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Another article on modern music.


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If all the ideas are already there for you, there's not much to do. That's the main problem with allowing style copies in composition lessons, since they don't really develop anyone's ability to deal with things from scratch, which I think is a very important skill to have. It applies to people who are just also mindlessly copying Schoenberg or whoever as well, it goes for really any style copy, even if it's a newer style. It doesn't matter in the end.

We're not talking about style copies, though. What we're actually talking about are elements of music being used today that are considered by many to be "traditional" and, more repulsively, "irrelevant." This could be the use of tonality, the reliance on a traditional form, writing a memorable melody, a popular song, etc. This could be just about anything that doesn't qualify as "modern" in the common discussion of the epoch.

So, while I agree with you that it's good for a composer to develop skills that allow them to create something completely removed from everything else, it's not the ONLY exercise that matters. In my opinion, it's equally important for composers to be able to create based on a style or a series of styles. It's also important, again in my opinion, for composers to learn what is easier and what is more difficult for performers to play in small and large ensemble settings. It's good for composers to be able to do all of these things and more.

There are plenty of SKILLS that composers should have, and if all we're talking about is developing a composer's ability to compose outside of the box, just assuming these other skills will come with time and experience, then what's the difference in paying tuition for classes and spending a fraction of that amount on resources to study the material yourself? If the the only skill developed in the process is "thinking outside the box," one that inevitably occurs over time and with experience, then I see no difference and find anyone hard pressed to make a legitimate case otherwise.

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Well this is sadly what passes for discussion lately. Why don't others participate and we can get different opinions? Anything is better than the same 4 people going in circles. That'd also be nice

Haven't you thought about why there are only four people? Who on earth would want to subject themselves to this kind of masochism?! It must be simply exhausting to have to constantly write essay-leng

*sighs* :( If only you all would channel this much energy and passion into constructively reviewing peoples' works on this site :veryunsure: Because seriously, what good is this doing anyone?

I repeat. Not ONCE in 6 years of college (yeah i was slow. Got two degrees though.) did I EVER hear a professor consider even outdated and even factually incorrect modes of thinking as irrelevant or "too traditional." Not in music, philosophy, history, language, engineering, or social science. Again, I point to the fact that I was condemned for not knowing the fundamentals, a problem that plagues my music even now...

Where the hell did you go? Let's get the name of this school out so we can at least tell people to avoid it, if this is truly the case.

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I repeat. Not ONCE in 6 years of college (yeah i was slow. Got two degrees though.) did I EVER hear a professor consider even outdated and even factually incorrect modes of thinking as irrelevant or "too traditional." Not in music, philosophy, history, language, engineering, or social science. Again, I point to the fact that I was condemned for not knowing the fundamentals, a problem that plagues my music even now...

Where the hell did you go? Let's get the name of this school out so we can at least tell people to avoid it, if this is truly the case.

What does the school have to do with this Ferk? The school has nothing to do with the manner in which composition lessons are taught. The method of teaching comp is handled at the PhD level. So the question to ask is what schools did these individuals attend? I've answered that already. You can stop asking and go look.

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What does the school have to do with this Ferk? The school has nothing to do with the manner in which composition lessons are taught.

Except academic mentality, etc etc. What doesn't the school have to do with how composition lessons are taught?

If your experience academically was something systematic, as you claim, and it's not experienced in the same ways by three very different composers at different schools in different countries -- what other than a systematically crappy school(/department, depending on the autonomy the school gives) could cause this?

If it's just one prof (or a cabal of them), then it's not systematic and it's not academia in general.

The method of teaching comp is handled at the PhD level. So the question to ask is what schools did these individuals attend? I've answered that already. You can stop asking and go look.

I can't remember, did you do PHD work?

Also, you mentioned Michigan and John Adams -- the PHD student you spoke of I can't say jack about, but John Adams was in school in the 60s and 70s... Academia does have a lag, which might explain his issues, but would simply put current students and students of even a decade or two before into a very 80's-90's mindset, which I don't think is the high-modernism you're railing against.

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Except academic mentality, etc etc. What doesn't the school have to do with how composition lessons are taught?

If your experience academically was something systematic, as you claim, and it's not experienced in the same ways by three very different composers at different schools in different countries -- what other than a systematically crappy school (/department, depending on the autonomy the school gives) could cause this?

If it's just one prof (or a cabal of them), then it's not systematic and it's not academia in general.

"What other than a systemically crappy school could cause this?"

A shortsighted, rhetorical idealism that permeates within the academic community of composers (not all of them, mind you). Ideology is fine when it serves as the basis of individual effort. When it circumvents the efforts of others, that's when it often goes too far.

I can't remember, did you do PHD work?

No, after my Masters work I was disenchanted with the idea of obligating myself to debt or paying tuition outright only to further expose myself to indoctrination I believe to be detrimental to my individual goals and to the music community as a whole.

Also, you mentioned Michigan and John Adams -- the PHD student you spoke of I can't say jack about, but John Adams was in school in the 60s and 70s... Academia does have a lag, which might explain his issues, but would simply put current students and students of even a decade or two before into a very 80's-90's mindset, which I don't think is the high-modernism you're railing against.

Sure, you may disagree with me, but this high-modernism we're talking about is quite a bit more prevalent than you seem to think, at least that's been my experience. It seems like everywhere I turned, I wound up being bombarded by more and more opposition to the goals I made for myself in pursuing music composition, not resources or instruction to further enhance and hone my skills. Here's a good example of what not to do as a composition teacher...

I brought in a concert band work that I was to later have performed. It was entirely tonal, and knowing what I know now, there is so much more that could have been done with it. My professor at the time, well, he simply said, "Great job, here are a few small things you could change. Next piece?" Simply put, in hindsight, there were more than a few small things I could change to enhance the work and demonstrate a much higher understanding of some core concepts. But instead, the opportunity was not seized upon. Do X, Y, and Z, and it's done - next? This was NOT the case when I brought in a work that was "modern" or something, when it was something interesting to the teacher.

I post my works on the site. You're welcome to listen to them and make your own assessments of the "contemporary" quality of my music. Many of these works aren't THAT far away from what I wanted to create while I was in college. The more I tried to close the gaps in my knowledge, the more I was pushed in directions that made less and less sense. Ultimately, I had to do it on my own, and all the tuition I spent on pursuing my ambitions could have been better spent learning on my own in some respects.

I'm not putting myself through it again, hence, I don't plan to pursue a PhD ANYTIME soon. At least I have the experience along with the positive relationships I formed with peers and professors along the way. I don't mean to caste the entire experience in some shadow of doom and gloom. I only brought it up to rebut SSC's post earlier, not to sit and bash the colleges and music programs I was a part of. THIS particular aspect of my experience is significant. I hope the conditions improve, but simply NOT saying something and pretending I didn't encounter this stuff would do nothing to effect change or improve those conditions.

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I brought in a concert band work that I was to later have performed. It was entirely tonal, and knowing what I know now, there is so much more that could have been done with it. My professor at the time, well, he simply said, "Great job, here are a few small things you could change. Next piece?" Simply put, in hindsight, there were more than a few small things I could change to enhance the work and demonstrate a much higher understanding of some core concepts. But instead, the opportunity was not seized upon. Do X, Y, and Z, and it's done - next? This was NOT the case when I brought in a work that was "modern" or something, when it was something interesting to the teacher.

That's pretty normal.

