboy! That point Kreisler made (vocab, syntax) is well and thoroughly illustrated by Lenny in that lecture series. Also, his other point about Schönberg using gestures is beautifully expressed by Menuhin in conversation with Gould (again) about the violin sonata, relating it to Hamlet spoken in gibberish but with the same gestures, so that if you knew the play you'd still be able to follow it.

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#2080270 - 05/10/13 10:43 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5159
Noone has mentioned Liszt's Bagatelle sans tonalité (1885)? OK, it's not atonal in the same sense as some of Schönberg's music, but it's one of the earliest examples of a mainstream composer pushing chromaticism beyond the limits of tonality.

I think that these days, composers use atonalism as just a tool (among many others) to get the job done, not as an end in itself. Few works are composed in specific keys, or if they are, they don't necessarily end in the same key (or even in a related key) with which they began, which is against all the old rules of composition.

I also find it interesting that Schönberg ended his massive Gurrelieder with an emphatic (and prolonged) chord of C major, despite having already composed his atonal Op.16 and Op.17 by the time he returned to complete that cantata. And he remained proud of it throughout his life ("This work is the key to my development")........
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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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#2080279 - 05/10/13 11:09 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5279
Loc: Europe
You see this is where I get confused, if I may say so myself: A-tonal, is the opposite of tonal. It implies a lack of the tonal system (especially at the time that it was conceived) and this is what makes it different than other kinds of music. Cause if we look at it from a very broad view, anything that is not tonal (even modal music, for example) it is then atonal.

That's why I made the early (tiny bashful, but with respect to Joel) comment...

In the above sense, Prokofiev, no matter how far he goes in his chordal relationships, he never really left the triadic chord structure, in which case he remains chromatic at best (and, btw, I ADORE Prokofiev (and I think my music clearly shows that, so this is not a take against Sergei). Same goes for Debussy and his modal music. Even his Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, which quite a few argue is the beginning of the new era in music, with its ambiguous tonality, still stays very strong in modal realms...

No matter how dissonant a work may be, if there's a strong tonal centre (despite the sharp dissonances and clusters even) I'm not sure it can be called 'atonal'.

:-/

I hope this explains my earlier comments.
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#2080293 - 05/10/13 11:33 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
I think that these days, composers use atonalism as just a tool (among many others) to get the job done, not as an end in itself. Few works are composed in specific keys, or if they are, they don't necessarily end in the same key (or even in a related key) with which they began, which is against all the old rules of composition.


An excellent point.

I had not really thought about it in this way before, but atonality can be useful to anyone, and can disseminate beyond what we think of as "classical" music. Off the top of my head: some late works of John Coltrane or Miles Davis. Also, Joe Zawinul/Weather Report and even some things from Josh Redmon.

I wouldn't necessarily call these guys "atonal" but atonality is useful to them, whether or not they use it consciously. (That I don't know.)
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#2080303 - 05/10/13 11:59 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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Another random interesting thing:

Stravinsky considered his Concerto for Piano and Winds to be "on" A. Not "in" A, but "on" A.

A minor-ish is a sonority that the concerto seems to visit quite often, but the piece lacks the familiar kinds of chord progressions one normally associates with A minor.

What's hard to say is whether or not that qualifies the piece as being tonal. Stravinsky's statement that the piece is "on" A suggests that he thought of it as being somewhere between tonal and atonal.
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#2080314 - 05/10/13 12:30 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
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#2080336 - 05/10/13 01:13 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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Bernstein's lectures are way over my head, but I believe was saying there really is no such thing as non-tonal music. Tonality is universal and genetically part of us. So even when tonality is missing, we fill it in ourselves mentally.
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#2080345 - 05/10/13 01:26 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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I was talking to an old opera singer who said that was the way he learned atonal music: he attached chords to each of the notes until it sounded like familiar harmonies.
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#2080356 - 05/10/13 01:50 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
Arghhh Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Another random interesting thing:

Stravinsky considered his Concerto for Piano and Winds to be "on" A. Not "in" A, but "on" A.

A minor-ish is a sonority that the concerto seems to visit quite often, but the piece lacks the familiar kinds of chord progressions one normally associates with A minor.

What's hard to say is whether or not that qualifies the piece as being tonal. Stravinsky's statement that the piece is "on" A suggests that he thought of it as being somewhere between tonal and atonal.


I believe this is what people call "centric" - where there is a definite pitch center (A) which is stressed by repeating the note, or moving around and always coming back to the same note, but doesn't follow traditional harmony rules. You can have atonal, tonal, or centric types of pieces (I'm sure there are other classifications possible, but this is what was taught in my 20th-c. techniques course).

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#2080362 - 05/10/13 02:07 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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#2080421 - 05/10/13 04:21 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Schoenberg is an interesting case, because while he avoided both the vocabulary and syntax of tonal music, he embraced its gestures. Schoenberg is like Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" - the words are made-up, the grammar is made-up, but the rhythmic flow of the words remains familiar.


I agree with this whole-heartedly. I played the Schoenberg Op. 19 and the Webern Variations in college, and most of the time I felt like I could have been playing Mozart. The challenge to the performer is to turn the gestural interest into human interest, which requires a thorough understanding of, and keen sensitivity to, the content of the music and the ability to articulate it in performance. In that way it's no different than any other music, it's just that the syntax isn't familiar.

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#2080443 - 05/10/13 05:16 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A couple of random thoughts:

Atonal does not mean serial/twelve-tone. Ventil is right - there are two aspects of tonality: a vocabulary and a syntax. The vocabulary of tonal music is harmony and melody based on major/minor scales. The syntax of tonal music is functional harmony and the importance of the dominant/tonic relationship.

And this is only one definition of tonal music.
Another possible is: Music that is composed of notes. Some avant-garde music includes noises, and is therefore really "a-tonal" (without tonality).

In fact, the most atonal piece I know is John Cage's 4'33".

But since JoelW might have thought of Alban Berg's sonata op.1, which is tonal in my opinion (noted in B minor, with harmonic progressions, and some very beautiful chords), the objection to a lack of definition of "atonal", as voiced by Nikolas or landorrano, is justified IMO.
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#2080466 - 05/10/13 06:34 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kreisler]
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I think the only works by Schoenberg that successfully reach a "ticket-buying" public are his programmatic ones with accompanying text - Pierrot Lunaire, second quartet, and Erwartung. (And Verklaerte Nacht, but it's tonal.)


I've seen some of his non-programmatic atonal solo piano music go over very well with a "ticket-buying" public. Uchida, for one, knows how to bring it off. It's not a huge dose, but people seemed to get it just fine.

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#2080498 - 05/10/13 08:02 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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JoelW I do not get most of it either.
I think it is like language you need to grow up with it or what ventil said take some time to study it.

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#2080522 - 05/10/13 09:10 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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Could someone list some of their favorite atonal piano pieces, preferably ones that are not too difficult to play?

