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ferdi9749

The lack of "Common practice"

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This doesn't want to be the clichè topic "tonality vs atonality".

What I see, and everyone else can see too, is that Composer's world ( those composer who create music meant to be listened, and not accompany images or whatelse ) is so much fragmented that everyone cannot just be a composer, as it was in old common practice period. A " modern" composer even before starting composing needs to find his own language, that always end up being something very subjective...almost ermetic.

The problem today isn't anymore tonality or atonality. The true problem is the lack of a language that everyone can "speak and understand".

Stating things like " anyone must compose what he feels" or "everything has been done so nothing can be new", do not solve the problem. Just make things worse, since they authorize everyone to close himself in a sort of autistic composing style.

Let's face the real thing: Things in "high quality" music are not good at the moment ( As the whole contemporary art world ), and the fragmentation of music world is not a good thing.

What are your opinions about it?

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2 hours ago, ferdi9749 said:

The true problem is the lack of a language that everyone can "speak and understand". 

Why is this a problem? You can't handle that people have different tastes and/or cultures?

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I can handle it very well instead. From a composer's point of view the more the variety of music, the more the fun.

But you didn't get the sense of the post.

Imagine a world where everybody speaks his own language because of "his personal taste". Who will ever understand the others? And this is exactly what happened to music in 20th century ( Interesting music for sure...but too much subjective as well ) and keeps going today.

If we want to make great things again we need a common language to compose with. Composing is great and I would make it  even without acceptance from others....but it is the understanding and acceptance from the public that makes things great, not just self interest.

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6 hours ago, ferdi9749 said:

If we want to make great things again we need a common language to compose with.

Define "great", since I don't really understand what you're trying to say. You want everyone to write in the same style?? Isn't that extremely boring?

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I never talked abou "style", but language!

Do you really think that all the old music ,which uses all the same harmonic language, is boring?

Do you really find boring every dialogue, since they are all made by 26 letters?

Variety doesn't come from the number of languages you use, but the skill to carve something new from a single one every time you use it . ( contemporary music is the proof of what I am saying...inventing a technique, or using an enormous amount of them,for a piece that will be listened, and rejected by the listeners, just one time )

 

Great means to me something full of objective meaning, that everyone can perceive. Certainly not a composition loved just by its creator

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1 hour ago, ferdi9749 said:

I never talked abou "style", but language!

Explain the difference, then.

Quote

Do you really think that all the old music ,which uses all the same harmonic language, is boring?

"All the old music"? You really need to be more precise, or you're saying Monteverdi composed using the same "harmonic language" (whatever that is) as Mahler, which makes zero sense.

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3 minutes ago, SSC said:

Explain the difference, then.

Well, Bach and Vivaldi are both baroque composers, they both used "baroque language", the same harmony, counterpoint; but they have very different styles, each of them has his very own style. When you listen to their music you can always tell which work is from Bach and not from Vivaldi. That's what I think ferdi9749 means

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1 hour ago, Pietro17 said:

Well, Bach and Vivaldi are both baroque composers, they both used "baroque language", the same harmony, counterpoint; but they have very different styles, each of them has his very own style. When you listen to their music you can always tell which work is from Bach and not from Vivaldi. That's what I think ferdi9749 means

 

That seems quite pointless, why not just say they have different styles and be done with it? Besides, Bach was quite avant-garde (or super oldschool at the same time) for the time, so who knows. I think all this semantics stuff is what messes people up.

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I can't get why you don't get the thing...is that simple as Pietro17 wrote.

Jazz uses tonality, pop uses tonality ecc...but they all have their unique style.

That kind of thing called "contemporary classical music" has this name because it lacks of common language ( and even style if you want )...what's so unconvincing? It's not a matter of opinions...it's just a fact.

What I am doing is pointing out this fact and stating it has a lot of cons', many more than pros'.

Just wanted to talk about it since I think it's a massive block for composers and music in general

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It's about communication. There has to be enough common symbolism, language, what-have-you, between the transmitter (composer/performer; speaker) and the receiver - listener in this case - for a communication to take place. One can grow and learn, broaden one's vocabulary (if you like, as it applies to music) which is how we acclimatise to a broader range of music but unless there's enough there to start with, nothing is communicated.

I agree with you. CPP intuitively brought about a set of conventions that I suppose, ultimately (like species counterpoint) were about developing good taste and clarity in managing instrumental/vocal sounds. I have little respect for the "rules" of harmony as insisted upon in academia, but have much respect for them as guidelines. 

Yes, much of that language, particularly as it pertains to "good taste" has dissipated.

It's possible just to listen but with no expectation - something John Cage was always on about - and possible for an individual to extract esoteric meaning from sounds out and about but the communicative value is highly questionable.  