In fact, depending on what it was that you showed I would've probably done the same thing (and my teachers would have as well.) Reason is that while you can say some things about a tonal piece, most of the aesthetic is so well documented there's nothing TO say. It's so easy to find millions of examples and it's easy to give suggestions, but in the end it's not very interesting. That's not to say that tonal music can't be interesting, but something strictly tonal is often boring to look at as a teacher since you don't really have much you can say. Creatively it's like baking a plain'ol chocolate cake, everyone knows what it is, how it works and how it tastes. What's there to say?

The point is, if you're not using your time in college to really experiment you're wasting your time and your teacher's. It's the only place where you can actually do that where you don't have to worry about audience or anything, you can just write really out-there things and try all sorts of different things. If it's just being there to write stuff that you can as well write outside, then don't bother since I wouldn't call that studying at all.

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The point is, if you're not using your time in college to really experiment you're wasting your time and your teacher's. It's the only place where you can actually do that where you don't have to worry about audience or anything, you can just write really out-there things and try all sorts of different things. If it's just being there to write stuff that you can as well write outside, then don't bother since I wouldn't call that studying at all.

Why is it that "experiment" means write in a modern style? Why can't I "experiment" with tradtional styles? Is that not possible? Your whole arguement is based on the assumption that by writing more traditional music, I'm not exploring or learning anything. I don't know everything there is to know about classicism, but it interests me, which is why I want to learn about it at college. Why must traditional music be learned at home, but more modern styles can be learned at the academic level? If college is for "not worrying about audiences", then can't I just write what I want to write? If that happens to be a traditional stlye, why is that a bad thing?

And I've had that same "ABC/XYZ" discussion with profs. as well. I havne't actually started college yet, but while visiting a particular college I told one of the professors that I liked the classical style. Of course the conversation went nowhere; they told me that I would learn a "variety" of things, but they never really adressed my questions on how I could strengthen my own classical knowledge, or they would tell me something like "We give you a variety of knowledge, YOU decide what you do with it." Which would be great, if I didn't know that it means "We put a lot of emphasis on more modern things; you can learn anything else on your own time."

I know that without help from experts, I won't stand a chance in learning anything about more traditional styles. But if professors are only willing to help students that match THEIR interests, then I won't be able to recieve the help I need and want. If you guys had not taken classes on the styles you love, would you know as much as you do now?

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Why is it that "experiment" means write in a modern style? Why can't I "experiment" with tradtional styles? Is that not possible? Your whole arguement is based on the assumption that by writing more traditional music, I'm not exploring or learning anything. I don't know everything there is to know about classicism, but it interests me, which is why I want to learn about it at college. Why must traditional music be learned at home, but more modern styles can be learned at the academic level? If college is for "not worrying about audiences", then can't I just write what I want to write? If that happens to be a traditional stlye, why is that a bad thing?

arrrrrrrrgh

"experiment" DOESN'T always mean "write 'modern". It means.

if you're writing Beethoven, go try your hand at some pop.

if you're writing pop, go try a couple serialist pieces.

if you're into early 20th century 12-tone, go experiment with folk music

etc.

etc.

like Ferk said. if you finna write music you gotta learn the language. You seem to be hung up on this "EVERYBDOAOYDOS TELLIN ME TO ONLY WRITE PIECES BY LUIGI NONO" and that's not what SSC is saying anyway, as far as I've seen.

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That's pretty normal.

In fact, depending on what it was that you showed I would've probably done the same thing (and my teachers would have as well.) Reason is that while you can say some things about a tonal piece, most of the aesthetic is so well documented there's nothing TO say. It's so easy to find millions of examples and it's easy to give suggestions, but in the end it's not very interesting. That's not to say that tonal music can't be interesting, but something strictly tonal is often boring to look at as a teacher since you don't really have much you can say. Creatively it's like baking a plain'ol chocolate cake, everyone knows what it is, how it works and how it tastes. What's there to say?

The point is, if you're not using your time in college to really experiment you're wasting your time and your teacher's. It's the only place where you can actually do that where you don't have to worry about audience or anything, you can just write really out-there things and try all sorts of different things. If it's just being there to write stuff that you can as well write outside, then don't bother since I wouldn't call that studying at all.

No, all this comes down to is taste. According to what you're saying, I'm in college to learn how to experiment according to some composition professor's taste in music. Basically, the professor has already decided for me what is "relevant experimentation" or something (don't know how to say this any better)... meaning if I want to experiment with tonal, traditional styles, the professor decides whether it's legitimate experimentation. That's NOT the professor's job to decide for me where and where not to experiment.

If I'm learning how to become a computer programmer, there's a specific set of skills and syntax to learn about writing programs, even if there are a plethora of ways to write a program differently. It's not THAT much different from music composition in that regard. I'm taking computer programming courses now, as a matter of fact. I'm amazed at the connections I can make (or the lack thereof in my experience) with how I should have been educated compared to what I actually experienced. It all comes back to this rhetoric of what I assume we're calling "high-modernism."

Along a similar vein, it's not the computer programming professor's job to decide for me whether to use C++ or Python to write a particular program for a project. I might want to learn one or the other for any number of reasons, while the instructor may need to use one I'm not familiar with in class to teach some concepts. It's fine to introduce me to another language and its syntax, but if the only reason for one language to be used is because there's too much written about others (a completely arbitrary reason to begin with), I'd be surprised if that programming professor even kept their job after more and more students complained.

I'm not there to "please" the professor personally, I'm there to learn core concepts in music and then demonstrate that I understand them. This MAY include material and techniques of 20th Century music, but certainly NOT exclusively. Yet, that was precisely my experience beginning some in undergrad and escalating even more in masters. All along the way, there were opportunities for a professor to help me correct syntactically obscure material (the basics, if you will) where the professor either didn't know or didn't care to. Sorry, I call bullshit. If I was a computer scientist and was treated that way, the professor would get canned. In music, it should be no different.

That being said, I don't blame these professors... I BLAME THE INSTITUTIONS THAT MORE THAN LIKELY AND IRRESPONSIBLY PLANTED IDEOLOGICAL VIEWS ON MUSIC IN THE MINDS OF THESE PROFESSIONALS, WHICH HAS THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE OF SIGNIFICANTLY DISABLING THESE OTHERWISE KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE FROM BEING CAPABLE OF PERFORMING THEIR JOBS.

Why is it that "experiment" means write in a modern style? Why can't I "experiment" with tradtional styles? Is that not possible? Your whole arguement is based on the assumption that by writing more traditional music, I'm not exploring or learning anything. I don't know everything there is to know about classicism, but it interests me, which is why I want to learn about it at college. Why must traditional music be learned at home, but more modern styles can be learned at the academic level? If college is for "not worrying about audiences", then can't I just write what I want to write? If that happens to be a traditional stlye, why is that a bad thing?

And I've had that same "ABC/XYZ" discussion with profs. as well. I havne't actually started college yet, but while visiting a particular college I told one of the professors that I liked the classical style. Of course the conversation went nowhere; they told me that I would learn a "variety" of things, but they never really adressed my questions on how I could strengthen my own classical knowledge, or they would tell me something like "We give you a variety of knowledge, YOU decide what you do with it." Which would be great, if I didn't know that it means "We put a lot of emphasis on more modern things; you can learn anything else on your own time."

I know that without help from experts, I won't stand a chance in learning anything about more traditional styles. But if professors are only willing to help students that match THEIR interests, then I won't be able to recieve the help I need and want. If you guys had not taken classes on the styles you love, would you know as much as you do now?

Thank you. THANK YOU! I knew I wasn't the only one to encounter this, and as lacking as I may be in articulating my concerns, at least the experience is shared to some extent.

arrrrrrrrgh

"experiment" DOESN'T always mean "write 'modern". It means.

1) if you're writing Beethoven, go try your hand at some pop.

