Author Topic: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?  (Read 1741 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline millionrainbows

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 202
  • Location: USA
Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« on: September 10, 2017, 02:10:54 PM »
Do you think music has 'developed' through history, or that this is simply a modernist myth?

Offline Est.1965

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 3902
  • Havergal Brian wrote two symphonies in 1965
  • Location: Clydebank, Scotland
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 03:36:20 PM »
Do you think music has 'developed' through history, or that this is simply a modernist myth?

It hasn't developed at all, methinks.  It has flourished this way and that down history, but in terms of music 'developing', there is more musicality in Bach with his sometimes fiendishly complicated counterpoint and crossing melodies than there could ever be in modern minimalism (for example).  But, having said that, modern minimalism (for example) can say in fewer melodies and complications something more profound than even the most death affirming Requiem or love affirming sonata.
So.  In answer to your question, er,...I don't know... ;D  But a darn interesting thing to look into!!   :)
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19542
    • Brian's blog
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 04:10:16 PM »
I don't understand the question. Of course it has developed. Of course it has evolved.

Do you mean "has music gotten better?" Because that might be a controversial topic to discuss. But the fact that music has changed is obvious.

Offline α |

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4862
  • Variations of Armature Pianist and Arm Chair Paris
  • Location: Land of electric sheep
  • Currently Listening to:
    You
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 04:27:47 PM »
Imagine it like a tree: The tree of music

It's starts with a seed (at a time in history before language) and over time builds traditions in many cultures that create more and more branches off those branches and from those branches grow even more etc
Tell your Pugg to stop rubbing his balls of my carpet, I just sprayed some nasty chemicals there.

Offline Monsieur Croche

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1308
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 05:25:27 PM »
Do you think music has 'developed' through history, or that this is simply a modernist myth?

Yup.  And, Million, I think you've chosen le mot just for what it has done, i.e. develop.  "Development" holds within a much greater possibility for the odd turn of events, sea changes in taste, whether for a lot of accountable reasons or those matters more the fluff of caprice that have all affected composers and their audiences.  Too often when this Q comes up the writer uses "Progress." Progress leads to an expectation of things going according to some organic set of laws that can take but only a few shapes or directions, or 'less than a few,' like minerals or flora ;-)


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

Online Mandryka

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8158
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 09:32:38 PM »
  But, having said that, modern minimalism (for example) can say in fewer melodies and complications something more profound than even the most death affirming Requiem or love affirming sonata.
)

If this is right it is interesting, so please can you support it a bit more?


(It feels along the right lines to me, when I think of Feldman, Nono and Luc Ferrari, though I'm not sure what you mean by "minimalism")
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 09:35:48 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darber muss man schweigen

Online Maestro267

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 871
  • Location: Wales
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 07:51:43 AM »
The funny thing is, the modern extended techniques have always been there. So why didn't Beethoven deploy tone clusters or instruct the pianist to pluck the strings inside the piano? At what point in history did someone just say "Screw the rules" and just go with what they wanted to hear?

Offline Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1583
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 08:03:46 AM »
The funny thing is, the modern extended techniques have always been there. So why didn't Beethoven deploy tone clusters or instruct the pianist to pluck the strings inside the piano? At what point in history did someone just say "Screw the rules" and just go with what they wanted to hear?

For both of those two things, it would have been Henry Cowell, in the 1910s.

There was a progressive loosening of musical syntax throughout the 19th century.  The reason why no composer before the early 20th century would have used a tone cluster as a basic element is that it wouldn't work grammatically within the musical "language" of the time.  Dissonances required specific treatment.  Then you had Wagner and Bruckner, then Mahler and Strauss, then Debussy and Schoenberg and Stravinsky, each set of names employing fewer of the "rules" strictly, until the last where any rules become merely personal.

As for development?  There are two separate ways to answer, because the word has different possible meanings.

- Yes, of course, music developed over time in the sense that it has continued to change, and will continue to change.

- No, development does not imply superiority of one period over another.

Offline Scarpia

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2191
  • Location: U.S.
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 08:14:21 AM »
The short answer is, of course.

All art involves a struggle to find something beautiful and original with a set of explicit or implicit rules, conventions and forms. In the "classical music" tradition we have begun with an exceedingly restricting set of rules (Gregorian Chant) where only the unison or octave was regarded as a consonant interval. That was succeeded by ever expanding ideas of what sounds good and what is acceptable. I.e. the 5th or 4th being accepted in organum, leading to medieval counterpoint, pre-classical counterpoint, classical, romantic, post-romantic, serial, modern, post-modern, neoclassical, minimalist, etc.

In many successive styles, what was "allowed" expanded and composers enriched their styles to push up against a wider boundary, in some successive styles the constraints became more restrictive and composers were challenged to make something that sounded new within a more restricted language. There is a hysteresis to it as well, because even if neoclassicists wanted to return to the virtues of Mozart's and Haydn's era, they couldn't "un-hear" Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, etc.