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1 hour ago, ferdi9749 said:

(...)has this name because it lacks of common language(...)

 

2 minutes ago, Quinn said:

It's about communication.

I see the problem now. You guys think that music can actually "communicate" something, but well we know that that's not really the case unless there are extra-musical things at play (a program, text, etc.) What you perceive as communication is nothing more than "language" familiarity, but it's not an actual form of communication unless there's, again, something extra-musical at play.

 

When I use the word "Language" in terms of music, it's only a substitute for saying "style," since I don't enjoy using that word very much for other reasons. I don't literally mean a proper language, like English. Music is far too abstract to be considered anything of the sort. Maybe there should be a better word to describe this, but I don't know, my composition teacher seemed to like that word and it stuck with me as well.

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Even the problem with a discussion like this is a failing of words particularly when other cues are abandoned. They're imprecise and the discussion is pretty big. The ordinary person will say (about e.g. music) "I know what I like" but that could be Schoenberg post Opus 7, or some pop songster belting out their ultra-conservative claptrap.  

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3 minutes ago, SSC said:

 

I see the problem now. You guys think that music can actually "communicate" something, but well we know that that's not really the case unless there are extra-musical things at play (a program, text, etc.) What you perceive as communication is nothing more than "language" familiarity, but it's not an actual form of communication unless there's, again, something extra-musical at play.

 

When I use the word "Language" in terms of music, it's only a substitute for saying "style," since I don't enjoy using that word very much for other reasons. I don't literally mean a proper language, like English. Music is far too abstract to be considered anything of the sort. Maybe there should be a better word to describe this, but I don't know, my composition teacher seemed to like that word and it stuck with me as well.

 

Ah, now I see your problem. If you meant style you should say style. I think we have to agree to disagree that " "that's not really the case" that music actually communicates something." It doesn't have to be precise. Words aren't at all precise but we still use them. Even maths isn't entirely precise. 

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6 minutes ago, Quinn said:

Ah, now I see your problem. If you meant style you should say style. I think we have to agree to disagree that " "that's not really the case" that music actually communicates something." It doesn't have to be precise. Words aren't at all precise but we still use them. Even maths isn't entirely precise. 

 

It's not about precision, it's about how 100% of the interpretation happens on your end. Think of it this way:

You have a very angry man screaming at you in a language you don't understand. Do you think you can't perceive he is angry just because you don't understand what the precise words mean? Sure you can. This is the exact same thing with music, but with music, you are overlaying the basic emotions that are familiar from speech and human behavior on top of abstract music, so whatever you can "get" out of that, emotional-wise may or may not be anything actually intended by the composer.

 

However, since people are pretty fond of copying stuff, it turns out that a lot of "sad" pieces behave very much like how someone sad would speak, same with with anger, and so on. There's a lot of musical tropes that mimic directly how we use speech and language, hence why it seems like it's something capable of "communication," when in reality it's just a cheap superficial copy of actual communication. Unless the composer outright states what the message is, you can never really know for sure and at that point it's extra-musical.

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How on earth does BB code work on the site. I can't review so I can't split your quote without maybe messing up.  

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SSC it seems pretty obvious to me that music doesn't communicate as a proper language does. But music is something physical ( and also psychological, but this is not the point now ) and as everything else physical it brings a message with itself, even if it just stating its existence. Literally everything communicates if you think it in this perspective, and arts can do so in much deeper way then common objects. so, if they have got this enormous potential, why should we waste it and oversimplify things stating " music doesn' t communicate anything "?

Once again, the alphabet example. Would you state that letters cannot communicate just because they are ordered in a bad way? They have got the potential but need a guideline to do so...as sounds.

The problem ( and originary theme of the topic ) is exactly this!

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4 minutes ago, ferdi9749 said:

Once again, the alphabet example. Would you state that letters cannot communicate just because they are ordered in a bad way? They have got the potential but need a guideline to do so...as sounds.

So, uh, you mean unless sounds are arranged in a way you like (apparently,) they can't fulfill their "potential"????? Who exactly decides what this "guideline" is, and then, why should I (or anyone) care??

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I don't know if you can get back to common practice except maybe to change the paradigm into something more audience-centric. You know? Step aside from theorems and slide rules. If you intend to impress the abstraction of 'a learned professor' why not try instead to entertain an audience? They're both abstractions. Given the trajectory of deconstrucionalism, deferring to an audience as arbiter of a 'good musical language' is not a bad idea. For a while anyway. Remember, nothing is forever.

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SSC they are not decided by anyone...they just exist in nature and our perception. Tonal harmony rules were not invented...they were "discovered", based on frequencies and human biological principles of perception.