2) if you're writing pop, go try a couple serialist pieces.

3) if you're into early 20th century 12-tone, go experiment with folk music

etc.

etc.

like Ferk said. if you finna write music you gotta learn the language. You seem to be hung up on this "EVERYBDOAOYDOS TELLIN ME TO ONLY WRITE PIECES BY LUIGI NONO" and that's not what SSC is saying anyway, as far as I've seen.

1) This NEVER happened in my experience... EVER! In my masters work, I was actually writing my 4th or 5th modern work when I asked, "What about pop or general songwriting? Any chance we could do some of that?" Answer: There are colleges out there where you could go to study that, like Full Sail (yeah, a FOR-PROFIT online college that charges an arm and a leg for a degree far below my credentials). I was blown away.

2) Yeah, that more or less happened.

3) Nope, that was really NEVER the case either. Basically, if I wrote a "modern" work, there was a great deal of discussion and analysis about it, then discussion of my next work and what modern concepts I could incorporate in my next work.

What Ferk is saying is that, even if you dislike what you're hearing, you need to know that it is out there and to listen to it for those small theoretical morsels of material that you can use in your work. I agree with this in part, but it's HARDLY the ONLY objective in learning how to compose.

What SSC is saying is something I've already addressed. My view on the matter is:

Experimentation - Good... Experimentation Only - Bad. Learning how to compose is about more than learning how to experiment.

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No, all this comes down to is taste. I'm in college to learn how to write according to some composition professor's taste in music. If I'm learning how to become a computer programmer, there's a specific set of skills and syntax to learn about writing programs, even if there are a plethora of ways to write a program differently. It's not THAT much different from music composition in that regard. I'm taking computer programming courses now, as a matter of fact. I'm amazed at the connections I can make (or the lack thereof in my experience) with how I should have been educated compared to what I actually experienced. It all comes back to this rhetoric of what I assume we're calling "high-modernism."

While I didn't take many classes in programming, I do work in web development now. Don't tell me there aren't schools of "how" to program and that you won't find a perfectly legit way to get the end result that your prof or boss calls "not within standards."

I'm not there to "please" the professor personally, I'm there to learn core concepts in music and then demonstrate that I understand them. This MAY include material and techniques of 20th Century music, but certainly NOT exclusively.

If your prof can't see beyond his taste, then he;s just a crappy prof. Why didn't you ask for a switch?

1) This NEVER happened in my experience... EVER! In my masters work, I was actually writing my 4th or 5th modern work when I asked, "What about pop or general songwriting? Any chance we could do some of that?" Answer: There are colleges out there where you could go to study that, like Full Sail (yeah, a FOR-PROFIT online college that charges an arm and a leg for a degree far below my credentials). I was blown away.

BULLSHIT. I took more than enough courses in jazz and pop, starting from about 1850 onwards. You just took bad classes, which is what I've alleged since the first anti-academia-of-art post you had. I went to a top-50 school that had a WEAK music dept. That's at BFA level, which I've been told is a bad music degree. My individual prof was equally skilled in classical and jazz...

2) Yeah, that more or less happened.

3) Nope, that was really NEVER the case either. Basically, if I wrote a "modern" work, there was a great deal of discussion and analysis about it, then discussion of my next work and what modern concepts I could incorporate in my next work.

See, I was introduced to everything from Medieval folk to the highest-of-high to Mr Bungle and King Crimson in my classes. But whatever, repeating that doesn't add anything.

I kind of agree with SSC about reviewing tonal works -- it's not something that you can active critique.... You're not being conceptual, so you can't really fail, you know. But I'm not a great source on that, since I could be overlooking stuff. But I mean, once you have the fundamentals down, it's all taste, so it'd make sense for a reviewer to ignore the parts that are based in taste.

I don't know, it just sounds like you and your individual prof didn't communicate well with each other... Again I ask, why didn't you ask for a change? When I worked at the Chem dept, a few students did this...

What Ferk is saying is that, even if you dislike what you're hearing, you need to know that it is out there and to listen to it for those small theoretical morsels of material that you can use in your work. I agree with this in part, but it's HARDLY the ONLY objective in learning how to compose.

Well, there's an element of stop scalloping, it's all good music. I can't imagine how many tracks I've put down, and then the gods of random pull up on my itunes... Busdriver's a good example of that...

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Experimenting has to do with doing things you normally don't do. If someone writes only serial music I'd have them do something totally different, and so on. It so happens that -MOST PEOPLE- end up only writing at first in old styles, so naturally they lack experience in everything else so that's what they should be doing then. That's why it always ends up coming down to experimenting with modern techniques because people don't generally do it on their own for all the reasons people keep bringing up in this thread.

It's the entire point of an education to shake you up and make you discover things, and that's only possible if you're doing things rather than sitting around scalloping.

No, all this comes down to is taste. According to what you're saying, I'm in college to learn how to experiment according to some composition professor's taste in music. Basically, the professor has already decided for me what is "relevant experimentation" or something (don't know how to say this any better)... meaning if I want to experiment with tonal, traditional styles, the professor decides whether it's legitimate experimentation. That's NOT the professor's job to decide for me where and where not to experiment.

Er, but he IS your professor. He gets to decide this, it is his job really. You can always write whatever you want anyway outside of college. You can always do whatever you want outside of having anything to do with that professor. If you're expecting the prof to just sit there and tell you how great everything you do is then what's the point?

Comparing music to computer science is also rather idiotic, as there are no "basics" in music beyond explaining what 4/4 may be or scraggy like that, but even then you can literally pick off composition at any stage in music history and go from there. There's no "beginning" that we can say "ah well it all starts from here" since everything is a chain from before we even had recorded history of it. I also doubt that by "basics" people mean medieval music/aesthetics (as far as we can go before it all becomes a historical salad of anecdotes,) as that would imply a lot of things that have absolutely nothing (and run rather contrary) to later tendencies that are much more popular.

And that's the thing really, let's replace "basics" with "popular."

Here in Germany there's a pretty easy system, everything that's 20th century onwards isn't covered in music theory thus it's a focal point of composition. Everything that's previous to the 20th century is covered in music history/theory, such as counterpoint, choral writing, harmonic analysis, form studies, etc etc etc. Obviously composition classes don't touch those things in general unless what you're writing is borrowing from that, but then there's a line between it being a composition and it being a theory exercise. That's up to the teacher to decide and figure if it's worth his time to look at it as a composer, otherwise it could just devolve into pointing out "errors" in an exercise.

I'm not there to "please" the professor personally, I'm there to learn core concepts in music and then demonstrate that I understand them.

"Core concepts" in music like what? What the hell does that even mean?

I know that without help from experts, I won't stand a chance in learning anything about more traditional styles.

This is retarded also.

I mean seriously guys, you guys never took theory courses? Music history? Analysis? Any of that? I've done months of seminars and courses about Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Mahler, Machaut, Faure, ETC ETC ETC ETC, enough to strengthen the gently caress out of my knowledge of classical styles.

Why the gently caress would I bother my composition teacher with things that I'm already getting so much of by analyzing nonstop past music? Granted I studied musicology, but seriously, any of my teachers for theory would gladly correct/comment on style copies I would make (which I did, quite a few actually!) I would in fact make sonata segments to mimic what I was learning in form studies, because I found that fun to do.

All this stinks of lazy honestly. If either of you wanted to "strengthen" your classical/whatever knowledge, I'm quite sure there must've been ten million courses available with tons of professors that specialize in this. Hell I took even baroque style recreation for three goddamn years with an expert harpsichordist and we viewed TONS of material from all over the baroque era, with analysis and all.

