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Dumb Music Questions
#2154791 09/20/13 09:54 PM
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I just wanted to create a thread where we can all post our "dumb" questions we have about music, especially for questions that don't have Google-Type answers.
For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?
Also- please post any other questions like this/ questions you don't want to ask your teacher laugh
~pianorigami

Last edited by pianorigami; 09/20/13 09:55 PM.

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Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2154792 09/20/13 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by pianorigami
For example, what IS classical music?

Good music.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Dumb Music Questions
Polyphonist #2154797 09/20/13 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by pianorigami
For example, what IS classical music?

Good music.

Well, other than that.
And it's not "good" music, it's "amazing" music laugh


Everyday is a great day.
Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2154806 09/20/13 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pianorigami

For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?

Western European Art Music.


"Playing the piano is my greatest joy...period."......JP
Re: Dumb Music Questions
jazzyprof #2154813 09/20/13 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by pianorigami

For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?

Western European Art Music.

Doesn't have to be!
Russian is a thing, no? And eastern European (Liszt, Dvorak)?
What about it stylistically? smile

Last edited by pianorigami; 09/20/13 10:54 PM.

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Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2154817 09/20/13 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Classical music is generally considered to be the period of tonal music, from the Renaissance to the advent of atonality...


There are a great couple posts addressing the question (as well as how to study it via the Great Composers' works) superficially here: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2110071/1.html

Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2154825 09/20/13 11:32 PM
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Why do we use words like 'color' to describe sound? Why do people talk about 'key color' when most of us have pianos tuned in ET?

Why are there pieces for piano called 'tone poems,' 'symphonic poems,' and other grandiose names that don't make any sense? It sounds like a load of canal water to me. (Scriabin's stuff is entertaining usually, but his 'tone poems' don't remind me of words at all!)

What, really, is a prelude? There is no 'prelude form'.

Similarly, what is a fantasy?

Why do we have different symbols for different kinds of accents? I mean, can you really hear the difference between them?

Why is rhythm so hard to identify in so much of classical music?

How does a composer get to become 'great' and well-known? It's incredible that the piano has such a vast literature, filled with names and pieces that most of us have never heard.


Beethoven - Op.49 No.1 (sonata 19)
Czerny - Op.299 Nos. 5,7 (School of Velocity)
Liszt - S.172 No.2 (Consolation No.2)

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Re: Dumb Music Questions
Dwscamel #2154832 09/21/13 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Dwscamel
Why do we have different symbols for different kinds of accents? I mean, can you really hear the difference between them?


Lots of great questions here, but I think I can tackle this one.

Composers (with editors and engravers) tend to treat notation the same way that writers (with editors and typesetters) treat language:

A writer has certain words and approaches to grammar and punctuation that he or she feels more comfortable with or which is deemed most appropriate to the style or message they're trying to convey. Then it goes through an editor and typesetter who check for errors, consistency, and clarity, as well as decide on the look and feel of the final product.

