Author Topic: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?  (Read 3457 times)

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Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2017, 11:19:07 AM »
Of course pop music is tonal. Whether triads have the same functions as in common practice classical music is irrelevant. The functions it has establish tonal centers in consistent ways. The primary difference derives from the simple fact that pop and rock musicians tend to think V-I cadences, especially those in which ti-do is prominent, are cheesy. So they use bVII to I, or IV to I, or whatever. The counterarguments ^ ^ ^ are like arguing that giraffes aren't mammals because their necks are too long.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 11:21:07 AM by BasilValentine »

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2017, 11:29:09 AM »
Of course pop music is tonal. Whether triads have the same functions as in common practice classical music is irrelevant.

No, because the functions of classical practice are what defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 11:31:19 AM 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 Monsieur Croche

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2017, 12:50:56 PM »
No, because the functions of classical practice are what defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music.

What he said :-)

Yes, pop music is 'tonal' based, and while this whole yea-nay argument is nit-picky, 'Tonal' on a classical forum does usually mean one specific thing and is linked to the era(s) dubbed Common Practice in which it was practiced (and upon which tonal theory and analysis are based).  Pop theory itself shows it is based on tonality while having little or no other adherence to any notion of chord functions other than I,IV,V, and as Mr. Valentine pointed out, 'substitutions,' those very substitutions also used in a loosey-goosey manner quite unlike substitutions are in classical tonality.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 08:49:14 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Parsifal

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2017, 01:01:13 PM »
What he said :-)

Yes, pop music is 'tonal' based, and it is nit-picky to argue otherwise, while 'Tonal' on a classical forum does usually mean one specific thing and the era(s) in which it was practiced (and is so analyzed in Roman numeral harmonic analysis).  Pop theory itself shows it is based on tonality while having little or no other adherence to any notion of chord functions other than I,IV,V, and as Mr. Valentine pointed out, 'substitutions,' those very substitutions also used in a loosey-goosey manner quite unlike substitutions are in classical tonality.

"Tonal" means having a tone center, and pop music certainly does. The fact that harmonic progressions are formulaic and often limited in scope does not change that. That fact that pop music employs non-triadic chords in ways that do not follow classical harmonic theory does not change that either.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2017, 01:07:12 PM »
"Tonal" means having a tone center, and pop music certainly does.

So do modal and post-tonal/"atonal" music.  What's your point?
"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 Monsieur Croche

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2017, 01:24:10 PM »
"Tonal" means having a tone center, and pop music certainly does. The fact that harmonic progressions are formulaic and often limited in scope does not change that. That fact that pop music employs non-triadic chords in ways that do not follow classical harmonic theory does not change that either.

I'm the first to jump to having said this particular discussion is all 'nit-picking,' but, we all have to make our own kind of fun.

The loose, general, generic use of Tonal would include pop music.
The formal, classical ~ Common Practice matrix definition includes Tonic (triad) as the tonal center of a very rigid hierarchy of triadic chords built upon the scale degrees, all of them with a very specific "Function" within that matrix.  Common Practice Tonal, in that respect, no longer includes 20th century pop music any more than it includes, say, most of the music of Debussy.

Repeating, this is all nit-picking between a loose and generic idea of 'tonal' vs. the formal (classical) meaning of "Tonal/ tonality."

Since even dodecaphonic and other serial music and set theory music is quite often tone centered (and can be and is called that), I would prefer at least some qualification added to the looser use of the term tonal to distinguish it from the formal Common-Practice definition and its meaning. 

And... at what point do we decide to transfer formal theory, tonal or otherwise, to pop music, and why and to what useful end?  So many of those songs that have the typical modulations by assertion (up a whole-step from the starting key, always used for and considered 'dramatic') often remain in that second key level and end there.  Do we want to get seriously pretentious and then start labeling this particular niche of the pop genre as "Progressive Tonality." Lol, I think not.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2017, 08:54:50 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2017, 01:33:29 AM »
I'm the first to jump to having said this particular discussion is all 'nit-picking,' but, we all have to make our own kind of fun.

