Composers talking about (their) music
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Old 30-10-2014, 02:20 PM   #1
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Composers talking about (their) music

Let's share interesting talks about music theory

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Old 30-10-2014, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

woh, these are great


he really has whole concepts backing up his compositions
most of it seems driven by ideas rather than melodies or harmony

His composition looks a bit like computer programming
The whole thing is a bit..opaque but some ideas can be inspiring

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Old 01-11-2014, 07:28 PM   #3
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

I've been watching these Stockhausen lectures all day... there's even a bit of stand-up comedy


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Old 20-07-2015, 12:33 AM   #4
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

never seen these ! pretty cool stuff , thanks a lot man !

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Old 20-07-2015, 01:00 AM   #5
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Oi, Stockhausen is an acquired taste... but thanks very much for sharing!

anyway, this came to mind:


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Old 21-07-2015, 05:48 PM   #6
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Awesome thank you v much for sharing. These are great

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Old 21-07-2015, 06:08 PM   #7
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

if you're interested in this kind of reading, this collection of Cornelius Cardew's writing is a must

talks about his encounters with john cage, terry riley, stockhausen, and the whole evolution of his own language

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Old 24-07-2015, 11:59 PM   #8
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Definitely enjoyed watching these videos. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16-08-2015, 12:55 PM   #9
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Drew Gress delivering jazz wisdom


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Old 29-02-2016, 09:23 AM   #10
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Reading this atm

pardiddles played by piano, "resulting motives". Everything Steve Reich

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Old 06-03-2016, 07:04 PM   #11
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

My old roommate introduced me to this Leonard Bernstein series of lectures on YouTube. I'd link it, but my post count isn't high enough yet.

My comp professor always loved showing us Stockhausen videos. His ideas are definitely conducive to discussion, but I've always been turned off by his music.

Can someone tell me how to get into atonal music? Like, how do you genuinely enjoy listening to that music without knowing anything about the music?
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:26 PM   #12
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

cool. Chomskyan music


"atonal music" is a rather large label. A lot of free jazz is atonal, serial music is supposedly atonal, musique concrète is mostly atonal...

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Old 07-03-2016, 08:12 PM   #13
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Love this. is the kind of stuff i love learning but i get anxiety attacks everytime i can't apply them xD. keep em coming.
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:51 PM   #14
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Jazz composer who talks about working at 7/11 instead of doing unwanted music gigs


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Old 11-03-2016, 04:26 AM   #15
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lug View Post
"atonal music" is a rather large label. A lot of free jazz is atonal, serial music is supposedly atonal, musique concrète is mostly atonal...
Agreed. And I feel almost the same feeling for each "genre." I'm curious about why you say serial music is "supposedly" atonal. When I was introduced to atonal music in school we started with Webern. This was supposed to be an accessible entry point because he often uses maj/min triads in his rows. Nonetheless, I was still kinda like, "That's a cool idea, but I'm not into the sound of it."

But I'm still curious how people get into it. My theory is that it takes a lot of listening to atonal musics--is that a better term for you?--in order to build up a familiarization of those sounds. I should probably go try that instead of internet theorizing. Oh well.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:16 PM   #16
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

I said supposedly because I thought of something I read in a book I have of Bartok's writings (a great read, don't know if it was edited in English). Bartok was contemporary to Stravinsky, and Schoenberg, and he was a witness of people starting to try and write atonal music, or people calling Stravinsky's music "polytonal", and also some of his own pieces are really weird, tonality-wise.
But in one conference, he explained that he thought atonality (from what he had heard), was really only in the mind of the composers, but not really in the ears of the listeners. Because if you play a note and then another, the ear automatically takes the first one as a basis to consider the second one. You can say there is no "tonality" if you like, but our mind will still make us perceive the relation between the notes, and arrange them in some sort of scale.

It's his opinion, again, but I find it interesting. In a lot of jazz music, or even in traditional folk music from eastern Europe, there is a lot of chromaticism. Wagner basically modulated every two bars; jazz musicians can go crazy with their tritone substitutions and interposed ii V Is. But these are still considered tonal somehow.

When you listen to pieces by Josef Hauer who called himself the "true atonal composer", you kinda wonder how is this any different from a jazz soloist playing colourful modes?





vs.





You do hear a melody. It's sinuous, but it's still a melody. Strange mode, sure, but I really feel that "atonal" only means "I didn't care to know what scale I was playing in". When you listen to it, you merely hear at best a succession of different modes, or just chromaticism.