If I had gone to my composition teacher with this crap he would've asked me why I wasn't doing all of the above instead. I mean, certainly when we DID analyze music (my composition curriculum included ADDITIONAL classical analysis as well as instrumentation/orchestration/etc) it was very interesting to hear my teacher had to say about Schubert or whoever it was at the moment, seeing it composition-wise rather than strictly theoretically (though this was also hardly the case by the other profs who were all keen on talking about the musical aspect rather than just theory, specially in composer-specific seminars.)

I used my time with the composition teacher to work on everything ELSE that I couldn't cover with all the other 20 or so courses I had to take. Surely you guys never had any interest in modern music to begin with, but that leaves me wondering why study composition then instead of theory? Become a theorist, that's much more suited if all you want to do is do style copies.

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While I didn't take many classes in programming, I do work in web development now. Don't tell me there aren't schools of "how" to program and that you won't find a perfectly legit way to get the end result that your prof or boss calls "not within standards."

If your prof can't see beyond his taste, then he;s just a crappy prof. Why didn't you ask for a switch?

First professor died of cancer at the beginning of our second semester - but even without his battle, I was still very displeased with my lessons with him and learned almost NOTHING about composing music. My theory teacher was the head of the theory/composition department. When he took over that semester, that was probably the most I EVER learned in music during undergrad. The following semester, his load was full (masters students), so he needed me to take on another studio. That professor I liked very much on a personal level (he seemed to legitimately care about my goals and so forth), but he was also the one that happened to have a limited amount to offer on my tonal works. I made the best of it by writing experimental stuff. I studied with him for a year - then his studio became overcrowded and he recommended that I take on lessons with a third professor, who happened to be one of the most OPEN-MINDED professor I had at that level. Yet, this was another situation where my efforts weren't very thoroughly developed through careful analysis and critique. At all levels, the comparison I was working from was one where my second teacher set the standard that every single subsequent teacher failed to live up to. Since then, I studied with three other professors and had several masterclasses with many other professors and professional composers.

In a word, I've been around the block. I looked to the best of my abilities and resources to FIND that professor that could continue where, of all people, the music theory professor left off. It was a whole lot of trivial conversation about things they liked and didn't like about my music without honing in on any of the skills I've subsequently found to be not-so-widely available anyway.

BULLSHIT. I took more than enough courses in jazz and pop, starting from about 1850 onwards. You just took bad classes, which is what I've alleged since the first anti-academia-of-art post you had. I went to a top-50 school that had a WEAK music dept. That's at BFA level, which I've been told is a bad music degree. My individual prof was equally skilled in classical and jazz...

See, I was introduced to everything from Medieval folk to the highest-of-high to Mr Bungle and King Crimson in my classes. But whatever, repeating that doesn't add anything.

Ferk, this naivete of yours is astounding to me. I'm so very happy for you, but I simply was not interested in jazz for any other reason than to hope against hope that I would learn more advanced methods of composing in a modern tonal idiom. Of course, the emergence of so many sources online is not what it was even 5-10 years ago. You need to understand that the volume of materials available at that point were not readily available without sorting through nearly dozens of texts on my own. If someone had simply said, "Look for something written by Ottman," that would have made a WORLD of difference.

Have you heard of Dr. Robert W. Ottman? If anyone can claim to know advanced tonal harmony and not know this guy, I'd be hard pressed to believe them. Yet, I only found material on this man in 2008 when I spent years searching for materials on advanced tonal harmony that didn't also inundate me with "centricity" and so forth.

I kind of agree with SSC about reviewing tonal works -- it's not something that you can active critique.... You're not being conceptual, so you can't really fail, you know. But I'm not a great source on that, since I could be overlooking stuff. But I mean, once you have the fundamentals down, it's all taste, so it'd make sense for a reviewer to ignore the parts that are based in taste.

I don't know, it just sounds like you and your individual prof didn't communicate well with each other... Again I ask, why didn't you ask for a change? When I worked at the Chem dept, a few students did this...

Oh, sure! I asked plenty of times in the beginning, but like I described in the beginning, it was a learning experience throughout. Asking for a different professor by the time I was doing masters work was an effort in futility. I asked the theory professor I mentioned if I could return to his studio, I practically BEGGED! He couldn't do it.

So, yeah. Thanks for asking.

Well, there's an element of stop scalloping, it's all good music. I can't imagine how many tracks I've put down, and then the gods of random pull up on my itunes... Busdriver's a good example of that...

Good for you. I don't think your success has anything to do with having to overcome the ideological rhetoric that permeates throughout academia. I even had in mind to dual-major in recording and music composition, but by the time I was a junior, with the lack of any traction and progress, all I wanted was to be OUT. So, rather than quit altogether, I simply finished out a degree and moved on. It was rough for me personally, maybe not so much for you.

Mitigating my experience with yours isn't really doing anything to change my mind, just so you know. I'm happy for you, I'm glad you are satisfied with your experience, but my standards were different (and in hindsight, quite reasonable) than yours. That's really all I should need to say about it. Instead of trying to relate this to your experience, instead of looking at all of the things you think I could have done (I certainly considered so many different options into exhaustion), why don't you take some time to consider that if what I'm saying is true, how else could it have come about than to simply reduce it down to being "a bad school?"

From all of this, from the relationships I developed in spite of the conditions down to the explosive discussions about music composition and what I should be learning, from endlessly analyzing my situation over many, many nights without sleep, to being judged by my peers and by faculty at the masters level as a "traditionalist" who wants to "copy styles" and not make great music... yeah, I've experienced all of that and so much more. I wouldn't have chosen to experience that if I hadn't exhausted every possible option that my resources and budget could allow and afford.

Judge ME all you want. I couldn't give a damn either way, because it's NOT ABOUT ME! If it can happen to anyone it can happen to anyone else. We can do everything we can to help in NOT letting it happen to others, but the simple truth is that the conditions exist because the ideologies and rhetoric are not being responsibly applied to the educational outcomes. I only know this because of the studies I'm currently pursuing in education.

And finally, in response to your "quit scalloping" tact... This naivete of yours is insulting and hardly constructive. I'm inclined to say, "Go jump off a bridge," but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you're legitimately trying to understand while at the same time trying to help, in some odd way. That's all.

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Experimenting has to do with doing things you normally don't do. If someone writes only serial music I'd have them do something totally different, and so on. It so happens that -MOST PEOPLE- end up only writing at first in old styles, so naturally they lack experience in everything else so that's what they should be doing then. That's why it always ends up coming down to experimenting with modern techniques because people don't generally do it on their own for all the reasons people keep bringing up in this thread.

It's the entire point of an education to shake you up and make you discover things, and that's only possible if you're doing things rather than sitting around scalloping.

So, the generalization is... "Everyone writes popular music, so the reason why high-modernism is the focal point is because it won't be learned otherwise.

Rubbish! Pure and total bullshit.

Er, but he IS your professor. He gets to decide this, it is his job really. You can always write whatever you want anyway outside of college. You can always do whatever you want outside of having anything to do with that professor. If you're expecting the prof to just sit there and tell you how great everything you do is then what's the point?

No, not when the professor decides that core concepts are less important than high-modernist rhetoric - I'll explain later what I mean by core concepts.

Comparing music to computer science is also rather idiotic, as there are no "basics" in music beyond explaining what 4/4 may be or scraggy like that, but even then you can literally pick off composition at any stage in music history and go from there. There's no "beginning" that we can say "ah well it all starts from here" since everything is a chain from before we even had recorded history of it. I also doubt that by "basics" people mean medieval music/aesthetics (as far as we can go before it all becomes a historical salad of anecdotes,) as that would imply a lot of things that have absolutely nothing (and run rather contrary) to later tendencies that are much more popular.

