Author Topic: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition  (Read 6078 times)

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Offline drogulus

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2010, 02:06:44 AM »
Ideological predisposition does not foster an open musical mind.  And musical curiosity tends to cross ideological barriers.  At least, that's been my experience. 8)

       The reason it sometimes appears that ideology does not act as a barrier is because you're looking at a very special population. Musical curiousity among the irreligious art cultists* causes us to explore all kinds of music regardless of the predilections of the composer or the ostensible purpose of the work. Is everyone similarly open-minded? No, the art cult is its own ideology with its own habits and practices. The behavior of composers is instructive. They go along, as many listeners do, using the stories and symbols of a culture they live in, understanding it in their own way. Whitman can only be adapted so many times (many, but not many more). Listeners and artists that are both free to make use of what they find and desire to do so have a flexabilty of mind and disposition that isn't found everywhere. Most people have no ability to "transcode" messages like this. They think what they believe is true like gravity and art cultists are either degenerate or idolatrous. They're wrong, actually. Art cultists are really demonstraing they're not idolatrous by broadly sampling music produced by different belief systems. You have to have a special understanding of ideologies to translate them. It's not the usual way.

      * I mean irreligious in the operational sense, not avowed atheist/agnostics.
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Offline millionrainbows

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2017, 01:21:13 PM »
Tonality Is God

It's possible to construe that the system of tonality itself, based on an hierarchy of sonance in relation to a single tonic note, as the harmonics of a fundamental note relate, is a "sacred" concept, since it relates every diverse harmonic function to a tonic, which becomes the "great note,' metaphorically representing God, "the one."

These harmonic functions of Western tonality are based on the division of the octave into 12 notes, which was derived from the Pythagoran (imperfect) cycling of the 2:3 perfect fifth, with its inverted counterpart, the 4:5 perfect fourth.

Fifths are a value of 7 semitones, and fourths are 5 semitones. These are the only two intervals which do not coincide within the octave or divide it evenly until many cycles of projection are completed; in the case of fifths, 12 x 7 = 84, and for fourths this is 12 x 5 = 60. These are the main harmonic stations of traditional tonality, which is based on root movement by fifths as being most closely related.

12 is not divisible by either of these intervals, so an 'outside the octave' common denominator must be used. This makes these intervals "outgoing" by nature.

The other basic intervals (of the 6 possible basic intervals, not counting inversional counterparts) can be divided into 12:
1 (m2)
2 (M2)
3 (m3)
4 (M3)
6 (tritone)

These are intervals which coincide in their cycles or projections within the octave, and divide it symmetrically, so I call these "inward-going" intervals.

Conversely, systems which are not tonal (based on harmonic models), but use local tone-centers and small divisions of the octave (geometric systems), like Bartok and most modern systems which diverge from harmonic-based hierarchies, are "inner-directed."

These two different systems represent what I have earlier called "Western" (outward-directed, objective), and "Eastern" (inward-directed, subjective).

If we continue to stretch this metaphor, we can see that each system represents a different way of conceiving a religious system, or approach to the sacred.

The Western represents an objective, outer system which must be approached in a receptive (and many times literal) belief in a God 'out there' which is part of the objective scheme of things. If anything, we are merely small extensions of this great oneness, if that. Until we establish a connection, we are separated.

The Eastern represents a 'going within,' a diametric reversal, where we are connected internally with the sacred. For me, this is a more inclusive model, as every being is assumed to have an inner connection with the sacred, with no recognition of external symbols necessary. For me, this precludes the establishment of 'objective' belief systems of religion.

On a number line, these two approaches, the inner and outer, can be seen as two directions to infinity (God): The Western going to the right, in ever-increasing numbers, from 1 into infinity; The Eastern going to the left, from 1 towards zero, in ever-decreasing degrees of fractions.

Both are based on the starting point of "1," the big note, or the octave.

Taking this metaphor further, tonality can be seen as the embodiment of a Newtonian universe, a universe based on "gravity" and in keeping with a church-based view of Man, that God is the center of all things.