Music works much the same...composers will have their favorite way of notating something that might be personal or idiosyncratic, and it goes through editors and engravers who create the final look. The different personalities and styles involved in all these stages are the reason for why different notational approaches exist.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2154853 09/21/13 01:04 AM
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Classical music is, to me, any form of music that tries to transcend the limitations of being a form of entertainment and project a message through a medium *other than lexically*. It's difficult though, I'll agree, to begin defining as it is simply, in and of itself, very vague; as are most genres of music. Um...why use words like "colour"? Metaphor...it's called metaphor. Tone poems etc. exist for the impressionistic of us; some of us genuinely hear stories, or have sharp images, vivid scenarios...um...if you don't, well, then you don't. Some of us *do* though and, I speak from experience, compositions with titles such as "tone poem" or "Reflections in the Water" may either be aural descriptions or internalised soundscapes that are so personal that *of course* the composer will be the only one who truly sees it...but, um, I digress laugh There *is* a prelude form; repeating patterns...look at WTC I i; once you spot the pattern it's easy to understand the form of a prelude...just like a nocturne, it can be flexible; it's not a fugue, but there's still form. Um...a phantasy/fantasy/fantasie/fantasia/.... is a free form composition for, usually, a single instrument; it's an impromptu, essentially (though the implication regarding context is clearly different; impromptus are of the moment, impromptu smile Um...phantasies are phantasy; a divergence of the mind as it goes where it may....it amounts to the same thing, really, but there *is* the difference there)...symbols Kreisler fielded....though I must admit I'd have answered differently, I'm sure he's far more in tune with what's correct ^_^ Um...some people find the rhythm really easy to find....I mean, Beethoven symphony 7, 2nd movement...is the rhythm hard to find? Sometimes the rhythm is very complex (6+2+pi/sqrt lastbar) and so, naturally, it will be harder to find. Maybe you're not that good at finding rhythm. I know I'm not; rhythm doesn't come into my mind at all.... frown Um...how does a composer become great and well known? Well...environmental fortune would probably be a prime factor (Bach's degree of greatness relative to his time-period?), but really, if anyone knew the sure-fire conditions...well, they'd be a great and well known composer, wouldn't they? laugh Um...my only questions would be...is music served best by the audience or musician? And is there a perfect musical expression and, if there is, is it transitory in nature?
Xxx


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Re: Dumb Music Questions
Dwscamel #2154859 09/21/13 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Dwscamel

What, really, is a prelude? There is no 'prelude form'.

Maybe in piano music it is connected to pianists preluding before they would perform, with the Prelude being preluding formalized into a music composition.


M.

Re: Dumb Music Questions
jazzyprof #2154892 09/21/13 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by pianorigami

For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?

Western European Art Music.


This leaves out a whole lot of non western classical music such as Indian classical music (ICM).



Carl

Re: Dumb Music Questions
griffin2417 #2154902 09/21/13 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by griffin2417
Originally Posted by jazzyprof
Originally Posted by pianorigami

For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?

Western European Art Music.


This leaves out a whole lot of non western classical music such as Indian classical music (ICM).



True. I wonder how those non-Western cultures that have a "classical music", define it for themselves.

Re: Dumb Music Questions
wr #2154914 09/21/13 07:39 AM
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An an inveterate traveler, I've encountered a lot of indigenous music from many cultures around the world. But what often confuses the issue is the fact that only Western classical music has a consistent notated tradition which makes it easy for us, several centuries later, to know exactly what notes were played or sung (even if not the way they were played/sung) at the time the music was composed, and also (usually) who the composer was.

Whereas in most other cultures, there isn't the tradition of musical notation, so music was handed down orally from generation to generation, and inevitably changed according to the traditions of the prevailing time. So, when we hear classical Indian raga music now, we don't know if this is anything like the way it sounded in centuries past. The same applies to Tibetan music, whether it's the chanting or the distinctive sound of the dungchen (nowadays of course hijacked by New Age enthusiasts..). Even in the Himalaya, where trekkers overnighting in Tengboche are woken up early in the mornings by the loud droning of monks playing the Tibetan long trumpets, it's difficult to ascertain really how 'traditional' the playing is.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2155267 09/21/13 09:01 PM
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Classical music = Breath of life, Prana



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Re: Dumb Music Questions
Dwscamel #2155268 09/21/13 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Dwscamel
[...] Why do people talk about 'key color' when most of us have pianos tuned in ET? [...]


I'll take this one.

Some of us surmise that, if you have your piano tuned to something other than ET, a "Well Temperament," tuned well by someone who knows what he or she is doing, you will begin to hear "key color," and understand that way of describing it. If you *do* have another way of describing it, then, by all means, do!


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but at least I'm slow.
Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2155334 09/22/13 01:10 AM
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Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western music (both liturgical and secular), encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century. Western staff notation is used by composers to prescribe to the performer the pitch, speed, meter, individual rhythms and exact execution of a piece of music. This leaves less room for practices such as improvisation and ad libitum ornamentation, which are frequently heard in non-European art music and popular music.

The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to "canonize" the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1836.

-

Wikipedia

Re: Dumb Music Questions
Cinnamonbear #2155425 09/22/13 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted by Dwscamel
[...] Why do people talk about 'key color' when most of us have pianos tuned in ET? [...]


