Author Topic: Notes in music?  (Read 14421 times)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2019, 05:30:17 AM »
The composition is represented by the score, but it does not become music until it is performed, and every performance includes interpretation of the score. For that reason you are not listening to the composition, but to some performers interpretation of it. Think of the fact that two performers interpretation of the same score may differ so much as to sound like two different pieces of music. I guess this is the reason why Mandryka writes, that he is interested in performance, because this is what music essentially is.

+1 to this as well, which were in no contradiction with what San Antone wrote if only he'd change  " I enjoy experiencing the composition" to  "I enjoy experiencing what I hear."

No, really, this a crucial point (thanks premont for formulating it in such a concise and precise manner): virtually all the music we hear is essentially performance / interpretation. The notion of "music in itself" is nonsensical, both conceptually and practically.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2019, 05:46:24 AM »
+1 to this as well, which were in no contradiction with what San Antone wrote if only he'd change  " I enjoy experiencing the composition" to  "I enjoy experiencing what I hear."

No, really, this a crucial point (thanks premont for formulating it in such a concise and precise manner): virtually all the music we hear is essentially performance / interpretation. The notion of "music in itself" is nonsensical, both conceptually and practically.

Yes, I agree with your point and Premont’s. Music doesn’t come alive until it is performed, but then it’s an interpretation of what’s written. There’s no such thing as playing the music exactly as it’s written, because of the injection of emotional response from the performer(s).
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Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2019, 07:33:27 AM »
There’s no such thing as playing the music exactly as it’s written

Exactly. Despite often made claims, not even a computer program / robot would be able to do it; let's take Mendelssohn's 1st Piano Trio movements:

    Molto allegro ed agitato (D minor)
    Andante con moto tranquillo (B-flat major)
    Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace (D major)
    Finale: Allegro assai appassionato (D minor, ending in D major)

Let's assume for the sake of discussion that one can univocally program "allegro", "andante" and "vivace" --- yet I defy even the most skilful programmer / robot manufacturer to make them play univocally "agitato", "tranquillo", "leggiero" and "assai appassionato".

"The music exactly as it'd written" is an unattainable, utopian goal --- and as with all utopian projects I'm not even sure that it is desirable.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 07:35:10 AM by Florestan »
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2019, 07:57:44 AM »
What about repeated playback of a recording of totally improvised music?

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2019, 08:12:50 AM »
totally improvised music

This is THE most exact opposite of "music as it's written".  :laugh:
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 08:28:52 AM by Florestan »
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2019, 08:40:15 AM »
The composition is represented by the score, but it does not become music until it is performed, and every performance includes interpretation of the score. For that reason you are not listening to the composition, but to some performers interpretation of it. Think of the fact that two performers interpretation of the same score may differ so much as to sound like two different pieces of music. I guess this is the reason why Mandryka writes, that he is interested in performance, because this is what music essentially is.

An old subject of debate, which I thought was dead since long.  :)

Well, yes, of course.  But the work will be there no matter who is performing it. 

What I meant to say is that the differences in interpretation from one recording to another are not important to me.  If a musician presents a recording of a Beethoven sonata in a passable manner, I can enjoy the music Beethoven wrote, and will enjoy it only marginally more when played by one of the pianists often lauded as "the best".  In fact, even recordings which have come under blistering critical notice have been some I've enjoyed. 

I guess I am just not that interested in the nuances of interpretation. 

There are things which I do not like, e.g. singing sacred music from the Medieval period with instruments other than organ and high female voices.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 08:44:13 AM by San Antone »

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2019, 08:51:01 AM »
The philosophical point that:

The composition is represented by the score, but it does not become music until it is performed, and every performance includes interpretation of the score. For that reason you are not listening to the composition, but to some performers interpretation of it.

seems to me to disregard the existence of recordings altogether.  Perhaps you can replace "score" with "record" and "performance" with "replayed" and it makes a bit more sense in my real world as a non-concert-goer.  In that sense perhaps the music does always exist (like a tree) once the score has been performed and recorded and marketed.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2019, 08:54:48 AM »
If a musician presents a Beethoven sonata in a passable manner, I can enjoy the music Beethoven wrote, and will enjoy it only marginally more when played by a master pianist.  In fact, even recordings which have come under blistering critical notice have been some I've enjoyed. 

i'm with you all the way, with two caveats:

(1) "passable manner" is only "passable" to me or to you --- it might very well be "execrable" to many, even most, others,

and

(2) what you or I enjoy is not "the music Beethoven wrote" but "the music Beethoven wrote, as interpreted / performed by X". I am absolutely convinced that not even Beethoven himself as a performer played exactly the music Beethoven wrote as a composer.