Atonality, or serialism, can be metaphorically seen as the dissolution of the Newtonian universe, and of gravity, into a relativistic, Einsteinian universe, in which Man is insignificant by comparison to the stars. Historically, this reflects the diminishing power of the church, and increasing secularism and a new scientific realism which now pervades.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2017, 02:55:52 AM »
On behalf of the many GMGers who enjoy and appreciate non-Common-Practice music, I want to thank you for your selfnessness in making yourself so amusing – by beginning with your own musical prejudices/limitations, conflating those with Universal Artistic Truth, and your subsequent repeated attempts to spin some sort, any sort, of dogma which suits the conclusion you’ve already formed.  The fact that you busy yourself with spamming multiple threads, many of which you have resurrected for the purpose, underscores what shallow agitprop your endeavor is.

So, again: thanks for the chuckles!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2017, 03:22:24 AM »
The fact that you busy yourself with spamming multiple threads, many of which you have resurrected for the purpose, underscores what shallow agitprop your endeavor is.

See my signature line.  :D
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2017, 05:19:17 AM »
This is a minor peeve of mine. Occasionally I run across a claim (or assumption) that a certain style (genre, piece, etc.) is important because it reflects certain political or religious values. Often there seems to be an underlying assumption that the ideology of the piece is more important than the artistry that went into it. This is especially annoying if the piece has no discernable ideology behind it.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3752

I frequently see this attitude on conservative sites - they seem to believe that if you are conservative politically (or religiously), you won't like anything more radical than Brahms or Rachmaninoff. In fact, you have a duty to like "conservative" music! Dissonance is equated with liberalism or radicalism.

One sees how insipid this attitude is when considering that such modernist "radicals" included figures like Schoenberg (monarchist, patriot, German cultural chauvinist) and Stravinsky (monarchist, Orthodox Christian, anti-Bolshevik).

In short: there is no such thing as a musical genre or style that is inherently liberal, conservative, socialist, Catholic, traditionalist, or anything else; and people who assume that there is are more interested in ideology than in art.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

If -- from the linked article -- you're not actually offended by {fugue} being  "this odd musical form sprung from the tensions of the religious wars," {one of those great claims, because like faith itself, it can not be proven; stating it as fact is ridiculous:-) then you are wiping away the tears that resulted from the gales of laughter produced by reading such seriously pretentious, made up pseudo-intellectual piles of steaming horse dung.

Of course, if there are actual ideologies 'embedded in music,' I've never been one to pay much attention to them, in that, excepting the inclusion of text or a title more than a little giving away intent, "just notes" are just too abstract to deliver the ideological / literary goods.

That a piece is "Socially Significant," is another topic of gravely dubious worth and distinction that pretty much repels me.  (There are valid historic and social contexts that have and do 'affect' the mindset of the artists of an era, but for me, there is only so far that can be taken -- not very far at all -- before it becomes a subject overtaking the subject of the music itself.)

So, yeah, imo a lot one finds on these topics, the premises, are basically a barrel of laughs from the nusically and intellectually impaired.


Best regards
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2017, 05:29:25 AM »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline millionrainbows

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2017, 09:21:39 AM »
Oh, but I like non-common practice music!

In tonal music, tonality is god. This means, God as as separate deity, and Man as his chosen subject. Very traditional. God is "out there" and we are still ourselves, with our ego and will.

The more Webern moves away from tonality, the closer he is to actually becoming "one" with god, more in the Eastern sense of "god is within us."

Thus, the alienation some feel when faced with the (to some) incomprehensible, mysterious later works: Webern's music no longer has any tonal meaning; he has reached the peak of the mountain. The atmosphere is thin, rarified; hostile to the comfortable confines of the mere human ego.

The closer we get to 'the light,' the more we disintegrate. Our egos begin dissolving; we are subsumed into the magnificent awesomeness of God.

