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Is there something missing from my thunderstorm music?

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19 hours ago, Tónskáld said:

What is your opinion about music built on tritones, in terms of the emotion they convey? Or what about harmonies constructed around augmented fourths/diminished fifths? Or polytonality? None of that music can be said to be strictly tonal, so is it devoid of emotional association altogether?

When I listen to the rich and complex works of 20th century composers who didn't necessarily compose in any particular key, I certainly feel emotion. I guess I'm just genuinely curious what emotions you would assign to note clusters not centered around a conventional Western key. This quartet by Messiaen (who "suffered" from synesthesia) is a great example.

 

 

I don't listen to many of those atonal works because I find most of them to be just annoying, nonstop dissonance throughout without any sense of rest. Even the end isn't restful. 1 short consonance makes no difference in atonality if the whole idea of the work is to be as dissonant as possible. It's like taking a kid who doesn't know how to play piano and forcing them to play it. It is disastrous sounding to my ears and I can't stand it. You can use a lot of dissonances and still have a good piece. You just have to not use them nonstop and have cadences or cadence equivalents every so often where you use consonances.

Polytonality is a bit different though. Some polytonalities, such as those of the fourth or fifth, I actually like. And polytonality between parallel keys or relative keys is really difficult to discern as polytonality without the sheet music because it will probably sound like a minor key with chromaticism. But polytonality of a minor second like in Stravinsky? Uh, no thanks, I wouldn't use that in my works if I wanted a tense moment.

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6 hours ago, Jean Szulc said:

I guess I'm a bit late to the discussion, but here it goes.

This is a sort of argument that although it sounds nice and romantic, it's just so flawed that it's barely usable, especialy when it comes to "older" styles, that already have it's boundaries well-set. Using this sort of argument to deflect criticism just shows that you don't percieve the boundaries of your own works as much as you should. It's simply not as good as Beethoven, and if people are giving you advice, it's not because they don't percieve your genious, but because your works are still student-like. This fits my own current situation aswell, but I concious of it, and I know that I can learn a lot more from what people tell me about my works, than by holding dear to whatever justification you construct. If it is great justification, then hopefully people will recognize it, but if it's not good enough to justify the aural results of your music, then simply accept it, improve it the next time you compose!

But that criticism is sometimes very harsh, tearing my dear composition to shreds. And when my composition gets torn to shreds, it feels like part of me gets torn to shreds and I get so much anger boiling up in my system it ain't even funny, like pain becomes anger in a fraction of a second. Thankfully not as often these days but it still happens that I come upon a harsh critic. I can't just let my compositions get torn up to shreds by some person who does not know how I went about composing the piece, NOR how long it took, NOR whether it started piano and expanded out, NOR how many revisions before I posted the piece, NOR how much music theory and orchestration I have studied, AND is being very harsh at me about it. That just feels 100% wrong. And I can't just accept a harsh critic's advice. If anything I would rather ignore the advice given by a harsh critic. You see what I mean here? Either way I lose to the harsh critics, but one way, the "justification via Music Theory and comparison to The Great Composers" way feels 100% right, whereas the other way, the "accept the advice whether harsh or not" way feels 100% wrong.

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1 hour ago, caters said:

does not know how I went about composing the piece, NOR how long it took, NOR whether it started piano and expanded out, NOR how many revisions before I posted the piece, NOR how much music theory and orchestration I have studied, AND is being very harsh at me about it

They don't care.

That's the harsh truth. In the real world, people only care about results — they don't care about how hard you worked or whatever, they either like it or they don't.

Your boss doesn't care how hard you tried if you botch the job.

Your wife doesn't care how hard you work if it's not paying the bills.

No one cares how long it took or how much of you that you poured into your music if they don't find it pleasing.

That's just how the world works. The good news is that, with music, it's actually of no consequence if people don't like it if you're not being paid to make it.

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1 hour ago, caters said:

But that criticism is sometimes very harsh, tearing my dear composition to shreds. And when my composition gets torn to shreds, it feels like part of me gets torn to shreds and I get so much anger boiling up in my system it ain't even funny, like pain becomes anger in a fraction of a second. Thankfully not as often these days but it still happens that I come upon a harsh critic. I can't just let my compositions get torn up to shreds by some person who does not know how I went about composing the piece, NOR how long it took, NOR whether it started piano and expanded out, NOR how many revisions before I posted the piece, NOR how much music theory and orchestration I have studied, AND is being very harsh at me about it. That just feels 100% wrong. And I can't just accept a harsh critic's advice. If anything I would rather ignore the advice given by a harsh critic. You see what I mean here? Either way I lose to the harsh critics, but one way, the "justification via Music Theory and comparison to The Great Composers" way feels 100% right, whereas the other way, the "accept the advice whether harsh or not" way feels 100% wrong.

 

Life is a grey area. Black and white thinking may be good for an equation or a scientific discovery, but music is not a formula, an algorithm. You have to be able to see the grey within yourself. The grey within the "rules". I know it hurts hearing people tell you things you don't want to hear, especially when it's done in a more aggressive manner. But I believe what these people are trying to tell you is that music isn't something that you can know, something definable. There is something else that is far more meaningful than conceptual, methodical, mathematical thinking. You can gain more access into your unconscious through rigorous study and practice, but the fact of the matter is that music is a translation rather than a calculation. Instead of making something that completely "makes sense" or "follows the rules", you should try to discover a part of you that wants to be free rather than chained to an egoic notion of "right and wrong". That's how to know music, to know god, to know freedom. just my 2¢.

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