Author Topic: Atonal and tonal music  (Read 19640 times)

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Offline ørfeo

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #700 on: May 19, 2017, 05:27:44 AM »
Okay. That does make more sense. However...

Being in the 21st century doesn't automatically free us from the memes that developed earlier on. If received wisdom is that Schoenberg wrote something nasty, a lot of people are going to end up with that idea floating around in their head before they ever actually seriously listen to Schoenberg.

It's obviously "better" in a lot of ways if we listen to new things with a genuine clean slate, but that's actually quite difficult. More often we have to fight past preconceived notions, whether positive or negative, and some people do that much better than others.

I often wonder how much my perception of a famous landmark piece depends on the fact that so many people have told me it's famous and landmark. Rite of Spring being an excellent example of the conundrum.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #701 on: May 19, 2017, 05:54:11 AM »
Being in the 21st century doesn't automatically free us from the memes that developed earlier on. If received wisdom is that Schoenberg wrote something nasty, a lot of people are going to end up with that idea floating around in their head before they ever actually seriously listen to Schoenberg.

Schoenberg may never shake off that prejudice.
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Offline jessop

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #702 on: May 19, 2017, 06:40:34 AM »
Okay. That does make more sense. However...

Being in the 21st century doesn't automatically free us from the memes that developed earlier on. If received wisdom is that Schoenberg wrote something nasty, a lot of people are going to end up with that idea floating around in their head before they ever actually seriously listen to Schoenberg.

It's obviously "better" in a lot of ways if we listen to new things with a genuine clean slate, but that's actually quite difficult. More often we have to fight past preconceived notions, whether positive or negative, and some people do that much better than others.

I often wonder how much my perception of a famous landmark piece depends on the fact that so many people have told me it's famous and landmark. Rite of Spring being an excellent example of the conundrum.

Kinda reminds me of the time non-existent book got on the New York Times bestseller list....only through people talking about the book rather than actually buying any physical existing copy! It's always a bit funny to know that what we think of anything is influenced so much by the what the people around us say about it as well as by the culture we directly experience.

One example of people trying to create from a completely clean slate would be efforts made by the New York School composers in the mid twentieth century....obviously it was impossible for them to ignore the past and ignore any kind of contextual influence on their work.....but it is an interesting thing to try to do because some wonderful music did come out of it. Wonderful music and some fascinating new approaches to composition as well.

Offline Thatfabulousalien

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #703 on: May 19, 2017, 06:15:41 PM »
I often wonder how much my perception of a famous landmark piece depends on the fact that so many people have told me it's famous and landmark. Rite of Spring being an excellent example of the conundrum.

I also wonder that, there seems to be quite a lot of sensationalist publicism surrounding that work. It certainly has enough to satisfy both conservative and modern audiences but there are a lot of misconceptions about it, in my experience. It wasn't the heaviest work at the time and it wasn't the first Stravinsky piece that experimented with rhythm and meter (both things it's often praised highly for). The whole riot scene seems to have been a big selling point, you know: "Hey this piece started a riot back in 1913 (like that's never happened before  :laugh: ), you should listen to it?"

Kinda reminds me of the time non-existent book got on the New York Times bestseller list

I, Libertine right? that's crazy stuff. Speaking of that, it reminds me of that case of the song "Rock N' Steady" by D.A. that topped the billboard charts in the 70s. It was long unknown if the song actually ever existed and if it ever actually played on the radio at all.
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Offline Uhor

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #704 on: May 21, 2017, 12:14:37 AM »
Somehow the more a presenter insists in the "genius" of a work, the less I believe it. It is enough to point out guidelines for listening a work, whether it does or not better be left to the listener. Then again (in the real world) marketing is a lot, so there has to be a compromise. Yet, it is difficult for people on a budget to think hard and try.

Offline some guy

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #705 on: May 21, 2017, 03:16:41 AM »
It's obviously "better" in a lot of ways if we listen to new things with a genuine clean slate, but that's actually quite difficult.
Impossible, I would say. But that's OK, I also don't think that the whole "clean slate" idea is any more than chimerical. Which is also OK, as if it were genuine, it would be undesirable.

More often we have to fight past preconceived notions, whether positive or negative, and some people do that much better than others.
I cannot imagine that positive notions need to be fought past. Negative, sure. But positive? (I don't think that positive and negative are in any way equivalent. Well, except for in the context of electricity, maybe.)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 01:20:35 AM by some guy »

Offline ørfeo

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #706 on: May 21, 2017, 05:27:22 AM »
I cannot imagine that positive notions need to be fought past.

Imagine that you hear a piece that everyone keeps telling you is wonderful, and you don't really like it, but feel that you're meant to like it otherwise there is something wrong with you.
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #707 on: May 21, 2017, 07:45:38 PM »
Imagine that you hear a piece that everyone keeps telling you is wonderful, and you don't really like it, but feel that you're meant to like it otherwise there is something wrong with you.

That's not "fighting past positive notions", though, is it? That's being embarrassed to not like something everyone else apparently likes. To me, "fighting past positive notions" suggests that you like the piece but are actively trying not to like it, which must be the most bizarre way to spend your listening time I can think of.

Offline some guy

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #708 on: May 22, 2017, 01:34:53 AM »
Imagine that you hear a piece that everyone keeps telling you is wonderful, and you don't really like it, but feel that you're meant to like it otherwise there is something wrong with you.
I can do that, that imagining thing.

And what I get out of that exercise is that I would have to be very insecure to feel that there was something wrong with me for not liking that piece because everyone tells me it's wonderful.

Of course, I also think that "wonderful" does not describe the object so much as it expresses what happens when the subject engages with the object. So "everyone" is having a wonderful experience; I am not, not with this particular piece.

Also, if I dislike a piece, disregarding anyone else's experience with it, I do try to figure out what it is about me that is keeping me from enjoying it. But I don't beat myself up about it. But a disliked piece--I'm with Copland on this--is for me a piece (!) of unfinished business.

Offline ørfeo

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #709 on: May 22, 2017, 02:49:51 AM »
That's not "fighting past positive notions", though, is it? That's being embarrassed to not like something everyone else apparently likes. To me, "fighting past positive notions" suggests that you like the piece but are actively trying not to like it, which must be the most bizarre way to spend your listening time I can think of.

And given the context (all of which pointed to the notions belonging to OTHER PEOPLE), that is the most bizarre interpretation of what I wrote that you can come up with.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 02:54:13 AM by ørfeo »
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Offline Crudblud

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #710 on: May 22, 2017, 10:46:31 PM »
And given the context (all of which pointed to the notions belonging to OTHER PEOPLE), that is the most bizarre interpretation of what I wrote that you can come up with.

In the quoted example, other people's notions have nothing to do with whether or not the listener likes Piece X, only with their fear of going against the consensus. The listener's natural reaction to Piece X is not going to be affected by a fear of being "wrong", but it may lead them them to avoid stating their opinion. Maybe I'm just being dense, but trying to fight one's own natural like of Piece X is the only interpretation of "fighting past positive notions" I can come up with that makes any sense to me.

Offline ørfeo

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #711 on: May 23, 2017, 02:03:20 AM »
Listen, bud, if you walk in and read a single post out of context from the conversation that preceded it, I don't have any time for you and I'm not going to attempt to discuss this any further. Everything you want is there if you lift your eyes higher up the screen.
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Offline jessop

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Re: Atonal and tonal music
« Reply #712 on: May 23, 2017, 05:14:33 AM »
Orfeo is a bit high-strung; don't worry about him, Crudblud. ;D

I do get what Orfeo is saying here though, and I do believe it can come across as being embarrassed by something one creates that others particularly like. It happens to everyone, I guess, but it's just something to shrug off rather than get hung up about, right?

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