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Dissonance #2285036 06/03/14 05:16 AM
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Parks Offline OP
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This is an excellent statement, by the late Charles Rosen:

"Over a life time of listening to countless performances and recordings of the great masterpieces of the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic literature (from Bach and Rameau to Brahms and Tchaikovsky) I have noticed a distressing habit of an overwhelming majority of conductors, performers, soloists – whoever – of suppressing or ignoring the dissonances and harmonic/chromatic tensions in the music. It is as if they are afraid of these dissonances – assuming they are even aware of them – even though such dissonances are almost always resolved, and are afraid of offending the ears of their audiences. This is as true of conductors and orchestras playing Bach or Mozart or Beethoven, music laden with powerful, pungent dissonances, as it is of pianists playing Chopin, for example, whose richly chromatic writing is almost always suppressed and concealed in favor of the simpler melodic and harmonic elements. No wonder such conductors cannot deal with 20th–century or atonal music, when they can’t even handle ‘dissonances’ in earlier music."


Michael

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Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285089 06/03/14 08:00 AM
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I forget exactly who it was who told me now, and whether it was at Oberlin or SJSU, but I was taught that in Classical-period music, the performer is to emphasize dissonances. The indications that Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven left in their music seem to bear this out. It's a key part of the syntax.

Re: Dissonance [Re: jeffreyjones] #2285105 06/03/14 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I forget exactly who it was who told me now, and whether it was at Oberlin or SJSU, but I was taught that in Classical-period music, the performer is to emphasize dissonances. The indications that Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven left in their music seem to bear this out. It's a key part of the syntax.
My esteemed teacher has told me the same thing.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285117 06/03/14 09:37 AM
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I view Mozart -> Beethoven -> Schumann -> Chopin -> Liszt -> Wagner -> Mahler -> Schoenberg as a progression of the use of dissonance.

My favorite dissonance from the Classical era is: Beethoven, op.10/2, movement 2, measure 114. (Really.)


-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Dissonance [Re: beet31425] #2285133 06/03/14 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by beet31425
I view Mozart -> Beethoven -> Schumann -> Chopin -> Liszt -> Wagner -> Mahler -> Schoenberg as a progression of the use of dissonance.

My favorite dissonance from the Classical era is: Beethoven, op.10/2, movement 2, measure 114. (Really.)


-J

Nice.

My favorite: Mozart, K.333, 2nd movement, m.32. Always a shock, not matter how many times I play it.


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Re: Dissonance [Re: DameMyra] #2285137 06/03/14 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by DameMyra
My favorite: Mozart, K.333, 2nd movement, m.32. Always a shock, not matter how many times I play it.

Yes, that's really "the" dissonant moment from the sonatas, isn't it?

I couldn't call it my favorite though... it doesn't actually work for me, because it's just too jarring. smile


-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285140 06/03/14 10:47 AM
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Not piano music, but the dissonance that blows my mind is the second movement of Heinrich Biber's "Battalia", 1673. It's actually polytonal, meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers. Charles Ives anticipated by 230 years or so.

Starts at around 1:45 in this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9DJpaxT7wg

In the other movements, col legno playing is used, and paper is held over the strings to create a rattle.

Not only was Biber innovative, much of his other string music, and choral music, is just plain gorgeous.

Re: Dissonance [Re: RealPlayer] #2285192 06/03/14 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
Not piano music, but the dissonance that blows my mind is the second movement of Heinrich Biber's "Battalia", 1673. It's actually polytonal, meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers. Charles Ives anticipated by 230 years or so.

Starts at around 1:45 in this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9DJpaxT7wg

In the other movements, col legno playing is used, and paper is held over the strings to create a rattle.

Not only was Biber innovative, much of his other string music, and choral music, is just plain gorgeous.
Dear Lord this is AMAZING! I'm AN INSTANT FAN!

Re: Dissonance [Re: Nikolas] #2285205 06/03/14 01:13 PM
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This is my favorite dissonant moment(s):

http://youtu.be/OZ9dXLmRlpo

I used to sing it as a member of my school choir, and we really enjoyed blasting out those semitone clashes. grin

(Guess when this piece was composed....)


"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: Dissonance [Re: bennevis] #2285213 06/03/14 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
Not piano music, but the dissonance that blows my mind is the second movement of Heinrich Biber's "Battalia", 1673. It's actually polytonal, meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers. Charles Ives anticipated by 230 years or so.

Starts at around 1:45 in this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9DJpaxT7wg

In the other movements, col legno playing is used, and paper is held over the strings to create a rattle.

Not only was Biber innovative, much of his other string music, and choral music, is just plain gorgeous.

When I first read your post I thought you wanted us to listen to something by "the Bieber" and I was horrified. Then I read it more carefully. The dissonance is disturbing as is the battle it is portraying. It's almost program music.

