Author Topic: Unpopular Opinions  (Read 179233 times)

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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2540 on: January 24, 2018, 08:12:59 AM »
"Professional music critics rarely possess any aptitude for mathematics.  Hence, they like to compare musical processes unintelligible to them with the equally darksome methods of mathematical thinking." - Nicolas Slonimsky
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2541 on: January 24, 2018, 08:22:59 AM »
"Professional music critics rarely possess any aptitude for mathematics.  Hence, they like to compare musical processes unintelligible to them with the equally darksome methods of mathematical thinking." - Nicolas Slonimsky

Pow!
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Online Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2542 on: January 24, 2018, 08:36:53 AM »
there was a contemporary review that called a Berlioz piece (do not remember which one) "sterile algebra". So there apparently is some tradition here.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2543 on: January 24, 2018, 08:46:20 AM »
"Professional music critics rarely possess any aptitude for mathematics.  Hence, they like to compare musical processes unintelligible to them with the equally darksome methods of mathematical thinking." - Nicolas Slonimsky

I'd venture to say that for the rather frequent hating of maths no small responsibility should be assigned to dull textbooks and even duller teachers --- or viceversa.  :laugh:
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Online Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2544 on: January 24, 2018, 09:05:18 AM »
Most people are indifferent to things they do not understand and don't care for.
It is different with maths is probably that it is often taught badly but an important compulsory subject in most schools, so people come to hate it because they are afraid to fail.

It can be made entertaining, though:

http://www.mathematikum.de/en.html
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Offline Ken B

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2545 on: January 24, 2018, 10:30:19 AM »
Here is something that is very well done: helpful use of animation to explain a mathematical result which is not trivial.

I venture to say it is simple enough even for serialists and Romanians, thus providing some common ground :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaL_Cb42WyY
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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2546 on: January 24, 2018, 01:34:51 PM »
"Professional music critics rarely possess any aptitude for mathematics.  Hence, they like to compare musical processes unintelligible to them with the equally darksome methods of mathematical thinking." - Nicolas Slonimsky

Well that sounds highly questionable, given the well established links between musical ability and mathematical aptitude. Unless, I suppose, one does not assume that music critics ever possess musical ability.
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Offline Pat B

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2547 on: January 24, 2018, 02:14:52 PM »
Well that sounds highly questionable, given the well established links between musical ability and mathematical aptitude. Unless, I suppose, one does not assume that music critics ever possess musical ability.

Slonimsky was the author (compiler?) of Lexicon of Musical Invective. I’m guessing he understood exactly the implications of his statement, but probably with tongue at least a bit in cheek.

Offline 71 dB

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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2549 on: January 24, 2018, 02:27:04 PM »
Well that sounds highly questionable, given the well established links between musical ability and mathematical aptitude. Unless, I suppose, one does not assume that music critics ever possess musical ability.

From here, eg, the link seems to be between musical training and mathematical ability (and they're not sure of the exact reason for the link, either).  Many critics, then as now, are not professionally trained as musicians, making the assumed connection irrelevant.

Anyway, as Pat B pointed out, it's definitely written with a wink in mind.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 02:29:00 PM by Mahlerian »
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline ørfeo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2550 on: January 24, 2018, 03:32:41 PM »
*Shrug* I didn't have any musical training before I was showing how good I was at maths.
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Offline LKB

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2551 on: January 25, 2018, 02:11:52 AM »
I'd venture to say that for the rather frequent hating of maths no small responsibility should be assigned to dull textbooks and even duller teachers --- or viceversa.  :laugh:

+1
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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2552 on: January 25, 2018, 02:16:30 AM »
It's not actually about any links between math and music, but rather about using mathematical to express musical derision.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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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 ørfeo

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2553 on: January 25, 2018, 04:31:34 AM »
It's not actually about any links between math and music, but rather about using mathematical to express musical derision.

Which makes little sense. Trying to use mathematical as a derogatory term? A rigorous Bach fugue is a thing of wonder precisely because it combines mathematics with art.
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Online Jo498

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Re: Unpopular Opinions
« Reply #2554 on: January 25, 2018, 04:56:39 AM »
The idea is probably that it the art denigrated in such a fashion is overly theoretical, difficult, overly intricate, unspontaneous, unemotional, dry etc.
Which makes it really odd that "sterile algebra" was applied to the fiery arch-romantic Berlioz of all people...
Another point is that in some cases where the person using the derogatory comparison does have some knowledge of strict structural methods behind isorhythmic motets, fugues or serial music, so the comparison is not completely false although all the implications are at least misleading.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

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