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This 37 message thread spans 3 pages:  < <   1  [2]  3  > >  
  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 14:24 on 14 June 2007

I've seen it both ways. Learn how to use the space bar on your keyboard.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  red5 at 14:27 on 17 June 2007

Gosh, as ever on these boards the essence of discussion seems to have been lost and people are being nasty and self righteous!

I'm not going to say what style I right in but I don't think it's easy to write romantic music and I don't think it's easy to follow calculations and formulas. It doesn't matter if it sounds good. I think the hardest thing to do is to write something (in whatever style) that is fresh, not something that sounds like music of the past, be it Brahms, Bach, Boulez or Berio. Doesn't all music rely on formulas anyway?

By the way, piargno, you said 'I was young once'. Your profile says you were born in the 1984, is 23 old then? Also (and I'm not havng a dig here) isn't it Bruckner, not Bruchner?

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 18:02 on 17 June 2007

I may be 23, but I feel like I'm 75! And I don't care enough about Bruckner to spell his name correctly. :-D

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  mattgreenecomposer at 23:45 on 17 June 2007

Your putting words into my mouth, read my response again. I never insulted 20 th c. music. Its just a "different ballgame."
and to question your reply. Show me your romantic music. Please Please show me! I NEVER get a decent response for this. Prove me wrong. I would love to meet other people who can write like Brahms, Rach and Chopin. Send me a PDF!

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 01:22 on 18 June 2007


"Romantic music is hard to write, plain and simple. Thats why you don't see many composers writing it today. You have to study to write like Brahms or Chopin etc. and I mean STUDY!. There is no formula to write from, (no 12 tone row, rules of 16th century counterpoint or liturgical text to follow) or what not."

In this quote, you literally said that 20th century music is easier to compose than romantic music. Have you compared James Tenney's Chromatic Cannon to Brahms's waltzes? Have you compared Carter's Night Fantasies to a Sonata by Rachmaninov?

Simultaneously, you implied that you don't have to study to write 20th century music. You just pick any old formula at random and use it to generate notes. Do you know that Berg's Op. 1 Sonata or Pierrot Lunaire or Ligeti's Requiem have no formulas at all? But you don't think you have to study to write like this?

Any type of composition requires intense study, not just Romantic composition.

Furthermore, you implied that when one breaks the rules, then that composer doesn't need any knowledge of any previous music in history to compose. Debussy broke the rules. He was pretty smart. Lee Hyla and Oliver Knussen are breaking the rules. They compose good pieces. They're pretty smart. I highly doubt they would be where they are if they didn't have a solid base in Music History, and past processes. Perhaps what you're saying is possible, but it is definitely not the case with today's successful composers, and to even say such a thing, in my opinion, is highly insulting to 20th century music. It makes me think that I've wasted my time in college, you know? It makes me think, "wow, I should never have learned this."

I'm not a romantic composer, nor do I want to be. If I send you a PDF, it'll be of something that you might have a hard time grabbing on to.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  scott_good at 03:19 on 18 June 2007

I think it is incorrect to think that the music of the romantic tradition is any less structured, ordered, or hierarchical than the music of the 20th century. I honestly think it is quite the opposite. Functional harmony dictates every pitch - it's coming and going. this is a highly structured system, and it was mostly Debussy and Wagner that these functions were first challenged in the idea of the "romantic searching" trying to find new expression that is not rigorously dictated by tradition.

compared to the realative freedom of 12tone composition which was to follow shortly after, it seems very stifling.

certainly, all of these romantic composer's had unique voices, but, really they are following a strict set of rules that were established many years earlier.

and this isn't even discussing rhythm, orchestration, form - all quite homogeneous in the romantic era compared to what has happened since.

and, my reason for not composing like Chopin is i have no desire to do so, certainly not because it is difficult (all music is difficult) i live now, not then, and the trends of modern music have an inescapable influence on what i do. sure, for the first few years of writing, it sounded an "awful" lot like Tchaikovsky, but that's when i was 12. this is not to say that he, and a host of others (including..gulp...Brahms...), do not have an influence on what i do - it's that i see them through the lens of modern thought, and their meaning is changed. not better, not worse, just different.

But let's be real - newbee, there are piles of living "romantics" out there - just not often in the concert halls, but on the movie screen.

and, newbee, go backwards as well as forwards. there is so much to be gained from study of the beginnings of composition. 15-16 century is ripe for innovative ideas. pre-harmony - pure melody and rhythm - a fascinating time in the history of the western tradition.

don't worry about where the romantics are - leave that to the critics and the catalogers, just worry about where you are.


  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 08:25 on 18 June 2007

Matt, if you want Brahms, listen to Brahms.

Michael Torke is inspired by the music of Brahms (and many others). So that may be worth a listen.

It's the same as Bach. If you want Bach, you listen to Bach. If you want to listen to someone who is/was inspired by Bach, try ABBA. Odd but True. (and of course about a 1000+ classical works)

This thread is getting quite interesting. I think what it shows is that sometimes the romantics don't quite get what the modernists are doing and the modernists don't quite get what the romantics are doing.

The thing is, and an important thing to realise that, musically, they both exist in the same timeframe and both have the same general goals. While we have modern v romantic, it's really a battle between post-modern modernisim v post-modern romantisim.

Without trying to be biased towards any side, I believe that some modernists can be a little bit flippant when it comes to writing a melody. I'm a Brass Bander, if you can't write a melody, you're career is over.

Like I said in an earlier post, NEVER underestimate the power of a good tune! Roberto, the great italian doctor of composition may think it's fine for the bathroom or whistling while walking and writing a tune like that, but let me just point out the power, drama and emotion of Puccini's famous arias which just transend you into a world of pure beauty. It is a pure master at work.

By contrast, 'Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima' (by Krzysztof Penderecki) is an excellenty CONCIEVIED piece (even although it was originally given a very different title) But it doesn't grab on to you the way Madame Butterfly does, you know.

So, while modernisim is a good thing, the last you thing you should do is condem the tune-makers and new romantics to hell because they care more about traditional melody structure, form and harmony.

In the same way, us romantics should not condemn the modernists to hell because they care more about mathematics in music or creating sound poems instead of melodies.

BUT.............. I want to make sure that people get real for a second and remember the key phrase here:

Never underestimate the power of a good tune.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 12:26 on 18 June 2007

Personally - I feel the main thing is about respect. There is so much dogging in the composition world, and sometimes it's hard to respect each other, especially when we're all competing for the same thing. But when we knock the validity or stereotype a whole category of music, then we're just becoming musically prejudice and close-minded. There's retrograde and energy in Brittany Speares's Toxic. Earth, Wind, and Fire breathed new life in their cover of "Got to Get You Into My Life" with all of their talented brass musicians. Charles Mingus helped revolutionize the world of Jazz music and perpetuate improvisation. Stockhausen taught the members of Kraftwerk, who had the first electronic hit on the pop charts. MIA has an eerily amazing sense of phasing/phrase manipulation within her "beat" limitations. Gospel music is chalk full of chords that seem to not make sense harmonically at all, yet the foundation of gospel music is rather simple harmonically. One can write serious articles about the aforementioned, just like one can write serious articles about Brahms... Let's start respecting that.

And thanks, Scott, for saying things that I wanted to say. XD

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  red5 at 16:01 on 18 June 2007

I don't think Penderecki intended for his piece to grab you like Madam Butterfly does, did he? They're totally different subject matter and methods of communication. Friends doesn't grab me in the same way that Lars von Trier's 'Dancer in the Dark' does. That doesn't say anything about the worth of either of them, they both serve a purpose. Your right, the Penderecki grabs me but, and I'm glad about this, not in the same way as the Puccini. That doesn't mean one is better than the other or say anything about Modernism vs Romantacism, does it? By the way, who do you mean when you say 'modernists'?

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  scott_good at 18:11 on 18 June 2007

very solid points red5 and piargno. thanks.

and, didn't the modernist revolution (evolution?) start way back in the 13th century to take us out of the so called dark ages? modernism a.k.a. "the enlightenment"

Monteverdi, Beethoven, Bach, Haydn etc. were modernists - yes? no?

maybe i just don't understand the terms.

something else to grapple, and only somewhat related:

could it be argued that bach is a 20th century composer? up until this time, his music was appreciated almost entirely in the academic sense, and studied only by composer's for contrapuntal technique. but now in the 20th-21st century, he is hugely appreciated, performed, studied, recorded etc.

it's a question of looking at time not as a linear, 2 dimensional phenomenon, but also as a lateral, 3 dimensional concept.

wondering if anyone has had thoughts like this.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 18:18 on 22 June 2007

Now tell me melody is only OK for the bathroom!

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  red5 at 16:17 on 23 June 2007

James, you didn't answer my question about who you mean when you say modernists? The Puccini is a lovely melody (when sung by a better singer than that guy), has anyone ever doubted that? I think it sounds loveley in the bathroom as well. Again, I'm not quite sure I see your point? I'm intrigued now, what's your definition of melody?

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 17:43 on 23 June 2007

Of course true 'melodic action' is in virtually all forms of music. Even apparent noise-based 'music' has a melody to some ears, although I would perhaps question their sanity! <img src=../images/wink.gif>

I just wanted to demonstrate the power of a melody in the traditional sence. I don't particularly care who sings it, the reaction from the judges and crowd says it all.

Now, if he went on to sing a more 'modern' work that consisted of fragmented phrases, jumping up and down register, dynamics and falsetto at seemingly-random points, it wouldn't have had the same effect. That's not to say the music isn't good within itself. I know plenty of crafty modern works, hell, my publishing company even publishes them.

I just hate it when people bash others just because they write powerful tune-based music. There's enough people in the world to hear all sorts of music, we don't need composers with PhD's to tell us traditional melody writing and tune-based music is dead. It is most defintely not dead, just some people are ignorant to traditional melody in the modern world, just as there are people who are ignorant towards modern music.

Just to clarify there are actually composers out there with PhD's who have a more open mind to traditional melody in the modern world.

When I say modern I mean what is happening today. What was modern 200, 300 years ago is really probably better described as contemporary. I think it's best to refer to composers like Bach as a Baroque composer as he rightly was. His music is almost timeless, but it was written in the time of Baroque, regardless of how progressionist it might be, it is still Baroque music and in my opinion always will.

Hope this answers your questions. It's been a hard day cleaning the house and my brain isn't working too well! :)

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  red5 at 11:55 on 25 June 2007

I'm confused, so you describe composers like Mozart or Handel (those who, like you say were around 200 or 300 years ago) as contemporary? That's an interesting form of categorisation. Surely they can't be called contemporary? They weren't even contemporaries. Mozart and Haydn were contemporaries but still, I'm not sure they can be described as contemporary can they? I'm not even sure that people writing today should be called 'modern', this word has a very strong association with movements in the twentieth century which aren't really related to the type of music you describe.

I take your point about a good melody but you back this up with the assertion that all music is to please the masses which I disagree with. I think there's more to art than reaching a wide audience and making money. The main reason that people react to something like Nessan Dorma (when it's performed in isolation, i.e. not in the context of the full opera) is because it was forced down our throats during Italia '90 (football world cup) and has since been commercially recorded by every half-bit tenor to come along and attached to so many silly products. It's a good melody but that's not why people like that piece, in my opinion. It's a product of subliminal advertising. And you could name so many other 'good' melodies that have seeped into popular culture in a similar manner.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  Sarah O`Halloran at 10:26 on 02 July 2007

Most Post Minimal composers that I've met would vomit at the thought of being called 'Romantic'.

This 37 message thread spans 3 pages:  < <   1  [2]  3  > >