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#2080533 - 05/10/13 09:52 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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(I've given this advice before on similar threads... it's what worked for me...)

To get into Schoenberg and Berg:

Listen to lots of late romantic music (e.g. Wagner, Strauss, late Mahler). Hear how the tonalities are stretched to the breaking point. Then listen to some "transition pieces": Schoenberg's first string quartet, Berg's piano sonata. Still tonal, same idea, but stretched even more. Finally realize that their truly atonal music is still the same idea. It's carried out to the limit, but it has the same beautiful romantic expressionism at its core.

Now listen to the other three Schoenberg quartets, his opera Moses und Aron, and Berg's Lyric Suite and enjoy.

-J
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#2080537 - 05/10/13 10:29 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: JoelW
....I know you're a Chopin junky (like me). I assume you get really pumped up by his larger works as do I. Do you ever find yourself feeling that same way when listening to atonal music?

No.
But I get things from 'atonal' music that I don't get from Chopin -- it's different kinds of things. And similarly, I need to be in completely different kinds of moods to want to work on one or the other kind of music.
('quotes' around atonal for Nikolas's benefit) grin

Quote:
The way you feel when listening to (or playing) the more intense parts of the 4th ballade and such...

.....speaking of which, the coda of that ballade (the first half of it) points a bit toward atonal music.
I've never thought about the first half of the coda to the 4th Ballade as pointing to atonal music, but I must admit that when I try to play it at anything resembling concert tempo the tonality of F minor can get pretty much lost in the shuffle!

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#2080564 - 05/11/13 12:56 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: DaveRobertsJazz]
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Originally Posted By: DaveRobertsJazz
Could someone list some of their favorite atonal piano pieces, preferably ones that are not too difficult to play?


Some of these are quite difficult, but others less so.

Try some of the Bartok Bagatelles or the Op. 14 Suite.

The Emma Lou Diemer Toccata
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srD6Wpglw6g

Bolcom Etudes (I like Hi Jinks)
http://youtu.be/d1e8TV6CG5c?t=29m35s

One of the most successful and interesting 12-tone works is the Quaderno Musicale di Annalibera by Dallapiccola:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb6PxV6f4C4

The Ginastera American Preludes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fMaB9fSJxI

The Copland Variations:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1-vIw_M-Qg

The Muczynski Toccata (easier than it sounds)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d31iGQ9H2oM

The Shchedrin Basso Ostinato:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QG4dVI84S4

Chen Yi's "Ba Ban"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifogSg2lQ98
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#2080660 - 05/11/13 08:22 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ventil]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: ventil
Originally Posted By: bennevis
I think that these days, composers use atonalism as just a tool (among many others) to get the job done, not as an end in itself. Few works are composed in specific keys, or if they are, they don't necessarily end in the same key (or even in a related key) with which they began, which is against all the old rules of composition.


An excellent point.

I had not really thought about it in this way before, but atonality can be useful to anyone, and can disseminate beyond what we think of as "classical" music. Off the top of my head: some late works of John Coltrane or Miles Davis. Also, Joe Zawinul/Weather Report and even some things from Josh Redmon.

I wouldn't necessarily call these guys "atonal" but atonality is useful to them, whether or not they use it consciously. (That I don't know.)


As I've mentioned here before, the musical soundtrack to a popular American TV show some decades ago (called "Combat"), was atonal, written entirely using the 12-tone method. But, of course, the show didn't paste a big warning label on the initial credits like "Warning: 12-tone atonal music ahead; proceed at your own risk." No, the show was a success, and, AFAIK, the was no big wave of viewers complaining that the score was some esoteric navel-gazing garbage that they just couldn't understand.

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#2080679 - 05/11/13 09:00 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
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Originally Posted By: wr

As I've mentioned here before, the musical soundtrack to a popular American TV show some decades ago (called "Combat"), was atonal, written entirely using the 12-tone method. But, of course, the show didn't paste a big warning label on the initial credits like "Warning: 12-tone atonal music ahead; proceed at your own risk." No, the show was a success, and, AFAIK, the was no big wave of viewers complaining that the score was some esoteric navel-gazing garbage that they just couldn't understand.



Well the theme certainly isn't atonal. The incidental music through the show and any other show that used it only conveyed a sense of suspense, where it excels. I think that most objections to the music is that it requires a large amount of conditioning to wrestle any other emotion from it, less pleasant for the casual listener.
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#2080694 - 05/11/13 09:22 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Damon]
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Atonal and serial music is frequently used in movies to create a feeling of unease, suspense, danger etc.

Bernard Hermann was a master at it. With no tonal centre to latch on to, the feeling of something 'not quite right' is already established - even in people used to Schoenberg et al........
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#2080729 - 05/11/13 10:26 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Damon]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: wr

As I've mentioned here before, the musical soundtrack to a popular American TV show some decades ago (called "Combat"), was atonal, written entirely using the 12-tone method. But, of course, the show didn't paste a big warning label on the initial credits like "Warning: 12-tone atonal music ahead; proceed at your own risk." No, the show was a success, and, AFAIK, the was no big wave of viewers complaining that the score was some esoteric navel-gazing garbage that they just couldn't understand.



Well the theme certainly isn't atonal. The incidental music through the show and any other show that used it only conveyed a sense of suspense, where it excels. I think that most objections to the music is that it requires a large amount of conditioning to wrestle any other emotion from it, less pleasant for the casual listener.


You are right - the non-atonal main theme music that opened the show wasn't part of the atonal score that served for the rest of the hour, which is what I was talking about.

My point is that lots of people watching the show apparently were apparently somehow able to deal with hearing 12-tone music, regardless of their degree of musical literacy. Which can't be said for the sort of concert-goers who develop severe stomach cramps at the mere mention of 12-tone music, which still happens even at this late date.

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#2080744 - 05/11/13 10:51 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
Damon Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: wr

As I've mentioned here before, the musical soundtrack to a popular American TV show some decades ago (called "Combat"), was atonal, written entirely using the 12-tone method. But, of course, the show didn't paste a big warning label on the initial credits like "Warning: 12-tone atonal music ahead; proceed at your own risk." No, the show was a success, and, AFAIK, the was no big wave of viewers complaining that the score was some esoteric navel-gazing garbage that they just couldn't understand.




Well the theme certainly isn't atonal. The incidental music through the show and any other show that used it only conveyed a sense of suspense, where it excels. I think that most objections to the music is that it requires a large amount of conditioning to wrestle any other emotion from it, less pleasant for the casual listener.


You are right - the non-atonal main theme music that opened the show wasn't part of the atonal score that served for the rest of the hour, which is what I was talking about.

My point is that lots of people watching the show apparently were apparently somehow able to deal with hearing 12-tone music, regardless of their degree of musical literacy. Which can't be said for the sort of concert-goers who develop severe stomach cramps at the mere mention of 12-tone music, which still happens even at this late date.


