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Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
#2940421 01/29/20 11:40 PM
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South Korean researchers developed some metric for novelty and innovation calculated these metrics over 900 piano compositions by 19 composers and found that Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer for piano, of these composers who worked during the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras.

The full paper detailing their work can be found here.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940428 01/30/20 12:13 AM
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I suppose with the appropriately chosen definition of innovative any composer could end up being the most innovative. I doubt many knowledgeable musicians would classify Rachmaninov that way no matter what their personal definition of innovative was. In fact, since I think most would classify his music as Romantic one could argue that he was the opposite of innovative since he composed at the end of that period.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940430 01/30/20 12:18 AM
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edit: I was still typing before seeing Plover's post. I'm saying essentially the same thing as he did (plus other stuff).

I'm much into baseball and its analytic methods, and come across things like this over there all the time.

When I see something like this -- for example, let's say, a research piece "showing" that Derek Jeter wasn't that good of a player -- what I know is, 2 things:

-- The thing isn't really worth looking at.
-- If I do look at it, it will only be to see what clear mistakes were made, which generally won't take long to see.


What mistakes I expect we'd find in this thing:

First of all and mainly, that the article's concept of "innovative" is one that is pretty outlying and with which I would greatly disagree.

The usual musicological view is that Rachmaninoff, love him or not, was one of the very least innovative of the great composers. I don't mean that such consensus views are always right, but, I do mean that when we see a thing like what's apparently in that article, we'd hardly ever find it to be valid, if we examine it.

Nevertheless, I have to say, I do find it interesting that some writer feels he's shown that that's a valid view.
Not interesting enough to look at it, though. grin

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940432 01/30/20 12:33 AM
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This reminds me of an article I saw -- a parody article -- in some music journal around 1970. It was ostensibly a research project to determine objectively who was the greatest composer of all time. As I remember, it started out in a way that you couldn't necessarily tell that this wasn't serious but pretty soon you could see that they were being silly.

Their "method" was to look at the Schwann record catalogue (does that still exist? do all of you know what that was? do any of you at all besides maybe 3 or 4 of us fogies know what that was?) ha .....and see which composer had the most mentions.

Except, there were certain exclusions and disqualifiers. Unfortunately I only remember one of them, which was that if a composer had any relatives with the same last name who were also listed, or in fact even a non-relative with the same last name, he was kicked out, because those other composers were probably a ploy on his part to confuse the issue and make us think they were all him.
Golly, I wish I could remember the other disqualifiers. All I can tell you is, most of them were even sillier than that one.

The result was that the greatest composer of all time was PONCHIELLI.
It was the first time I heard of him. It took a while longer for me even to realize that I'd heard anything of his, and in fact that I'd heard stuff of his (and takeoffs on them) many many times.
(It took me even longer to learn how his name is pronounced.)

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Mark_C #2940433 01/30/20 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
edit: I was still typing before seeing Plover's post. I'm saying essentially the same thing as he did (plus other stuff).

I'm much into baseball and its analytic methods, and come across things like this over there all the time.

When I see something like this -- for example, let's say, a research piece "showing" that Derek Jeter wasn't that good of a player -- what I know is, 2 things:

-- The thing isn't really worth looking at.
-- If I do look at it, it will only be to see what clear mistakes were made, which generally won't take long to see.


What mistakes I expect we'd find in this thing:

First of all and mainly, that the article's concept of "innovative" is one that is pretty outlying and with which I would greatly disagree.

The usual musicological view is that Rachmaninoff, love him or not, was one of the very least innovative of the great composers. I don't mean that such consensus views are always right, but, I do mean that when we see a thing like what's apparently in that article, we'd hardly ever find it to be valid, if we examine it.

Nevertheless, I have to say, I do find it interesting that some writer feels he's shown that that's a valid view.
Not interesting enough to look at it, though. grin

Firstly, comparisons with those sorts of baseball analyses are unfair since this paper is in a refereed journal. Baseball statistics and trend analysis is rarely peer reviewed. Better if you compare this work with the original cold fusion paper or something like that that was also peer reviewed and later debunked.