I'll just add this one in the mix; I think you'll hear what I mean by switching modes in this prelude by Debussy. Sometimes, "atonal music" as it is meant in serial music is kind of like this but with no transition between the modes


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Old 11-03-2016, 05:43 PM   #17
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleverbeefalo View Post
But I'm still curious how people get into it. My theory is that it takes a lot of listening to atonal musics--is that a better term for you?--in order to build up a familiarization of those sounds. I should probably go try that instead of internet theorizing. Oh well.
btw what I meant in my first answer is that there is no "sound of atonal music". There is a lot of free jazz that I love listening to, but I've honestly never managed to enjoy any piece by Boulez from start to finish. "atonal music" is too large a label to mean anything. It's like if you said "I wonder how people can get into electronic music". But "electronic music" includes music from 12k Taylor Deupree kind of stuff to stadium-EDM, and similarly, there's a lot of electronic music I clearly don't like although a majority of my music library is electronic music.

So I guess what I mean is... it's a pretty stupid question

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Old 12-03-2016, 04:41 AM   #18
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Lug, reread your answers a few times. You're assuming that I don't know how big the category of atonal music is, but it's wrong.

Kind-of an aside, but I'd argue that what Bartok thinks regarding the mind creating its own tonality, even in the absence of one, is a mostly Western thing. That has to be qualified, of course. I think people who study music have a completely different understanding of tonality. Obviously you fall into that category. But for the general public who couldn't tell you the notes of Cmaj, tonality is a construct of their conditioning. Or at least that's what I think.

I got that you were insulting me. But why not explain your point before jumping to insults? If you feel like you know so much more than myself, why not educate rather than belittle?

In the US, once you get to a certain point of music study you start to see how music is broadly divided into tonal and atonal. What I mean when I say "tonal" is that the music sounds like there's a note that creates resolution. Atonal does not resolve. When I say I haven't figured out how to get into atonal music I include all the atonal music that you mention. I'm not into a leisurely free jazz listen or a Sunday morning Boulez session. The ideas of those respective composers are more interesting than the actual sounds produced, imo. So I stand by my question. It was genuine. What was the entry point for your atonal experiences? Did someone show you free jazz and you were like, "Damn. That's my shit."

Sorry to derail the discussion a bit.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:02 AM   #19
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

man I'm so sorry you felt like I insulted you. I added a smiley face next to that last line -- I never put smiley faces anywhere usually -- it was meant to let you know I'm only teasing. I'm not trying to be the teacher here, or to belittle anyone; we're discussing this! Again, I'm sorry. I'll answer your post later, I've gotta move, but I needed to say this right now

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Old 19-07-2016, 09:20 PM   #20
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Re: Composers talking about (their) music

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleverbeefalo View Post
In the US, once you get to a certain point of music study you start to see how music is broadly divided into tonal and atonal. What I mean when I say "tonal" is that the music sounds like there's a note that creates resolution. Atonal does not resolve. When I say I haven't figured out how to get into atonal music I include all the atonal music that you mention. I'm not into a leisurely free jazz listen or a Sunday morning Boulez session. The ideas of those respective composers are more interesting than the actual sounds produced, imo. So I stand by my question. It was genuine. What was the entry point for your atonal experiences? Did someone show you free jazz and you were like, "Damn. That's my shit."

Sorry to derail the discussion a bit.
hey cleverbeefalo, I'm coming back to the points you made with a bit of delay, but it's funny cause I had that same conversation with a new friend I made recently. He told me about a French neo-classicist called Jerome Ducros who fiercly criticized contemporary music by comparing it to dadaist poems, and promoting neoclassicism as the wiser way of making new music. He did this all at the College de France which is otherwise largely occupied by higher-ranked academists of contemporary (and atonal) music, so it stirred quite a fuss.

and the points he made relied mainly on the same distinction that you made, namely tonal v. atonal music. In his opinion, the fact that, in atonal music, you can "play any note instead of any other and it would still sound OK", showed that it was weak music with no dynamics. Tonal music, on the other hand, makes you expect something, then turns your expectation into surprise, and finally relieves you when your expectations are met. This, in his opinion, is the basis of any music, and is lacking in atonal music.

I'll pass on the fact that his lecture resembles an internet post full of rhetoric tricks and quoting out of context, and I'll skip to the most interesting answer I've read to his arguments, which was made by another composer called Philippe Manoury. His main point is that, by reducing the issue to a battle between tonal vs atonal, Jerome Ducros isolates a single parameter of what music is made of (pitch) and overlooks other aspects which are just as important (rhythm, dynamics, timbre), and Manoury then argues that contemporary music happen to actually focus on these other parameters, which makes the criticism from a pitch point of view totally irrelevant.

I think this point resonates strongly with me. If you're listening to atonal music but focusing on pitch relations, you're missing the point. Tonality is not the issue in atonal music, so it shouldn't matter what notes you play anymore, but how you play them, and all the other parameters that I listed.

I think the very first thing I heard that was strictly atonal was probably an improv session with Fred Frith (along with Louis Sclavis and Jean-Pierre Drouet), but if I had to pick one track that made me think "wow that's the shit", I would probably say Albert Ayler's Ghosts first variation from his Spiritual Unity record.



ayler has always been my hero when it comes to venturing out of tonality but justifying it with timbre and a fucking soul

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