And my point is that, outside of your specific example where atonal music works, a good percentage of those same people would tire of the music when the visual aspect is removed. It's not the "warning label", it's the environment.
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#2080802 - 05/11/13 12:26 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: DaveRobertsJazz]
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Originally Posted By: DaveRobertsJazz
Could someone list some of their favorite atonal piano pieces, preferably ones that are not too difficult to play?


Ernst Krenek's 12 short piano pieces Op 83, is a great intro to 12 step,...er.., I mean, 12-tone, piano music. For the unitiated, it's a far better entryway than Schoenberg's Opus 19, IMO.

The first piece can be found here, along with links to the other 11:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT6cYpG3Auk

I may have my history wrong, but wasn't Schoenberg heavily courted by the movie studios? But I think maybe that he wasn't interested?.......
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#2080803 - 05/11/13 12:27 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kuanpiano]
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Berg's violin concerto


+1!

I think the Berg Violin Concerto is one of the best bridges into "atonal" music. I use the quotes because, even though it it uses a tone row, it actually has plenty of "tonality." The tone row used has a chord progression built in (Gm, D, Am E), and Berg plays around with various dance themes and even manages to quote an old german hymn ("Es Ist Genug) by building its opening notes into the tone row. The result is really just an extension of late romantic chromaticism, with all kinds of beautiful and meorable melodies, even though it is built on a tone row and constantly modulates through brief ever changing tonalities.

Combine that with its highly emotional programmatic content, beginning with a sentimental depiction of the young daughter of a friend and proceeding through her tragic death, as well as tons of gorgeous and memorable melodies, and the thing is just a masterpiece. If you haven't heard it yet, you MUST listen to it.

K.


Edited by Okiikahuna (05/11/13 12:39 PM)

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#2080813 - 05/11/13 12:37 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Okiikahuna]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Okiikahuna
....Berg plays around with various dance themes and even manages to quote an old german hymn ("Es Ist Genug)....

Didn't know that was an old German hymn! It's a Bach Chorale and I thought that was the original.

And BTW the 3rd chord of the Bach sounds maybe like a semi-atonal moment. The music theory text that we used (Siegmeister) gave it as an example of a very unusual kind of dissonance in such early music.

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#2080819 - 05/11/13 12:43 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Okiikahuna Offline
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Yes, that's right, it is a Bach chorale. I'm not sure where I heard it was his setting of an old hymn. I could well be wrong on this. I sometime have greater than perfect recall (ie I remember stuff that never even happened)

K.

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#2080830 - 05/11/13 12:58 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Okiikahuna]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Okiikahuna
Yes, that's right, it is a Bach chorale. I'm not sure where I heard it was his setting of an old hymn. I could well be wrong on this. I sometime have greater than perfect recall (ie I remember stuff that never even happened)

Nah, you did darn good. grin

I checked a little bit, and you were at least very close in how you put it. If it wasn't an "old" German hymn, it at least went back a couple of composers' worth.

From a site called Bach-Cantatas.com:

The composer of this chorale melody is Johann Rudolf Ahle, the father of Johann Georg Ahle, both of whom were Bach’s predecessors as organists at the Divi Blasii Church in Mühlhausen......This chorale melody....first appeared in a collection of church compositions in a simple/easy style published in Sonderhausen in 1662....The specific title from which Ahle’s setting below was taken can be found in “Drittes Zehn Neuer Geistlicher Arien…von Johann Rudolf Ahlen…Sonderhausen, 1662.” These arias, although deliberately composed in a simple style were not meant to be included in hymnals, but some of them eventually were accepted for such use. There is, nevertheless, something different about their nature when compared to the standard type of chorale melody....
The famous final chorale, "Es ist genung," is striking both for its initial melodic tritone and its unusually chromatic harmonies.....

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#2080839 - 05/11/13 01:11 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Okiikahuna]
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Anyone who loves Mahler should find Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op.6 to continue on where Mahler left off in his Symphony No.10 (in various completions - Derek Cooke's being the best): highly emotionally charged, incorporating a Viennese Waltz and Ländler, and a march - everything familiar from Mahler symphonies, only taken a step further into atonalism.

This work was my first introduction to the Second Viennese School, and I was hooked......Berg's Violin Concerto and his Piano Sonata soon followed. Webern is a tougher nut to crack, and not just for me - I can't recall hearing any recent performance of his orchestral music (his Variations, Op.27 gets a very occasional performance from an enterprising pianist - usually in a piano competition) apart from Im Sommerwind, significantly, a very early work in late-Romantic style, not in the least atonal. And Schoenberg's atonal music is championed by only a few people: Verklärte Nacht is by far his most popular piece.....but it's in late-Romantic tonal style, and, again, an early work.

It's not difficult to see why Berg is easily the most popular of these pioneers - his use of twelve-tone techniques never takes precedence over the emotional message he wants to convey - even if it means using a Bach chorale in Bach's own harmonization. (Not to mention a Carinthian folk song too). And personally, I believe that's where the future of atonalism and serial techniques lie: as a compositional tool, not for the sake of it.
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#2081055 - 05/11/13 09:25 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Webern is a tougher nut to crack...
If you're at all into vocal music, try Christiane Oelze's recording of the Webern songs - it's just beautiful.
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#2081183 - 05/12/13 03:47 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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Bach chorale
Mark C might have added an extra letter to his description of the Bach chorale ...

“Is est genu(n)g” which is translated as “It is enough” ... I’m showing off with a German wife ("Ve vil ask da kweschuns") ... together with use of one of South Africa’s 11 National languages "Afrikaans", which would read “Dit is genoeg” (compare the similarity with)
“Is est genug”

I bet Bach’s Chorale sounds more sprightly than any metronomic hymn.

PS As it's freaking Mothers Day I better get about doing the washing up ... pass the apron!

At least I've got the sound of Grappelli playing the Gershwin classics to ease the pain.

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#2081215 - 05/12/13 06:38 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: currawong]
patH Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Webern is a tougher nut to crack...
If you're at all into vocal music, try Christiane Oelze's recording of the Webern songs - it's just beautiful.

I once sang a Webern song. I believe it was called "Gebet", with a text by Avenarius.
Is wasn't at all what I'd call "atonal". It sounded like late romantic.
Webern didn't give this work an opus number.
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#2081226 - 05/12/13 07:32 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: patH]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: patH
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Webern is a tougher nut to crack...
If you're at all into vocal music, try Christiane Oelze's recording of the Webern songs - it's just beautiful.
I once sang a Webern song. I believe it was called "Gebet", with a text by Avenarius.
It wasn't at all what I'd call "atonal". It sounded like late romantic.
Webern didn't give this work an opus number.
Yes, Gebet is on the Oelze/Schneider recording (songs from 1903-4). He didn't begin giving his works opus numbers until 1908. The recording goes from early songs of 1899 through to the op.25 settings of Hildegard Jone poems, so from late romantic to 12-tone, but all so lyrical.
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#2081229 - 05/12/13 07:35 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Damon]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: wr

As I've mentioned here before, the musical soundtrack to a popular American TV show some decades ago (called "Combat"), was atonal, written entirely using the 12-tone method. But, of course, the show didn't paste a big warning label on the initial credits like "Warning: 12-tone atonal music ahead; proceed at your own risk." No, the show was a success, and, AFAIK, the was no big wave of viewers complaining that the score was some esoteric navel-gazing garbage that they just couldn't understand.




