|11-18-2014, 01:26 PM||#21 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Brunswick, Maine
To me, Greg Brown could be the language of life, of nature, the heavens the universe. It's whatever I want it to mean.
But, is it more subtle, and universal, and meaningful and heavenly than exquisitely plucked shamisen notes, one of a time, meant, each one, to be considered on it's own, for it's own beauty, for the tiny variances in it's tone?Is the fast-paced, progress-driven, mathematically-derived music of Western European composers, better? Is it more universal?
A man could have never heard a shamisen and still be entranced, but I can nearly guarantee you someone who has no background in progressive chordal harmony will not be entranced as easily by the shouting chorus at the end of Beethoven's 9th.
On the other hand, that tuning and that harmony used to sound awful to much of the world including most Europeans, with their own tuning and harmonic systems. However, due to European Imperialism essentially enslaving much of the globe, destroying cultures and forcing Western ideals on local populaces, Western Equal-temperment tuning and progressive harmony has been thrust upon most of the world, so that even other culture's classical traditions adopt it.
But, the universality of Western European classical music is due, not to the glorious, ideal, better-than-the-rest nature of the music itself, but to the power of European aggression, and the horrible efficiency of European guns.
Sure, that chant music was derived from the Byzantine system, but we don't really use any of the same modes, scales, tetrachords, etc, and the system is completely alien to anything Mozart ever did.
As far as Western Classical Music stemming from Asia and the Middle East? No, not really, no. I suppose you could make some vague claims about inter-relatedness, but still, not anymore than any other two musics. People used to think that early Gregorian chant came from Judaic Psalmody, but that's been disproved for decades. 'Twar the Byzantines.
Granted, Byzantium culture basically stemmed back with the birth of all Culture in that half of the Eurasian Landmass, in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, the Indus and the Tigris, so in that sense I suppose you could say that Western European Classical music of the 17th through 19th centuries was originally Asian in nature, but that doesn't really mean much. The first music that would in any way be considered a related progenitor of the music in question is that of the modal Church chants of Byzantium...
Usually, when people tell me they love classical, they meant he love what is essentially the Classical Top 40. The hits that stream on the radio. Just like most "Rap Lovers" recognize Eminem and Rakim and Macklemore, but haven't the foggiest about someone like Aesop Rock, and couldn't tell you who the heck Eric B is. (Even for all there love of "Follow the Leader.")
But still, the four you've listed, along with the pieces you've chosen, are huge, monolithic composers and compositions, the kind that figurehead in music history course. I mean, heck, Firebird and Rite of Spring were in Disney's Fantasia movies! (Actually, I'm pretty sure Shostakovich was in there somewhere too... )
I mean, all that stuff could almost be considered a hit, or at least making the charts. Why not some of "The Five" outside of Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov? Or, if you want to stick with the biggest names, why not something like Stravinsky's severely under-noted "Symphonies of Wind Instruments?"
Why not enter the 20th century, heck, even the 21st? It's not all Cage's statement pieces, and Stockhausen's bizarre tape manipulations, and Glass and Reich with endless streams of modal arpeggios and repeated notes. It's not all records meant to be ruined and then listened to, or dodecophony...
How about Aaron Jay Kernis' "Symphony in Waves." Gorgeous, beautiful, emotional piece. How about Georg Fredrich Haas' "In Vain" if you can bear to listen to something not tuned in Western equal temperament. (You should, the tuning system we're used to now has been around for centuries, but wasn't really accepted as the standard until about 150 years ago. It's a new thing, the way notes are currently tuned, in this genre.) How about Górecki's "Copernicus" Symphony?
There's so much out there, in "classical" music, and most people don't even, if you'll pardon the cliché, scratch the surface. Even those who scratch it, tend not to really gouge out big chunks!
But yes, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, unfortunately probably AC/DC, Aerosmith, Nirvana, and a bunch of others, those guys will be in history books of 20th century music in the future, the less innovative or emblematic ones, not so much.
People try to make Western European classical out to be the music of all musics in a thousand different ways.
"The timbre is clearer." Well, I might say the timbre is bland, homogeneous, and overly pruned of all interesting upper partials.
"It's so complex and structured." try telling that to the devoted practitioner of the classical music of any other culture, and they'll tell you the same thing.
"It's so emotional." All music is. Hell, I've seen people inn my town waaaaay more emotionally over-driven on Dubstep than I have on classical.
"It's so subtle." See my passage above about Japanese music. Classical music is wonderful and above-the-par on many counts, but subtlety is not one of them.
"It's the most beautiful." Said everyone who ever like any music. Beauty is almost all familiarity, and in the only universal sense, it seems to be structural harmoniousness of the sound, another area where Equal temperament is at best a compromise, at worst a butchery of a beautiful, natural purity of sound.
Then there are all the wonderful qualities that Common Practice classical doesn't even TRY to have. Vibrant Timbre, Rhythmic Complexity, Improvisation, Percussion in any real sense, Heterophony, any sort of Interesting or adaptable tuning...
If you mean "utilizes dynamics" then yes, Western European Classical from Beethoven on does generally get both louder and softer and than many other musics. If you mean changing and vital and amorphous, then the same could be said of nearly any culture, again...
But, But, But, two people in this thread have seemed to make the claim that classical music has no lyrics????
Have you ever heard any classical music???? That stuff is FULL of lyrics. I mean, it's descended from a purely vocal tradition of sacred music, which was composed based nearly entirely on Latin lyrics from the sacred text of their religious book.
No Lyrics??? Huh? Waaaah?????
The Passage of... ------- (Classical Synth)
Danceables ------- (Dance Synth with a Latin Flair)
Meanderings ------- (Classical Synth)
Raven ------- (Rock Opera)
Last edited by Zack; 11-18-2014 at 01:44 PM.