I'll take this one.

Some of us surmise that, if you have your piano tuned to something other than ET, a "Well Temperament," tuned well by someone who knows what he or she is doing, you will begin to hear "key color," and understand that way of describing it. If you *do* have another way of describing it, then, by all means, do!
but each key is different in terms of fingering. D minor feels very different from B minor.


Steve Chandler
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Re: Dumb Music Questions
Steve Chandler #2155606 09/22/13 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
but each key is different in terms of fingering. D minor feels very different from B minor.

Exactly! With a piano each key lays under the hands differently and suites best a different range of emotional expression. Tuning and pitch are less important.

The first movement of Mozart's Sonata K. 545 would feel very different played transposed into the warmth and colours of B Major, for instance.


M.

Re: Dumb Music Questions
pianorigami #2156075 09/23/13 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by pianorigami

For example, what IS classical music? Some guy asked me, and I didn't have a definitive answer.
It's not really time period, so how would you define it?

~pianorigami


I'll take two- very different- stabs at answering this:

1) Classical music is music produced in the tradition of Western Art Music, consisting predominantly- but not entirely- of music produced on instruments contained in a modern symphony orchestra and other western instruments that traditionally accompany such instruments. Such music can often include instruments and musical traditions from non-western or "folk" sources, so long as the music in question aspires to be a part of, a continuation or, or an extension of the Western Art Music tradition. Moreover, non-western composers frequently write "classical"music as well, but the intent of such work is usually the folding of non-western traditions into a Western Art Music context.

Classical music is almost entirely "score based" and it is typically, though not always, "through composed" (exceptions include: the basso-continuo in Baroque music, the Cadenzas of Classical and Romantic concerti, and the aleatoric instructions in some 20th century experimental works.) In performance, while individual musicians strive to reveal the meaning inherent in the score- in a manner similar to a textual "exegesis"- strong emphasis is placed on the intent of the original composer rather than the creative extension of a work by a performer. In other words, the performer of Classical music is generally considered to be a vehicle for the expression of interpretation (whether "faithful" or, conversely, "idiosyncratic") of a "platonic ideal" of a score rather than the performer's unique qualities being the main emphasis. Once the performer becomes the predominant emphasis, the music is generally considered to be an exemplar of another "popular" stream of music. Exceptions exist, but these are typically well grounded stylistically within the traditions of Western Art Music.

The style of "Classical" is, more than anything, understood by its continuous evolution from the religious music of Medieval Europe, through various streams of styles through periods now referred to as Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern music. A work of "classical" music is understood to be such when it appears to be an exemplar, continuation or extension of this tradition, and the intent seems to be not merely to "make reference" to such previous work, but to contribute a new voice to an ongoing exploration of the possibilities of "score based" work.

Many other tradition streams dubbed "classical" (Indian classical, Chinese classical etc,.) exist, and some intermixing occurs- but, in the Western word "classical" by itself typically means that tradition which includes those musical streams which grew out of the European sources mentioned above, and most of these other tradition streams are not understood to be a continuation of the Eurpoean Art Music tradition barring any intermixing of styles.

2) Defining genres is a futile effort. Dividing "classical" from "popular" music involves arbitrary and, often, biased distinctions and stifles creative exploration.

Last edited by Brad Hoehne; 09/23/13 10:08 AM.

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Schubert Op 90 #2, #3
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Re: Dumb Music Questions
Polyphonist #2156087 09/23/13 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by pianorigami
For example, what IS classical music?

Good music.


I'll be sure to let Jack White, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Bjork, The Fleet Foxes, Ben Folds, The Rolling Stones, and Thom Yorke know their respective Oeuvres are now considered "Classical."

Last edited by Brad Hoehne; 09/23/13 10:17 AM.

1999 Petrof 125-111 (upright)
Casio Privia PX-330

Currently working on:
Chopin Etude op 25 #2 and op 10 #5
Schubert Op 90 #2, #3
Playing by ear and "filling out" pop tunes
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