Well the theme certainly isn't atonal. The incidental music through the show and any other show that used it only conveyed a sense of suspense, where it excels. I think that most objections to the music is that it requires a large amount of conditioning to wrestle any other emotion from it, less pleasant for the casual listener.


You are right - the non-atonal main theme music that opened the show wasn't part of the atonal score that served for the rest of the hour, which is what I was talking about.

My point is that lots of people watching the show apparently were apparently somehow able to deal with hearing 12-tone music, regardless of their degree of musical literacy. Which can't be said for the sort of concert-goers who develop severe stomach cramps at the mere mention of 12-tone music, which still happens even at this late date.


And my point is that, outside of your specific example where atonal music works, a good percentage of those same people would tire of the music when the visual aspect is removed. It's not the "warning label", it's the environment.


Well, I think most people would tire of incidental music to old TV series if there were no visuals, regardless of the idiom of the writing (except maybe for the Monkees).

Anyway, I just think it is fascinating that people's responses can be so very different depending on the situation. To me, it says that the issue isn't really about the technique at all, but external factors and prejudices. Some concert-goers, (particularly some older ones, I think) will see "12-tone" in the program notes, and they decide they will not like the music, before hearing a note of it.

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#2081264 - 05/12/13 09:03 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
wr Offline
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Since some people are talking about how it worked for them...

When I was a teenager, in spite of living in rural America far from any centers of culture, there were several things that opened up my musical sensibilities to all sorts of music beyond the Classical and Romantic (plus a little bit of Bach) that was thought to be "normal" for anyone interested in classical music (not that being interested in classical music was at all normal).

One thing was radio. At that time (it was before FM, even), radio was my window onto a MUCH larger musical world than my immediate surroundings, and I loved it. In particular, I loved the regular broadcasts of orchestral concerts (there were many more of those than of solo recitals). Since I was eager to learn all that I could, I was exposed to lots of new music that way. I didn't "get" a lot of it (I particularly remember being utterly clueless during the broadcast of the world premiere of the Elliott Carter piano concerto, and being angry with myself for being so clueless, and being angry at Elliott Carter for making me feel that way), but at least I understood that was most likely a result of my lack of exposure and education.

Another thing was television, and in particular, the Lenny Bernstein concerts. I still remember how a performance he did of Ives' "The Unanswered Question" just blew me away. It was so gripping that it never occurred to me to even think about "is this atonal music?"

Then I got a recording of Varese's Arcana and Martin's Concerto for 7 Wind Instruments, by Martinon and the Chicago orchestra. It ended up being one of my favorite recordings for many years. The Varese is mostly atonal (but there are tonal references) and it is extremely dissonant. And it is also incredibly exciting, which counted for a great deal to me then (actually, it still does). I have no idea of why it made sense to me on first hearing, but it did. It definitely opened my ears. I also loved the Martin Concerto on that recording - the performance was so intense that no others I've ever heard even come close. An interesting side-light is that Martin is said to have come up with his own version of 12-tone writing - I don't know exactly what that was, but it doesn't sound "atonal" to me.

Then I got a recording that had Penderecki's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima on it, and that hair-raising piece taught me that intensely expressive music didn't even have to be based on any Western pitch-based systems at all, which makes the whole idea of "atonal" kind of irrelevant. Heady stuff for a kid out in the boondocks half a century ago, I have to say - I loved it. There was a distinct sense of adventure in it for me - the adventure might have been an entirely internal intellectual adventure, but was still quite real. I don't know where kids these days who are interested in classical music would turn for that enlivening sense of adventure.

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#2081332 - 05/12/13 11:21 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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I was brought up with Bach (ok) and Czerny, as a pianist with several bad teachers. I started composing pretty much through my effort to play something "nice" (that must've been around the age of 11 or so)...

Very soon I realised that, since I wasn't the studying type (I hated studying Czerny), I would never become good at piano playing (fooled myself then), so my only option would have to be being original then. And that was that. I was never bothered by anything 'wrong', or 'bad sounding' or anything like that. I just took in what I liked. Prokofiev at 15 (the Cantata for the 20th commemoration of the anniversary of the October Revolution), some Shostakovich (the 7th "Lenningrad" symphony, and the 10th string quartet), Stravinsky and then Bartok, Webbern, and move my way to more dissonant stuff...

When I was introduced at the 2nd Ligeti quartet, I was kinda stunned. It took me several years to like it (the "drama" was gone), but after that I was fine for anything I guess...
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#2081554 - 05/12/13 07:49 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
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My experience was so like wr's, even to the Bernstein concerts (the young people's concerts were televised here in the 1960s and opened up a whole new and exciting musical world for me), but also the radio. There was a young generation of Australian composers writing stuff which occasionally was broadcast - I recall Richard Meale's Homage to Garcia Lorca, as well as the Sculthorpe Sun Music series. I then joined a record library and was able to listen to music I'd only read about - the very first record I borrowed was the Berg violin concerto, which I'd read about in the little paperback The Concerto edited by Ralph Hill. I'd been reading and imagining what it must sound like, but the first actual hearing was overwhelming. If you'd told me then that in 50 years' time if you wanted to hear a certain piece all you would have to do would be to press a button (or "click on an arrow" - whatever that could possibly mean) I simply wouldn't have believed it. smile
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#2081599 - 05/12/13 09:49 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Kuanpiano]
Brad Hoehne Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
Look for colour rather than melody.


I agree with this way of approaching actual, atonal music- that is, music that doesn't center around a key signature and actively avoids the techniques of tonality (cadences). It's all about the mood and texture and motif.



I have a few favorite pieces that are, for the most part, completely atonal. All of these require immersion in the sound (so turn up the volume). When I hear them, I like to think about what sort of movie they would accompany. That helps me get a "lock" on the piece:

"Farben" from Arnold Shoenberg's Five Pieces for Orchestra: quiet and eerie, like a lonely pond waking up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmEB8LgWTEw

Atmospheres, by Gyorgi Ligeti: a "wall of sound" (crank it up):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0P1NnUFxc

Varese, Integrales: Quirky in the use of tone and timbre. Listen to the weird "instruments" he uses (a siren, for instance). Similar is "Ameriques":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBS_Yzb7JCc

Webern's Passacaglia op 1: Not really 100% atonal, but close. Like Debussy, it is still somewhat grounded in tonal techniques, but eschews many of them as well. While it is ostensively in d minor, it never really feels like it settles in that key and there's no "cadence" at the end. Listen to how the "theme" at the beginning is elaborated on and how the variations accelerate in complexity before exhausting themselves and starting and ramping up again. I love wildly out of control it gets- as if the music can't wait to throw caution to the wind. I love this piece

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZelEcPZU8A





Edited by Brad Hoehne (05/12/13 10:40 PM)
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#2081631 - 05/12/13 11:50 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Since we're talking and since Joel created this, can I share something (unfairly gaining traffic, blah blah), and check with you guys:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2081565/1.html

Is this 'atonal'? Cause while it moves around all over, and the 'episodes' do lose the tonal centres, on the other hands the repeated notes, and the sense of tonality in the theme makes is... un-atonal. No? (Of course I should note that the theme covers all pitches from C to F (in the first instance), and this wasn't random either, but it IS a tonal theme, isn't it? (A modal theme)? (referring to the first video).