It doesn't mean that composers became better. Mozart and Haydn showed us what was possible within the relatively restricted musical language of their day, and later Bruckner and Mahler showed us what was possible within a much less restricted musical language. In each case they were masters of the field of play they found themselves on.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 08:16:02 AM by Scarpia »

Offline nodogen

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 944
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 08:20:36 AM »
I'd have to say yes music has developed; until the fiendish trickery of the question is revealed.
Sapere aude

Offline pjme

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 833
  • Location: Belgium
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 08:42:58 AM »
 ;) ;) ;) Sorry .... childhood memories.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zjHrmmFIErY" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/zjHrmmFIErY</a>



« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 08:44:37 AM by pjme »

Offline millionrainbows

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 202
  • Location: USA
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 12:32:01 PM »
I think Western Tonality, with its major/minor diatonic scales, was a dead end, and I am a modernist who thinks that musical thinking, and the resulting music, is a development past that, and is an 'evolution' of music in the Darwinian sense, since music is part of the Quadrivum, along with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. It's more like a science than most 'artsy' types will admit to.
This is obvious by simply listening to Gregorian chant and Renaissance music; even Tchaikovsky compared to Webern. That music sounds old. It is old, and much simpler.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 12:36:19 PM by millionrainbows »

Offline Brian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19542
    • Brian's blog
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 12:37:16 PM »
I think Western Tonality, with its major/minor diatonic scales, was a dead end, and I am a modernist who thinks that musical thinking, and the resulting music, is a development past that, and is an 'evolution' of music in the Darwinian sense,
Careful, now. If you bring in the Darwinian evolution idea, you imply that "Western Tonality" either is going extinct, replaced by the new language, or it will coexist with the new language for a time before being "defeated" (like Neanderthals). Given the fact that today's young generation of composers seem to be returning to music in recognizable key signatures - and given that 99.99% of popular music as enjoyed by 99% of "Western" people is still in "Western Tonality" - that argument is dubious at best.

Offline Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1583
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 01:21:42 PM »
Careful, now. If you bring in the Darwinian evolution idea, you imply that "Western Tonality" either is going extinct, replaced by the new language, or it will coexist with the new language for a time before being "defeated" (like Neanderthals). Given the fact that today's young generation of composers seem to be returning to music in recognizable key signatures - and given that 99.99% of popular music as enjoyed by 99% of "Western" people is still in "Western Tonality" - that argument is dubious at best.

Popular music isn't primarily tonal.  It's diatonic and triadic, yes, but not tonal in the sense that Mozart or Beethoven are tonal.  The same goes for the neoromantic or minimalist conceptions of tonality.

Offline bwv 1080

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1723
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2017, 01:41:23 PM »
Careful, now. If you bring in the Darwinian evolution idea, you imply that "Western Tonality" either is going extinct, replaced by the new language, or it will coexist with the new language for a time before being "defeated" (like Neanderthals).

careful now that is a misreading of evolution, simple tonal/diatonic music remains successful in the same way that bacteria and insects will always remain a more successful group of creatures than humans. 
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline α |

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4862
  • Variations of Armature Pianist and Arm Chair Paris
  • Location: Land of electric sheep
  • Currently Listening to:
    You
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2017, 07:10:34 PM »
The funny thing is, the modern extended techniques have always been there. So why didn't Beethoven deploy tone clusters or instruct the pianist to pluck the strings inside the piano? At what point in history did someone just say "Screw the rules" and just go with what they wanted to hear?

I wish he did  0:)
Tell your Pugg to stop rubbing his balls of my carpet, I just sprayed some nasty chemicals there.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 43557
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod nigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2017, 01:54:45 AM »
I do not see how anything in artistic method can be a dead end when artists continue to make use of it, and find inspiration in it.

The need to apply the idea of a dead end to the arts, is dogmatic and wrong-headed.  Whatever nugget of applicable fact might be lodged in there, could probably be better understood and expressed.
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. Franoise Gilot

Offline some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1874
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2017, 11:48:22 AM »
The funny thing is, the modern extended techniques have always been there. So why didn't Beethoven deploy tone clusters or instruct the pianist to pluck the strings inside the piano? At what point in history did someone just say "Screw the rules" and just go with what they wanted to hear?
The truly funny thing is that while it was always physically possible to make tone clusters or to play the piano's harp directly, it was not possible to do until it was. And it was at definite points in history, too, when things were done. And it did not take either "screw the rules" or even wanting to hear something particular. It did take ideas, though. And without the ideas, the things will not happen.

So no, the extended techniques have not "always been there." The instruments have always been there. (As it were.) The ideas about the actions referred to as "extended" have not. Of course it was always possible to prepare a piano, say, but it did not happen until certain ideas and certain circumstances conspired to that particular end. It seems so normal and obvious now, just like pizzicato does. But until someone thinks of something, that something cannot be done. As to what leads to the new idea, well that could be any number of things, probably different for each new technique.

Offline millionrainbows

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 202
  • Location: USA
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2017, 01:43:14 PM »
Careful, now. If you bring in the Darwinian evolution idea, you imply that "Western Tonality" either is going extinct, replaced by the new language, or it will coexist with the new language for a time before being "defeated" (like Neanderthals).

No, I think Western tonality came from the same root, but branched off - like monkeys and Humans coming from the same tree. Then Modern music took off from there.

Offline millionrainbows

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 202
  • Location: USA
Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2017, 01:44:55 PM »
Popular music isn't primarily tonal.  It's diatonic and triadic, yes, but not tonal in the sense that Mozart or Beethoven are tonal.  The same goes for the neoromantic or minimalist conceptions of tonality.

That's misleading to say that pop music "is not tonal."

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK