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Thread: Opinions on modern music

  1. #31
    Vice Admiral of Notes, Dots & at times also Slurs corno's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    What kind of zen-like answer is that? It really doesn't make anymore sence to me now than earlier...
    If anyone can relay this to me... please feel free to do so.

  2. #32
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    Yeah, um I respect other peoples beliefs and that, but I looked within, and it wasn't pleasant. I think I've got the beginnings of Cholestorol build up, not much inspiration really.

    Hmm. I keep thinking of something Beethoven said when Eroica was being rehearsed. I think he said "The truth is I have taken a new direction with this composition, a new path through the woods" to which the reply was "What was wrong with the old path" well, the old path is worn, some people say completely worn out. But what new paths to take, when all the trees have been cut down?

    Ooh, I think i'm getting a bit philosophical!

  3. #33
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster theMusicMan's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    Some great replies here... good reading.

    I suppose it all depends on what you define as Modern Music. In the literal sense, and applying this to a broad range of genres, moderm music does seem to have a greater use of dischordant and not-so-harmonic melody and support lines, as well as what some might call odd time signatures.

    Here's an interesteing one - A few years ago I played in a brass ensemble (10 of us there) at a friends wedding, the piece the bride wanted to walk down the aisle to was not the usual Bridal March, but a piece called Serenade by a composer by the name of Derek Borgeouis. Nothing so strange about this I hear you say, but, the funny thing was, the time signature in that piece alternates from 7/8, 11/8, 13/8 etc... you try marching down the aisle to something like that. It certainly made all the guests at the wedding listen intently to what was being played.

    The use of dischordant lines or odd time sigs is sometimes perceived as againts the grain by what some might call the traditionalist listeners. Personally, I love moern music. I thoroughly enjoyed playing a piece where each bar was a different time signature - made for a very enjoyable piece to play and listen to.

    I love challenging the norm when it comes to music. Music is entirely subjective - what one person loves is another persons poison. A lot of modern music, especially when applied to the classical music genre, does just that - it challenges traditionalist thinking. More, more, more, I say...

  4. #34
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    We've had regular time signatures, then irregular and astheMusicMan astutely pointed out, changing time signatures. What happens when this is considered "traditionalist thinking"? No time signature? we've had that. I cannot see any ways to be innovative anymore, interesting and imaginative yes, enjoyable indeed, but truly innovative?

    Apparently, I'm a baby violin I play Cello!
    Last edited by Krummhorn; Aug-22-2007 at 08:26. Reason: merged

  5. #35
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    if I would think of reasons to include modern music on public concerts, one of the most apparent reasons would be to continue the tradition of the arts going hand in hand with the changes of advancing modern societies. Music itself and composers in particular have always provided a mirror of human creativity, social change, the polictical landscape (stability or lack of it) reflective of the lives lived by people in any age.. A sort of time chronicle. Think even of how since 1600's the march of harmonic freedom and tolerance in music reflects a level of human tolerance over time and place and in all musical forms.

    In regard to contemporay classical music composed in the last 30 years , concert goers have been literally left out of the creative process of the composer and the performers. Classical music concerts are notorious for keeping the audience uninvolved by throwing them handouts and program notes. We need to start talking to audience from our hearts about this music what it means, how it was created, the passion behind it and whats in it for the listener.

    Poeple gravitate to pop artists for the simple fact they feel included in the process and that the music and the concert has been prepared for them. People want to have a good time in listening and even music the might not understand can provoke their engaged response (positive or negative) if you make them feel a part of what's going on.

    Conductors,composers,orchestra moderators and performance artists need to open their mouths and lead people into our passion for what we do. If not ,we can never hope to attract new audience to art form. In a rock concert 30,000 people can be engaged for hours, yet in a concert hall 0f 2,000 half the audience walks out when the contemporary piece is played or many never came at all because of the comtemporary piece was on the program . The wake up call to speak about modern music has never been louder.

  6. #36
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    I think I've played that Serenade piece before in a wind ensemble. It really made us focus on the music, I don't know about the audience

  7. #37
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    Re: Opinions on modern music

    We've had regular time signatures, then irregular and astheMusicMan astutely pointed out, changing time signatures. What happens when this is considered "traditionalist thinking"? No time signature? we've had that. I cannot see any ways to be innovative anymore, interesting and imaginative yes, enjoyable indeed, but truly innovative?
    Perhaps we should look at something more fundemental - being innovative through our compositional voice.

    Just because a piece uses obscure and so-called innovative technique doesn't make it good music.

    Just because John Cage believed silence was an intergral part of music and his all too familiar 4'33 was born does not nessesarily make it good music.