This is what keeps getting me more and more confused (especially as I saw that plenty of members here interchange atonal for twelve tone, so I must really be strict with my labelling! grin)
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#2081636 - 05/13/13 12:23 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Is this 'atonal'?....

Just listened to the opening (about half a minute's worth), and didn't read any of your explanation up there because it just would have confused me. grin

YES -- atonal.
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#2081648 - 05/13/13 12:57 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Nikolas Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
YES -- atonal.
Darn you Mark! grin (kidding of course)...
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#2081651 - 05/13/13 01:03 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
YES -- atonal.
Darn you Mark! grin (kidding of course)...


I know you were kidding, but is there a part of you that is actually WANTING it to be tonal? As if it isn't a good thing to be atonal? Your piece is 12-tone right?

I've also been wondering, what makes 12-tone tonal anyway? How is there any kind of mode?

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#2081656 - 05/13/13 01:48 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
I know you were kidding, but is there a part of you that is actually WANTING it to be tonal? As if it isn't a good thing to be atonal? Your piece is 12-tone right?

I've also been wondering, what makes 12-tone tonal anyway? How is there any kind of mode?
The composing consciously part, yes... wink

The theme (first heard on the first violin, in the first bar), is pretty much on the edge of tonal. There's a very strict repetition of D, along with a figure of EDC#D in the end (which is a pretty tonal cadence). So, yes, I consider the theme to be tonal (modal?), even if I'm using all 5 pitches between a perfect 4th. Second and third appearance of this theme (bar 1) goes to C# and then Eb (semitones, which is one of the main building materials of this movement).

BUT, once the quirky 5/16 episode is over the theme (and it's following appearances) appears from A (and G# and Bb) (so what a normal fugue would be getting as a 'reply')...

So I do consider that there are rather strong "somewhat tonal" roots in there.

It's not a twelve tone work, by far! Not even close! It's got some strict organization, but not what 12-toners use!
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#2081699 - 05/13/13 03:41 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: currawong]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: currawong
My experience was so like wr's, even to the Bernstein concerts (the young people's concerts were televised here in the 1960s and opened up a whole new and exciting musical world for me), but also the radio. There was a young generation of Australian composers writing stuff which occasionally was broadcast - I recall Richard Meale's Homage to Garcia Lorca, as well as the Sculthorpe Sun Music series. I then joined a record library and was able to listen to music I'd only read about - the very first record I borrowed was the Berg violin concerto, which I'd read about in the little paperback The Concerto edited by Ralph Hill. I'd been reading and imagining what it must sound like, but the first actual hearing was overwhelming. If you'd told me then that in 50 years' time if you wanted to hear a certain piece all you would have to do would be to press a button (or "click on an arrow" - whatever that could possibly mean) I simply wouldn't have believed it. smile


Speaking of clicking on the arrow -

I am familiar with Sculthorpe (and even have his autograph on a cassette tape of his String Quartet No. 8), but didn't know about Meale. So off to YouTube, and although the Homage to Garcia Lorca wasn't there, some of his other pieces were. One was this intriguing and substantial "hardcore" atonal piano piece called Coruscations. The pianist seems to play it very well indeed, and amazingly to me, has it memorized.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTr8rqk9DBA

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#2081780 - 05/13/13 09:24 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Nikolas]
Tim Adrianson Offline
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Nikolas, I hear this as being solidly tonal, much in the manner of Prokofiev -- the tonal centers shift, but I'm never get the sense of "going nowhere" for an unspecified length of time. I would agree that the last section is irresolute, similar to passages that Prokofiev wrote when he specifically wanted to project confusion and loss of equilibrium -- but that's all within the context of a tonal centeredness. For me, the effect is not like serial music, where one is hurled into perpetual and unending irresolution.

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#2081871 - 05/13/13 12:01 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Tim Adrianson]
Nikolas Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tim Adrianson
Nikolas, I hear this as being solidly tonal, much in the manner of Prokofiev -- the tonal centers shift, but I'm never get the sense of "going nowhere" for an unspecified length of time. I would agree that the last section is irresolute, similar to passages that Prokofiev wrote when he specifically wanted to project confusion and loss of equilibrium -- but that's all within the context of a tonal centeredness. For me, the effect is not like serial music, where one is hurled into perpetual and unending irresolution.
THANK YOU!

That's exactly what I mean with all my comments about 'atonal', etc... The first movement has strong tonal tendencies (even if it goes around a lot) so it's difficult to show that it's going 'nowhere' as Tim says!

Thank you Tim (for the time listening, commenting, posting, supporting, etc! :))
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#2086936 - 05/22/13 05:06 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
landorrano Offline
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I heard this composer Lorenzo Romano on the radio this afternoon, loved his music. Surely right up Joel's alley !

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#2086947 - 05/22/13 05:21 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: landorrano]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
I heard this composer Lorenzo Romano on the radio this afternoon, loved his music. Surely right up Joel's alley !


I'm listening to Chi ha paura delle maree. This is not music.

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#2086994 - 05/22/13 07:13 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: landorrano]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
I heard this composer Lorenzo Romano on the radio this afternoon, loved his music.

Wow. Didn't like it at first, but I must say, it grew on me.

Very interesting, thanks for introducing me to it!
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#2087022 - 05/22/13 08:17 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Damon Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I heard this composer Lorenzo Romano on the radio this afternoon, loved his music. Surely right up Joel's alley !


I'm listening to Chi ha paura delle maree. This is not music.


It's better when he doesn't take the repeat.
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#2087025 - 05/22/13 08:25 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Damon]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: Damon
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I heard this composer Lorenzo Romano on the radio this afternoon, loved his music. Surely right up Joel's alley !


I'm listening to Chi ha paura delle maree. This is not music.


It's better when he doesn't take the repeat.


lol

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#2087192 - 05/23/13 07:18 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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Interesting thread. I'm going to my first recital involving atonal music next month - Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Ives's Concord Sonata (he's also doing Brahms Op. 5, so it should be a nice mix). I'm still learning how to approach atonal music in some ways. I certainly think that the notion of looking for colour as opposed to melody is a very good way to start, though. I think I will check out that Bernstein lecture when I have the time, especially given the apparent focus on Ives. I'm going as much to marvel at Hamelin's technique as anything, but I'd like to have as full an appreciation of the Concord Sonata as possible.