And that's the thing really, let's replace "basics" with "popular."

Or, let's look at it from the standpoint of Bloom's taxonomy. There are six areas of cognition as it pertains to the accumulation of knowledge - being Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. In my opinion, theory covers the first four in an abstract, controlled environment. Composition lessons as I experienced them COMPLETELY abandoned the remaining elements, let alone failed to reinforce the concepts covered in theory in a more concrete, "Real" environment.

Replacing "basics" with "popular" is stupid. It's not about what we call these concepts or how we judge them. They NEED to be remembered, understood, applied, analyzed, evaluated, and YES, CREATED TO DEMONSTRATE LEARNING.

Where computer science is concerned, unless you know what you're talking about, I'm going to disagree with you on every point. There are MANY areas in computer science that relate to the types of decisions we make in composing music. Unless you know the specifics, you'll never understand the point. SO, I'm disregarding the rest of your point on this.

Here in Germany there's a pretty easy system, everything that's 20th century onwards isn't covered in music theory thus it's a focal point of composition. Everything that's previous to the 20th century is covered in music history/theory, such as counterpoint, choral writing, harmonic analysis, form studies, etc etc etc. Obviously composition classes don't touch those things in general unless what you're writing is borrowing from that, but then there's a line between it being a composition and it being a theory exercise. That's up to the teacher to decide and figure if it's worth his time to look at it as a composer, otherwise it could just devolve into pointing out "errors" in an exercise.

Sure, but you're completely disregarding how learning takes place. Again, theory is the abstraction whereas composition is the application. These are two completely different worlds, and yes, theory needs to be applied where it is applicable to the expressive interests of the student. THIS is needed for rootedness of understanding BEFORE challenging a student with material to expand the student's knowledge and grow it. Plainly, simply, this process is utterly ignored, or at least was as it relates to my interests in music.

"Core concepts" in music like what? What the hell does that even mean?

Core concepts in music that relate to everything you learn in theory, for starters. There are syntactically effective and ineffective ways to do things in different languages and mountains of information on why some things are done the way they are. Theory alone will not address this, since it must be addressed at a level of concrete application in an uncontrolled environment (theory exercise vs legitimate composition.

This is retarded also.

I wish I had more time to respond to the rest. Quite frankly, I would but I'm off to lunch now.

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Experimenting has to do with doing things you normally don't do. If someone writes only serial music I'd have them do something totally different, and so on. It so happens that -MOST PEOPLE- end up only writing at first in old styles, so naturally they lack experience in everything else so that's what they should be doing then. That's why it always ends up coming down to experimenting with modern techniques because people don't generally do it on their own for all the reasons people keep bringing up in this thread.

It's the entire point of an education to shake you up and make you discover things, and that's only possible if you're doing things rather than sitting around scalloping.

The point of education is to learn, not shake up. Perhaps shaking up may need to occur to learn stuff, but that's not the point of education in the first place. The point is to LEARN stuff, to gain knowledge of different techniques and styles of music, to learn what makes a good composition and what makes a terrible one. Also, I think this whole referendum on "style copies" you have is getting really old. There is no such thing as a style copy if the material is new. Drawing parallels between other styles isn't very useful anyway since everyone's tastes on said style are going to influence whether the "style copy" is good or bad. It's meaningless.

Er, but he IS your professor. He gets to decide this, it is his job really. You can always write whatever you want anyway outside of college. You can always do whatever you want outside of having anything to do with that professor. If you're expecting the prof to just sit there and tell you how great everything you do is then what's the point?

No, you are his customer. You PAY for his services, and if he isn't giving you the services you need, then why shouldn't the student confront the professor?

Comparing music to computer science is also rather idiotic, as there are no "basics" in music beyond explaining what 4/4 may be or scraggy like that, but even then you can literally pick off composition at any stage in music history and go from there. There's no "beginning" that we can say "ah well it all starts from here" since everything is a chain from before we even had recorded history of it. I also doubt that by "basics" people mean medieval music/aesthetics (as far as we can go before it all becomes a historical salad of anecdotes,) as that would imply a lot of things that have absolutely nothing (and run rather contrary) to later tendencies that are much more popular.

And that's the thing really, let's replace "basics" with "popular."

I'm going to pretend you didn't write this. It reeks of idiocy. "There are no basics beyond 4/4?" Are you kidding?!

BTW, there is no beginning in programming either. It all came from something; there was no true *beginning* way of programming.

Here in Germany there's a pretty easy system, everything that's 20th century onwards isn't covered in music theory thus it's a focal point of composition. Everything that's previous to the 20th century is covered in music history/theory, such as counterpoint, choral writing, harmonic analysis, form studies, etc etc etc. Obviously composition classes don't touch those things in general unless what you're writing is borrowing from that, but then there's a line between it being a composition and it being a theory exercise. That's up to the teacher to decide and figure if it's worth his time to look at it as a composer, otherwise it could just devolve into pointing out "errors" in an exercise.

Composition is not an extension of theory class. It is the CREATION of the music that eventually becomes part of the theory class. So I think that system you describe is somewhat flawed. Composition should be taught *alongside* theory, not as an addendum to it. Creation of material, no matter how theoretical, is still creation of material. That's why I think the whole "style copy" thing doesn't work. Its not a style copy, its just a composition that happens to use several theoretical parallels with certain compositions from years past. There's nothing wrong with that, and to anyone who says there IS something wrong with it, buzz off. Who are you to say that my compositions are not "creative" enough. Almost all the "modern" music I hear today has parallels with the early 20th Century too. There is very, very, very rarely anything new anymore. And for anyone to think that 20th Century OR Romanticism OR Classisim or whatever is still "new" is naive.

This is retarded also.

I mean seriously guys, you guys never took theory courses? Music history? Analysis? Any of that? I've done months of seminars and courses about Schubert, Liszt, Brahms, Mahler, Machaut, Faure, ETC ETC ETC ETC, enough to strengthen the gently caress out of my knowledge of classical styles.

Why the gently caress would I bother my composition teacher with things that I'm already getting so much of by analyzing nonstop past music? Granted I studied musicology, but seriously, any of my teachers for theory would gladly correct/comment on style copies I would make (which I did, quite a few actually!) I would in fact make sonata segments to mimic what I was learning in form studies, because I found that fun to do.

All this stinks of lazy honestly. If either of you wanted to "strengthen" your classical/whatever knowledge, I'm quite sure there must've been ten million courses available with tons of professors that specialize in this. Hell I took even baroque style recreation for three goddamn years with an expert harpsichordist and we viewed TONS of material from all over the baroque era, with analysis and all.

If I had gone to my composition teacher with this crap he would've asked me why I wasn't doing all of the above instead. I mean, certainly when we DID analyze music (my composition curriculum included ADDITIONAL classical analysis as well as instrumentation/orchestration/etc) it was very interesting to hear my teacher had to say about Schubert or whoever it was at the moment, seeing it composition-wise rather than strictly theoretically (though this was also hardly the case by the other profs who were all keen on talking about the musical aspect rather than just theory, specially in composer-specific seminars.)

I used my time with the composition teacher to work on everything ELSE that I couldn't cover with all the other 20 or so courses I had to take. Surely you guys never had any interest in modern music to begin with, but that leaves me wondering why study composition then instead of theory? Become a theorist, that's much more suited if all you want to do is do style copies.

And again, Music theory =/= Composition. Simple as that. Theory is NOT a substitute for Composition. Not much else to say after that.