Secondly, their definition and intuitive basis for innovation seem rather logical to me, although I'm not a music expert. I'd be interested in the considered views of any music experts in this specific definition and intuitive basis:

Quote
In order to compute the novelty of a creative work, we first consider the fact that any new creative work—be it a scientific paper, a technological patent, or a musical composition— contains the familiar, ‘conventional’ elements that can be found in known older works, and the unfamiliar, ‘novel’ elements that have not.
Quote
Intuitively then a work that features a larger novel-to-conventional ratio of elements could be considered more novel, and vice versa. How can one tell if an element is conventional or novel?
Quote
A more reliable and general method would be then to make a direct comparison between an older work and a new one to identify common elements. If there exists one, it would be an indication that the older work may have been referenced in the creation of the new one. We say ‘may have been’ because the shared element could have been taken from a different work (either known, or unknown to us presently), or been ‘invented’ by the creator oblivious to a previous usage.
Quote
Although we have above argued for the appeal of novel works to living beings and their value for progress, it is unlikely that novelty alone is a sign that the work is of any value; if it were, one could simply assemble elements not found in the older works (or ask a chimpanzee that has just completed composing a piece of ‘literature’ on a typewriter to play the piano now, practically to the same effect), and claim to have created the most valuable work. In addition to quantifying a work’s difference from the past, it is necessary to gauge a work’s value via how much it has influenced the posterity, in other words how much the later works have referenced it.

I'm also curious about the other results of their research and whether it is musicologically controversial. Can the musicologists among you take a look at the following and call out what is just flat out wrong?

Quote
During the Baroque period Handel is the most influential... More interesting patterns can be found when we observe the rise and fall of the composers’ influences over time. Since a high influence means that later works share common elements, we can interpret such rise and fall of composers’ influence as indicating shifts in compositional style, and providing a quantitative justification for the distinct period labels. Let us examine, as a start, the Baroque and the Classical periods... While Handel maintains his dominant influence until around the mid-Classical period, we identify two notable patterns: First, Scarlatti overtakes Bach in influence shortly before the Classical period, in agreement with the well-acknowledged significance of Scarlatti on the Classical period; Second, Haydn and Mozart emerge during the Classical period with a high influence, soon rivaling Handel’s. Similar dynamics–the clear rise and emergence of a new leading influential figure and therefore dominant ‘style’,reminiscent of Kuhn’s so-called paradigm shift–are observed in subsequent periods. The Classical-to-Romantic transitional period is characterised by the emergence of Beethoven whose historical significance is clearly shown. Beethoven’s high influence in this period shows his younger contemporaries adopting his [compositional elements] more willingly than any other predecessor’s that continues well into the Romantic period. Also, we see that being referenced by a highly-novel composer leads to high influence, as high novelty means referencing uncom-mon elements, and so the one referenced is credited with more influence. This is likely why Beethoven, referenced by highly novel Romantic composers, has a high influence score. Then, through a similar mechanism, during the Romantic period new composers such as Schubert, Chopin, and Liszt rise in influence to rival or overtake Mozart and Beethoven, befitting their reputation as of finally eclipsing those “classical sounds” and establishing many essential repertoire now permanently associated with the piano.
Quote
While originality and success are both important characteristics of meaningful creative works, they do not correlate perfectly. That Handel was less novel than Bach and many others but had more influence on Classical and Romantic composers is a good example. Similarly, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt were less novel than Mendelssohn and Schumann, but eventually came to exert more influence and inspire more piano music to follow. The separation between novelty and influence is particularly auspicious in the case of music from the Classical period (especially Mozart): Mozart is shown to have used fewer novel [compositional elements] per se and opted to use the conventions from the Baroque period, but his works nevertheless had enough high artistic value that he gained much influence in the future. This is another agreement between our findings and traditional musicology that characterises the Classical period as one that “values shared conventions, rational restraint and the playful exploitation of established constraints”. This contrasts with the composers of the later Romantic period who introduced new elements at a faster pace and again corroborates the traditional musicological assessment of their “pursuit of the value of being individual, peculiar and original”

As a layman, I see them comparing above with what is apparently known to musicologists, but I can only take their word for it. So I'd be grateful if someone with a musicology background can just say if they went off the reservation in the observations above.

It would be one thing if all of the results of their research were controversial. it would be another thing if only their results concerning Rachmaninoff were controversial and their other results were noncontroversial.