Probably one of the first people to pique my interest in this kind of music was Frank Zappa, one of my very favourite musical artists. I know he was hugely into Varese and took great inspiration from him. Interestingly, when Zappa wrote atonal music he would often (but not always) eventually "resolve" it into tonality, heightening the pleasing effect of the latter by means of contrast.


Edited by The Hound (05/23/13 07:25 AM)

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#2087286 - 05/23/13 10:39 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: The Hound]
beet31425 Offline
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Originally Posted By: The Hound
Interesting thread. I'm going to my first recital involving atonal music next month - Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Ives's Concord Sonata (he's also doing Brahms Op. 5, so it should be a nice mix).

I've heard Hamelin in concert perform the Concord. It was one of the best musical experiences of my life.

My advice for a "full appreciation" of the Concord is to listen to a recording, actively, many times. This sonata actually only plays with atonality; as is often the case with Ives, traditional folk tunes and hymns are always poking their heads in. As well as the opening motif to Beethoven's fifth symphony.

Start with the third movement, which is 95% tonal and 100% accessible. Go on to the second and fourth movements, which are harder to conceptualize, but wild and serene, respectively. The first movement is by far the most imposing and austere. But even that movement has some moments of lonely beauty appreciable even on a first listening, as well as sheer rugged greatness that makes itself felt after some familiarity.

-J
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#2087353 - 05/23/13 11:51 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: beet31425]
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If you're looking for a well-known piano sonata that use serial techniques and atonality, Barber's Sonata is one of the best. (Horowitz and Browning are notable exponents of it).

Like all the best atonal music, Barber never lets atonalism get in the way of the emotion and the message he wants to convey.
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#2087429 - 05/23/13 01:48 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis

Like all the best atonal music, Barber never lets atonalism get in the way of the emotion and the message he wants to convey.


I you will permit me, one could say the same for all music.

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#2087490 - 05/23/13 03:09 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
If you're looking for a well-known piano sonata that use serial techniques and atonality, Barber's Sonata is one of the best. (Horowitz and Browning are notable exponents of it).

Like all the best atonal music, Barber never lets atonalism get in the way of the emotion and the message he wants to convey.


Barber is never atonal for a second. The whole piece has constant pedal points to remind you of exactly where you are.

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#2087581 - 05/23/13 06:08 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: beet31425]
The Hound Offline
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: The Hound
Interesting thread. I'm going to my first recital involving atonal music next month - Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Ives's Concord Sonata (he's also doing Brahms Op. 5, so it should be a nice mix).

I've heard Hamelin in concert perform the Concord. It was one of the best musical experiences of my life.

My advice for a "full appreciation" of the Concord is to listen to a recording, actively, many times. This sonata actually only plays with atonality; as is often the case with Ives, traditional folk tunes and hymns are always poking their heads in. As well as the opening motif to Beethoven's fifth symphony.

Start with the third movement, which is 95% tonal and 100% accessible. Go on to the second and fourth movements, which are harder to conceptualize, but wild and serene, respectively. The first movement is by far the most imposing and austere. But even that movement has some moments of lonely beauty appreciable even on a first listening, as well as sheer rugged greatness that makes itself felt after some familiarity.

-J


Thanks for that. Will definitely give it a few listens before I go.

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#2088451 - 05/25/13 07:26 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis


Like all the best atonal music, Barber never lets atonalism get in the way of the emotion and the message he wants to convey.


As arch-conservative tonal composer Saint-Saens pointed out, using music to convey emotion and a message is not a necessary function of music, although doing that will appeal to the amateurs.

It's never occurred to me that "the best" atonal music was characterized by conveying emotion or any message other than the music itself. Which is not to say that it cannot convey those things - I'm not the kind of purist that denies that music can do that.

But-

Just like finding beauty and interest in the natural world (which could care less about my emotional response to it), I am quite happy when music is simply intriguing or beautiful or catches my interest in almost any way.

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#2088494 - 05/25/13 10:34 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Just like finding beauty and interest in the natural world (which could care less about my emotional response to it)[...]


I couldn't care less about how much you could care less. wink

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#2088509 - 05/25/13 11:11 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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Of all Americanisms, that is definitely one of the ones I 'could' care less about.

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#2088520 - 05/25/13 11:43 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: wr

As arch-conservative tonal composer Saint-Saens pointed out, using music to convey emotion and a message is not a necessary function of music, although doing that will appeal to the amateurs.

It's never occurred to me that "the best" atonal music was characterized by conveying emotion or any message other than the music itself. Which is not to say that it cannot convey those things - I'm not the kind of purist that denies that music can do that.


Just like finding beauty and interest in the natural world (which could care less about my emotional response to it), I am quite happy when music is simply intriguing or beautiful or catches my interest in almost any way.


Personally, I couldn't care less (i.e. I could care more, but don't give a dam*) what composers choose to write. After all, one could throw dice and write 'music' based on the notes they come up with.....er, oops, it's already been done grin.

Plenty of amateurs - me included - write music purely to please themselves. In the natural world, birds sing for a reason, but leaves rustle for none at all....
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#2088576 - 05/25/13 01:15 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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The reason leaves rustle is because the wind blows them.

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#2088628 - 05/25/13 03:37 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
The reason leaves rustle is because the wind blows them.


Touché wink

Here's something to entertain all who love the rustle of leaves in spring (and nice tunes and recognizable harmonies grin) ......
http://youtu.be/lvT2vU-z7kA
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#2088777 - 05/25/13 07:31 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: bennevis]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr

As arch-conservative tonal composer Saint-Saens pointed out, using music to convey emotion and a message is not a necessary function of music, although doing that will appeal to the amateurs.

It's never occurred to me that "the best" atonal music was characterized by conveying emotion or any message other than the music itself. Which is not to say that it cannot convey those things - I'm not the kind of purist that denies that music can do that.


Just like finding beauty and interest in the natural world (which could care less about my emotional response to it), I am quite happy when music is simply intriguing or beautiful or catches my interest in almost any way.


Personally, I couldn't care less (i.e. I could care more, but don't give a dam*)


Uh-oh, I don't normally make that mistake. Or at least I think I don't. Aarrgghh!!

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#2088787 - 05/25/13 07:41 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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#2088801 - 05/25/13 08:06 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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lol

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#2088954 - 05/25/13 11:58 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: wr]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: bennevis
Originally Posted By: wr
....Just like finding beauty and interest in the natural world (which could care less about my emotional response to it)....
Personally, I couldn't care less (i.e. I could care more, but don't give a dam*)
Uh-oh, I don't normally make that mistake. Or at least I think I don't. Aarrgghh!!