Originally Posted by bennevis
This is my favorite dissonant moment(s):

http://youtu.be/OZ9dXLmRlpo

I used to sing it as a member of my school choir, and we really enjoyed blasting out those semitone clashes. grin

(Guess when this piece was composed....)
Gorgeous. That made the hairs on my arms stand up. My guess would be Renaissance.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Dissonance [Re: RealPlayer] #2285232 06/03/14 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RealPlayer
Not piano music, but the dissonance that blows my mind is the second movement of Heinrich Biber's "Battalia", 1673. It's actually polytonal, meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers. Charles Ives anticipated by 230 years or so.

Thanks, RealPlayer. Pretty amazing stuff! I had no idea such dissonant music existed in 1673. But if, as you say, it was "meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers", then its intent was clearly programmatic, so I think audiences would easily accept it as part of a story line. It's also a very brief interlude, lasting less than a minute, so that too makes it tolerable.

But whole works, especially large works, that are mostly dissonant leave me cold. While I embrace dissonance when used judiciously, I think of it more as a spice. If I'm making soup, I want a lot of herbs and spices because I hate bland food. And while I wouldn't want gruel, I wouldn't enjoy a pot of boiling rosemary, basil, fennel, or ghost pepper either.

I also disagree with the last sentence of Charles Rosen in the OP: "No wonder such conductors cannot deal with 20th–century or atonal music, when they can’t even handle ‘dissonances’ in earlier music." I don't think it's the conductors who can't handle dissonances, it's the public. In fact, most music directors seem to want to force feed the public as much modern music as possible by programming it along with more traditional works. Ideally before the intermission.

Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285235 06/03/14 02:12 PM
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Yay, a thread about dissonances! In an interview Ian Pace talked about he felt he was even taught to downplay/supress dissonances in the music in his formative years. I beleive this is rather common in fact, because, classical music is supposed to be `beautiful`, right?

Re: Dissonance [Re: DameMyra] #2285237 06/03/14 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DameMyra
My favorite: Mozart, K.333, 2nd movement, m.32.

Speaking of bar 32s in second movements, how about the one in the Beethoven Opus 22? Quite extraordinary for his time. There is another great moment in bar 64 of the same movement.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285241 06/03/14 02:41 PM
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I think one reason that piano teachers have downplayed dissonance has something to do with ideas of good taste. The idea that you don't want to emphasize every dissonance every time or it will sound as though you're being too obvious..."there he goes, whomping out that seventh (or whatever) again." Unless the composer has clearly marked it with accent or dynamic marking.

By the way, one more thing about the H. Biber is not JUST that it's polytonal, but it's polytonality DONE VERY WELL, which makes it even more amazing.

Re: Dissonance [Re: bennevis] #2285245 06/03/14 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
This is my favorite dissonant moment(s):

http://youtu.be/OZ9dXLmRlpo

I used to sing it as a member of my school choir, and we really enjoyed blasting out those semitone clashes. grin

(Guess when this piece was composed....)


One of my favorite choral works as well - such a pleasure to sing !! grin


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Re: Dissonance [Re: Nikolas] #2285246 06/03/14 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Originally Posted by RealPlayer
Not piano music, but the dissonance that blows my mind is the second movement of Heinrich Biber's "Battalia", 1673. It's actually polytonal, meant to represent the singing of drunken soldiers. Charles Ives anticipated by 230 years or so.

Starts at around 1:45 in this clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9DJpaxT7wg

In the other movements, col legno playing is used, and paper is held over the strings to create a rattle.

Not only was Biber innovative, much of his other string music, and choral music, is just plain gorgeous.
Dear Lord this is AMAZING! I'm AN INSTANT FAN!

Hail Biber !!! thumb


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Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285339 06/03/14 07:00 PM
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All of you have cited harmonic dissonances, but no one has yet addressed melodic dissonances. I wish I knew how to paste scores on here so I could show you what I mean...


Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Dissonance [Re: Parks] #2285340 06/03/14 07:01 PM
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Take a screenshot of the score and post the screenshot using the image tool. Or, name the bar/bars in the piece/pieces you're talking about.


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: Dissonance [Re: fnork] #2285341 06/03/14 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fnork

I beleive this is rather common in fact, because, classical music is supposed to be `beautiful`, right?



Dissonance is literally out-of-tune unisons. The amount of activity in the air this generates excited out system to vibrate at the same rate. It that rate is not discernibly proportional, then our reaction is to call it disturbing.

It's not unlike being in a hot tub. The jet streams 'disturb' our body, and yet we call it a good feeling.

So, yes Classical music is supposed to be beautiful, because dissonance is very beautiful.


Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci
Re: Dissonance [Re: Polyphonist] #2285348 06/03/14 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
post the screenshot using the image tool.

?


Michael

"Genius is nothing more than an extraordinary capacity for patience."
Leonardo da Vinci
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