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#373263 - 01/26/08 02:48 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Can quality be divorced from personal taste?
[/b]
Assuming for a moment that value is the result of quality and not of simple demand, I would describe the system as a sort of many-sided dynamic.

A few things before I jump into it: I'll talk about value, since it seems to be easier; I'll do certain other insidious things in order to facilitate this tedious process of writing down my thoughts. I don't expect anyone to appreciate my contributions who doesn't put in some effort in order to do so.

(1) The greater the depth of the given work of music, the greater its value. Just as a small child finds wonder in simple everyday things, so may an inexperienced adult find wonder in such works of music that a more experienced listener would quickly get tired of. Depth is the quality of lasting wonder.

(2) The greater the number of people who can relatively easily appreciate the greatness of a given work of music, across times and across cultures, the greater the value of the work. As a side note, the value of such a great work would seem to be more dependant on our biology and its implications (such as death) than on the zeitgeist of any given place or period in our history.

(3) (This is a double point.) The more difficult it is to achieve the aesthetic effect of a given hypothetical work of music, the greater its value. The rarer its aesthetic effect, the greater its value. By "the aesthetic effect of a work of music", I don't mean emotion (which is a quality manifest in the perceiver, not the work); rather, I mean the whole structure of sound when competently perceived. Achieving such a perception may in some cases require a few listens with the help of the score, even for the most experienced listener.

For example, Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" was difficult to compose, requiring much knowledge among other things rarely found in humans. Its composition also required careful design. It would not very soon be composed by metaphorical monkies randomly scribbling over many pages of once empty paper. The aesthetic effect of "Hammerkalvier" is also rare, because of the distinctiveness of the work. Mind you, it is not distinctive in the way a blood stain on a shirt is, it is distinctive in the way Thomas Jefferson was. For another example, if a work produces the aesthetic effect of noise, howsoever pleasant, it has not much value, as such noise is relatively easy to produce by any capable pianist or organist (through improvisation, for example).

(4) The more worhty the purport of the work of music, the greater its, uh, value. I'll attempt to explain the implications of this almost circular reasoning. Or maybe I'll just do a Jerome, and ask a few pointed questions. Does the work of music sing of the angels and demons? Or does it show you uninspiring things about the world around you, such things as suffering, things which you could see better by looking out of the window (assuming you have one).

To conclude, a work of music will be the most valuable when it is both easily appreciated and deep as a bottomless well, as well as being distinctive and heavenly. Surely a difficult combination of qualities, and one very much worth trying to achieve. I think Beethoven would be a suitable paragon here.

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#373264 - 01/26/08 05:49 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
 Quote:
Originally posted by classik51:
Hmm. So most do not enjoy this piece, but still remain respectful of the idea of it. I wonder if anyone actually listens to this composition for pleasure as you would other types of music (classical, jazz, pop, etc)? Or is it that it's just a "cool" idea?

I can't help but think the latter more likely, since I have failed miserably in trying to understand what beauty Xenakis might have seen in this "music", and I must comment. Shouldn't beauty be a composer's first priority? To me, that's what music is. Even when I personally do not like a piece, I can still recognize the beauty it may hold for others. I know that people hold different views on what is beautiful, but as I've said, my thoughts are that this composition may be cool but is not pleasing. Music composed just for the sake of originality? Then could you not call ANYTHING music?

Oh, by the way, I apologize, playadom. My mistake, I thought the link was posted by pianojerome. Now, how did I make that mistake? I must be more sleep-deprived than I thought. And yet here I am, still addicted to this forum...

I hope I did not offend anyone. It's just my personal opinion \:\) . [/b]
It's a classic philistine posture: "I don't get it, so therefore no one else does, and furthermore, if they say they do, they are just pretending in some way or another."

I have to say, this exclamation made me laugh: "Then could you not call ANYTHING music?" The answer is, of course: yes, you can. Or more precisely, a composer can. What's the problem?