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I guess I am just not that attentive or sensitive to the nuances of interpretation, unless there is some glaring choice made by the performer.

Unless by "glaring choice" you mean playing "grave" instead of "presto", or "piano pianissimo" instead of "forte fortissimo", I'm also with you all the way.

Long live (artistic) anarchy! Long live (interpretative) freedom! Die Gedanken sind frei!
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2019, 09:05:41 AM »
i'm with you all the way, with two caveats:

(1) "passable manner" is only "passable" to me or to you --- it might very well be "execrable" to many, even most, others,

Okay, but I am not concerned with other listeners' reactions.  Also, all of my comments are regarding the large amount of Classical music that I do not know well.  For works that I am very familiar, and love, certain choices will bother me more than for that ocean of works which I have only a superficial exposure.

I like Schumann piano trios, and have streamed any and all I can find. I have never found one unenjoyable, and I couldn't even tell you the one I liked better or best.  I just don't listen that way.

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and

(2) what you or I enjoy is not "the music Beethoven wrote" but "the music Beethoven wrote, as interpreted / performed by X". I am absolutely convinced that not even Beethoven himself as a performer played exactly the music Beethoven wrote as a composer.

That kind of splitting of hairs is irrelevant to me. Of course it is a performance by a specific musician.  I don't maintain an idea about the sonata in the abstract, or some ideal way the music is supposed to sound.  Generally, how ever it is realized by almost any performer will do.  I have been to many student recitals that did not detract at all from my enjoyment of Bach or Beethoven or other composers that were played.

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Unless by "glaring choice" you mean playing "grave" instead of "presto", or "piano pianissimo" instead of "forte fortissimo", I'm also with you all the way.

It usually would be some kind of thing that is an exaggeration of the intention, Glenn Gould's Mozart comes to mind.  But, really it is very rarely that I actually dislike a recording.

Now, for a work I love, and know well, e.g. Durufle Requiem, I am picky about the singing/soloists - but this is a sound quality not linked entirely to interpretation.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 09:07:17 AM by San Antone »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2019, 09:22:44 AM »
 

What I meant to say is that the differences in interpretation from one recording to another are not important to me.  If a musician presents a recording of a Beethoven sonata in a passable manner, I can enjoy the music Beethoven wrote, and will enjoy it only marginally more when played by one of the pianists often lauded as "the best".  In fact, even recordings which have come under blistering critical notice have been some I've enjoyed.
 

Florestan's post below point 2) is precisely what I would have answered to your post here. I agree completely with him.
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #30 on: June 01, 2019, 09:30:25 AM »
The philosophical point that:

seems to me to disregard the existence of recordings altogether.  Perhaps you can replace "score" with "record" and "performance" with "replayed" and it makes a bit more sense in my real world as a non-concert-goer.  In that sense perhaps the music does always exist (like a tree) once the score has been performed and recorded and marketed.

Recordings produce of course music when they are played, but no matter how many times they are played, they represent only individual performers interpretation of a score, not the score itself, and in this respect they do not differ radically from live performances.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #31 on: June 01, 2019, 09:36:04 AM »
Okay,

Excellent.

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but I am not concerned with other listeners' reactions.

Generally speaking, neither am I --- but if another listener's reaction is very different, even opposite, to mine, then there's room for thought --- I remember Brian and I having very different, if not opposite, reaction to a Sibelius symphony 9can't remember which one).


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Also, all of my comments are regarding the large amount of Classical music that I do not know well.  For works that I am very familiar, and love, certain choices will bother me more than for that ocean of works which I have only a superficial exposure.

Well, except for very, truly, conspicuously weird interpretive choices (Gould's Mozart is a paradigmatic example) I am not bothered / challenged that much.

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I like Schumann piano trios, and have streamed any and all I can find. I have never found one unenjoyable, and I couldn't even tell you the one I liked better or best.  I just don't listen that way.
an unenjoyable

Oh, to this I can relate alright and unreservedly. I have never found an unenjoyable recording of Mozart's or Schubert's piano sonatas, crazy Gould included. Actually, otomh I can remember one and only one recording of anything that I really abhorred --- this:



To make Tchaikovsky sound as lifeless, bloodless and passionate as a corpse is actually no small feature. No, really, this is the worst recording of anything that I've ever heard.