    Sometimes we need to limit ourselves a bit, and yea, we are in a bit of state at the moment, but who's doing is that? Why is it considered lightweight if you use traditional methods, besides everything boils down to traditional desent, modern methods of composition are just an adaption or an upgrade to traditional techniques.

    Even serialism was brought about to bring order out of what was apparently chaos - but with it brought more chaos and debate.

    I believe some academics need to branch out a little, a lot are still stuck in this atonal/serialism malarky and anything that has a key centre is completely lightweight to them. Are they jealous coz they can't write a bloody good tune or coz they can't write beautiful harmonies using more traditional methods.

    No one is saying we should go back to the Strict Counterpoint days, but I feel all we have done is gone in a 360 degree. Instead of rules about staying in key and strict voice-leading structures, we now have strict rules about staying out of key, well at least for the most part anyway.

    As for where music will go now, it's awfully hard to say, all I can say as a composer is I think it's time for academics to get their head out of the clouds - music is no longer about pleaseing ones own ego, however big it may be, music is language of communication. Pop, dance, Hip-Hop etc manage to communicate to a huge audience......BUT......Classical composers I believe are more productive, consistant and skillfull at the craft - why the hell are we not dominating the world with the classical music like it once did.

    Perhaps we need to claim back what is rightfully ours, to have all the working class teenagers go to our performances. In reality this would probably never happen.....yet......but I think we can all agree, somewhere down the line, Classical music slipped from the forefront. Blame it on rock and roll, blame it on technology, blame whatever you like. lol.

    Let's just get rid of the ego of trying to always please ourselves, and think about where our music fits in society - music isn't really music if no one listens to it.

    Just ma wee 2pence worth

  8. #38
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    I think, one way of appreciating modern music is to listen thoroughly classical and baroque music, (as well as romantic and impressionistic) before moving to 20th century music. I think contemporary music is a heavy thing to listen to, especially for those who have just started being a musician. So maybe, a proper approach and gradual adjustment could help people appreciate the modern music.

    But anyway, since we are now on the 21st century, who knows, there might be another drastic change in the style of music. Maybe 15-30 years from now, we might hear music which could be more shocking, more bizarre, and perhaps we could say "more avant-garde than avant-garde". Techniques might be more different from what we've been used to. Different singing techniques, different interpretation and even altering the conventional way of playing an instrument, via extended technique. Although it has been done during the middle and late 20th century, some additional sounds were now experimented and produced. Ever heard of the "Vienna Vegetable Orchestra"? Instead of common orchestration, this orchestra plays Cuke-o-phones, radish-marimbas, carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, and other freshly made instruments.(See oddmusic.com ~ audio samples downloadable)

  9. #39
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Fretless's Avatar
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    I love modern music. I've been a musician for 27 years and only recently have really started to embrace contemporary classical music, but at the same time I have grown a fondness for genres like Noise and Technical Death Metal.

    I grew up with Baroque and Renaissance, and grew to love Romantic symphonic music without much exposure to 20th Century stuff aside from a little Stravinsky. In college we had to take a year of 20th Century music theory, which didn't do much for an appreciation of music of our time. In the symphonies in which I play, lots of the musicians are stuck in melodies and tonality and still poo-poo modern music. To me, much of the problem is that people don't listen to it on their own, and don't read about it, and it rarely gets played live, or performed well in local orchestras. They have a really difficult time letting go of listening to their music using their conservatory trained ears that depend on theme and development of melodic material to help them judge the quality of a piece.

    I don't think Classical music will ever be at the "forefront" and only was there when that was the only thing available. People will listen to the music that speaks to them, and unfortunately in our day and age people are so incredibly sapped by their daily lives that the only music they have the energy to listen to at the end of the day is that which is digested easily and "entertains", instead of music that requires thought and mental participation.

    It's frustrating that classical music of our era is not embraced more fully.

  10. #40
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    It seems to me that most people who dismiss contemporary music don't seem to have actually listened to any classical music written after about 1960. There seems to be a conception that music written today is still dominated by serialism; the problem is compounded by an apprehension that serialism is incapable of beauty. Essentially the most common belief is that contemporary music can't be beautiful and is essentially just noise.

    The gap in the logical argument here is that a lot of modern music is immensely beautiful. There are very few people who have listened to the music of Alfred Schnittke (at my insistence!) who don't find it moving and wrenching. They aren't surprised that he only died in the last ten years, since it undeniably has a 'modern' sound to it. However, they are almost always amazed that it is so beautiful. It's as though they haven't been exposed to more than three or four pieces of music written in the last 80 years, and have dismissed an entire century's worth of art on that basis.

    It's terribly frustrating and the only thing I can do is try to get the people around me to think again about modern music. Interestingly, the perceptions don't seem to be very different among musicians and non-musicians. At high school, our exposure to 20th century music was almost based upon the assumption that it doesn't sound nice and we should only listen to it out of some kind of academic interest. I remember a lesson where we listened to extracts from Wozzeck, and the discussion, as led by the teacher, was essentially, 'this sounds horrible. Why would people want to listen to this?' without any interest in identifying any beauty in it. It's as though we were approaching it with some kind of Romantic prejudice; a belief that music, to be beautiful, must adhere to a set of rules, and there's no other way to get at it.

    It's difficult to say the least. All you can really do is to expose the people around you to it, and try to get them to open their ears. It's not really all that hard to hear the beauty once you remember that there isn't a single art form that still adheres to 19th century ideas. It is truly curious that modern music has enjoyed far narrower popularity than, say, modern visual art, or (especially!) modern literature. I find it difficult that somebody who enjoys postmodernism in books or films will refuse to even try to listen to modern art music beyond minimalism, or whatever form of 'post-rock' is most fashionable at the moment.

  11. #41
    Captain of Water Music some guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Curtin View Post
    There seems to be a conception that music written today is still dominated by serialism; the problem is compounded by an apprehension that serialism is incapable of beauty. Essentially the most common belief is that contemporary music can't be beautiful and is essentially just noise.
    Tom, I cannot begin to tell you how heartening it is to hear someone besides myself and a few close friends say these things. Since much of the music I listen to, and find beautiful, consists largely of complex sounds, often quite loud sounds--and is even called "noise music"--I would never use "just" to modify "noise." But that's as may be!

    And your goal is to seduce people into listening to contemporary music. I applaud your tact and your choice of Schnittke, who is ideally placed for that purpose as much of his music is beautiful in the sense of familiar and comfortable but noisy enough to be beautiful in the sense of harsh and uncompromising, too. From Schnittke I would guess (hope) that it would be natural to go on to Gubaidulina and Ustvolskaja--and to Carter and Lachenmann and eventually all the glories of the electroacoustic world if not to the noise artists themselves.

  12. #42
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    I found these videos on youtube recently; found them fun. From BBC, 1997.

    Modern Minimalists with Bjork, Part 1 and Part 2. (And Arvo Part. pronunciation aside...)

    + YouTube Video
    ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


    + YouTube Video
    ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  13. #43
    Captain of Water Music some guy's Avatar
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    Always interesting results when emotions and intellect are separated and dealt with separately. And when simplicity and complexity are aligned with them, the results can be absurd. (Like Vaino talking about preferring simplicity and then playing for us some very complex sounds. Or even Malloy's very simple glass harmonica, which he tunes with the latest, state of the art, digital tuner.)

    I hate to quibble about these things, particularly when someone I like, Bjork, is promoting new music, which I like. But why must she promote mimimalism at the expense of other new musics? And why must she falsify history to do it? (Even that I wouldn't worry about too much, were it not that I've heard variants of her version many times, from many sources. When that happens, one fears that the distortion is well on its way to becoming the accepted truth.)

  14. #44
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    I assume Bjork promotes what Bjork likes. Which I guess would be minimalism.

    I also assume that by simplicity Vaino is referring to the construction of his works in general, and not necessarily the sounds themselves.

    But you know what they say; you should never assume...

    Care to set the record straight on any falsities from the videos, some guy? I'd like to know what distortions you're referring to. Although I think I already know a couple...
    Last edited by rojo; Aug-22-2007 at 22:13.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  15. #45
    Captain of Water Music some guy's Avatar
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    I was thinking particularly of the simplification/distortion that the simplicities of minimalism replaced the complexities of serialism. That music got more and more complex and more and more "intellectual" until it was too much and composers started over from the beginning, as it were, with the new simplicity.

    This was true for some composers. Some composers did react to complexity with simplicity, to serialism with the "new" tonality, to development with stasis. But only some. Not enough to make it so cut or so dried.

    And the choice facing composers was never so simple as between only two things. The only "between two things" choice that I can see is between two very big (much bigger than serial/minimal) things: choice and not choice (or intention and nonintention). Even that choice wasn't clear cut (or clear dried, for that matter), as many people figured out ways of having both in the same composition.

    One note for those who listen to these videos: I don't think Bjork ever uses the word "serial." That's my shorthand conclusion of her reference to music becoming increasingly complex and intellectual in the first half of the twentieth century. That, too, is only partly true. And if anyone still thinks the system of serialism is intellectual because it's so complicated, well, what about traditional tonality--which is a terrifically complicated system!

    Even "minimal" covers a variety of practices, some simple, some quite complex.

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