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Funny both still fail to define or exemplify what "basics" are.

But I'm not going to play that particular card since I know it'll be just a box of LOLs and honestly I don't want to get more walls of text.

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The point of education is to learn, not shake up. Perhaps shaking up may need to occur to learn stuff, but that's not the point of education in the first place. The point is to LEARN stuff, to gain knowledge of different techniques and styles of music, to learn what makes a good composition and what makes a terrible one. Also, I think this whole referendum on "style copies" you have is getting really old. There is no such thing as a style copy if the material is new. Drawing parallels between other styles isn't very useful anyway since everyone's tastes on said style are going to influence whether the "style copy" is good or bad. It's meaningless.

I personally disagree with what I bolded above. It is extremely easy to copy the style or stylistic traits of another composer. The goal of learning composition is to avoid 'reinventing the wheel' (as several of my teachers have put it.) You can easily reinvent the wheel in ANY genre or aesthetic of music.... it just so happens that on this forum, most people here style their music on the late Romantic. One has to ask as well, what is there to learn writing in the style of Mahler, Verdi, Puccini, et. al.? Are you going to learn how to solve problems in a unique way that is only witnessed in your work? No. Are you going to learn how to combine forces together in unique ways that showcase your own understanding and mastery of composition? Highly doubtful. Also, if you fall into the regular or routine copying of X composers' style... how will you LEARN different techniques and styles of music? I think these questions are all logical questions that really shoot a rather gaping hole in your entire paragraph above. Try again, please.

No, you are his customer. You PAY for his services, and if he isn't giving you the services you need, then why shouldn't the student confront the professor?

No, you are paying the institution and NOT the instructor/prof/teacher. Paying for education, it should be mentioned, doesn't give you the right to confront your prof if they aren't teaching you things that only you want to learn. If that were the case, then it would seriously degrade the entire concept of 'higher' education. If you don't want to learn what the prof is teaching you... then chose another prof/school/or drop the course... it's that simple.

BTW, there is no beginning in programming either. It all came from something; there was no true *beginning* way of programming.

Actually, this is quite wrong and really is something I'm just going to ignore you even said and think of the snow on the ground... just to show how WRONG it actually it is... let's just ignore that sentence....

Composition is not an extension of theory class. It is the CREATION of the music that eventually becomes part of the theory class. So I think that system you describe is somewhat flawed. Composition should be taught *alongside* theory, not as an addendum to it. Creation of material, no matter how theoretical, is still creation of material. That's why I think the whole "style copy" thing doesn't work. Its not a style copy, its just a composition that happens to use several theoretical parallels with certain compositions from years past. There's nothing wrong with that, and to anyone who says there IS something wrong with it, buzz off. Who are you to say that my compositions are not "creative" enough. Almost all the "modern" music I hear today has parallels with the early 20th Century too. There is very, very, very rarely anything new anymore. And for anyone to think that 20th Century OR Romanticism OR Classisim or whatever is still "new" is naive.

At one time, the concept that composition is not an extension of theory would've been a true thing to state. However, since we do 'now' have an instructional method (and have for what... 200 years?) for music theory, one must now state quite confidently that composition IS an extension of theory. There is theory involved in virtually every type of music creation. Personally, I think a person needs to have a very good and concise knowledge of music theory in order to even consider writing music. Furthermore, why are you sitting in this same sentence and trying to justify and define something that you state you don't believe exists? If you don't think X exists... then it's illogical to state taht X = a composition that uses several 'theoretical' parallels with certain compositions from years past. Finally, on this same paragraph, I would rather hear a work that incorporates something *new* - regardless of aesthetic - than something that borrows 100% from any period of music.

And again, Music theory =/= Composition. Simple as that. Theory is NOT a substitute for Composition. Not much else to say after that.

Again, Music Theory is the supreme foundation upon which a composer must rely on to write his compositions. Showing here, as you do several other places in this illogical diatribe of a post you have wrote, clearly that you don't feel Music Theory is an important thing to have knowledge in - you also don't seem to share the opinion that Music Theory is an integral part of your art at all.

I think an analogy is in order....

Music Theory is similar to the paint and technique used by a painter..... without it, the painter can not paint.

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SSC:

If there are no "basics" to music, no foundational elements upon which to build knowledge, then what on the planet do you think music theory is? Why else would we be sprayed with the proverbial "fire hose" and inundated with abstract concepts related to music if we weren't to take some part of that knowledge and apply it in a "real", "literal", or "concrete" sense? So far, you make absolutely no sense.

I agree with Tokkemon that these "basics" extend far beyond trivialities like meter to comprehension and demonstrable understanding of principles of sound, performance, systems of notation, principles of notation, and all the concepts pertaining to every aspect of these principles. The list is extensive, but there's no sense in NOT using this list to establish foundations upon which composers can then make informed decisions.

In short, the basics are the scaffold upon which informed expression can take place. If you're attempting to say that these basics don't exist, that this all just haphazardly comes together regardless, I beg to differ. But I simply don't have the desire to continue demonstrating how genuinely misinformed you appear to be where education in music is concerned. I don't have the time or the words to bother with explaining it to you any further than I have already.

Jason:

I realize there are belief systems and structures you are realizing now as you progress through your studies. There are a few things you highlighted in Tokke's post where I can surely "relate" to and agree with you in a few specific contexts. By and large, though, what Tokke says about the development of programming appears to be quite accurate. There was not one but rather several approaches manifesting early on, beginning in the 1930's if you can believe it.

Beyond this, I think it's fair to say that you may be viewing this from a weighted point of view without realizing quite what we're talking about here. Imagine Einstein's theory of relativity, that each action has an equal and opposite reaction. In my interpretation of this, it boils down similarly to the idea that with every decision made in "educating composers," deciding on one direction without consideration of the consequences for not taking the other direction is the precise subject matter of the thread.

To get back on point IN THIS THREAD, we're talking about a consequence in blindly pursuing this "artistic freedom" ideology, in some cases without even considering the consequences that result from practically ignoring the application of pedagogical concepts in the practice of composing music. Take from that what you must, but in my view it is extremely, EXTREMELY short-sighted to put everyone's eggs (not just the teacher's, but everyone depending on the teacher's instruction) in one ideological basket... to say, "Here, you're free to do what you want, but if I don't like it then good-f'n-luck to ya!" The significance of realizing one's artistic freedom at the academic level is surely important. I'll concede that point. It is not, I repeat NOT the only principle to take into consideration.

This ideology of SSC's has never successfully been implemented without repercussions, consequences that are emerging in the development of this discussion. THIS. THIS IDEOLOGY THAT WE ARE DISCUSSING RIGHT NOW IS JUST AS TOTALITARIAN AS ANY OTHER RHETORIC THAT'S PRESENTED TO BE COLLECTIVELY BETTER FOR EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS PERPETUATED WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

I think you, Jason, should take considerably greater care in "choosing sides" on this, because no matter what side you take, there will be those who benefit and those who are afflicted. It's high time to realize that a greater balance is needed as long as the conditions exist to necessitate that balance. I and many others can assure you that those conditions still exist and may continue to exist for quite a while until something improves at the systemic level to eliminate those conditions altogether.

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SSC:

If there are no "basics" to music, no foundational elements upon which to build knowledge, then what on the planet do you think music theory is? Why else would we be sprayed with the proverbial "fire hose" and inundated with abstract concepts related to music if we weren't to take some part of that knowledge and apply it in a "real", "literal", or "concrete" sense? So far, you make absolutely no sense.