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#373265 - 01/26/08 08:40 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
Matthew Collett Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 536
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
I have to say, this exclamation made me laugh: "Then could you not call ANYTHING music?" The answer is, of course: yes, you can. Or more precisely, a composer can. What's the problem? [/b]
Of course, you can call anything you like 'music'. But if you make a habit of doing so, the word loses its meaning.

"There's glory for you!"

Best wishes,
Matthew
_________________________
"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

212cm Fazioli: some photos and recordings .
Auckland Catholic Music Schola .

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#373266 - 01/26/08 10:28 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew Collett:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
I have to say, this exclamation made me laugh: "Then could you not call ANYTHING music?" The answer is, of course: yes, you can. Or more precisely, a composer can. What's the problem? [/b]
Of course, you can call anything you like 'music'. But if you make a habit of doing so, the word loses its meaning.

[/b]
Strange...I've been doing it for years, and the word hasn't lost any meaning at all, but rather, has gained quite a bit. No loss, much gain - what's not to like?

YMMV, of course.

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#373267 - 01/27/08 12:07 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
classik51 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 77
Loc: Canada
I envy your open-mindedness, wr. I wish I could be that accepting. But after all, I'm just a young student with a very limited musical knowledge. Maybe your wisdom will come to me with time \:\) .

Meanwhile, I think I'm gonna stick to classical music :p .

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#373268 - 01/27/08 02:20 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
cothse Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 31
I guess I too envy the open-mindedness of some people; they simply enjoy life more. As far as this music though, I'm afraid it is grating noise to me, and the more I hear it the more I am repulsed by it. Perhaps if there were some explanation as to why it's artistic or viable as music, we folks might appreciate it, at least to some degree.

But people will feel this way towards every kind of music, and it shouldn't be taken personally. It is a waste of time to endure convincing someone else to find merit in your taste, if only for the sake of it, when it could, and should, be spent listening to the music you enjoy in the productive commune of like minds!
_________________________
Piano Lessons with Master Teachers

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#373269 - 01/27/08 05:41 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
 Quote:
Originally posted by cothse:
I guess I too envy the open-mindedness of some people; they simply enjoy life more. As far as this music though, I'm afraid it is grating noise to me, and the more I hear it the more I am repulsed by it. Perhaps if there were some explanation as to why it's artistic or viable as music, we folks might appreciate it, at least to some degree.

But people will feel this way towards every kind of music, and it shouldn't be taken personally. It is a waste of time to endure convincing someone else to find merit in your taste, if only for the sake of it, when it could, and should, be spent listening to the music you enjoy in the productive commune of like minds! [/b]
I don't know that I'm particularly open-minded - all I have done is take a small interest in the music of my own time. Maybe when, over a period of decades, you deliberately expose yourself to all sorts of composers' works (and read up about them, even if just in liner notes of recordings), you do learn something about how to pry open your mind just a bit. I'm not sure how that works, although it makes a kind of sense. But I have run into people who are far more into "difficult" music than I am, and I feel pretty closed-minded compared to them.

Just so you know - I did NOT take to Xenakis' music as a duck takes to water, but learned how to listen to it over a long period, probably years. But I did know all along that I had a pretty strong interest in getting it eventually, since he was an important composer during my lifetime, and I figured I owed it to myself to make the effort.

In case it's useful for anyone, here's something I do when I run across music that seems incomprehensible to me and that I have recordings of. I play it in the background a few times, while I'm occupied with doing other things, loud enough to hear but not loud enough to occupy front and center of my thoughts. Then I put it away for a while (like months) until I feel the impulse to check it out again. Usually, it still doesn't make sense, and I do the background thing once again, and put it aside again. And I follow that cycle until, eventually, like magic, it clicks, and all of a sudden I hear it as music. I've heard of other people doing the same thing, and they all swear by this process. And, here's the good part, it's fairly painless. And that moment, when you realize that something formerly incomprehensible has transformed itself into music, is indescribably delicious.

