Author Topic: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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I don’t know whether this thread is going to go anywhere, but it may, because I’m sure there’s a venerable and still very much living style of music  which is all about exploring the ins and outs of one note, one chord, one sound

The title by the way, is taken from The Magic Mountain.

Quote
Can one tell—that is to say, narrate—time, time itself, as such, for its own sake? That would surely be an absurd undertaking. A story which read: “Time passed, it ran on, the time flowed onward” and so forth — no one in his senses could consider that a narrative. It would be as though one held a single note or chord for a whole hour, and called it music.

So what music have you heard which is basically one sound?

I’ll post something about Scelsi later.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 03:42:05 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2020, 03:54:51 AM »
I don’t know whether this thread is going to go anywhere, but it may, because I’m sure there’s a venerable and still very much living style of music  which is all about exploring the ins and outs of one note, one chord, one sound

The title by the way, is taken from The Magic Mountain.

So what music have you heard which is basically one sound?

I’ll post something about Scelsi later.

Reminds me of the old story about the cellist who practiced at home just playing the one and same tone all the time. His wife asked him, why he didn't play different tones. He answered: You see, other cellists play up and down the instrument in their search for the right tone, but I have found it.
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Offline ritter

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2020, 04:46:44 AM »
Stockhausen’s Stimmung comes to mind in this context....
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 05:25:18 AM by ritter »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2020, 05:23:55 AM »
Ah yes, well remembered about Stimmung.

The  fourth movement of Scelsi's 8th piano suite. It's a transitional work, the 8th suite I think, and you wouldn't think the piano was a good instrument for exploring one note -- that's probably why Scelsi gave it up. But in this movement he's explicit about what he's doing -- here's the score



Like a gong.

And here's a rather good performance I think by Marianne Schroeder

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/d7RhQ_GOqis" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/d7RhQ_GOqis</a>

What is it about a gong which is interesting? The combination of a stability in the fundamental note and extreme complexity in the partials I suppose.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/8Zmbu1doSVc&amp;t=8s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/8Zmbu1doSVc&amp;t=8s</a>

There's a sense in which, listening to that gong, I'm starting to think that all you need is one note, that the music we all know and love from Classic FM went down one road with all that stuff about thematic variation, melody, harmony, resolution, counterpoint. But it's not the only road.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 05:29:37 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2020, 11:01:43 AM »
So what music have you heard which is basically one sound?

Not classical but electronic music: Autechre - All End

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/dVjlmLmAi2w" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/dVjlmLmAi2w</a>
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Online T. D.

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2020, 12:21:32 PM »
There's of course the version of John Cage's "As Slow as Possible": The performance of the organ version at St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany began in 2001 and is scheduled to have a duration of 639 years, ending in 2640....The performance commenced in the St. Burchardi church on September 5, 2001, with a pause lasting until February 5, 2003. The first chord was then played until July 5, 2005. The chord consisting of A above middle C, C above middle C and the F♯ above that (A4-C5-F♯5, essentially an F♯dim chord) began sounding on January 5, 2006, and concluded on July 5, 2008... [Wiki]

There has to be a lot of this in electronica, but I don't know enough to comment. I wonder about composers like Pauline Oliveros (esp. her Deep Listening Band) and La Monte Young, but ditto.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 12:23:58 PM by T. D. »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2020, 01:36:38 PM »
There's of course the version of John Cage's "As Slow as Possible": The performance of the organ version at St. Burchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany began in 2001 and is scheduled to have a duration of 639 years, ending in 2640....The performance commenced in the St. Burchardi church on September 5, 2001, with a pause lasting until February 5, 2003. The first chord was then played until July 5, 2005. The chord consisting of A above middle C, C above middle C and the F♯ above that (A4-C5-F♯5, essentially an F♯dim chord) began sounding on January 5, 2006, and concluded on July 5, 2008... [Wiki]

I am probably too conservative and reactionary, but what is the "higher" purpose of this?
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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2020, 07:21:30 PM »
The second movement of Gloria Coates' "Holographic Universe":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YXusTwfP7w

and other works of hers have examples of her patented extended glisandos

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2020, 07:24:30 PM »
Astronomers say they have heard the sound of a black hole singing. And what it is singing, and perhaps has been singing for more than two billion years, they say, is B flat -- a B flat 57 octaves lower than middle C.

https://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/16/science/music-of-the-heavens-turns-out-to-sound-a-lot-like-a-b-flat.html
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2020, 07:57:43 PM »
There's of course the version of John Cage's "As Slow as Possible"

Don’t forget that the real meaning or ASLSP is from Finnegan’s Wake: Soft morning city! Lsp! I wonder if Cage just made a mistake saying it means as slowly and as softly as possible.

Someone said to me that the score contains some instructions about how it should be played, but I can’t find it online. In particular there may be a note asking the performer to make the music in some way reflect or be inspired by the space in which it’s played. If that’s true, it’s interesting.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2020, 08:02:33 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2020, 11:51:17 PM »
Solo pour deux, piece by Grisey from the same time period as Partiels.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/BExiS0AgQwI" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/BExiS0AgQwI</a>

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Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2020, 12:11:05 AM »
The second movement of Gloria Coates' "Holographic Universe":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YXusTwfP7w

and other works of hers have examples of her patented extended glisandos

Whoa, this is fantastic! Can't believe I wasn't aware of her music, now I've got some exploring to do, thanks!

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2020, 02:10:45 AM »


Radulescu holds down a chord for 7 clarinets for nearly an hour, on Spotify, Qobuz etc, and for free on soundcloud.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 02:12:57 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Cato

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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2020, 02:21:02 AM »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2020, 03:38:58 AM »
In more classical surroundings there is the Purcell "Fantasia upon one note" for five viols. But it is only one of the viols which confines itself to that single note.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2020, 03:49:32 AM »
Reminds me of the old story about the cellist who practiced at home just playing the one and same tone all the time. His wife asked him, why he didn't play different tones. He answered: You see, other cellists play up and down the instrument in their search for the right tone, but I have found it.

I think this joke touches on something fundamental.

When you make a sound with a bow on a cello, the result is complex in overtones and fragile -- it may easily slip from order to chaos at any time. There are things there for musicians to explore.

Radulescu's Der Andere explores these things. I had always thought it was for viola, but I found today that it can work on cello, and hence this post.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 07:41:20 AM by Mandryka »
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Online T. D.

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2020, 07:33:25 AM »
I always meant to explore more of Radulescu (not overly impressed by his Piano Concerto but fascinated by his more "spectral"/timbral works), sadly never got around to it. Thanks for the suggestions. There must be many examples from the "spectral school".
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 07:34:56 AM by T. D. »

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2020, 11:12:06 PM »
In more classical surroundings there is the Purcell "Fantasia upon one note" for five viols. But it is only one of the viols which confines itself to that single note.

That reminds me of long-ago schooldays and singing 2nd alto in the Hallelujah Chorus.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2020, 12:41:43 PM »
Dumitrescu Holzwege.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/AVhgOhNxggk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/AVhgOhNxggk</a>

One note seems to be big in Romania. I think it has something to do with their mountain horns.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 12:55:27 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Hold a single note or chord for a whole hour, and call it music.
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2020, 02:19:00 AM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/dTZDCTzUcbA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/dTZDCTzUcbA</a>

Tristan Murail's Memoir/Erosion, in which the opening sound of a french horn is decomposed and distorted by the other nine instruments.
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