Ken320 I totally agree with you. The completey nonsense of "artist on his own" is an avant guard invention ( and waa obviously stated after they noticed nobody else than the creator and few people could appreciate the creation ). What' s the point in creating something concrete just for me? I could simply keep it in my mind and save time and efforts.

Arts are made to be enjoyed by the people, this is their nature and why they were naturally born. And this is the same thing that makes me think we need to restore common practice

Edited by ferdi9749

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Sorry for the doublepost but i wanted to say that it wouldn't be a simple step back to common practice.

It would be a new conception of common practice. Old composers probably didn't even know they were following a common practice. But since we would know that things go much better with it, it wouls be a totally different idea of it.

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1 hour ago, ferdi9749 said:

SSC they are not decided by anyone...they just exist in nature and our perception. Tonal harmony rules were not invented...they were "discovered", based on frequencies and human biological principles of perception.

Ken320 I totally agree with you. The completey nonsense of "artist on his own" is an avant guard invention ( and waa obviously stated after they noticed nobody else than the creator and few people could appreciate the creation ). What' s the point in creating something concrete just for me? I could simply keep it in my mind and save time and efforts.

Arts are made to be enjoyed by the people, this is their nature and why they were naturally born. And this is the same thing that makes me think we need to restore common practice

1) No, "tonal harmony" is just as artificial as anything we've created considering the amount of cultures that have nothing like it in the slightest. In fact, the fact we can just outright break it and still enjoy what comes out consistently means that there's nothing to it other than conditioning and familiarity (anyone who's worked extensively with microtonality and non 12tet music can vow for this.) It's a very common mistake to see music history as an "european" thing, but there's a lot of music around the world that doesn't conform to european traditions. Be careful when saying european music is "natural," that's going to get you punched.

 

I've mentioned earlier that most human-created music usually follows some kind of speech pattern, so that's the most music can have in common universally. In fact, here's a paper on such a thing:

http://www.stefan-koelsch.de/papers/Fritz_2009_CurrBiol.pdf

If you can find sound examples of Mafa music, you'll quickly realize just how out-there it is. Yet, it's as "natural" as it can get, and there's zero "tonal harmony" in it, in fact the tuning system it's using is also its own thing entirely.

 

2) Since that point falls apart the instant you try to argue it, all that's left is that basically you need a dictator that imposes X music style you think is good enough for solving your problem (which I still don't understand. I'm beginning to suspect you're just annoyed that not more people write european historical style copies.) Which, of course, I and mostly anyone with any kind of artistic integrity will immediately oppose since this is just authoritarian and oppressive.

 

3) As for the "Enjoyed by people," then I'm quite sure you must support stuff like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7lM7Bn16Zg

Right? I mean, look at the amount of views and thumbs up! People really like this! According to your line of thinking, this is also natural and it's a language people can understand so it should be really high on your favourites list.

 

So, in conclusion, no. We don't need a goddamn "common practice" thing, whatever it seen as that historically is just a tiny fraction of A) Human history and B) Music history. If you're going to say the "best thing ever" happened within 1650(?) to 1900, then that's a hilariously minuscule portion of music history and it throws everyone who's actively composing right now under the bus for not being born in a time where they were so ignorant as to only write music in the only style available to them at the time. We have so much more knowledge of music in general right now that it would make any composer from the 19th century and earlier blush. It's so ridiculous that often people don't quite understand this and end up making these kinds of threads asking for some nonsense that is clearly only a product of ignorance and lack of freely available information (and art.)

 

The "Common practice" is a ridiculous term and I wish people would stop using it. In fact during my musicology studies you'd get laughed right out for saying something like that, since there's a world of difference between something from 1750 and 1850, they can't fit under the same label unless you're being so general that you can group JsBach and Liszt together and say their "tonal harmonies" have anything in common with a straight face.

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I think that before replying to this kind of topics, you should think if you are open minded enough, or enough pleased with your own ideas to the point of rejecting ( and getting nervous ) other's.

1) Sorry but it's you that is wrong. Frequencies proportions are something natural, as Pythagoras demonstrated. The harshness we perceive interval is a matter of physics. Their acceptance ( which is the point where you fall ) is cultural. In my replies, you read what you were conviced I was writing. Have I ever argued about old style counterpoint? No, I didn't. Also seventh chords are based on harmony rules. But no one can ever state that a perfect fifth is isntable and a dominant seven is stable..physics, not opinions. I appreciate the seven more than the fifth. Culture, not physics.

( I will read the article as soon as I can )

2) This statement is completely nonsense. You thought it and assigned to me in a deliberate way...pointless to reply.

3) Wrong. This isn't just "music". This a commistion of "melody", lyrics, primitive rhytm and captivatin cultural facts ( money, sex ecc. ). People are enjoying the image it provokes in the, not the music in itself.