Other than making these comments, I will neither contest nor defend this paper. I just don't have the musicology background, but I hope that someone that does can add some specific insight about whether the researchers are on track, or if they are not, where specifically they took the wrong turn.

Originally Posted by Mark_C
This reminds me of an article I saw -- a parody article -- in some music journal around 1970. It was ostensibly a research project to determine objectively who was the greatest composer of all time. As I remember, it started out in a way that you couldn't necessarily tell that this wasn't serious but pretty soon you could see that they were being silly.

It's also unfair to compare peer reviewed research with parody articles.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940435 01/30/20 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It's also unfair to compare peer reviewed research with parody articles.

I wasn't comparing them.
What I meant was that the conclusion of this article is equally eyebrow-raising as the supposed conclusion of that one, and indeed it is.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Mark_C #2940436 01/30/20 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It's also unfair to compare peer reviewed research with parody articles.

I wasn't comparing them.
What I meant was that the conclusion of this article is equally eyebrow-raising as the supposed conclusion of that one, and indeed it is.

Still, eyebrow-raising or not, that this was published in a refereed journal presupposes an entirely different level of scrutiny of the work and its results than the typical "wild" Internet claim. I suppose in the course of your career, you've also published in refereed journals, as I did myself, though many years ago, and getting a peer-reviewed paper published is never a walk in the park. So while one my take exception to their findings, I think it would be only fair to recognize the researchers' serious intent.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940440 01/30/20 01:32 AM
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Researchers are right, Rachmaninoff is the pinnacle of piano composition. He somehow managed to create these incredibly difficult pieces which are at the same time incredibly beautiful/emotional. No one has done it at that level smile

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940443 01/30/20 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
It's also unfair to compare peer reviewed research with parody articles.

I wasn't comparing them.
What I meant was that the conclusion of this article is equally eyebrow-raising as the supposed conclusion of that one, and indeed it is.

Still, eyebrow-raising or not, that this was published in a refereed journal presupposes an entirely different level of scrutiny of the work and its results than the typical "wild" Internet claim. I suppose in the course of your career, you've also published in refereed journals, as I did myself, though many years ago, and getting a peer-reviewed paper published is never a walk in the park. So while one my take exception to their findings, I think it would be only fair to recognize the researchers' serious intent.


There's no question about them being serious. The validity of their chosen research methods however can be critizised on various levels. I am not going to do it here, it's an amusing practice on a rather obscure research problem. It would not be too difficult to arrive in a different result with similarly reliable scientific method. I would say a nice attempt to steer musicology towards "serious" research resembling hard sciences. Not sure it is necessary though and one might ask what is the end value of such results.

BTW. Not all peer reviewed journals are of the same quality and you may remember the case of a very prestige journal publishing an article that was total BS and it took a while before it was revealed as such. Unfortunately the only way to judge these days is to look into the methodology and the data collection with a critical eye and that requires both time and knowledge and few people have that. Only subjects that have general interests are usually researched further enough and by different teams to make sure all errors in the process are found.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
outo #2940445 01/30/20 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I wasn't comparing them.
What I meant was that the conclusion of this article is equally eyebrow-raising as the supposed conclusion of that one, and indeed it is.
Still, eyebrow-raising or not, that this was published in a refereed journal presupposes an entirely different level of scrutiny of the work and its results than the typical "wild" Internet claim. I suppose in the course of your career, you've also published in refereed journals, as I did myself, though many years ago, and getting a peer-reviewed paper published is never a walk in the park. So while one my take exception to their findings, I think it would be only fair to recognize the researchers' serious intent.
There's no question about them being serious. The validity of their chosen research methods however can be critizised on various levels. I am not going to do it here, it's an amusing practice on a rather obscure research problem. It would not be too difficult to arrive in a different result with similarly reliable scientific method. I would say a nice attempt to steer musicology towards "serious" research resembling hard sciences. Not sure it is necessary though and one might ask what is the end value of such results.

BTW. Not all peer reviewed journals are of the same quality and you may remember the case of a very prestige journal publishing an article that was total BS and it took a while before it was revealed as such. Unfortunately the only way to judge these days is to look into the methodology and the data collection with a critical eye and that requires both time and knowledge and few people have that. Only subjects that have general interests are usually researched further enough and by different teams to make sure all errors in the process are found.