I have good news for WR.....although he probably won't know it because he usually honors me with the Ignore feature. ha

And even if he sees this, he probably could care less. grin

Point: Contrary to the quasi-pedantic view that has become widespread, there is nothing incorrect about "could care less."

Here's the deal: It is a sarcasm.

Example: Your friend sits down at the piano and plays some atonal music. You hate it. So you say, "Yeah, I love it." Sarcastically.

Then, let's say, he says, "Just for that I won't play for you any more." So you say, "I could care less."

Sarcastically. smile
Just like you said yeah I love it.

Just as "Yeah, I love it" wasn't a mistaken version for "I hate it," but a sarcasm, likewise "I could care less" wasn't a mistaken version of "I couldn't care less."

And here's what supports the idea that this is in fact where people are coming from when they say "I could care less": What is their TONE? Is it not sarcastic? Almost invariably sarcastic? I think it is. It is rarely said in the matter-of-fact tone in which they would say "I couldn't care less." So, WR, you did right fine.

Thank you very much. grin
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#2088955 - 05/26/13 12:00 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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hahaha!

I think that this video can close this thread in a loving way! LOL
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#2088961 - 05/26/13 12:06 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Schubertslieder Offline
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LOL
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#2089020 - 05/26/13 05:20 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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That is a totally ridiculous justification of a phrase which is simply a nonsensical mutation. There's no sarcasm implied, its just that the n't syllable has been dropped the same way the i sound has been from aluminium, though in the case of the latter at least the entire point of the word hasnt been subverted.


Edited by debrucey (05/26/13 05:23 AM)

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#2089049 - 05/26/13 07:36 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
Damon Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
That is a totally ridiculous justification of a phrase which is simply a nonsensical mutation. There's no sarcasm implied, its just that the n't syllable has been dropped the same way the i sound has been from aluminium, though in the case of the latter at least the entire point of the word hasnt been subverted.


I've never even spelled aluminum with the i in it. I don't think many Americans do. I agree otherwise.
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#2089058 - 05/26/13 08:09 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Damon]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Damon

I've never even spelled aluminum with the i in it. I don't think many Americans do. I agree otherwise.


No, it ain't not right, nohow.
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#2089128 - 05/26/13 11:03 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
That is a totally ridiculous justification of a phrase which is simply a nonsensical mutation. There's no sarcasm implied, its just that the n't syllable has been dropped the same way the i sound has been from aluminium, though in the case of the latter at least the entire point of the word hasnt been subverted.

I think you didn't even think much about it before saying that. grin

You could argue that it's not necessarily right, but you're wrong that it's ridiculous.

Take another look (if you feel like it), and think closely about what was explained. If you still think it's ridiculous, you'll still be wrong. ha

Do you disagree that it could make sense that this is how it FIRST got said?

Do you disagree that people who say it usually say it with a more sarcastic tone than those who say "couldn't care less"?


If you mean that people who say it are rarely thinking of it that way, I don't necessarily disagree.

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#2089138 - 05/26/13 11:24 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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I've only ever heard it said on television because I don't live in America, but I've only ever heard it said with an intonation that implies what they mean is 'I could not care less', with no hint of sarcasm.

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#2089141 - 05/26/13 11:26 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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It maketh no sense

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#2089143 - 05/26/13 11:31 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
I've only ever heard it said on television because I don't live in America, but I've only ever heard it said with an intonation that implies what they mean is 'I could not care less', with no hint of sarcasm.

If you haven't heard it that much, how can you think you know enough to say "ridiculous"? smile

BTW, how did you find that? ha
(Nice job.)

But it's open to interpretation whether he said it without sarcasm.
I think if you heard it said more, you'd think it usually gets said with a sarcastic tone.

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#2089156 - 05/26/13 12:06 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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I didn't say I hadn't heard it much. I've heard it a lot. I watch a lot of television.

It's not open to interpretation, it's completely stupid. Even if you were being sarcastic, 'I could care less' would be a stupid thing to say.

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#2089184 - 05/26/13 12:58 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
ando Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
I didn't say I hadn't heard it much. I've heard it a lot. I watch a lot of television.

It's not open to interpretation, it's completely stupid. Even if you were being sarcastic, 'I could care less' would be a stupid thing to say.


Debrucey is correct. It's used a lot in the US and nowhere else, and it's incorrect. This version of the phrase relies on you knowing the correct version to extrapolate what was really meant from the incorrect version. The incorrect version is logically meaningless standing on its own. There's no sarcasm or finesse involved. It's just a distortion of the original phrase. It's no more artful, sarcastic etc. than people saying "for all intensive purposes" instead of "for all intents and purposes". It's just a mishap.

If "I could care less" had any sarcastic potential at all, you can bet the poms and Aussies would be all over it.

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#2089186 - 05/26/13 01:02 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ando]
bennevis Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ando


If "I could care less" had any sarcastic potential at all, you can bet the poms and Aussies would be all over it.


Sarcasm from the poms?

Surely not - why, we took dear old Dame Edna to our hearts while you Aussies disowned the poor mite...... grin
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#2089187 - 05/26/13 01:03 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ando]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: ando
Debrucey is correct....

I cannot believe such flat-out assertions. smile

Quote:
There's no sarcasm or finesse involved.

I have news: You're wrong. grin

And I know that.

How do I know? Because I sometimes say it -- sarcastically.

I also know that at least in my experience it is usually said with a sarcastic tone by others. I would agree, though, that most people who say it don't realize that in a literal sense it goes against the meaning of the words.

But you're on worse than shaky ground putting it as you did. smile

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#2089205 - 05/26/13 01:36 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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#2089245 - 05/26/13 02:41 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
bennevis Online   content
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Don't forget that dear old PW, in deference to its international clientele, allows you to change the M/D/Y order on your screen to the, er, internationally accepted order wink of D/M/Y. As well as changing the time zone to BST, or any other you fancy.

I used to have to keep doing mental gymnastics when I logged on to PW, until I discovered this.
_________________________
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#2089256 - 05/26/13 02:55 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: debrucey]
Damon Offline
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Oh, I just thought you Brits had 31 months.
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#2089260 - 05/26/13 03:09 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Ferdinand Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: ando
Debrucey is correct....

I cannot believe such flat-out assertions. smile

Quote:
There's no sarcasm or finesse involved.

I have news: You're wrong. grin

And I know that.

How do I know? Because I sometimes say it -- sarcastically.

I also know that at least in my experience it is usually said with a sarcastic tone by others. I would agree, though, that most people who say it don't realize that in a literal sense it goes against the meaning of the words.

But you're on worse than shaky ground putting it as you did. smile

I think the phrase did not originate with an ironic intent, rather as an error.
In the scene you described in an earlier post, a more likely dialogue would be something along these lines:

Example: Your friend sits down at the piano and plays some atonal music. You hate it. So you say, "Yeah, I love it." Sarcastically.

Then, let's say, he says, "Just for that I won't play for you any more." So you say, "I care about that ever so deeply."

