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gsmonks - so, by that rationale, a heavy metal guitarist who secretly enjoys Bach's inventions would also have a "guilty pleasure" ...? Seems like an inappropriate term to apply "universally." There's nothing guilty about enjoying a variety of music.

Speaking of Heavy Metal... Would you not also consider the New Wave of American Heavy Metal to be groundbreaking? With it came a flood of fresh ideas and new, original sounds. 100% original? Gosh no. It built heavily on its predecessors, like all other forms of music. But it also fits in that list you wrote... Which unsurprisingly only included explicitly "art music" advancements. But you yourself said that classicism is an underlying feature of all progression in music.

For the record, I strongly dislike serialism. I find it pretentious and utterly devoid of feeling. Schoenberg is without a doubt one of my least favorite composers, and I honestly cannot find any enjoyment in his twelve tone technique. I'd love to find an exception to this! But I have not yet. However, in general I love the use of chromaticism. It adds an entirely new range of color to diatonic music. But that opens a new can of worms - what about semitones? What about cultural music OTHER than just European tonality?

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Lots of Heavy Metal music has been groundbreaking. In fact, of all the pop forms, Heavy Metal is one of the most highly regarded by classical and jazz musicians. It's a form that always seems to have attracted innovators. When you have classical and jazz composers and arrangers paying attention to your arrangements and voicings in order to enhance their own music, then you know you've done something right.

Well, Jared, if you like Also Sprach Zarathustra, then you like serialism. It just means that you dislike certain types of serialism. I personally really like pure serialism, so pure serialism (like anything else) is a matter of taste.

As far as other forms of music goes, that's not part of the discussion. The discussion is about the Western classical musical tradition. While I realise that composers such as Darius Milhaud (a student of Debussy) was an advocate of travelling the world in order to explore other cultures and their music, there is a limit as to what Western music can reasonably be asked to assimilate. Attempts have been made in various such directions, but they often involve the assimilation of other tuning methods, which many Western instruments are not equipped to do.

Quarter-tone instruments are available (voice, the strings and trombones have nothing to worry about in this department), and a fair number of classical musicians own them (a friend of mine back in university owned a quarter-tone flugelhorn, for example), and strings, trombones and voice can handle third-tone music as well, but music exploring these areas has always been restricted to a handful of novel curiosities.

Here's some Arnold I just love:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysBsvEBGXXQ

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Originally Posted by gsmonks
A guilty pleasure is the enjoyment of something you shouldn't like. For example, I like old-time fiddle music despite the fact that I'm a classically-trained musician.

Dunno why you can't wrap your head around the notion. It's pretty much universal.
I think it's because it's far from being nice. Naming something 'guilty pleasure' puts automatically a lower value to it. I mean if I go, in this very forum, "My guilty pleasure is listening to Chopin works", I think I'll get flammed, banned, beaten up, etc! laugh This is how this term is applied in all honesty!

Now, on exploring new grounds. Sure explore. I've done so for the most part of my (somewhat short I'll admit) life. But in the end what is also important in music is communication: With the performers, the audience and the other composers alike! It's crucial I'd say and it's something that people, especially students tend to forget!

Totally unique, and totally new in aesthetics is non existant. In techniques it can be found however. And I do feel that a composers job is not to rearrange conviniently other peoples techniques but create their own along the way.

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I always think of composers as “arrangers” of music rather than composers of music (creators). We arrange the 12 half-tones and their octaves in infinite ways (melodically & rhythmically). God is the only creator. He gave us the raw materials.

One attribute of composing that stands out among the great composers is a signature in all their work. When one hears a piece by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, etc., there is automatic recognition of that composer.

I tend to reside in the Romantic Era in much of my music – though only by emotional default. To say one Romantic Era composer is more original than another is nonsensical. The idea of giving more status/credibility to music being composed using new/newer “systems” is a poor process of appraising music. “New” for newness sake is irrelevant and so confining. I’d much rather compose from a free heart, than to be confined to some original, restricted system (though I'm restricted by my emotions).

Pertaining to originality… by using the new/original “system” means of appraising music, most music would have to be deemed unoriginal. We would only need Scott Joplin’s first piano rag, Chopin’s first waltz, Haydn’s first symphony, etc. – because the following works by these composers would no longer be original, since they’re based on a previous work/system of that composer.

We all use accumulated knowledge from the past. All the great composers were influenced by past accomplishments of others. The writing down of ideas to be passed on to future generations is man’s greatest achievement. If not for this, music would still exist only in the most primitive form.

My idea of good/great music is music that touches my heart and emotions (using any system). The method I use to determine originality is whether I can identify the piece as having already been composed (to my knowledge “Peculiar Nightmare” hasn’t been). No way of knowing that for sure, because of every composer we’re familiar with, there are thousands of other composers we’ll never hear.

So I stand by my signature 100%.