Because you need to be taught something if you go to an institution and the easiest thing is to draw from the millions of books on analysis of old music. Plus since it has to do with music that's very popular and the reason most people go to study music, it's an obvious choice. The choice here is politically motivated much more than it has any merit artistically or pedagogically since anything can be taught as theory. There'll be people who benefit from it, and people who are only doing it for the degree and would rather forget it as soon as possible.

This ideology of SSC's has never successfully been implemented without repercussions, consequences that are emerging in the development of this discussion. THIS. THIS IDEOLOGY THAT WE ARE DISCUSSING RIGHT NOW IS JUST AS TOTALITARIAN AS ANY OTHER RHETORIC THAT'S PRESENTED TO BE COLLECTIVELY BETTER FOR EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS PERPETUATED WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

CAPS IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.

Never been successfully implemented? Consequences emerging in this thread? Let's be clear: The only people scalloping in this thread are guys like you and tokke (and that other guy) who hate modern music in the first place and want it to die in a fire. It's VERY easy to see who stands where and why, here. It has nothing to do with ideology, it has to do with you guys being so afraid of getting bad reactions for your music that you attempt to make arguments that cripple everyone as well. ("Oh but you need to take the audience into consideration thus change the music, we need to get more people listening to music so it has to be memorable so stop writing like that!" Bla Bla Bla.)

You want to play it safe? Good! I don't, and nobody should if they don't want to.

That's what this all means.

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Because you need to be taught something if you go to an institution and the easiest thing is to draw from the millions of books on analysis of old music. Plus since it has to do with music that's very popular and the reason most people go to study music, it's an obvious choice. The choice here is politically motivated much more than it has any merit artistically or pedagogically since anything can be taught as theory. There'll be people who benefit from it, and people who are only doing it for the degree and would rather forget it as soon as possible.

More vacuous rhetoric... couldn't have expected less given...

Never been successfully implemented? Consequences emerging in this thread? Let's be clear: The only people scalloping in this thread are guys like you and tokke (and that other guy) who hate modern music in the first place and want it to die in a fire.

Wrong.

It's VERY easy to see who stands where and why, here.

LOL! Obviously.

It has nothing to do with ideology, it has to do with you guys being so afraid of getting bad reactions for your music that you attempt to make arguments that cripple everyone as well.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few..." or something like it?

See, that's it for you, isn't it? It's a dichotomy (this, or this, but not both). I think of it as, "Support artistic freedom or don't, but don't posture as though you are when you are not!"

"Oh but you need to take the audience into consideration thus change the music, we need to get more people listening to music so it has to be memorable so stop writing like that!" Bla Bla Bla.

Sure, a strawman for good measure! Lovin' it!

You want to play it safe? Good! I don't, and nobody should if they don't want to.

That's what this all means.

No it doesn't. What all this means is that while you would offer "unlimited artistic freedom" with one hand, you would restrict/debilitate/deconstruct it with the other under the guise of aspiring to the idealism of your method. I expect the same artistic freedom for my choice of expression as you do for yours. I will vocalize this expectation to my heart's content and warn anyone concerned about it that it is still prevalent in the academic community. I'll do this in spite of your assurances that it can all be explained through some arbitrary educational process with no proven results of unlimited freedom. Did you honestly expect that your attempts to explain it away would actually vacate the transparency of this discussion?

All this means is that whatever imaginary, arbitrary ideology you use, no matter what value you place on artistic freedom, you simply cannot use it as the sole means to disseminating information in music without leaving someone out. But if you're too proud to acknowledge the limitations of your own approach, if you're too proud to critically examine that approach, then you're not fit to teach the material. Do those of us with these concerns a favor: Don't bother teaching music composition until you work through these issues to account for those you leave out or explain away with vacuous rhetoric. It's insulting, and as much as you seem to loathe my viewpoint, I believe in my heart of hearts that you genuinely want to improve things for the better. If you don't listen, absorb, process, and work through these issues, you don't need to be teaching any studio of composition students.

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No it doesn't. What all this means is that while you would offer "unlimited artistic freedom" with one hand, you would restrict/debilitate/deconstruct it with the other under the guise of aspiring to the idealism of your method. I expect the same artistic freedom for my choice of expression as you do for yours.

I already said it before, I don't have a problem with everyone writing whatever they want. I'm not going to stop people from writing whatever they want, that's the entire point of my argument, but it seems you just don't want to see that.

It bothers me however when people start telling eachother what they "should" be writing, for whatever reason. You can give suggestions, but not assert that we're better off not writing X or Y anymore because it's not memorable (like what you said pages back,) etc. And no, none of this has to do with universities or education, because what I think people should write ADDITIONALLY to whatever they want isn't the point here. I never said that anyone should give up writing X or Y and instead focus on Z, I'm always saying that it's important to consider other options and try things out.

Whatever advice I can try to give stops there, it's just advice. I'm not pretentious enough to tell someone "you should stop writing this type of music," as if I had any say on that. It would also be highly hypocritical as, evidenced by style copies I have uploaded MYSELF on this forum and classes I've given on CLASSICAL analysis and even counterpoint, I really don't mind writing in any style. Again, what you do with your music is your problem, not mine.

But it shouldn't stop anyone from criticizing it, that's fine. That's what everyone should expect anyway, no matter what you write. Criticizing something isn't "debilitating" anyone's freedom, nor is it "deconstructing it." They're still free to go and do whatever even if I or anyone doesn't like it.

So please do swallow your words quoted above.

Do those of us with these concerns a favor: Don't bother teaching music composition until you work through these issues to account for those you leave out or explain away with vacuous rhetoric.

I LOL'd. Thanks for that.

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Jason:

I realize there are belief systems and structures you are realizing now as you progress through your studies. There are a few things you highlighted in Tokke's post where I can surely "relate" to and agree with you in a few specific contexts. By and large, though, what Tokke says about the development of programming appears to be quite accurate. There was not one but rather several approaches manifesting early on, beginning in the 1930's if you can believe it.

Justin stated in his post, that there was NO beginning to programming... no infancy... just a LONG development from time memorial to today - which is just plain wrong and illogical. That said, even equating the Justinian (lol) view on the evolutionary nature of programming from the start of time to today with music is also a false argument. Western music's roots just don't go back beyond roughly 800 A.D. - at least not by standards of written record! Sure, we have a few modes that bear the names of Ancient Greek modes (although the exact names don't match up to exactly what the Ancient Greek modes were.) If you want to agree with Justin's false analogy be my guest.... it's your call, I think your smarter than that though!

Beyond this, I think it's fair to say that you may be viewing this from a weighted point of view without realizing quite what we're talking about here. Imagine Einstein's theory of relativity, that each action has an equal and opposite reaction. In my interpretation of this, it boils down similarly to the idea that with every decision made in "educating composers," deciding on one direction without consideration of the consequences for not taking the other direction is the precise subject matter of the thread.

Ouch, Shaun... totally, Ouch. I think I've demonstrated several times that I'm not an idiot... but it's very nice to see that you consider me to be one anyways...... respect lost.

To get back on point IN THIS THREAD, we're talking about a consequence in blindly pursuing this "artistic freedom" ideology, in some cases without even considering the consequences that result from practically ignoring the application of pedagogical concepts in the practice of composing music. Take from that what you must, but in my view it is extremely, EXTREMELY short-sighted to put everyone's eggs (not just the teacher's, but everyone depending on the teacher's instruction) in one ideological basket... to say, "Here, you're free to do what you want, but if I don't like it then good-f'n-luck to ya!" The significance of realizing one's artistic freedom at the academic level is surely important. I'll concede that point. It is not, I repeat NOT the only principle to take into consideration.