You obviously disagree with their specific definition and intuitive basis. What do you find wrong with it?


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940453 01/30/20 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I wasn't comparing them.
What I meant was that the conclusion of this article is equally eyebrow-raising as the supposed conclusion of that one, and indeed it is.
Still, eyebrow-raising or not, that this was published in a refereed journal presupposes an entirely different level of scrutiny of the work and its results than the typical "wild" Internet claim. I suppose in the course of your career, you've also published in refereed journals, as I did myself, though many years ago, and getting a peer-reviewed paper published is never a walk in the park. So while one my take exception to their findings, I think it would be only fair to recognize the researchers' serious intent.
There's no question about them being serious. The validity of their chosen research methods however can be critizised on various levels. I am not going to do it here, it's an amusing practice on a rather obscure research problem. It would not be too difficult to arrive in a different result with similarly reliable scientific method. I would say a nice attempt to steer musicology towards "serious" research resembling hard sciences. Not sure it is necessary though and one might ask what is the end value of such results.

BTW. Not all peer reviewed journals are of the same quality and you may remember the case of a very prestige journal publishing an article that was total BS and it took a while before it was revealed as such. Unfortunately the only way to judge these days is to look into the methodology and the data collection with a critical eye and that requires both time and knowledge and few people have that. Only subjects that have general interests are usually researched further enough and by different teams to make sure all errors in the process are found.

You obviously disagree with their specific definition and intuitive basis. What do you find wrong with it?


I did not say that. It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, but rather a consideration whether it is worth taking the time for full objective evaluation for their work on such a research question. So much more would need to be done to create a meaningful research discipline for something like this and I doubt it will never happen, considering the nature of music as art. And as I said this is not a place for extensive discussion of scientifc research...

Edit: The discussion part of the article is very short, but it brings out some of the challenges of such study. The writers themselves understand the limitations of the results. I would say their purpose was more to experiment the possibilities with mathematical modelling than trying to actually find a definite answer to the question.

Last edited by outo; 01/30/20 03:20 AM.
Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940462 01/30/20 04:00 AM
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I looked at the article.

I don't agree with Outo that "The writers themselves understand the limitations of the results." It would be better if they did. I don't find any suggestion that they did.

Granting that I don't understand much of the inner detail and didn't much try to, which will give an easy dismissal of this to anyone who is half inclined to do that, I have to say that the article fails by a very wide margin to overcome the natural resistance to a seemingly absurd finding -- and that it's not hard to surmise what's the problem in the method.

And, as near as I can tell, the article does not deal at all with the central wonderment that comes out of any critical reading of it, which is, what exactly they mean by "novelty," and how and why they decided on seeing it how they did, whatever that was. It talks in general terms about the issue but doesn't get around to really letting us know how they were operating, or even if they grasped the fact that it involved choices, that any choices that would be made toward such a complex end would necessarily be highly sophisticated, and that they would be debatable. I would say that any credible attempt at such a project would need to deal head-on with this -- first of all to show the awareness, secondly to show in plain English how and what they decided on, and, importantly, to explain their choices. The article is full of formulas which I imagine contain some (but not all) of the answers. But that's not enough. I'm left with no confidence that they grasped the complexity and debatability of what would be involved.

(An aside: A thing that makes the result less bizarre than it might seem is that they didn't consider a real high number of composers -- just 19. However, it was enough that the result still is odd. Their method was such that the 'winner' was almost certain to be a later composer than an earlier one.)

BTW, does anyone else here who has looked at the article (or will look at it) have any greater confidence about that? Or do you even see or understand how they defined anything?

They talk about it in general terms, and they do give some seeming specifics, like this, which I'm going to quote at length because it exemplifies how they don't really address this issue; they give vague generalities together with isolated specifics that don't help, together with some jargon which, granted, it wouldn't hurt if I understood it but which has the strong appearance of failing to deal with the fundamental issues that I talked about.
(BTW you may notice some grammatical errors too, which also appear elsewhere in the article. Pardon if this sounds elitist grin but such things in themselves make it hard for me to have a high regard for the journal.)