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#373270 - 01/27/08 08:08 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5903
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
In case it's useful for anyone, here's something I do when I run across music that seems incomprehensible to me and that I have recordings of. I play it in the background a few times, while I'm occupied with doing other things, loud enough to hear but not loud enough to occupy front and center of my thoughts. Then I put it away for a while (like months) until I feel the impulse to check it out again. Usually, it still doesn't make sense, and I do the background thing once again, and put it aside again. And I follow that cycle until, eventually, like magic, it clicks, and all of a sudden I hear it as music. I've heard of other people doing the same thing, and they all swear by this process. And, here's the good part, it's fairly painless. And that moment, when you realize that something formerly incomprehensible has transformed itself into music, is indescribably delicious. [/b]
I do this too, and have done for many years. And yes, it works. Sometimes I feel almost guilty about it, that it's a sort of insult to the composer not to be giving the music full attention, but you can see it as just becoming familiar with the idiom.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#373271 - 01/28/08 06:13 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
Ragnhild Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 1117
Loc: Norway
I did listen, and I quite enjoyed the visual part, and with quite low volume it did not hurt my ears.

Rach3.Freak said :
 Quote:
And I have to say, it grew on my a little more. I still wouldn't call it music. Maybe more of a "sound idea".
I agree.
In fact it reminded me of something. When my children was younger (about 5 and 3 years old) I bought a cd-rom called "Making music" (by Morton Subotnick).
There you could choose instrument by color and "draw" music with pitch on Y axis (in half-note steps) and duration on X axis. The result played was of course "computer sound" but still ok.

Especially my 3 year old son made some very interesting compsitions this way, and we all enjoyed the process and the results a lot, but I would be a little careful to call it art....

But I guess every playful soul will enjoy making things like this \:\)

Ragnhild
_________________________
Trying to play the piano:
http://www.box.net/public/dbr23ll03e

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#373272 - 01/28/08 07:43 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
Works like this Xenakis example (or such as Stockhausen's Gesang der Jünglinge) are musicologically interesting in terms of pushing the boundaries of sound production and form. They are experiments and exercises in aural permutations and structures, which is all fine and dandy. However, the audible results are as artistically artificial (and as implied by Ragnhild above, immature and childlike) as the methods used to create the 'pieces' in the first place. They fail miserably as music or indeed art, due to their inherent unlistenability and inability to excite (in the majority of listeners) any emotions other than confusion, irritation and boredom. A certain section of the musical establishment may well believe that they should find artistic value in the self-indulgences of such 'composers' and attempt to spread this belief by programming such works for concerts. However, just because a piece is publically performed doesn't actually mean it isn't in fact a pile of unadulterated garbage. I suppose some people might learn to 'enjoy' becoming confused, irritated and bored by such noises. After all death/thrash metal bands sell lots of CDs too...

Time is a harsh critic, and in a hundred years time, I would wager that people will still be performing and listening to such pieces as tonally and rhythmically varied and adventurous as Prokofiev piano concerti, Shostakovich symphonies, Scriabin late piano sonatas, Britten operas, Hindemith chamber music, Messaien organ music, etc. However it is indeed highly probable that the compositional efforts of Xenakis, Stockhausen, Varèse, Boulez and other such characters, will have faded from the musical firmament as irrelevant blips of mid-20th century madness within the general scheme of Western art music history. Well, here's hoping anyway ;\)

Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#373273 - 01/28/08 09:00 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Mynenae Alphae is still a fairly progressive piece. [/b]
Maybe I'm just an old fogey (at 21) but why is being progressive so important?

I've heard criticisms of new pieces that are tonal, suggesting that everything in those works "have already been done before."

So what?

If the old styles are good styles, and they're pleasing to audiences and performers, then why should we stop writing in those ways, just because they are old?

My impression is that given our vast knowledge of past music, and our desire to be unique, music has been progressing and progressing in a direction that alienates many listeners. Sure, it's not "bad" music -- many people enjoy it, and that's terrific. But even more people don't enjoy it, while they do enjoy lots of music from several hundreds of years earlier. Why is that?

