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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/22/2019 in all areas

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    One of my most beloved preludes by the public:
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    Well, here's an interesting discussion. Would that they were not so rare these days! To answer the original question, most (but not all) of my music falls within an immediately identifiable historical style. Within the fairly narrow confines of that style, I invariably try to do certain things differently and uniquely according to my own sensibilities, while remaining as faithful to the style as possible - creating something new with old tools, as it were. I've been told this gives much of my historicist music a flavour that is uniquely my own, and I would like to believe this is true. It is certainly something I continually strive for on some level as I compose. There would be little value to my self-expression in this manner were there nothing about it that is mine, and mine alone. That said, it is not of paramount importance to me that my personal expression is as unmistakable as that of Beethoven, for example, only that I have been at once true to the historical style in which I am writing, and to my own artistic sensibilities. Likewise, in my "modern" voice, I follow the dictates of my own sensibilities in hopes that what results is something that is my own unique expression.
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    One of the things found in all the research is that, since you can get emotional responses out, well, basically any kind of communication (languages you don't understand, noises, whatever,) you can argue that the degree of "understanding" you have of a language just allows it to trigger finer and more nuanced responses (expectation breaks, comedy, etc, all that.) The "problem" of something like serial music or any kind of music that is "random" sounding enough that it makes you default to basic responses is that it can't immediately engage you on the level of stuff that you're familiar with. This obviously changes drastically the more you expose yourself and familiarize yourself with different kinds of musical languages. One thing that happens when you ARE familiar with the musical language, enough to have actual expectations, is that a curious things starts to happen which is that music that constantly breaks expectation is more "interesting," or "pleasurable" to listen to, but the break has to be just right. Too tame and it doesn't excite the brain centers enough, too harsh and it pulls you out of it. This kind of expectancy "curve" is what drives a lot of music composition from all sorts of people, Beethoven, Bach, you name it. They did it, obviously, purely on intuition, but we know now that they were "guided" by how the brain actually perceives those breaks in expectation. There's a lot to unpack in this theory, but I've been investigating this subject for the last 10 years, I think it's amazing how much we have discovered. Additionally, this can apply to any musical language, all it takes is enough consistency and familiarity to develop expectancy. Here are two papers you can read that back up my statements: http://www.stefan-koelsch.de/papers/Fritz_2009_CurrBiol.pdf and http://www.stefan-koelsch.de/papers/Koelsch_2008_ERAN_EDA_music_meaning_syntax_emotion.pdf There are a bunch of other papers that go in depth into both things, usually with new studies and some new insight, but these are good starting points. You need to brush up on some neurology to really understand what's going on in the brain itself, but you can get a pretty good idea of what's going on even if you just look at the graphs.
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    Here is an [ongoing] list of classical music professors who compose/improvise tonal music. Some of them are from Europe, but because the percentage of teachers who teach and write tonal music is so small, I'm including anyone who fits the bill, even non-Europeans. -Morten Lauridsen, professor of composition the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music -Michael Gees, professor of improvisation and composition at the Cologne Conservatory -Georgs Pelēcis, professor of counterpoint and theory at the Latvian Academy of Music, also the first president of the Riga Center of Early Music
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    For improvisation it flows well. Nice spread in harmonic rhythm, a graceful tune and pianistically accomplished. An occasional hesitation but that's a risk with all improvisation (I suppose...until you've 'learned' the bits you like for use in subsequent performances - how it is with me anyway!). It could easily pass as a composed piece on paper. Improvisation is composing on the fly to me! Some very nice moments in it.
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