No one is saying it is the only principle to take into consideration! All we are saying is... DONT COPY OTHER COMPOSERS STYLES!!!!!

I think you, Jason, should take considerably greater care in "choosing sides" on this, because no matter what side you take, there will be those who benefit and those who are afflicted. It's high time to realize that a greater balance is needed as long as the conditions exist to necessitate that balance. I and many others can assure you that those conditions still exist and may continue to exist for quite a while until something improves at the systemic level to eliminate those conditions altogether.

I'm not exactly sure how encouraging a composer to pursue his or her own personal stylistic choice is a bad thing. Nor do I see how it will afflict damage to other composers. Looking at this from my 'stupid', 'idiotic' self however, from what I see of this matter.... you have on one side people saying: Write what you wish! Individual freedom!! And on the other side (yours), you have: YOU CANT DO THAT! YOU HAVE TO WRITE LIKE BEETHOVEN, BRAHMS, and MAHLER. WAIT, WHAT!?!, YOUR MAKING IT SO MY MUSIC WONT GET HEARD!!!

Again, that's a boiled down version of what all these posts above are saying - albeit with less 'flowery' words. Now, if you want to bash academia for not encouraging one to write in more 19th Century aesthetics... then, by all means... do that. If your intention is to bash those of us who don't wish to write within a limited stylistic pallet... then, I'm sorry - I have a problem. But, then again.... I'm just totally stupid and can't understand basic English and have no understanding whatsoever of these little petty fights.

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*sighs* :(

If only you all would channel this much energy and passion into constructively reviewing peoples' works on this site :veryunsure: Because seriously, what good is this doing anyone?

Well this is sadly what passes for discussion lately.

Why don't others participate and we can get different opinions? Anything is better than the same 4 people going in circles.

That'd also be nice, otherwise might as well not even have this section of the site.

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Jason:

My response to SSC applies to you as well. You're making assumptions about my views that I've neither stated nor implied. See my response to your assumptions of me below:

I already said it before, I don't have a problem with everyone writing whatever they want. I'm not going to stop people from writing whatever they want, that's the entire point of my argument, but it seems you just don't want to see that.

NO, pay attention. What YOU don't seem to want to SEE is that supporting a professor blindly shoving high-modernism down everyone's throat STOPS SOME PEOPLE FROM WRITING WHATEVER THEY WANT! At the very least, it's debilitating enough to significantly reduce the accumulation of their knowledge. I'd love to be able to say, "I know ABC, so now I can really focus on learning more about XYZ," but I can't do that. While high-modernist professor is NOT supporting my desire to learn about ABC, I'm only going to grow to resent XYZ for no reason other than because it was arbitrarily valued more by my instructor than ABC. There is absolutely no balance between the two, and therefore, you ARE STOPPING PEOPLE FROM WRITING WHATEVER THEY WANT.

It bothers me however when people start telling each other what they "should" be writing, for whatever reason. You can give suggestions, but not assert that we're better off not writing X or Y anymore because it's not memorable (like what you said pages back,) etc. And no, none of this has to do with universities or education, because what I think people should write ADDITIONALLY to whatever they want isn't the point here. I never said that anyone should give up writing X or Y and instead focus on Z, I'm always saying that it's important to consider other options and try things out.

So, what's happening here is a substitution of one context for another. In the educational environment, a balanced approach is ideal. Being able to gravitate from a stronger, balanced foundation to one where more and more artistic freedom is offered is a perfectly legitimate way to deal with this concern. In so many other specializations, this is exactly what happens. Back to my computer science example... you generally won't see students having that kind of freedom to approach problems with any language, method, or process until they have mastered the syntax and concepts from a multitude of previous projects. Engineering, from what I've been told, is far more similar.

But the mastery must exist, regardless of whether it's ultimately utilized. If anything, a curriculum of the type you suggest completely disregards the practical mastery of the concepts. These can and should include techniques of the 20th Century alongside methods and practices of the past. All of this is relevant. There is no arbitrary "cut-off" to what is and is not relevant. Beyond that, the only thing that should NOT be a part of the curriculum is the instructional adoption of ideological principles regarding artistic freedom and whether one style or another should be used. All I am saying is that the academic community is verifiably off-balance in this regard. I was under the impression long ago that you and I agreed on this point. I imagine that's no longer the case given your opposition.

Whatever advice I can try to give stops there, it's just advice. I'm not pretentious enough to tell someone "you should stop writing this type of music," as if I had any say on that. It would also be highly hypocritical as, evidenced by style copies I have uploaded MYSELF on this forum and classes I've given on CLASSICAL analysis and even counterpoint, I really don't mind writing in any style. Again, what you do with your music is your problem, not mine.

Again, we're lacking in context here by a HUGE margin. The explanation offered, what started all of this, was the suggestion that modernism did not draw the attention that was forecast almost 80 years ago because of the elements some modern works tend to outright avoid. Well, this may be objectively accurate, and then again, it may not. Nowhere did I say or suggest, "You should stop writing this type of music." What I did say AND suggest is that composers interested in drawing a larger audience for modern works should investigate ways to implement some of these elements (memorability, simplicity, etc.) that may be missing in their work in some creative way (to be memorable, simple, etc without detracting from the expression or the art - as reasonable a suggestion as delaying resolution of a tonic to prolong dissonance without actually eliminating consonance altogether, as was a rather creative approach in its own right in the 19th century). If the objective is to obscure memory and eliminate predictability, then there are certainly ways to do this that are effective.

No, I think you completely misunderstood me.

But it shouldn't stop anyone from criticizing it, that's fine. That's what everyone should expect anyway, no matter what you write. Criticizing something isn't "debilitating" anyone's freedom, nor is it "deconstructing it." They're still free to go and do whatever even if I or anyone doesn't like it.

So please do swallow your words quoted above.

Except, this isn't about criticism. Nowhere in all of this have any of us stated concerns of criticism by the audience. My standards for my art and expression still exist and are still equally important to considerations of the reception of a work. What is debilitating and deconstructive is the over-bearing reliance on high-modernism in training composers. It's legitimate, sure. It's EQUALLY legitimate to modern tonality, commercial writing, and tons of other approaches to music. Assuming college freshman KNOW popular music, that music theory will teach them modern tonality, and that high-modernism is the medium through which a composition student can most likely grow and develop is erroneous.

In this day and age, it's not a question of criticism, of playing it safe, or of being popular. It's a question of time and money. The more you assume about a student's freedom to "go and do whatever even if [you] or anyone doesn't like it," the more time and money the student will more than likely need to invest on their own to master the material without the support you, as a composition teacher, were expected to provide as an instructor. That's what your assumptions do to people like me. I can only hope you don't do it to others like me if you have a composition studio of your own someday. I hope you'll prepare for students like me instead of assuming what we know, what we don't know, and what we'll come to know. I hope you'll put your money where your mouth is and deliver the support that is necessary to allow every student of yours to achieve the full potential of their artistic freedom.

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Why don't others participate and we can get different opinions? Anything is better than the same 4 people going in circles.

Haven't you thought about why there are only four people? Who on earth would want to subject themselves to this kind of masochism?!

It must be simply exhausting to have to constantly write essay-length passages in order to defend (or try to tear apart) others', or your own, beliefs. [it would absolutely drive me up a wall, and I really don't think I'm the only one.] And don't get me started on the low blows and cheap shots these discussions always seem to degenerate into.

***Example -- the long post above.***

Another unfortunate thing is, these kind of discussions can be terribly misleading. For example, they can make people sound far more elitist and arrogant, in theory, than they truly are in practice.

So I think I'll pass up that simply delightful-sounding offer.

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