To some this invokes fear and confusion; you must submit in order to see, to be; you must 'die' the death of the ego, to be reborn into a pure state of being. "You" do not matter anymore; "you" are an irrelevant speck in the vast scheme of things.

Schoenberg has touched on this as well, especially in Moses und Aaron, where the name of god is unpronounceable, and his image cannot possibly be shown. This is mystery, not meant for the mind of Man.

Then submit, ye tonal heathens: humble yourselves before the magnificence of the atonal god, if you want to 'get' the later works of Webern.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2017, 09:51:15 AM »
I want to thank you for your selfnessness in making yourself so amusing – by beginning with your own musical prejudices/limitations, conflating those with Universal Artistic Truth, and your subsequent repeated attempts to spin some sort, any sort, of dogma which suits the conclusion you’ve already formed. 

Hey, did Sean come back under a different name?
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »
(* chortle *)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline millionrainbows

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2017, 10:09:12 AM »
Schoenberg's journey into the 'abstraction' of serial music allowed him to create a music which supported and expressed no outward ideology or nationalistic tradition, but only the inner experience of its creator. Serialism became its own ideology.

The repercussions of WWII resonated well into the 1950s, when a new generation emerged and expanded on the methods and aesthetic of Schoenberg and Webern. The bombast of nationalism had almost destroyed Europe, and these new composers were disillusioned with all such notions of nationalism and state power; and the spectre of the hydrogen bomb still loomed. Thus serialism was the perfect vehicle; it had no traditional baggage of nationalism and was subject to no ideology other than its own.

Thus, although Schoenberg and the serial composers who followed acted out of artist concerns, with no overt political considerations or motivations other than general post WWII trauma, their retreat into the inner realm of abstraction, and into a receding, hermetic world of self-generating forms free of tradition, had political implications all the same, because of the inherent inner, individualistic nature of abstraction freed from tradition and nationalism.

Offline millionrainbows

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2017, 10:30:43 AM »
What is the root impetus of a Western-based strictly academic definition of tonality? I think the fact that Western classical music evolved from rituals and ceremonies of the Catholic Church has something to do with it.


I feel this "exclusiveness" of a Western-based strictly academic definition of tonality is also


• The impetus behind Classical music purists' attempts to exclude modernism and serial music from the canon;


• The impetus behind Classical music purists' attempts to exclude or reject Minimalism from the canon (Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, immersed in world cultures and Eastern religion);


• The impetus behind Classical music purists' attempts to exclude or reject John Cage as a legitimate composer (Eastern influence, Zen); and


• The impetus behind Classical music purists' attempts to exclude or reject broad definitions of tonality as "not tonal;"


...which excludes monophonic "world" musics as "non-tonal," as well as any music which does not adhere strictly to an academic definition of tonality based strictly on major/minor scales, triads, and functionality of these triads.


So what did, and does a Western-based, strictly academic definition of tonality represent?


It represents an exclusive, Christian-derived culture of music which was, at that time and perhaps still, a "good ol' boys" club with exclusive membership, which has excluded almost every other type of approach to tonality and culture except its own Western-style.

Tonality is God. Get it?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 10:40:49 AM by millionrainbows »

Offline Ghost Sonata

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2017, 10:35:18 AM »
There will ever and always be attempts to mold music into the ideological shape of the listener.  One of the most obnoxious American examples of this is political activist Lyndon LaRouche, still alive if less active, who while in prison wrote much that was utterly bogus about LvB.  One's first impression is to regard him merely as another nutter, but like a toxic spill he can pollute many a musical stream.  This, from Wiki about him:

"1989: Musical interests and Verdi tuning initiative

LaRouche and his wife have an interest in classical music up to the period of Brahms. A motto of LaRouche's European Workers' Party, is "Think like Beethoven"; movement offices typically include a piano and posters of German composers, and members are known for their choral singing at protest events and for using satirical lyrics tailored to their targets.[146] LaRouche abhors popular music; he said in 1980, "Rock was not an accidental thing. This was done by people who set out in a deliberate way to subvert the United States. It was done by British intelligence," and wrote that the Beatles were "a product shaped according to British Psychological Warfare Division specifications."[147] LaRouche movement members have protested at performances of Richard Wagner's operas, denouncing Wagner as an anti-Semite who found favor with the Nazis, and called a conductor "satanic" because he played contemporary music.[148]