Why is it that the same people (some of them untrained musically) can enjoy all kinds of music from 1600s-1900s, from opera to piano solos to quartets to symphonies, and yet all of a sudden there is a blockage point around the middle of the 20th century? It's all so different, and yet there must certainly be shared characteristics (don't ask me what they are) that are drawing much aesthetic interest (perhaps without knowing much about music). Realizing this, and desiring to be different, perhaps recent composers purposefully remove those popular characteristics, with the result of alienating audiences (except for the audiences of the musically-trained and intellectuals, who appreciate the music for its progressiveness). I say 'perhaps', because it's only a guess.

That said, I do appreciate progress. If music had never "progressed" (in our sense of the word) beyond Mozart and Haydn, we wouldn't have the wonderful romanticisms and impressionisms and modernisms that came later. But "progress" isn't all that's important in music. A piece can be wonderfully progressive, and yet if it doesn't appeal to audiences (except for small groups of connoisseurs), then what is the point of that progress? Is it really progress in a good direction?
_________________________
Sam

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#373274 - 01/28/08 10:14 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8828
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ted2:
Yeah, the first sonata! That was my first Ives purchase.
Hey Ted, clean out ye olde inbox!
_________________________
Jason

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#373275 - 01/28/08 11:30 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2703
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I'd like to chime in on tghis discussion.

I remember being in college and studying pieces such as these and trying very hard to enjoy them and ultimately failing. Unrelenting dissonance is usually perceived as noise. In tis piece I hear only blocks of sound juxtaposed against other blocks of equally ugly sound, the only things that seem to change is the dynamic level and tempo. If this piece was food it would be a stew of everything sitting in the kitchen sink after a week and hot sauce and you'd be told to enjoy it. Each of the elements in that sink was at one point either (presumably) enjoyable food or utensils used to cook, serve and eat it.

I find the Ives quote thats been bandied about ironic. Ives got it right in his youth when as a 16 year old he composed his Variations on America. It has its ugly moments but they pass, the music is creative, engaging and as he put it himself, the last variation is "more fun than playing baseball."

I personally like the food analogy when it comes to composing. There's food that's tasy but not good for you (potato chips), there's food that's good for you but not tasty (brown rice), then there's food that's both tasty and good for you as well as food that isn't tasty and isn't good for you. The latter just doesn't get eaten and sadly that's what much of the music of the 20th century is. Elliot Carter wrote a piece for choir titled Musicians Everywhere Wrestle (or something like that), well they certainly wrestle to learn and perform this piece and for all that work the result is just a thorny work that doesn't satisfy. I believe that music like food should be varied, there can be moments of simple innocence and moments or horrible clashing dissonance, it is in changing textures over time that we see a landscape and perceive the drama. If we are to express ourselves then our music should reflect the entirety of the human experience not just the good or bad.

Music history is riddled with thorny works that defy easy comprehension, The Art of Fugue and Musical Offering by Bach, The Hammerklavier and Grosse Fuge by Beethoven, Stravinsy's Le Sacre. Those that we remember have communicated something valuable or had lasting meaning ascribed to them. So in that sense Ives is partially right. Music can be about more than just recreation for the ears. I don't savor every moment of Mahler 2, it's just too long, but the ending makes the whole experience transcendant. I can't get to the end of this Xenakis piece, so it doesn't matter to me.

Regarding the post that started this whole conversation about some piece by Rautavaara being too dissonant, that's just silly. While the harmony does get intriguing in that piece it didn't go so far afield as to be incomprehensible. In fact to my ears it was quite beautiful and a great example of variety in harmonic texture that can make a piece of music memorable. I gues some prefer a diet of peanut butter and jelly on white (dead european) bread. Perhaps it's like the concept of doing pushups on your knuckles? The very concept is so daunting that you fail to realize that it's no more work than doing bench presses. (contrary to my previous assertion I don't recommend fingertip pushups, I tried them and didn't like them).

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#373276 - 01/28/08 12:16 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
I was actually just listening to Xenakis' "Kraanerg" in the car, and I have been spending a lot of time listening to his solo and small-ensemble music. I haven't listened to much of the electronic music, but I am getting to it.