The loose, general, generic use of Tonal would include pop music.
The formal, classical ~ Common Practice matrix definition includes Tonic (triad) as the tonal center of a very rigid hierarchy of triadic chords built upon the scale degrees, all of them with a very specific "Function" within that matrix.  Common Practice Tonal, in that respect, no longer includes 20th century pop music any more than it includes, say, most of the music of Debussy.

Repeating, this is all nit-picking between a loose and generic idea of 'tonal' vs. the formal (classical) meaning of "Tonal/ tonality."

Yes.

(All your musical observations well taken and of interest.)

My remark is essentially that here, as in a number of threads on GMG, the conversation spins about chasing its own tail because of the fluidity of the terminology.  Agree on definitions, and the spinning slows a bit, and may perhaps even cease.
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Offline Ghost Sonata

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2017, 01:55:14 AM »
So, music is developmentally disabled...
I like Conor71's "I  like old Music" signature.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2017, 02:18:33 AM »
I think we've just deselected development . . . .
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

millionrainbows

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2017, 07:42:22 AM »
Monsieure Croche said: "Otherwise, to call pop music 'tonal' is a bit like Humpty-Dumpty's pronouncement that when he uses a word, it means whatever he chooses it to mean, "Nothing more, nothing less." ;-)...Yes this is all nit-picking, while it is well on the side of being specific to good purpose."

Specific? No, academic. One of The Harvard Dictionary of Music's definitions of tonality is a general one, meaning tone-centric. In this sense, almost all folk, ethnic, and pop music is tonal, and pop music is specifically what we were referring to.

Tonality in the other common practice definition is so specific that it refers only to itself. What good is that in a discussion of different musics and different genres?

I also disagree with Brian's statement, which started this: "...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." I would use the term "Western tonality" to refer to Mahlerian's definition of the common-practice major/minor diatonic tonal system.

As a caveat, I also would argue in Brian's favor that many pop songs do fit the definition of the CP Western tonal system: The Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere," "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," and many more.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 07:48:36 AM by millionrainbows »

millionrainbows

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2017, 07:52:49 AM »
Mahlerian said: "the functions of classical practice are what defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music."

I disagree, and think that "function" also has a general definition. Any scale whatsoever can have functions derived from triads built on the scale steps. These functions are determined by the scale step's relation to the tonic.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2017, 07:54:36 AM »
Mahlerian said: "the functions of classical practice are what defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music."

I disagree, and think that "function" also has a general definition. Any scale whatsoever can have functions derived from triads built on the scale steps. These functions are determined by the scale step's relation to the tonic.

That's just making up a new definition for the word function.
"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

millionrainbows

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2017, 07:55:22 AM »
"My remark is essentially that here, as in a number of threads on GMG, the conversation spins about chasing its own tail because of the fluidity of the terminology.  Agree on definitions, and the spinning slows a bit, and may perhaps even cease."

There cannot be one single definition of tonality, since it has a general definition as well. What we need to agree on is their use in context.

millionrainbows

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2017, 08:01:27 AM »
"That's just making up a new definition for the word function."

Then if you want "function" to have a narrow, academic definition, then it applies only to itself, and can't be used in a discussion to distinguish CP tonality from other music (which you called non-tonal modal and post-tonal). It becomes a self-serving term which is essentially meaningless in other contexts. This is counter-productive to discussion of wider areas of music.

BTW, do you really understand "function" and what makes it work? If you did, you would see the underlying general principle that "function" in a general sense embodies.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2017, 08:35:27 AM »
"That's just making up a new definition for the word function."

Then if you want "function" to have a narrow, academic definition, then it applies only to itself, and can't be used in a discussion to distinguish CP tonality from other music (which you called non-tonal modal and post-tonal).

What you just wrote is, quite literally, meaningless.  Of course something with a specific definition can be used to separate things from other things.  That's the point of a definition!

It becomes a self-serving term which is essentially meaningless in other contexts. This is counter-productive to discussion of wider areas of music.

BTW, do you really understand "function" and what makes it work? If you did, you would see the underlying general principle that "function" in a general sense embodies.

You're assuming that function must apply to music outside of common practice tonality, just as you're assuming tonal must apply to other music.  The problem is that all of your arguments depend on this assumption, which is why you never prove anything.
"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 Monsieur Croche

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2017, 10:45:40 AM »
Monsieure Croche said: "Otherwise, to call pop music 'tonal' is a bit like Humpty-Dumpty's pronouncement that when he uses a word, it means whatever he chooses it to mean, "Nothing more, nothing less." ;-)...Yes this is all nit-picking, while it is well on the side of being specific to good purpose."