In 1989 LaRouche advocated that classical orchestras should use a concert pitch based on A above middle C (A4) tuned to 432 Hz, which the Schiller Institute called the "Verdi pitch," a pitch that Verdi had suggested as optimal, though he also composed and conducted in other pitches such as the French official diapason normal of 435 Hz, including his Requiem in 1874.[149]

The Schiller Institute initiative attracted support from more than 300 opera stars, including Joan Sutherland, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, who according to Opera Fanatic may or may not have been aware of LaRouche's politics. A spokesman for Domingo said Domingo had simply signed a questionnaire, had not been aware of its origins, and would not agree with LaRouche's politics. Renata Tebaldi and Piero Cappuccilli, who were running for the European Parliament on LaRouche's "Patriots for Italy" platform, attended Schiller Institute conferences as featured speakers. The discussions led to debates in the Italian parliament about reinstating Verdi's legislation. LaRouche gave an interview to National Public Radio on the initiative from prison. The initiative was opposed by the editor of Opera Fanatic, Stefan Zucker, who objected to the establishment of a "pitch police," and argued that LaRouche was using the issue to gain credibility.[150]
"Unsere Welt hat ebenso zur Groteske geführt wie zur Atombombe, wie ja die apokalyptischen Bilder des Hieronymus Bosch auch grotesk sind." Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Offline millionrainbows

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2017, 10:47:28 AM »
It's too overt to call Wagner antisemitic. It's better to say that he was an example of the 19th century notion of the Nietzscheian "ubermensch," which inspired all sorts of egomaniacs.

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2017, 11:33:10 AM »
It's too overt to call Wagner antisemitic. It's better to say that he was an example of the 19th century notion of the Nietzscheian "ubermensch," which inspired all sorts of egomaniacs.
Or we could be honest about it, and say he was anti-Semitic. Just go read what he wrote, the truth is evident.
Offenbach gets a raw deal in recordings considering his talent! For a discussion of this outstanding composer too little recorded: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5572.

Offline Jeffrey Smith

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2017, 11:37:49 AM »
It's too overt to call Wagner antisemitic. It's better to say that he was an example of the 19th century notion of the Nietzscheian "ubermensch," which inspired all sorts of egomaniacs.

Actually he was both.  Being one does not mean one can not be the other.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2017, 11:43:19 AM »
Actually he was both.  Being one does not mean one can not be the other.

Indeed.

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Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2017, 11:44:22 AM »


It's too overt to call Wagner antisemitic.

Not too overt to call this sanitizing.

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Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline α | ì Æ ñ

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #57 on: May 16, 2017, 11:59:51 AM »
It's too overt to call Wagner antisemitic. It's better to say that he was an example of the 19th century notion of the Nietzscheian "ubermensch," which inspired all sorts of egomaniacs.

Why does everyone pick on Wagner? Everyone was racist back then, it took America a long time too to accept people who happen to have a darker shade of akin colour.

The human racism throughout all history has perpetuated and Continued the cycle of a lot of ignorance, misinformation, indoctrination, intolerance and bigotry, how is Wagner special in that regard?

And what does that have to do with this:
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 12:02:39 PM by Thatfabulousalien »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2017, 12:05:24 PM »
Everyone was racist back then

Really everyone?
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.Victor Hugo

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Re: Musical Taste and Ideological Predisposition
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2017, 12:09:27 PM »
Really everyone?

I'm generalising but yes, it was more common than sliced bread. Wagner just isn't special or unique in that regard
Tell your Pugg to stop rubbing his balls of my carpet, I just sprayed some nasty chemicals there.

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