 Quote:
Life is too short...
Really. I'm 18 and I love every second of Xenakis, Sorabji, the 2nd Viennese school, etc. Yes, I love it. I absolutely adore it. I was falling asleep last night to to the string quartets of Penderecki and Lutoslawski. Just as well, I have fallen asleep to the music of Sorabji.

 Quote:
Just so you know - I did NOT take to Xenakis' music as a duck takes to water, but learned how to listen to it over a long period, probably years.
Interestingly enough, I grew quite quickly into listening to avant-garde\non-tonal music. The first Ligeti etude was, as far as I can recall, the first encounter I've had with the serious listening of modern music. It sounded like noise. But when I listened to it again, months later, it came in as clear as a bell and I have been in love with this music ever since.

Kraanerg is a fantastic piece. I could not help but feel completely in awe of some mammoth phantasm, a beast, growling incessantly, shaking the walls with fury. Noises, shrieks, growls, tapping, grinding, soft, loud, brazen, calm, numb, ethereal, ecstasy and agony inseparable from each other - the expressionist fantasy-nightmare from another world! It is like some grand old best from beyond the stars came to this planet and deposited an aural image from another realm onto our meager staff paper.

But, after all of this, I do not expect many people to give this music a second glance. It is arcane, esoteric, difficult, seething music. Not necessarily human. Yet, not necessarily inhuman. This kind of art has much less to do with one's technique or form and far more to do with the raw creativity (or lack thereof) of the mind. One is no longer limited to what we know and perceive to be "good" or "correct" and we thus can enter into the deepest, darkest caverns of the brain.

If you want something that is actually quite tonal by Xenakis, listen to Embellie for, interestingly enough, unaccompanied viola. I was surprised by how conservative it was. There seem to be some Celtic and folk influences in it.

Embellie

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#373277 - 01/28/08 05:50 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
py-anno Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/22/06
Posts: 122
Loc: Missouri
I love it! \:\)

Such an atmosphere of ... mystery, and loneliness.

To add to the conversation on the piece though,
I tend to believe Edgar Varese on the definition of music.
"music is organized sound"

I'm hearing a lot on this topic that music should be beautiful. To me, music is much more that just beautiful, or nice. Music evokes so many emotions and I think Xenakis is doing that in this piece. Every body can certainly agree that composers throughout history have depicted anger, loneliness, mystery, and other things in the works. I think Xenakis is doing just that, but in a different way. Maybe the purpose of the music is to make you feel scared, or nervewracked. Maybe the music is suppose to sound like computers and random noise, maybe that's what Xenakis is trying to do. And because of that, I don't think it is right to classify what is music and what is not solely on aesthetics.

Art is the soul, It is made of your emotions, feelings, energy, thoughts, beliefs and more. And when someone can express that, I think it should be respected.

Anyway, that's my opinion and you, of course, are entitled to your own.

-Dane

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#373278 - 01/29/08 01:28 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
Matthew Collett Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 536
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
 Quote:
Originally posted by py-anno:
To me, music is much more that just beautiful, or nice.[/b]
As soon as I saw that Ives quotation posted, I wondered how long it would take someone to slip in a "just".

If the claim were indeed "Music is not just beautiful/recreation for the ears/nice/enjoyable/(insert your own term of aesthetic approval here)" I doubt that anyone in this thread, or indeed anywhere else, would express disagreement. Of course great music is more than that.

But 'more' implies 'not less'.

Best wishes,
Matthew
_________________________
"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

212cm Fazioli: some photos and recordings .
Auckland Catholic Music Schola .

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#373279 - 01/29/08 07:14 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7767
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Brendan:
Mynenae Alphae is still a fairly progressive piece. [/b]
Maybe I'm just an old fogey (at 21) but why is being progressive so important?

I've heard criticisms of new pieces that are tonal, suggesting that everything in those works "have already been done before."

So what?

If the old styles are good styles, and they're pleasing to audiences and performers, then why should we stop writing in those ways, just because they are old?

My impression is that given our vast knowledge of past music, and our desire to be unique, music has been progressing and progressing in a direction that alienates many listeners. Sure, it's not "bad" music -- many people enjoy it, and that's terrific. But even more people don't enjoy it, while they do enjoy lots of music from several hundreds of years earlier. Why is that?

Why is it that the same people (some of them untrained musically) can enjoy all kinds of music from 1600s-1900s, from opera to piano solos to quartets to symphonies, and yet all of a sudden there is a blockage point around the middle of the 20th century? It's all so different, and yet there must certainly be shared characteristics (don't ask me what they are) that are drawing much aesthetic interest (perhaps without knowing much about music). Realizing this, and desiring to be different, perhaps recent composers purposefully remove those popular characteristics, with the result of alienating audiences (except for the audiences of the musically-trained and intellectuals, who appreciate the music for its progressiveness). I say 'perhaps', because it's only a guess.

That said, I do appreciate progress. If music had never "progressed" (in our sense of the word) beyond Mozart and Haydn, we wouldn't have the wonderful romanticisms and impressionisms and modernisms that came later. But "progress" isn't all that's important in music. A piece can be wonderfully progressive, and yet if it doesn't appeal to audiences (except for small groups of connoisseurs), then what is the point of that progress? Is it really progress in a good direction? [/b]
I hope you reread your post and realize how profoundly self-contradictory you sound. If you have such issues with progress, maybe you would be happier doing folk music or chant instead of piano. The instrument itself is a result of progress.

But I will agree with one thing you say, and that is that quitting a style simply because it is old makes no sense. There are much better reasons to do it. Take Scriabin, for example. I don't think he quit writing in that nice, highly expressive amalgam of Chopin/Wagner he had already invented simply because it was based on something old. I think it was because he found himself wanting to say things musically that required a new and unique style. Ditto Debussy; I don't think that he quit writing like Massenet and invented an entire new musical language simply because his earlier style was old. Or take that surfer of musical fashion, Stravinsky, who could not have arrived at the Rite of Spring out of a mere desire for something as fatuous as novelty; he was seized by real hard-core musical inspiration when he wrote it.

I also think you place your musical blockage point too late. It happened somewhat earlier, when Schoenberg unilaterally decided that he was the musical world's messiah, whether the world liked it or not. And to be blunt about it, I think he became something of a musical toxin during the century, for reasons that are far more sociological than musical.

Finally, you need to realize that the high-art, progressive aspect of classical music has always been and is always going to be of interest to relatively few people. I mean, it's not pop music, right? And it's not middle-brow Martha Stewart aural decoration used for suburbian status, either. It's real art, and it's often difficult, for the same reasons that all art can be difficult. That's just the name of the game. And keep in mind, a good deal of the classical music revered today was written with connoisseurs in mind, not the general public.

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#373280 - 01/29/08 11:56 AM Re: Do you enjoy...
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
I'm not opposed to progressivism in music. I just don't view it as the most important determinant of a piece's value -- this was my reaction to Brendan's statement, "Mynenae Alphae is still a fairly progressive piece." It might be fairly progressive, but is it any good?
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Sam

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#373281 - 01/29/08 05:44 PM Re: Do you enjoy...
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Progressive in relationship to . . . what? Progressive is a relative term.

I say that a piece of music cannot be progressive, regressive, or status quo--that it cannot be music--unless it relates to the larger body of music.

To what tradition of music does Xanakis's piece relate? I hear it as being dangerously close to a stand alone piece, having little, if anything, to do with any music I've ever heard. It has nothing to do with the common practice, with ragas, field hollars, psalm singing, punk rock, or serialism. It isn't played on an instrument that is customarily thought of as being a musical instrument. It doesn't use human performers. It isn't a manifestation of standard notation, but rather, is a manifestation of abstract drawings on a piece of paper.

How then can we categorize this as music?

I have listened on YouTube to other compositions by Xanakis, some of them played by a symphony orchestra. The sounds made by the orchestra, in a generalized way, are quite similar to the sounds of the piece in question. And so I could argue that this piece relates to his own music, and therefore passes my test of relating to other music. But it seems a very thin thread.

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


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