Specific? No, academic. One of The Harvard Dictionary of Music's definitions of tonality is a general one, meaning tone-centric. In this sense, almost all folk, ethnic, and pop music is tonal, and pop music is specifically what we were referring to.

Tonality in the other common practice definition is so specific that it refers only to itself. What good is that in a discussion of different musics and different genres?

One of The Harvard Dictionary of Music's definitions of tonality is a general one, meaning tone-centric.

"Specific? No, academic.

Uh... academe tends to demand being quite specific to the degree where you could say that specific and academic are virtually synonymous.  Ergo, you have from this dictionary that one definition which is the more general; saying "tone-centric."  Tone-centric includes, just as I had previously mentioned (and I was not making it up), quite a passel of dodecaphonic and set-theory music... the term is that broadly general, and that safely and correctly applied to much pop music as well.

If only that post which spawned this combing through the minutia for a reasonable term for pop music tonality had said instead, like the dictionary you have now cited, Tone-Centric instead of Tonal, i.e. had been as 'academically specific' in the first place, I doubt if this hiccup discussion would have come up at all.
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Offline amw

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2017, 11:22:41 AM »
The proper term for pop music would be modal rather than tonal. Pop music is based on scales, not chords, and has been ever since.... the 1950s? Something like that?

There is nothing "tonal" about a song based on a I-V-vi-IV ostinato, any more than there is any "tonality" in this piece. It's a mode, with a final note, rather than a particular centre of gravity. The same is true of this piece, which simply happens to be in a different mode (one with eight notes instead of seven).

Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2017, 11:51:04 AM »
No, because the functions of classical practice are what defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music.

No, it is not the harmonic "functions of classical practice [that] defines tonality as separate from non-tonal modal and post-tonal music," it is the presence of harmonic functions—of whatever variety—that systematically relate to and define a tonic. These are obviously present in pop music, along with a vocabulary of scales and triads it shares with classical traditions. V-I cadencial progressions are fairly commonplace, along with plagal ones, both standard in classical vocabulary. Circle of fifths progressions are also commonplace. These, along with bVII-I cadences and other closing progressions are understood in tonal-functional terms by competent musicians from pop to rock to jazz.

Cadences have always been the most stylized, ornamented and cliche ridden junctures of musical works from time immemorial. It became inexcusably lame to end jazz versions of standards on bare triads, so they added major 6ths, 9ths and other tones—something art music composers did too. I'm playing a Prokofiev sonatina that adds a major 9th to the tonic chord. In general, V-I is just too lame to be an acceptable conclusion in most pop genres. The very fact that it is routinely avoided to the point that it is rare, along with why this is so, is in itself enough to prove a kind of tonality intimately related to the classical kind is in play.   

Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2017, 12:06:52 PM »
The proper term for pop music would be modal rather than tonal. Pop music is based on scales, not chords, and has been ever since.... the 1950s? Something like that?

There is nothing "tonal" about a song based on a I-V-vi-IV ostinato, any more than there is any "tonality" in this piece. It's a mode, with a final note, rather than a particular centre of gravity. The same is true of this piece, which simply happens to be in a different mode (one with eight notes instead of seven).

Huh? That is a perfectly good progression for establishing a tonality. Each change is thoroughly grammatical and coherent in classical theory. And I suppose if it went I-vi-IV-V you'd think that was perfectly tonal? The choice between I-V-vi-IV and I-vi-IV-V isn't the difference between modal and tonal, it's the difference between writing a dated 1950s tune and one currently considered less hackneyed and lame. They are both thoroughly tonal.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 02:37:33 PM by BasilValentine »

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Do you think music has 'developed' through history?
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2017, 12:15:10 PM »
In general, V-I is just too lame to be an acceptable conclusion in most pop genres. The very fact that it is routinely avoided to the point that it is rare, along with why this is so, is in itself enough to prove a kind of tonality intimately related to the classical kind is in play.   

So you're saying the fact that pop music avoids the singular defining feature of functional tonality proves that pop music is related to functional tonality?
"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