".....we model a musical composition as a temporally ordered set of simultaneously played nodes or codewords. For the actual element we take the codeword transition, the bigram (2-gram) of codewords. They are shown in Fig. 2(A) with the beginning of one of Chopin’s preludes as an example. While our methodology can be applied in a clear and straightforward manner to analysing musical compositions, we note that other aspects of music such as structure, tempo, instrumentation, etc. are also important in music. Our primary focus on codeword transitions here are based on the importance of harmony and melody in the Western classical music tradition [29] and the fact that for this paper we will be studying the piano, but for a more complete and useful modeling of music those elements will need to be incorporated in the future, and later we discuss some recent developments therein."


In case you're interested in some specifics about the math -- which IMO more than anything else show how they start running with this thing before they've established their feet or the ground that they're running on:

"Since each codeword transition is a directed dyad, they can be collectively visualised as a network whose backbone is shown in Fig. 2(B). The cumulative distribution of the number of occurrences of the codewords is shown in Fig. 2(C), and approximates a power law with exponent ρ = 2.13 ± 0.02, indi- cating significant disparities in popularity between codeword transitions. Although such a pattern is established early in history (Fig. S1), the number of unique codeword transi- tions ever used also constantly increases in time (inset of Fig. 2(C)), with the highest rate of increase observed during the Romantic period.
We now compute the novelty and influence of musical compositions. Writing a composition ζ as a sequence of codewords ζ = {γ1,γ2,...,γm} the generation probability of ζ is given by the first-order Markov chain
ΠΩ(ζ)=πΩ(γ1)πΩ(γ1 →γ2)···πΩ(γm–1 →γm), (5) For πΩ we employ the Maximum A Priori (MAP) estimator [31] commonly used in
Markov chains, given as
πΩ(γi →γj)= z(γi →γj)+α0(γi →γj) , (6)
γ∈Γ (z(γi →γ)+α0(γi →γ))
where z(γi → γj) is the number of the γi → γj transition in the conventional pool Ω and α0(γi → γj) is the prior representing the novel pool in our scheme...."


BTW, to me, phrases like "We now compute the novelty and influence of musical compositions" could in themselves raise other questions and provoke laughter in some minds, like the thing in Dead Poets Society about it become a simple matter to calculate the greatness of a poem.

For fun, I'll quote this other line, which has another grammar error (but never mind about that) and which would further decrease most people's expectation of goodness in the article's method:

"Beethoven, for instance, stand among the lower half in computed novelty."


BTW, I can easily imagine how they got that -- and at the same time, from it I can easily see some of what was missing in the method.

Similarly, there's also this, which isn't as outrageous as the Beethoven example but would provoke similar head-shaking in many -- not even mainly in the basic point but in the flat-out-ness of it:

"....Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt were less novel than Mendelssohn and Schumann...."


Worst of all (IMO), they don't recognize the weakness of what they did, and apparently they don't know what they don't know -- what they don't know about music, and what they don't know about the complexity of such a subject. Look at this confidence that they indicate about this work, toward the end of the article:

"Higher-order Markov modeling shows a broad agreement with our main findings using first-order Markov, showing further robustness of our model and analysis."




As I said before, I do find it of interest that there's some method (any method, even a bad one) that shows this Rachmaninoff result -- because it's so opposite from any usual notion. But, the natural immediate takeaway, without looking at the article, is that the method probably was nuts. And it looks like indeed it was.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940463 01/30/20 04:06 AM
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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
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My friend, who holds a degree in music composition and works on algorithmic music composition, says that the paper looks very interesting because it mentions entropy and references some good sources, papers by Meyer, Temperley, and Pachet.

I won’t pretend to understand the technical details behind that paper. It’s not my field.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940475 01/30/20 05:28 AM
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The main problem about the article from a musicology point of view is that the (almost non-existing) theoretical foundations presented of the study focus on the modelling rather than the actual research question. In that sence it's built on a very shaky ground and the whole thing can be easily challenged. To me it does not seem that the research team is interested in creating such theoretical foundation at all. It would require for example proper discussion of definitions and choices behind classifications as well as linking the research to previous discourse. They do however briefly discuss these limitations themselves, so imo it's kind of a harmless exercise unless one is really passionate about putting composers into some order for their value to the human kind smile

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Although I agree that Rachmaninoff was very innovative composer, and, what is more important, he innovated in a very sensible, meaningul way, with no avant-garde nonsense and no innovation for the sake of innovation, but I doubt that it can be truely proven scientifically because the criteria of innovation is not obvious.