"I could care less" is not a phrase one would ever use WITHOUT irony...so it's not very effective as sarcasm.

However, now that the phrase has become established, it's available to be used with ironic intent. To do so strikes me as rather witty.

Most often, its use is not ironic, just "careless".

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#2089346 - 05/26/13 05:39 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Ferdinand]
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Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
...."I could care less" is not a phrase one would ever use WITHOUT irony...so it's not very effective as sarcasm....

I'm not sure I get any distinction.

Even realizing that "ironic" is itself a term that has gotten to be used sloppily -- often when "sarcastic" would be better, or "coincidental".... I do know exactly what irony means, but don't really see the distinction you're making. It sounds to me like if you're saying that the phrase is generally said with irony, that's awfully close to sarcasm.

How about let's look at it this way: Compare it to "I couldn't care less" -- which, to those who disagree with my point, is exactly what people are saying when they say "I could care less," just incorrectly. (Right? Because otherwise, then you can't even start arguing that it's an incorrect version of that, because then the phrases are different. When phrases have a different tone, you can't say that one is merely an incorrect version of the other.)

Does "I couldn't care less" generally contain irony? I think not. It's straightforward. So, it's not the same. It has a different tone -- a tone in which it works to say it in the 'backwards' way.

That's all I'm saying.
That, plus that it's very possible this was the origin of this supposed misusage.

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#2089560 - 05/26/13 10:23 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Ferdinand Offline
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Sorry for the imprecision in my previous post. I didn't mean "I could care less" is generally said with irony. I meant it would never be used with its literal meaning intended. A small fraction of the time it is used with irony, but usually it is simply an error. The distinction between irony and sarcasm is not essential to my argument.

I was trying to point out that "I loved your playing" is a phrase that can be said non-sarcastically, thus it is effective sarcasm when used with a sarcastic tone, while the same is not true of "I could care less."

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#2089564 - 05/26/13 10:25 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Ferdinand]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
....while the same is not true of "I could care less."

Sure it is!
You could very well say it (correctly) non-sarcastically, but it would have the opposite meaning.

Which, by the way, is also true of that other thing.

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#2089568 - 05/26/13 10:33 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Ferdinand Offline
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Granted "I could care less" is a well-formed grammatically correct English sentence, but when would one ever actually use it with its literal meaning intended?

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#2089578 - 05/26/13 10:41 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
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It's interesting how I find stuff by Scriabin - freely atonal, using synthetic scales, and tritonal emphasis - more organized and easier to follow compared to Boulez, who is strictly organized on the microscopic level using serialist techniques.

Of course when we start to talk about how organized serialism sounds like disorganized clutter we get into Xenakis...
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#2089620 - 05/26/13 11:11 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Ferdinand]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Granted "I could care less" is a well-formed grammatically correct English sentence, but when would one ever actually use it with its literal meaning intended?

OK, here we go again.... grin
(I'm surprised you're skeptical!)

Back to that example where your friend plays some atonal music (to preserve the topic of the thread -- we wouldn't want to go off-topic!!) ha .....where your friend plays some atonal music that doesn't do much for you. You've already said, "Yeah I love it" (sarcastically) and so your friend says he won't play any music for you any more and so you say "I could care less." (sarcastically).

Your friend then says, you mean you don't care at all if I never play for you again?

And you say (straightforwardly!), well actually, I could care less. I don't have zero caring about it.

QED

Thank you very much. grin

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
It's interesting how I find stuff by Scriabin - freely atonal, using synthetic scales, and tritonal emphasis - more organized and easier to follow compared to Boulez, who is strictly organized on the microscopic level using serialist techniques....

Me too, probably because those aspects in Scriabin are closer to traditional music (but not a whole lot), although it took years for late Scriabin to connect for me in any way.

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#2089627 - 05/26/13 11:19 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Damon Offline
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I wonder if the performers of atonal music strive to decrease the quality of their tone by pressing the keys in harsh and indifferent ways.
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#2089632 - 05/26/13 11:26 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
It's interesting how I find stuff by Scriabin - freely atonal, using synthetic scales, and tritonal emphasis - more organized and easier to follow compared to Boulez, who is strictly organized on the microscopic level using serialist techniques....

Me too, probably because those aspects in Scriabin are closer to traditional music (but not a whole lot), although it took years for late Scriabin to connect for me in any way.

My friend made a good point, when he was working on a method for spatialization of music, that one of the problems with serialist music, maybe it's also the fault of Boulez's inherent style, is the fact that counterpoint is effectively destroyed. With the large intervals, crossing lines, variable articulation (even within the same voice), it's hard to grasp a sense of layers of sound in a coherent manner. It's also hard to pick out what's the "melody", what's an "accompaniment", and what's just there for the sake of sonority.

Though a good point by the same friend...the language of serialism doesn't change the fact that the music is still doing similar things: building intensity, climaxes, and other aspects of the dramatic structure are still in place, but the smaller elements remain foreign.
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#2089657 - 05/27/13 12:59 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: Mark_C]
ando Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
....while the same is not true of "I could care less."

Sure it is!
You could very well say it (correctly) non-sarcastically, but it would have the opposite meaning.

Which, by the way, is also true of that other thing.

Mark, I'd say you've simply noticed that the "could care less idiom" was not making sense in the way it was used and invested yourself in trying to make it work. You've gone to considerable lengths to do this and come up with entirely new uses for it. I think you will find that this sense of irony will go comfortably over the heads of most people you chose to throw it by unless you go out of your way to point it out. Which is a little ironic in itself when you talk about levels of caring, because you are showing a great deal of caring for an idiom that is one further step removed from the issue you were originally caring/not-caring about. wink

I commend you on your efforts to flesh this out, but the wider question of how this idiom is used is not really changed. Both forms basically carry the same meaning (one is simply an errant lazy version of the other) unless you go to very deliberate means to separate them - and by then the conversational ease with which the idiom is associated, is well and truly lost.

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#2089694 - 05/27/13 03:17 AM Re: Atonal Music [Re: ando]
Mark_C Offline
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Look. smile
I don't have any vested interest in defending the (supposed) misusage, and I'm not going out of my way on it. I see a way that the usage works, and I explained it. If it doesn't work for you, fine. I'm surprised this thing is meeting such resistance and even hostility. I would think that one might at least be like, that's interesting, maybe that is how it got started....

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#2089865 - 05/27/13 12:44 PM Re: Atonal Music [Re: JoelW]
Michael Sayers Offline
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Hi Joel,

I didn't have time to read all the replies. Personally I find this set of piano pieces to often be of tremendous, raw and often unbridled-effusive-overflowing power . . . imagine how Nyiregyhazi would play them (and he did record these but the selections were not commercially issued):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0mGbyfcG-c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LadWdCsGqE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5D1Qd7i-UU

The scores are here at imslp:

http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Pieces,_Op.11_(Schoenberg,_Arnold)


Mvh,
Michael

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