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Yes, well, this thread is about advancing Western music. How many times do I have to repeat that? If you don't like rock 'n' roll, you don't go to a rock concert to complain about it. Similarly with this thread. It's about finding ways to advance Western music. If you're not talking about ways to advance Western music, you're cross-talking and derailing the thread.

Another little advance I came up with is a serial form that doesn't use a 12-tone row. I've come up with a number of formulas for coming up with tone rows of absolutely any length (which is a limitation I don't care for in serialism). The trick is to avoid patterns you'll come across in tonality. I altered this characteristic to accommodate rows which move in tonal fashion for a few notes at a time, but not long enough to establish tonality over all.

BTW- Johnny Boy, what sound-generating contraption(s) were you using in Peculiar Nightmare? The strings sound mighty nice!

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Western music? Rock 'n' Roll is Western music. If you're referring to Western "Classical" music, then define your meaning of "Classical". Some use the term classical in referring to serious music in general. If you're referring to music in the Classical period - it can't be advanced because that Era is past.

I'm guessing you mean "serious" music as opposed to popular music, though some serious music is also popular - and some popular music is serious. I'm not trying to be a wise guy gsmonks - really. I think you have to define your meaning of Western music.

BTW, the violin sound comes from the Kirk Hunter sample collection. I'm using Logic Pro as my DAW.

John smile


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"Serial form that doesn't use a 12-tone row" gsmonks

I would find composing from such formulas to be very distracting and lifeless. Maybe you could post an example.

John smile


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Building on what John said, gsmonks, you never mentioned the advancement of Western Classical music specifically in your original post. "Western Music" encompasses a massive variety of styles, all built around the 12 pitch system. You failed to define exactly what you meant by western music. This wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the fact that you seem so upset that we are "derailing" your thread with music that isn't explicitly "Western Artistic" in nature. Classical is a misnomer because it implies a past time period. If you want to box yourself in to nothing but western artistic music, that's fine, but again that is not a very progressive way to view music overall.

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Read the header- Exploring New Ground.

Read the heading of the section- Composer's Lounge

Read the posts- we're dealing mainly with classical music.

Western Music is a term that encompasses music which uses the same devices used in classical music.

"Classical music" covers everything from Leoninus & Perotinus to Ligeti and the present day. If you don't understand what category Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Debussy and Ligeti collectively fall into, then there's nothing I can do to help you.

I don't need to restate what this thread is about. If talk about serialism, Bach counterpoint and bi-tonality hasn't sunk in by now, you have serious problems with basic comprehension, either from ADD, ADHD, stupidity, or a desire to be annoying, the latter of which seems self-evident.

I don't have the equipment (yet) to post examples, Johnny Boy. I asked how you guys inserted YouTube into these posts and no one deigned to reply. If you've checked out my books of "guilty pleasure" piano music, you'll see that they were done with pen, ink & manuscript paper. In my music room there are two pianos, a lot of brass instruments, several stringed instruments, a clarinet, a few pieces of percussion, several music stands, two filing cabinets full of music, a bunch of folded-up cardboard bandstands, and this computer, which is strategically placed in front of the window. Oh, yes, and a wooden wind-up metronome, and a vase with several pens, pencils and baton handles sticking out of it, sitting on top of a pile of blank manuscript paper.

Regardless, did you listen to the Schoenburg symphony (about 7 posts back)? If that's "distracting and lifeless" music, then I'm an aardvark.

I really don't think you guys are the least bit interested in this thread, which causes me to wonder why you keep posting in it?

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Here's the most well-known piece of serial music ever written:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5YSgPZ-OK4&feature=fvsr

Many millions of people who were young in 1964 can whistle this piece. In fact, we used to play this in band when I was young, just as The Simpson's theme by Danny Elfman was played by many a school band in the 1990's.

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Here's what the band arrangement sounds like (sorry- really bad quality but it's the only one I could find):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnlbyloGMoU&feature=related

Anyway- the point is, there's not only nothing wrong with serial music, but certain examples have enjoyed the same lasting popularity as any other piece of music.

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I think the original Star Trek used serial music quite a bit. That and Wild Wild West. smile

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GROUP HUG. LET'S ALL BE FRIENDS PLZ KTHX.

I'm not trying to be annoying gsmonks. I would appreciate it if you were more polite. Why does this have to be so grumpy? Why can't we just have a nice talk about the progression of music? "Exploring New Ground" does not imply Classicism. In a musical context, all it suggests is trying out new or previously unexplored techniques and ideas. The fact that this is the Composers' Forum does not in any way imply classicism. Do you think Composers' are confined to Classical music techniques? There are a lot of composers out there who are much more broad, venturing beyond Classical and even Western techniques altogether. You are dealing entirely with Western classical music; everybody else talking is not. I understand your grouping of composers and styles, but I think a more appropriate term would be "Art music" rather than "Classical music." But enough of the semantics. All I want to explain is that I don't think it's smart to limit oneself to the development of [art] music techniques alone.

