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Thread: Opinions on modern music

  1. #106
    Captain of Water Music some guy's Avatar
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    I can't imagine J.H.C.'s personal choices upsetting anyone.

    Corno's remark about which I was asking for details was purportedly about the quality of the music itself and about destroying the music of lower quality.

    Of course, except in totalitarian states, no one has this kind of power, but as the conversation was going that way, I was curious about the details behind Corno's assertion. I'm almost always curious about the (unspoken) details.

    Serassi1836 said "It's too strange and dissonant. I don't understand it. I prefer Bach..." which is certainly lacking in detail. But calling modern music an "it" and giving that "it" only two qualities, qualities which quite a lot of modern music does not have (if strangeness is even a quality, which I doubt), and winding up with a resounding vote for an 18th century composer (who is one of my favorites, too, just by the way)--well, none of that piqued my curiosity, that's all!

    But Corno's did. Maybe because it had moved out from the merely personal. Of course, for each of us, we each get to decide what we buy and what we don't. No one has ever said anything otherwise. Nor would anyone be upset by this. But the conversation wasn't about personal choice, it was about qualities of the music itself, and more, about choosing for others. What would Corno choose of my favorites to put through the shredder? And would he, knowing that they're my favorites, still shred them and why?

    I would think that anything by Lauridsen would qualify for destruction. No more hideous and pernicious filth could possibly be imagined. But at least one of his pieces has apparently pleased Corno. No matter how vomitous I find his music, it is now entirely safe from our imaginary shredder. And not only safe from the shredder, but safe from any (further) censure on my part, except when with people similarly oriented.

  2. #107
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Someguy,

    Heaven Forfend if your *censureship* position is called into question, n'est-ce pas? Nonetheless, it is always a treat to read the reasoning behind your assertions. You wish to keep an honest tack in each sub-fora you participate in, therefore now we witness how MIMF evolves.

    Respectfully,

    CD
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  3. #108
    Captain of Water Music Montefalco's Avatar
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    The problem with the 'shredder' is that if you don't like something at first, that doesn't mean you won't always dislike it. I remember hearing a performance of a Boulez piano piece (Douze Notations, or something along those lines), and absolutely hating it. However, less than a year later I heard Schoenberg's piano concerto, and I absolutely loved it.
    Things can also grow on you with repeated listening. Upon hearing Messiaen's Quartet for the end of time, I wasn't really blown away by it, but after listening to it a few more times, I came to appreciate it as a true masterpiece. (In my humble opinion, anyway )

  4. #109
    Recruit, Pianissimo
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    I very much enjoy modern 'classical' music, because it is so different to a lot of other music being written these days. There is a lot of different variety between different modern styles as well, which makes it interesting to explore. I also find it more fun to play modern music
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    Last edited by rojo; Jul-16-2010 at 19:23. Reason: Promo links removed

  5. #110
    Captain of Water Music Ouled Nails's Avatar
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    The problem I have with "modern" music is all the confusion arising from the many different uses of the word "modern." To some people, Bartok is old music and Frank Zappa or Lady Gaga is modern music...... Boy o' boy, it's a Babel Tower of missunderstandings.

    So, the question cannot be answered until the term "modern" is clearly and totally defined. First task at hand, it seems to me, would be to distinguish between "modern" music and "contemporary" music, explaining substantively or logically the basis for such a distinction. At the other hand of the aesthetic spectrum, and equally required in this discussion, would be to distinguish between "late Romantic," "post Romantic," "neo-Classical," and "modern" music. For instance, were Debussy, Ravel, Satie, Honegger, Berg, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Sibelius "modern" classical music composers? If not, what were they? Clearly not Romantics like Schumann, Chopin, and Brahms!! Not even late Romantics like Mahler, Rachmaninov, Villa-Lobos or Myaskovsky!!

    If these composers are said to be "modern" music composers then how to characterize the vast, vast cultural world separating them from Messiaen, Carter, Cage, Schnittke, Gubaidulina and so many others? If you say that the latter are contemporary composers, not modern, then how to distinguish them, most of them dead, with today's composers -- i.e., contemporary to us?

    Please do give it a shot! Otherwise this question cannot be answered.

  6. #111
    Captain of Water Music Montefalco's Avatar
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    That's a good question, ON - it's hard to say exactly what people mean when they refer to modern music. In this instance, I think the thread starter was refering to music which steers away from previous musical tradition, beginning with the 2nd Viennese School (You can include Debussy, Satie Sibelius etc if you want as well) and covering all sorts of styles - serialism, expressionism, spectralism, new simplicity, new complexity, other 'avant-garde' styles
    I guess Neoclassical, neoromantic and minimalist would count as modern too, because they are fairly recent styles.
    Contemporary classical music is, according to wikipedia, modern classical music written post WWII

  7. #112
    Admiral Honkenwheezenpooferspieler Corno Dolce's Avatar
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    Thank you ON for your most excellently incisive observation in re to classical, modern, and contemporary music. You are so darn right about it all being a Babel Tower of misunderstandings. If a composer is, say 26 years old, and living right now, whose music is often played on the airwaves, is he/she defined as a *contemporary/modern* composer just because they write/arrange music for electric guitars, drums, synths, and vocals? What happens if he/she also has the skill to write in the style of, say Tallis? Is he/she relegated to the status of *classical* composer?
    *If a man wants God to hear his prayer quickly, then before he prays for anything else, even his own soul, when he stands and stretches out his hands towards God, he must pray with all his heart for his enemies. Through this action God will hear everything that he asks* -Abba Zeno-

    *Protagoras: "Truth is subjective. What is true for you, and what is true for me, is true for me. Your opinion is true by virtue of its being your opinion."

    *Socrates: "My opinion is: Truth is absolute, not opinion, and that you are in absolute error. Since this is my opinion, then according to your philosophy you must grant that it is true."

    "Improvisational Art": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSxVO3EoCRM

  8. #113
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Arvo Pärt is not a bad example

  9. #114
    Captain of Water Music Ouled Nails's Avatar
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    It's actually very tough to answer my own question!!! Strictly speaking, "contemporary" means right now or a product of this era. Note that if wiki defines it as music since World War II there's going to be a serious problem in the near future when "contemporary," i.e., right now music has nothing to do with that of my father's generation. At some point, this wiki definition will become anachronistic. Perhaps it already has! I remind you that there's been a reaction among most current, living composers, such as John Adams, to what they perceive as the extremely estranging modern music of the fifties, sixties, and seventies. If they are strongly reacting to composer such as Cage how can they be bracketed as belonging to the same cultural era. Nyet! That's no good.

    Even labels are not fully representative. Was Ravel an impressionist composer throughout his life? I don't think so! Were Les Six identical, even similar in artistic development? Only very, very briefly. There can be no sustainable comparison between Honegger and Milhaud!

    Upon closer examination, these categories -- micro and macro-- don't work very well. They're heurestic devices that vastly oversimplify musical trends, to the point of being meaningless. Think about it! Individual composers themselves can shape shift several times during their career. Er, Stravinsky!!!! If Stravinsky is "modern" with The Rite, what is he with L'Histoire du Soldat? What is he with Pulcinella? What is he with Oedipus Rex?

    Labels tend to confuse more than to clarify....

  10. #115
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Why pigeon hole them at all? why not living or dead you can't confuse that one

  11. #116
    Captain of Water Music Montefalco's Avatar
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    Or just refer to them specifically by composer, then if people don't know what you're talking about then they'd have something specific to go on.

  12. #117
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    With some composers it probably is possible to say "everything of his is rubbish" but with others it can be reduced to a particular period in their work, in other composers it may be that I can only appreciate one or two works, example Shostakovich, Piano Concerto Nº 2 Op 102, second movement in particular is great, the 3rd of the "Fantastic Dances" Op 5 I like, the rest of his work holds nothing for me, much of it being in the "switch that *#/*% row off" category.

    Einaudi could bore me to tears if I had to endure it, so repetitious, I don't think I couild differentiate between one work and another, they all sound the same; as a matter of interest has anybody but Einaudi recorded (or even played) any of his "works"? Does he play other composers works in such a soulless manner?

    I think the majority of us are in agreement re Gorecki (possibly a case for euthanasia?)
    Cheers MIKE.

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  13. #118
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    I define "modern music" (as distinct from "classical" music) in terms of the materials it uses. I think all music, even throughout history, can be generally classified as tonal or "something other than tonal."

    I think music became "modern" when it became increasingly chromatic, and started using all 12 notes, or started with the 12-note octave as a PREMISE for dividing the octave geometrically; rather than approaching it from a harmonic, sensual standpoint.

    This means it's more mathematical or geometrical; it's concerned with symmetries and sets, "projections" of intervals, and the like.

    I still see almost all music being made today, including popular, folk, and jazz, as being "tonal" in this regard.

    The hard thing to see is that "modern" music can still be "harmonic" (adjective) and sound good to the ear, while being based, or using, "modernist" thought. In these many cases, we have many different "hybrid" mutations of tonality.

    So in this regard, I am a formalist. When music exhibits certain quantifiable characteristics, "behaves" a certain way, or is based on a specific thought process, it tells us what it is, and our ear/brain will detect this from the music itself, not by guessing.
    Last edited by millions; Oct-20-2016 at 23:23.

  14. #119
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Regarding atonal I suppose you are thinking of Schoenberg whose music I have never liked tonal or otherwise and I will add that I am not in a minority.
    What I call good music over the centuries has evolved but never lost the fundamentals rhythm, melody, form, this makes remembering a certain piece relatively easy and also why the masterpieces of the past are loved so much today, a lot of living composers can still write good stuff but there are some that I have heard (very briefly) that quite honestly seem to have lost the way.
    I don’t want a signature any more

  15. #120
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    There is very little atonal music around, these days.
    Music has moved into an area where it is neither atonal, nor truly tonal. It's new ways of conceiving harmony.
    Like John Corigliano, or minimalism; neither one of those is really "tonal," but it's certainly not atonal.

    What IS consistent is music's connection to the quadrivium. As early as Rameau's day, there were mathematicians making charts of how tonality worked, on grids. Key areas and modulations could be seen in graphic forms.

    I myself do not consider it a necessity to have recognizable melody or a catchy rhythm in order for music to create a good atmosphere and experience. Some of John Cage's quiet piano works, like Etudes Australes, are very soothing and spacious, a great way to relax after a stressful day.

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