You should not stick to the academical definiton of common practice. We also may think to It as just the line that connects the period of an art to the following one, creating a continuity trough the ages. It has stopped going on in the 1900 has you stated, maybe to see if things could keep going with a wider range of "practices", and this is what happened infact. My argue is that after more than one century things would be more enjoyable with the use of it, than without. For the Bach/ Liszt thing you already got a reply but seem to don't be interested in getting it.

Now, if you please to talk about the topic it is great. But if you are firmly conviced of your own ( and your " musiscology studies" ones ) you can keep them and nothing will change.

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Now we're talking. Showing'em true colors finally!

36 minutes ago, ferdi9749 said:

1) Sorry but it's you that is wrong. Frequencies proportions are something natural, as Pythagoras demonstrated. The harshness we perceive interval is a matter of physics. Their acceptance ( which is the point where you fall ) is cultural. In my replies, you read what you were conviced I was writing. Have I ever argued about old style counterpoint? No, I didn't. Also seventh chords are based on harmony rules. But no one can ever state that a perfect fifth is isntable and a dominant seven is stable..physics, not opinions. I appreciate the seven more than the fifth. Culture, not physics.

Provide peer-reviewed scientific literature of your arguments, I want to see your sources so we can properly discuss this on a scientific / objective level.

40 minutes ago, ferdi9749 said:

3) Wrong. This isn't just "music". This a commistion of "melody", lyrics, primitive rhytm and captivatin cultural facts ( money, sex ecc. ). People are enjoying the image it provokes in the, not the music in itself. 

So you have talked to every single person, the millions upon millions that have heard that music, and determined that they didn't like it because of the music itself. Amazing, how did you do that?

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1) Have you ever heard about harmonics and overtones ? Do you even know which are the bases of equal temperament? Do you really need a "peer-reviewed" literature about this? Mh...

2) No I didn't, and your irony has a pretty weak foundation. You show no criticism in understanding what you are looking at.  Everybody associates something else to every other impression they get ( at conscious or unconscious level ). This is the way mind works...and yes, lots of psychology peer-reviewed literature about this. Given this fact, it seems obvious that the music you linked offers to the listeners much more associations to make ( also because of the video and lyrics ), than a fugue. Now, it's easy to understand ( if you are open minded enough ) that it's much more likely that people enjoy the first one for its association, and the fugue for the music in iitself...And before you say this, I am not stating at all that I enjoy fugue ONLY for music in itself since every perception is combined with association.

The topic is shifting too much from its starting point.

 

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53 minutes ago, ferdi9749 said:

1) Have you ever heard about harmonics and overtones ? Do you even know which are the bases of equal temperament? Do you really need a "peer-reviewed" literature about this? Mh...

Uh, equal temperament huh? You mean the rather unnatural alteration to the tones relations to eachother in order to create a completely artificial homogenization of the tones? Yeah, that's really natural huh? Look up the history of tuning systems, tell me any of that is "natural."

Then there's stuff like:

Which, besides hearing a 5th(?) and an octave somewhere, are pretty much outside of western 12tet paradigms. It is much closer to human speech, as often ancient music tends to be, so is that more or less "natural" than equal temperament 12tet?? Why isn't this your shining example of a "common language" huh?

 

59 minutes ago, ferdi9749 said:

Given this fact, it seems obvious that the music you linked offers to the listeners much more associations to make ( also because of the video and lyrics ), than a fugue. Now, it's easy to understand ( if you are open minded enough ) that it's much more likely that people enjoy the first one for its association, and the fugue for the music in iitself...And before you say this, I am not stating at all that I enjoy fugue ONLY for music in itself since every perception is combined with association.

Seems obvious is not the same thing as true. The fact that someone can enjoy that song just for its musical value brings your argument down, since at that point we're dealing with statistics and since we can't isolate the music from its environment, when taken as a whole, you simply have to accept that one is vastly more popular than the other. As for fugues, you can as well argue that people may "like it" more when they also happen to feel smarter or simply "better" by listening to that kind of music. This is the kind of thing that affects all music perception, but as I mentioned before this is entirely on the person receiving the music stimuli's end.

 

That's what makes music perception a largely subjective thing, though there are objective parameters that can be discerned, they aren't rules or any of the sort. It also renders your point moot, since there is no way to agree upon what is "natural," much less what is good for "communicating" anything. A "common" language is impossible since it would mean everyone had to think the same way and react the same way to things, which isn't the case. The Koreans thought that their music was fully adequate and probably quite great, you of course would think otherwise since you're not an ancient Korean musician.

 

Admit it, all you're really asking for is for people to write more old style copies of music you already like and think is great. I'm pretty sure that's what it all comes down to, since you're not really the first and won't be the last to be blinded by their own tastes and ignorance when making these kind of arguments.

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