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Two approaches to music

Two approaches to music
May 05, 2010, 01:05:50 PM
Structural/Architectural : individual sonorities, fragments, phrases derive their meaning from the overarching structure into which they are integrated.  This applies to classical music and death metal.

Sonorous/Aesthetic : Focus is on the actual quality of the sounds, which tend to form organic, free flowing structures around themselves.  Western musicians suck at this, as is demonstrated by French impressionist music.  Indian music is a better example of this approach.

Few styles of music fall completely into one category, the sonorous qualities of classical are quite deliberate, as are the structures of Indian improvisations.  The point is that these styles place their emphasis differently. 

What happens when one approach is ignored entirely, you get Serial music on one hand, in which the qualities of sounds are completely arbitrary, I'm not sure what I'd say completely overlooks the first approach, any ideas?

Re: Two approaches to music
May 05, 2010, 01:24:25 PM
What happens when one approach is ignored entirely, you get Serial music on one hand, in which the qualities of sounds are completely arbitrary, I'm not sure what I'd say completely overlooks the first approach, any ideas?

Muzak?

Re: Two approaches to music
May 05, 2010, 05:16:48 PM
serial music is the apotheosis of formal unity. ironically, this type of organicism comes from generating material which operates opaquely and to most ears ends up being more coherently parsed as the kind of "soundscapy" approach you're talking about in your second category.

to be brutally honest, there's been a lot of "let's categorize metal/music into n broad tendencies" lately and nothing non-trivial ever comes out of them.

Re: Two approaches to music
May 06, 2010, 01:28:39 AM
serial music is the apotheosis of formal unity. ironically, this type of organicism comes from generating material which operates opaquely and to most ears ends up being more coherently parsed as the kind of "soundscapy" approach you're talking about in your second category.

to be brutally honest, there's been a lot of "let's categorize metal/music into n broad tendencies" lately and nothing non-trivial ever comes out of them.

As far as I can tell, Webern is the only composer where this formal unity is anything more than theoretical.

Re: Two approaches to music
May 06, 2010, 04:53:17 AM
Structural/Architectural : individual sonorities, fragments, phrases derive their meaning from the overarching structure into which they are integrated.

I think this is the core of your point, and involves what ANUS calls narrative composition. Looping sonic wallpaper isn't that interesting.

Re: Two approaches to music
May 06, 2010, 01:40:09 PM
Structural/Architectural : individual sonorities, fragments, phrases derive their meaning from the overarching structure into which they are integrated.

I think this is the core of your point, and involves what ANUS calls narrative composition. Looping sonic wallpaper isn't that interesting.

The core of my point was that neither aspect can be completely ignored.  It's like a language, you put fragments together to create a meaning, but you can't simply pick and choose which fragments you use.  This is more the case with music because the fragments used have intrinsic qualities which are mathematically derived.  The Indians and the Chinese considered these qualities to be of utmost significance, it's fairly common for Classical Chinese texts on music to say that allowing intervals to go out of tune can have disastrous consequences and generally corresponds to social disorder, which is kind of interesting when you consider that westerners started detuning their scales around 400 years ago...

Even though the emphasis is placed on structural composition on this forum, this being the natural point of emphasis in any artform for Europeans, I don't think anyone really agrees that sonic textures can be completely random.  I recall a quote from someone on here, possibly yourself although I can't remember exactly, about atonal music being an obsession with the trivial and the inherent, whereas modal music is a way to create evocative melody.  Evocative is the keyword here, because it is the qualities of sounds that 'evoke', whether it be emotions, values, images etc...

Re: Two approaches to music
May 07, 2010, 02:51:49 AM
serial music is the apotheosis of formal unity. ironically, this type of organicism comes from generating material which operates opaquely and to most ears ends up being more coherently parsed as the kind of "soundscapy" approach you're talking about in your second category.

to be brutally honest, there's been a lot of "let's categorize metal/music into n broad tendencies" lately and nothing non-trivial ever comes out of them.

As far as I can tell, Webern is the only composer where this formal unity is anything more than theoretical.

He really is excellent. I've been listening to "Elf kurze Stücke" and it seems he is able to elucidate in a 30 second piece what other composers would in a 10 minute movement. No repetition, no wasted notes just fluid music.