Best time in history to be a classical music listener

75 posts / 0 new
Last post
Framing it.

Too narrow approach, tjh. What one can see from this Sonata is that, by following/using the rule of writing a Piano Sonata, starting with choosing the key, already Haydn opts for a rare key particularly for that era to be the main one (the identity) of the Sonata, i.e. A-flat major, which was used occasionaly as the slow movements of c or f minor sonatas.

More daringly, he chooses the D flat major as the slow movement (a very rare and difficult to develop key), which, however, is within the rules: it is the subdominant; it is not a remote key.

The above do not constitute a "formula" but rather a sign, an indication that, when inpired capable composers wanted to dare to use the rules they had in hand to write music in a more innovative or rare or even unique way, they could (not always, it is not a recipe) reach some quite high summits.

So, the importance of the knowing and observing the rules of the Sonata undescores the brilliant technical properties of the work that will go unnoticed or astray, if you do not know the rules. Most listeners (who do not know the rules) won't pay attention to the key of the Sonata (and its individual movements) concentrating only on how the work sounds. However, even how it sounds, it makes quite a difference if you follow what technically is going on and where the actual -irrelevant to how each listener reacts to it- value of the work rests.

Parla

To be confused or to be wrong? Be patient, perhaps.

How do you judge a work "on its own merits", Jane? How exactly do you take "the piece as it is"? I'll be delighted to be enlightened.

Parla

 

parla wrote:

.

parla wrote:

parla wrote:

How do you judge a work "on its own merits", Jane? How exactly do you take "the piece as it is"? I'll be delighted to be enlightened.

Parla

I mean without rules! You must simply use your judgement and your own taste. There is nothing else. 

What do you think people did when they went to the first performance of "The Rite of Spring?" You think they looked up a book of "rules"?

parla wrote:

parla wrote:

How do you judge a work "on its own merits", Jane? How exactly do you take "the piece as it is"? I'll be delighted to be enlightened.

Parla

You still haven't provided a single example of a "rule". I am beginning to think you don't know what a rule is - or how that word is used in the English language. Until you come forward and give a rule for judging a work of art, I don't see much point debating with you. We may well be at cross-purposes......

The Rite of Spring

Jane is scolding Parla for his failure to define what he means by a 'rule', but is now moving on, as of old, to his command of the English language.

BUT, she herself writes:

'What do you think people did when they went to the first performance of "The Rite of Spring?" You think they looked up a book of "rules"?'

They may not have looked up a book rules, but when they booed and some walked out, they were most probably indicating that the composer had exceeded the up till then accepted 'conventions'. How do 'rules', 'conventions' and perhaps 'rites' differ? Or do they refer to different phenomena?

So Parla could argue that a 'rule' relates to widely practices in the act of composing such as the accepted structure of a sonata. But as he points out in the case of Hyden, the choice of key may be unusual, certainly unconventional - does this practice break the rules?

Jane is asking for the objective 'instrument' by means of which one can determine the musical equivalent of 'length', which in the 'material world' is measured by an instrument known as a 'ruler'.  

However, musical composition and performance belong to the 'immaterial world'. Here there can be no objectivity but only cultural symbols, cultural change and cultural difference at any one time and across time.

 

Then we can start to get back to the original questions posed at the start of this thread. How does music of any kind feature in today's society? Not just which music, but also how it is reproduced, do we listen in social groups or as isolated individuals, which material instruments do we use to listen to music? Such a serious conversation can seek to establish the necessary relationships between the immaterial world and the material world. Adorno and Benjamin should be part of this discussion.

One of Benjamin's works dealt with the loss of aura of the work of art in the age of its material reproducation - that was in the 1920s. The conversation in this thread actually raises questions about the loss of aura of classical music in the age of its material reproduction - LPs, CDs, ripping, internet radio, streaming, etc.  But do not forget, was pointed out early in the thread, that different social classes go about this in different ways. Question then is how are these social rules or conventions established, and by whom. When music is reduced to the consumption of noise, its reproduction is controlled by economic forces.

Am I worried about the influence of Google and Apple on the way we consume music? YES. 

socratesgwr wrote:They may

socratesgwr wrote:

They may not have looked up a book rules, but when they booed and some walked out, they were most probably indicating that the composer had exceeded the up till then accepted 'conventions'.

That's my point, really. The people who walked out were, presumably, of the same mind of Parla. They were the conservatoire professors, the experts in harmony, the ones who knew how sonata form works......... They believed they could judge this new work by established "rules". 

To me, it seems fairly obvious that this is just downright silly. The history of art is the history of evolving conventions. It never stops moving.  

As for banging on about Parla's "language", I do think this might be worth considering. After all, he doesn't seem to be able to provide even a single one of these rules as an example.

socratesgwr wrote:Jane is

socratesgwr wrote:

Jane is asking for the objective 'instrument' by means of which one can determine the musical equivalent of 'length', which in the 'material world' is measured by an instrument known as a 'ruler'.  

No, I am not. I have expressely said that I do not think such a measuring instrument exists. I would have said that that was what Parla himself believed. 

Judgement and taste based on what?

I know that you meant without rules and, exactly, for that reason I asked my question, so that I can be enlightened. So how can you use your judgement without any reference standard, any rule? What is the actual role of "taste" (developed or "naked")? And, finally, to what extent this outcome of your judgement has to do anything with the "real value" of the work (which we have agreed exists beyond our personal "judgements"?

As for the people who attended the first performance of "The Rite of Spring", they might not looked up a book of "rules", but they felt unprepared to hear something beyond their expectations, based on what they knew, were familiar with and which was rooted in forms, based on specific rules of composition (use of tonality, rules of harmony, modulations, orchestration etc.). Stravinsky introduced a language on new "rules/form" that have little to do with "evolving conventions". It was an abrupt leap of inspiration, brilliant in some ways, that audiences and scholars alike needed time to adjust (and, to a great extent, they did), but, since "the Rite" did not establish any real development, evolution in the evolving conventions, even Stravinsky himself strived hard to follow and develop further.

Parla

Key to success

A lesser daring key can already be greater value in itself, for some.

Pages

Log in or register to post comments

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019