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Old 12-15-2013, 08:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Invention of the 'Great' Composers

The music of ‘Bach’ and ‘Handel’, and largely through them the music of virtually all ‘great composers’ from their time onwards (including Vivaldi, Josef Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert etc) comes directly and indirectly from a mathematical method of composition which began to be used centuries earlier by GB Palestrina which was in continual but largely unknown development from his time onwards including in the works attributed to Claudio Monteverdi. More accurately, so-called ‘classical music’ comes from a continually modified process of canonical ‘arrangement’ of existing music which was further developed after the early attempts of Palestrina and Monteverdi which obtained its elements from earlier, already existing music which were gathered from various archival and other sources, these starting to be rearranged and embedded behind the scenes in a ‘factory style’ process to produce in the name of a single ‘great composer’ new and largely hidden variations of that older music by the addition of new harmonic devices and newly introduced phrases, motifs, styles and other elements at the hands of music editors from those works to conceal the origins of that 'new' product, so that these new arrangements are often derived from the work of not one but often a whole series of composers by wholesale editing of new and carefully hidden forms of elements from that music and became before their publication in their 'new clothes' a musical pastiche which, in its finally approved form brought a much needed repertoire of supposedly ‘new’ works which started to be marketed by the still emerging music industry from the 18th century onwards. And specially as the popular idea of ‘great composers’ and their supposed individual achievements became the main commodity of that emerging industry and the very nucleus of its success. Further given credibility by wide and affordable publication of a supposed ‘history of music’ whose details were largely invented by their patrons, managers of culture and musical publishers to perpetuate and give credibility to that history and to further hide from view that process. Over which supposed experts of the ‘science’ of Musicology presides to this very day. There were no 'great' composers. A detailed study of Mozart's life, for example (he being the best documented composer of that 'history of music') confirms the above.

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Old 01-27-2014, 06:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is wrong on so many levels.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Not a bad post. It sounds like you had to get that out of your system.
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Old 09-05-2014, 03:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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On some levels I agree, on others I strongly disagree.

So, here's what I think. You are absolutely right in thinking there is no "original" music. This is largely a fiction dating back to the romantic era, an maybe partly to the "Sturm & Drang" era in German literature (that's early Goethe & Schiller for you), which has surely influenced cultural perception a great deal.
Anyway, the idea of a composer sitting in his/ her music room and suddenly coming up with brilliant new ideas is largely nonsense. All of the masters have studied thousands and thousands work by other composers and learned from them, developed their ideas in the context of a new style & taste. I don't think music or any cultural product (literature, art, etc) could be done differently. However, I think it would be absolutely wrong to conclude that there were no great composers. Being able to fully develop a certain style, bring it to perfection or even refine & renew is a hell of an accomplishment, regardless of whether you may have copied certain elements of let's say Bach.

For example: There's one part of a piano piece by Beethoven (I can't remember which one right now and I'm too lazy to look it up right now tbh, but if you must know, I might find time to look it up eventually), which actually follows Renaissance style rules, which is ridiculous in a way, because that was certainly not the popular taste at the time. This actually poses a lot of questions: Did he do this on purpose? Did he sit down and think: Today, I am going to compose a piece set to out-dated rules, but make them sound popular? Or was is something that had just been transported through musical history subconsciously?
Whatever it is, it serves to show that no composer is "original" or free from tradition. However, it also shows that they often use this "knowledge of musical tradition" in a very creative way.

As for your theory concerning the music industry. I'm always puzzled why people would view the classical music industry any differently from today's one. It is what it is: An industry. They want to make money, there is no necessity for them to care about the quality of the music as long as there's money in it.
So, I don't think there is any conspiracy about trying to promote "great composers" no matter how good they are.
Has the music industry used certain ideas to make money? Certainly. Has this included marketing the "original music & genius" fiction of the 19th and perhapy even late 18th century? Of course.
I don't understand, though, why that would make the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, etc, etc less amazing. And I'm not even saying every single one of their compositions is a master piece, I'm just saying they were extremely talented composers. Now, you may not like Mozart's style, not be a fan of Schubert, but that's just personal taste and not some big, bad industry trying to manipulate you. In fact, the music industry and the reduced costs of music printing at that time helped to get music to a broader audience. Now, the question of a how a change in the audience also changes the medium and its use is a whole other discussion (but one I'd be willing to go into).
You could say: Well, wait a minute. But by wanting to make money, they are trying to manipulate me. Yep, ok. You have a point here. But what's the alternative? Not being able to access many, many works. Would that be preferable?
(And by the way. Through the means of the music industry we are also able to accesss the music of lesser known composers, which are not viewed as great today. So, if you want to turn away from the commonly loved composers and discover new ones, you are more than free to do so).

So, this has been a long post and I want to come to a conclusion and summary Your observations are not wrong and ocassionally even spot on, but I'm a bit doubtful about some of the assumptions that follow. Now, here's something I'd like to discuss with you:
Quote:
Over which supposed experts of the ‘science’ of Musicology presides to this very day.
Quote:
There were no 'great' composers. A detailed study of Mozart's life, for example (he being the best documented composer of that 'history of music') confirms the above.
Can you elaborate on those two points, give examples & proof? Just stating them won't do much to explain them sufficiently, let alone convince me.

Last edited by gallifreyan; 09-05-2014 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Beethoven invented ragtime decades before it became popular. Don't tell me that isn't great composing.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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This reads like a bad idea for a Ph.D. thesis that upon rejection has now become a plot for an equally bad novel which will just as certainly face rejection.
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Old 03-11-2016, 11:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I guess every field has its conspiracy theorist. I've never seen one here though! "...a mathematical method of composition" is a common misstatement. Rules of counterpoint and harmony, etc, take music gifts and training, but are not math. It's musical craft which musically talented and creative people do. It does share with math that some have have notable gifts in it. (Is that the axe you have to grind?) All your other misstatements are very original!
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