I'm very interested in this thread. Partially because this is the type of issue I deal with every day in my compositional pursuits, namely, the exploration of different or modified techniques of composition to expand the musical vocabulary. Partially because I want to see this useless bickering sorted out. About the Schoenberg you posted - I really appreciated the expression and life the orchestra played the piece with. I actually have heard this piece before (we analyzed it at a composition camp I went to). I'm really not a fan of Schoenberg's harmonic language, but that's so much just a matter of personal taste. Harmonically, it feels... confused and directionless. It sounds like it's trying to go places, but it just doesn't. It wavers helplessly in my ears. It feels like a graceful, semi-lucid nightmare.

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Originally Posted by eweiss
I think the original Star Trek used serial music quite a bit. That and Wild Wild West. smile


Actually, the guy writing the original background music for Star Trek was heavily le Sacre du Printemps influenced, and never wrote any serial compositions for the series that I'm aware of.

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Jared, I get annoyed when you guys repeatedly ignore what this thread is about. I've spelled it out a number of times, yet you guys continually belabour it. That is very annoying.

Enough said.

What I've worked on for many years is methods of composing tone-rows derived from non-serial means. The advantage this has over serial music is that you're able to negate the problem of "painting yourself into a corner", which often happens with serial compositions. Using 12 non-repeating notes is problematic because non-regularity makes pattern-building difficult.

Of course, composers like Schoenburg wanted to get away from sequential movement because that in itself is so cliche in the world of tonal music, and was a good part of the reasoning behind the development of floating tonality, which in its free form is fully capable of being non-sequential.

Richard Strauss' answer was the Tone Poem, a form of programme music with tremendous flexibility. Strauss was not only a master orchestrator, but it is often overlooked that his contrapuntal work lies at the heart of his orchestral clarity and complexity. With most orchestrators, you can break down an arrangement generally to only two or three meaningful parts, but in the music of Richard Strauss there are often up to six parts, written in discrete instrumental groupings.

I want that kind of clarity and flexibility, but not within a tonal music. At the same time, I don't want an atonal music that is wholly dissonant in an uncontrolled, unpleasant manner. My solution was to create tone rows based upon rules of voice-leading which enforce non-tonal movements every so many notes, but which otherwise outline a tonal direction in order to allow a contrapuntal and harmonic structure the ear can more readily latch on to.

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Do you have an example of something you've written, attempting to accomplish this? Sheet music or recording? That would be neat to hear.

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Gsmonks,

First off; as far as I can determine, you don't own this website (if you did, I'd probably be kicked off laugh ). Yes, you started this thread, but your postings evoke issues some of us have strong opinions about. When you start a thread in a domain you don't own, you have to take what is offered - and it should be done gracefully. It's not uncommon for threads to take off in different directions. I personally find that interesting on threads I start - and thank the posters for contributing.

It seems you want to control everything said on this thread, much like you have a need to control the way music compositions are constructed. It may work that way in your private domain, but it doesn't work that way in the real World.

Instead of being appreciative of posters sharing their thoughts on music composition, you spit on them when it doesn't suit you.

I can imagine there were probably musicians viewing this thread with the kind of info you were seeking, but were probably turned-off by your rude demeanor.

I sense you're a very accomplished musician. But you definitely need some fine-tuning in dealing with people.

Peace, John smile



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Originally Posted by Jared Hoeft
Do you have an example of something you've written, attempting to accomplish this? Sheet music or recording? That would be neat to hear.


I've got hours of examples, Jared, but it's still a work in progress, and I'm not ready to let the cat out of the bag just yet in terms of my own efforts in this area. Also, I'm not working alone on this particular project, and certain areas of the work I consider the intellectual property of others, and they'd take a dim view of anyone sharing the project at this stage.

This is a section of one piece I can share with you if you're interested, which is built on other methods. It's for choir and orchestra, but I have a reduced score that's almost playable on piano.

Johnny-Boy, I am what is known as a "curmudgeon". I'm rude and ageing and cantankerous. My arthritis makes me mean-spirited (that's today's excuse), my hair-loss makes me abrupt and defensive (which is as good an excuse as any), and cats clawing my legs while I'm on the computer make me short-tempered and often downright vile.

So age, cats and arthritis are the real villains here! Remember that, or I'll beat on you with a sack full of kittens!

BTW, what sort of equipment do you have for playing and recording? I've got nada, and everything I know is 'way out of date.

Last edited by gsmonks; 11/16/10 05:31 PM.
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Then all is forgiven gsmonks. laugh

I wake up cranky myself. I usually smooth out by noon. smile

Best, John

P.S. I'll get back to you later on the equipment.


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Equipment (modest compared to many): Motif ES8 Keyboard, Logic PRO (Digital Audio Workstation), Mac OS X, East West Quantum Leap Orchestra (samples), Kirk Hunter Strings, Extreme FX, Evolve (samples), and acoustic piano.


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