Jump to content
gigeorge17371

From A Post-Modern Perspective Is Modernism More Expressive Than Romanticism?

Recommended Posts

Well, it dependes on many things.

 

First, "modernism" is not a single movement or idea, but a period of many branches of musical aesthetics, like impressionism, expressionism, neo-classicism, musique concrète, futurism, random music and so on... Each one should give you a different answer.

 

Second: what is expressiveness? If you look carefully to the word, isn't "expressionism" pure "expressiveness"? (hehe, just a pun).

 

I do believe that MANY work from this period are far more expressive than romanticism. That's also my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Musical Romanticism works well enough for me, even if I'd like to throw in a few ingredients borrowed from the diverse modernistic aesthetics here and there. Others would prefer the inverse approach. Bottom line: it depends on what best suits your goals and needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might as well just take a poll since there is no objective answer to that question 

 

I don't wish to objectify it, I wish to hear peoples extended opinions on the matter. If forums were filled with questions that required a yes or no answer that would be pretty dull.

 

Musical Romanticism works well enough for me, even if I'd like to throw in a few ingredients borrowed from the diverse modernistic aesthetics here and there. Others would prefer the inverse approach. Bottom line: it depends on what best suits your goals and needs.

 

Thats cool, but again out of interest: why is Romanticism good enough for you and what are you typically trying to express?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats cool, but again out of interest: why is Romanticism good enough for you and what are you typically trying to express?

 

 

One thing that I like much more in modern era is non-functional harmony. Depending on the way you use it, it can have effects that you don't see in romanticism. I especially like the impressionist approach of this non-functional harmony, as it still maintain many romantic characteristics but goes further in this possibilities...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't wish to objectify it, I wish to hear peoples extended opinions on the matter. If forums were filled with questions that required a yes or no answer that would be pretty dull.

 

 

Thats cool, but again out of interest: why is Romanticism good enough for you and what are you typically trying to express?

 

You want my opinion? There are some amazing "Romantic" composers and amazing "modern" composers. There's also a lof of music that sucks on both sides. My conclusion would be this: let's not compare entire eras of music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You want my opinion? There are some amazing "Romantic" composers and amazing "modern" composers. There's also a lof of music that sucks on both sides. My conclusion would be this: let's not compare entire eras of music.

 

Perfect!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You want my opinion? There are some amazing "Romantic" composers and amazing "modern" composers. There's also a [lot] of music that sucks on both sides. My conclusion would be this: let's not compare entire eras of music.

 

Or you could. If one were to take Romanticism and Modernism in a Kantian sense, we could say that, as noumenal objects, or their products as noumenal objects, there's no fundamental difference between the two: they are both stuff as any stuff ever could be, and only that.

 

They're only distinct, or established as different modes of thought, or are otherwise differentiated, by a hollow and likely false assumption that one thing is necessarily different from another. The phenomenal world, the way we experience things, assumes things to be true by the limited abilities of the apparatus that's experiencing them: the sum of our experience is the sum ability of our experiencing apparatus - as the stomach digests, the ear hears, and the brain thinks, etc. We know that we don't experience things in all conceivable ways - bats have sonar where we don't - and it can be rightly assumed that there could be an infinite number of other ways to experience things that we have no knowledge of. If one were to believe this, one would have to admit that there is no way which one could actually experience anything as it is - which isn't to say that nothing exists, but that nothing that's experienced necessarily exists as we believe it does. One could look at a chair, and it is as it is with what limited experiencing abilities one has; but with extra experiential power, it could be any and an infinite number of other things, if not something so different to one's original understanding of it that the word 'chair' would loose its meaning and another more appropriate word would have to be invented to accommodate the extra experience of the object. There's no way of knowing what's there absolutely. And it could further be the case that, mentioned above, outside of experience there is no difference between anything at all; that the difference between one thing and another is determined by experience rather than their, or its, ultimate reality; and where experience, with more and evermore gained, can never be assumed to be satisfactory, since the knowledge that one has all experiential powers, or a total experience, could only be gained by the experience of that total experience which must necessarily have come from outside the total experience. An impossibility, and an unfortunate paradox.

 

The same could be said about the difference between Romanticism and Modernism. We have no way of knowing if they're different really; to believe they are assumes a likely falsehood since their distinction, as we know it, is determined only by knowledge that's been acquired by entirely insufficient means - by limited experience or experience as such - and the distinction between them is, therefore, empty. Having said that, these two styles of music could be easily treated as though there were no difference between them - and there probably isn't, or no significant or relevant difference anyway.

 

So there's my bit... :dunno:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stirling you just inspired me to read Kant, what an excellent post! 

 

I, for one, dislike the human compulsion to pigeon-hole everything into categories. It humors me to think that a composer like Beethoven is treated as this great figure from the distant past. But he lived only 200 years ago... I mean in the grand scheme of human history (let alone earth's history), that's not a very long time at all! I have to wonder if the music history text book from the year 4,014 won't just lump all the past previous eras into one. That at some point, the composers of the 20th century will somehow share the same footnote in history with Beethoven and Bach. And all our debating about eras and movements will have been for nothing. Ah! but there's no limit to what the mind can presume... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stirling you just inspired me to read Kant, what an excellent post! 