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That kind of splitting of hairs is irrelevant to me. Of course it is a performance by a specific musician.  I don't maintain an idea about the sonata in the abstract, or some ideal way the music is supposed to sound.  Generally, how ever it is realized by almost any performer will do.  I have been to many student recitals that did not detract at all from my enjoyment of Bach or Beethoven or other composers that were played.

Agreed 100%.

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It usually would be some kind of thing that is an exaggeration of the intention, Glenn Gould's Mozart comes to mind.  But, really it is very rarely that I actually dislike a recording.

Ditto --- and be it noted that I dislike the above Dutoit recording much more than Gould's Mozart.

Quote
Now, for a work I love, and know well, e.g. Durufle Requiem, I am picky about the singing/soloists - but this is a sound quality not linked entirely to interpretation.

Here I part with you. For a work I love and know well, eg Schubert's D960, neither sound quality nor interpretation can stand in the way of my enjoyment. I have yet to listen to an unsatisfactory performance --- some time ago I thought and publicly stated that Clifford Curzon's Decca recording was bad, but not anymore.
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #32 on: June 01, 2019, 09:39:54 AM »
Florestan's post below point 2) is precisely what I would have answered to your post here. I agree completely with him.

Mange tak, Hr.

Is this Google Translate version correct? I doubt it so p;lease illuminate me. :)

"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #33 on: June 01, 2019, 09:40:12 AM »
That kind of splitting of hairs is irrelevant to me. Of course it is a performance by a specific musician.  I don't maintain an idea about the sonata in the abstract, or some ideal way the music is supposed to sound.  Generally, how ever it is realized by almost any performer will do.

I find the distinction between score (composition if you want) and performance most important. What I hear in my mind, while I read a score, is of course not an ideal abstract performance but just my interpretation of the score, which is only one of the many ways the score may be interpreted.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #34 on: June 01, 2019, 09:46:35 AM »
What I hear in my mind, while I read a score

This is actually a very interesting topic. Is "reading a score" the same as "listening to a score"?
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #35 on: June 01, 2019, 09:46:54 AM »
Exactly. Despite often made claims, not even a computer program / robot would be able to do it; let's take Mendelssohn's 1st Piano Trio movements:

    Molto allegro ed agitato (D minor)
    Andante con moto tranquillo (B-flat major)
    Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace (D major)
    Finale: Allegro assai appassionato (D minor, ending in D major)

Let's assume for the sake of discussion that one can univocally program "allegro", "andante" and "vivace" --- yet I defy even the most skilful programmer / robot manufacturer to make them play univocally "agitato", "tranquillo", "leggiero" and "assai appassionato".

"The music exactly as it'd written" is an unattainable, utopian goal --- and as with all utopian projects I'm not even sure that it is desirable.

Absolutely. Playing music exactly as it’s written is a goal that will never be truly accomplished and even if you did play it as it was written, it may be against the composer’s wishes as I look at composition as this flexible, almost living matter that can shaped in a multitude of ways.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #36 on: June 01, 2019, 09:47:36 AM »
Mange tak, Hr.

Is this Google Translate version correct? I doubt it so p;lease illuminate me. :)

Selv tak, hr. Skulle det være en anden gang?

Usually - after a comma - we do not write "hr" with capital h.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2019, 09:51:41 AM »
Absolutely. Playing music exactly as it’s written is a goal that will never be truly accomplished and even if you did play it as it was written, it may be against the composer’s wishes as I look at composition as this flexible, almost living matter that can shaped in a multitude of ways.

Well, it's the same with literature. There's no such thing as "reading novels exactly as they're written". Is Don Quijote mad? Ortega y Gasset answered a resounding Yes!, while Unamuno propounded him as a commendable model of sanity.  :laugh:
"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2019, 09:53:51 AM »
Selv tak, hr. Skulle det være en anden gang?

Google Translate says:

Even thank you, Mr. Would it be another time?

It's the second sentence that I don't get.  :)


"Melody is the essence of music." - Mozart

"Believe nothing you hear, and only one-half that you see." - Edgar Allan Poe

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Notes in music?
« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2019, 09:54:17 AM »
This is actually a very interesting topic. Is "reading a score" the same as "listening to a score"?

Well, when I read a score, I use my eyes and hear the music in my mind, not actually with my ears.

Listening to a score would IMO imply, that it at the same time is played by some musician(s), and that you can hear this and compare the performance with the score.

But honestly I do not know if some English speaking people use the concepts in the same sense.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.