I also think some of my old teachers would have been shocked by such an invasion of math into art and would have resisted it strongly.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940483 01/30/20 06:23 AM
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I may be in the minority but I never managed to get what’s so great about Rachmaninoff. Don’t get me wrong, I like his symphonies and symphonic dances, I adore his 2nd and 3rd piano concertos, I occasionally enjoy a few of his piano pieces but I fail to see what kind of innovation he has really done in music. He pretty much worked in the tonal idiom stepping on what’s been established by Chopin (in terms of ultimate piano lyricism), Debussy (in terms of harmonic innovations) and Scriabin (both lyricism/pianism and innovative harmonic language). And frankly some of his pieces to me sound like created for the sake of being technically difficult without much of music content.

I can fully agree this opinion will be outrageous to others, so don’t take it personal, it’s just an opinion smile Rachmaninoff is maybe not my cup of tea. But the most innovative composer?! Well, that’s way too odd. Or I’m missing something.

Last edited by CyberGene; 01/30/20 06:23 AM.

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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
CyberGene #2940491 01/30/20 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
.....I fail to see what kind of innovation he has really done in music. He pretty much worked in the tonal idiom stepping on what’s been established by Chopin (in terms of ultimate piano lyricism), Debussy (in terms of harmonic innovations) and Scriabin (both lyricism/pianism and innovative harmonic language)...
I can fully agree this opinion will be outrageous to others....

Actually that part of what you said is the most common musicological consensus, and, per what you said, he's considered less "innovative" than those other 3. (BTW, Scriabin wasn't among the composers considered in the article, so he wasn't in the running.)

As to why Rachmaninoff came out so high, I'm going to engage in some speculation here, and I realize it's simplistic, but I'd like to offer the thought, and would love it if anyone would be able to see if you can rule it out, in terms of what you can figure out from the methodology:

I think the reason he came out as the most innovative was, he had the most notes. grin
Really.

I'd guess it comes down to that. I think his music has by far the greatest concentration of notes, including over the most recent other composers, which I think counts significantly in the method.
BTW, for this "concentration of notes" thing, I think it would have worked this way at either extreme -- like, if he had a hugely lesser concentration of notes than any of the previous composers. So, really what I'm saying is that it isn't per se because of "most notes," but that the concentration was so outlying, in either direction, compared to the other composers.
I put it the other way up there for pith. smile

I don't mean that nothing else was involved -- I'm sure harmonic aspects were too -- just that I'd guess this in itself basically did it.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Tyrone Slothrop #2940526 01/30/20 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

You obviously disagree with their specific definition and intuitive basis. What do you find wrong with it?


What is interesting in this article is that they manage to not get into any musical specifics during the entire 15 or so pages. The article just describes what seems to be a highly mathematical approach which by the way, as written, takes only into account a very marginal set of musical characteristics. At no point are they actually able to describe in words what is novelty. So the article jumps from a lenghtly process description straight to the conclusion. The reason being that what they did is simply to put together a set of formulas and compute numbers by using very fragmented and marginal compositional elements. Thus they are unable to actually explain what would be the specific musical characteristics which would justify the novelty and influence of one composer vs another. Structure, rythmic novelty, harmony, articulation, melodic phrasing, .....

In fact this type of analysis can be used to compare just about anything. Unlike scientific theories which are tested against reality, in this case, the conclusion can not be proven. Is Rach more innovative than Beethoven ? It depends on the criteria but intuitively and on a very broad level I would say no. So how do they know if their results is right or wrong ? and if they change slightly their formulas (untested) and they come up with a different result, which one would be the right one ?

All in all, I am surprised there is funding for this type of useless research, funding which could be better used for something more directly usefull.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer
Mosotti #2940591 01/30/20 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
Researchers are right, Rachmaninoff is the pinnacle of piano composition. He somehow managed to create these incredibly difficult pieces which are at the same time incredibly beautiful/emotional. No one has done it at that level smile

What do you mean by "incredibly difficult"?

His works are musically often quite simple and not difficult. The difficulty is usually in the pianist technique involved - which is a result of his being a virtuosic pianist himself (and parts of his work often resemble studies and technical exercises, which he was raised on).


Last edited by 3am_stargazing; 01/30/20 11:59 AM.

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