 

I, for one, dislike the human compulsion to pigeon-hole everything into categories. It humors me to think that a composer like Beethoven is treated as this great figure from the distant past. But he lived only 200 years ago... I mean in the grand scheme of human history (let alone earth's history), that's not a very long time at all! I have to wonder if the music history text book from the year 4,014 won't just lump all the past previous eras into one. That at some point, the composers of the 20th century will somehow share the same footnote in history with Beethoven and Bach. And all our debating about eras and movements will have been for nothing. Ah! but there's no limit to what the mind can presume... 

 

When you finish Kant, move onto Schopenhauer, who extended Kant's theories and fixed some misunderstanding, and then to Nietzsche who gave a fair criticism and compromise of them both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a post-modern perspective, expressivity is a subjective and therefore indefinable quality. Modernism and romanticism are considered equally authentic and valid as modes of conveying expression, as are "low art" and "high art", music and noise, et cetera. From Leonard B. Meyer on the post-modern era: "a period not characterised by the linear cumulative development of a single fundamental style, but by the coexistence of a multiplicity of quite different styles in a fluctuating and dynamic steady-state."

 

The postmodern aesthetic, however, goes further to reject the conceit that there ever was a period characterised by "linear cumulative development of a single fundamental style". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or you could. If one were to take Romanticism and Modernism in a Kantian sense, we could say that, as noumenal objects, or their products as noumenal objects, there's no fundamental difference between the two: they are both stuff as any stuff ever could be, and only that.

 

They're only distinct, or established as different modes of thought, or are otherwise differentiated, by a hollow and likely false assumption that one thing is necessarily different from another. The phenomenal world, the way we experience things, assumes things to be true by the limited abilities of the apparatus that's experiencing them: the sum of our experience is the sum ability of our experiencing apparatus - as the stomach digests, the ear hears, and the brain thinks, etc. We know that we don't experience things in all conceivable ways - bats have sonar where we don't - and it can be rightly assumed that there could be an infinite number of other ways to experience things that we have no knowledge of. If one were to believe this, one would have to admit that there is no way which one could actually experience anything as it is - which isn't to say that nothing exists, but that nothing that's experienced necessarily exists as we believe it does. One could look at a chair, and it is as it is with what limited experiencing abilities one has; but with extra experiential power, it could be any and an infinite number of other things, if not something so different to one's original understanding of it that the word 'chair' would loose its meaning and another more appropriate word would have to be invented to accommodate the extra experience of the object. There's no way of knowing what's there absolutely. And it could further be the case that, mentioned above, outside of experience there is no difference between anything at all; that the difference between one thing and another is determined by experience rather than their, or its, ultimate reality; and where experience, with more and evermore gained, can never be assumed to be satisfactory, since the knowledge that one has all experiential powers, or a total experience, could only be gained by the experience of that total experience which must necessarily have come from outside the total experience. An impossibility, and an unfortunate paradox.

 

The same could be said about the difference between Romanticism and Modernism. We have no way of knowing if they're different really; to believe they are assumes a likely falsehood since their distinction, as we know it, is determined only by knowledge that's been acquired by entirely insufficient means - by limited experience or experience as such - and the distinction between them is, therefore, empty. Having said that, these two styles of music could be easily treated as though there were no difference between them - and there probably isn't, or no significant or relevant difference anyway.

 

So there's my bit... :dunno:

 

Nice answer, though as composers and musicologists we surely ignore this theory or accept it as a paradox, move on, and seek to apply our insufficient knowledge to our subject?

 

Stirling you just inspired me to read Kant, what an excellent post! 

 

I, for one, dislike the human compulsion to pigeon-hole everything into categories. It humors me to think that a composer like Beethoven is treated as this great figure from the distant past. But he lived only 200 years ago... I mean in the grand scheme of human history (let alone earth's history), that's not a very long time at all! I have to wonder if the music history text book from the year 4,014 won't just lump all the past previous eras into one. That at some point, the composers of the 20th century will somehow share the same footnote in history with Beethoven and Bach. And all our debating about eras and movements will have been for nothing. Ah! but there's no limit to what the mind can presume... 

 

Yes, so you would say a total-serialist work by Milton Babbitt is the same as a Piano Sonata by Beethoven? If so, and from a post-modern perspective, why?

 

From a post-modern perspective, expressivity is a subjective and therefore indefinable quality. Modernism and romanticism are considered equally authentic and valid as modes of conveying expression, as are "low art" and "high art", music and noise, et cetera. From Leonard B. Meyer on the post-modern era: "a period not characterised by the linear cumulative development of a single fundamental style, but by the coexistence of a multiplicity of quite different styles in a fluctuating and dynamic steady-state."

 

The postmodern aesthetic, however, goes further to reject the conceit that there ever was a period characterised by "linear cumulative development of a single fundamental style". 

 

So you don't see Modernism and Romanticism as independent developments, with independent and different aesthetics, within a series of multiple developments. You see them as the two titles some one has given to 1800-1900 and 1900-1950?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice answer, though as composers and musicologists we surely ignore this theory or accept it as a paradox, move on, and seek to apply our insufficient knowledge to our subject?

 

I should point out, though, that Wagner was directly influenced by Schopenhauer's philosophy in the orchestration of Die Walküre, Siegfried, Götterdämmerung, and directly in the conception and execution of Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger, and Parsifal. During the height of Wagner's career, he was saturated in the philosophies of Kant and Schopenhauer and studied them until the end of his life, and was even for a time a friend of Nietzsche's; his earlier operas were largely influenced by Feuerbach, Bakunin, and many socialist and anarchist writers of the time - and from all of them he took one direction or another in the creation of what many consider to be the greatest music ever composed, certainly the greatest operas, no matter that that might be a subjective valuation. Philosophical theory, even the most paradoxical and least based on scientific theory or empirical evidence otherwise - metaphysics - or the most false, can have a significant say in the life of any creative artist, the most or the least genius. So I don't think it's right to say that 'as composers and musicologists' we should ignore the theories and paradoxes. Their rightness or objectiveness are, anyhow, beside the point: an artist will likely take anything he can to stimulate his otherwise active creative impulses and form a surefooted, though probably transitory, direction for his art and no less himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or you could. If one were to take Romanticism and Modernism in a Kantian sense, we could say that, as noumenal objects, or their products as noumenal objects, there's no fundamental difference between the two: they are both stuff as any stuff ever could be, and only that.

 

They're only distinct, or established as different modes of thought, or are otherwise differentiated, by a hollow and likely false assumption that one thing is necessarily different from another. The phenomenal world, the way we experience things, assumes things to be true by the limited abilities of the apparatus that's experiencing them: the sum of our experience is the sum ability of our experiencing apparatus - as the stomach digests, the ear hears, and the brain thinks, etc. We know that we don't experience things in all conceivable ways - bats have sonar where we don't - and it can be rightly assumed that there could be an infinite number of other ways to experience things that we have no knowledge of. If one were to believe this, one would have to admit that there is no way which one could actually experience anything as it is - which isn't to say that nothing exists, but that nothing that's experienced necessarily exists as we believe it does. One could look at a chair, and it is as it is with what limited experiencing abilities one has; but with extra experiential power, it could be any and an infinite number of other things, if not something so different to one's original understanding of it that the word 'chair' would loose its meaning and another more appropriate word would have to be invented to accommodate the extra experience of the object. There's no way of knowing what's there absolutely. And it could further be the case that, mentioned above, outside of experience there is no difference between anything at all; that the difference between one thing and another is determined by experience rather than their, or its, ultimate reality; and where experience, with more and evermore gained, can never be assumed to be satisfactory, since the knowledge that one has all experiential powers, or a total experience, could only be gained by the experience of that total experience which must necessarily have come from outside the total experience. An impossibility, and an unfortunate paradox.

 

The same could be said about the difference between Romanticism and Modernism. We have no way of knowing if they're different really; to believe they are assumes a likely falsehood since their distinction, as we know it, is determined only by knowledge that's been acquired by entirely insufficient means - by limited experience or experience as such - and the distinction between them is, therefore, empty. Having said that, these two styles of music could be easily treated as though there were no difference between them - and there probably isn't, or no significant or relevant difference anyway.

 

So there's my bit... :dunno:

 

Stuff is stuff, sure, and depending on the social/cultural context, you can probably derive the same amount of expression from both but from a post-modern perspective (i.e. one in which modernism has already taken place and has been rejected), romanticism and modernism aren't just aesthetics but are ideals that are embodied through the music. In the case of romantic music, there is usually a story being told through the music that utilizes the asymmetry of the major and minor modes to develop tension and release. Modernism, on the other hand, has ubiquitous tonal dissonance and ambiguity and so develops tension and release slightly differently - either through contrasting styles or by thematic/melodic development and combination. You can use either effectively to be expressive... But in my opinion, those few composers that use both traditional romantic storytelling in combination with tonal ambiguity and contrasting styles with an underlying human ideal they are trying to express are the ones that are most successful in moving me. 

 

Now that I think about it, there are definitely some romantic music characteristics like superficial codas and introductions that really detract from the emotional power of the music - and on the flipside, almost too excessive contemplation or dissonance for the sake of dissonance in modern music. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you don't see Modernism and Romanticism as independent developments, with independent and different aesthetics, within a series of multiple developments. You see them as the two titles some one has given to 1800-1900 and 1900-1950?

 

More or less. I don't think pieces of music can be put into categories that are valid for more than one person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...