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Trigrammic Progressions for Three Ensembles of Trombones, using some, but not necessarily all of the following instruments and objects for additional sonic enhancement:

Tam-tam, Electric Piano, Chimes, Triangles, a Tempest in a Teacup, Thunder in a Bottle, Robot Chorus, Classical Male Chorus, Female Chorus, Child Chorus, Chorus of Gnats, King Aeolus’ Bag of Winds, Tortoise Shell inscribed with the I Ching of Fu Hsi, a Parachute, a Fingernail Clipping from Eric Satie’s Left Hand, Enclosed Auditorium, Electrical Elements, More Trombones, Rotating Cellos floating above ground, Stationary Violins, Cellos, Violas and Double Bass, an open field, Rocket Propelled Flying Apparatus, Chem Trail Spewer, Artificial Horizon Generator, Mercurian Hairspray Dispenser, Air Cushions, Klinker, Whips, A Tin Can of Atmosphere heated by Global Warming, More Trombones, Airbag from a Honda Civic, Three F-16 Fighter Jets, a Ram’s Horn, Steam Engine for Pressing Pants, Flutes, Oboes, English horn, Clarinets, Three Pianos, and Glockenspiel.

I invite people to analyze such aspects of the work as timbre, rhythm, ebb and flow of the thematic material, harmonic relations, chord structure, tempo, dynamics, attack, sustain, and release, verisimilitude, velocity, electro-acoustical effects, pitch slides, portamento, tone gliding, visual imagery, synaesthesiatic reactions (see your doctor, if these last longer than the average duration of Scriabin’s complaint), vibrato, orchestral texture, plausibility, panning, overall form and structure, microstructure, philosophical premises, Anagnorisis (ἀναγνώρισις ), metaphysical postulates, aesthetic axioms, divinoidisms, priasma, use of time, space, frequency and amplitude.

[You can access the piece by the picosong link below]


http://picosong.com/fmv7/

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Ondib, I've listened to a number of your works and there is no doubt in my

mind that you have studied and are able to 'construct' some very interesting

pieces. I only say construct because here I am going to draw a distinction

between composing and building a piece out of components.

The component I find missing in a lot of this style of expression is

a mirror.  A mirror that reflects the richness of the human condition.

This is a necessary element for me to be able to relate to what I call music(yes, quite subjective)

I've always liked the expression 'form follows function'.

Possibly you can explain the function of this genre, so I can better grasp your intent.   Roger- the eternal student

...

Roger, you ask a very good question, which raises all sorts of fascinating issues, such as: the tension between content and form in music, the ways in which music might resemble the other arts, especially architecture, painting and sculpture; the opposition between attempts to “depict the human condition” via music and the striving to create “absolute music” (or music that has no specific story or “program,’ or even a connection with human events). Your question also touches on the “mirror” theory of art, espoused by no less than Shakespeare himself, as opposed to the theory of “art for art’s sake,” espoused more by Keats, Rosetti, and the pre-Raphaelists; and the eternal conflict between emotion and intellect, that rises up in all efforts at artistic production.

As you put it,

“I've listened to a number of your works and there is no doubt in my mind that you have studied…”

(My “musical studies,” such as they have been, were almost entirely non-formal, so I am not afflicted by any academic tendencies, that were imposed upon me by professors or musicians with axes to grind… Just thought I would mention that… I am as you describe yourself, “the eternal student…”)

“and are able to 'construct' some very interesting pieces.”

There is a school of art (architecture and painting), known as “constructivism”… I would have to go back and review its tenets, in order to see whether or not my approach would qualify me more as “constructivist” or as some other kind of creator of music.

“I only say construct because here I am going to draw a distinction between composing and building a piece out of components.”

I am not sure I understand the exact distinction that you are describing. The word “compose” is formally defined as “to write or create (a work of art, especially music or poetry).” So any act of “creation,” or of “constructing” a work of art—such as a piece of music, an edifice (as in architecture), or sculpture, or a painting-- could fall under the rubric of composing, I suppose.

It is true, I think that parts are conceived, marked down by certain sets of symbols, listened to carefully, and then rearranged; and that larger sections are assembled, so to speak, and then the entire work is eventually examined en toto, for a sense of wholeness, and rewritten many times. Mozart, it is reported, could actually conceive of a substantial work (like the overture to the Marriage of Figaro) and contain it in his mind, actually hear the whole thing without playing it or setting pen to paper, and then he could write it down as he conceived it in a single afternoon. If that is what you mean by composing, I don’t think many people are capable of that. Perhaps you could elaborate on what YOU mean by composing, though I don’t think the method by which one reaches the final product actually has much to do with a distinction between something called “composing” as opposed to “constructing,” or at least, it doesn’t have to. (Shostakovich often bragged that he really composed, while Prokofiev merely “orchestrated,” which is to say, Prokofiev had to have all his tonal material arranged on a piano score, before he would go about assigning parts to instruments).

On the question of “music and the human condition:” I think the methodological question may not have too much to do with the result, insofar as the final work has something to do with “the human condition.” Perhaps it does, in some essential way, and I just don’t see it.

As you say, and I agree with the distinction you make here, about “the mirror…”

“The component I find missing in a lot of this style of expression is
a mirror. A mirror that reflects the richness of the human condition.
This is a necessary element for me to be able to relate to what I call music (yes, quite subjective).”

I can understand that, and it is not unreasonable or out of line to make that observation.

We can say that Beethoven and Berlioz Mahler hold a “mirror up to nature,” (to use Shakespeare’s phrase. It’s most obvious in works like the Pastoral Symphony, or Symphonie Fantastique, and Mahler’s Third. I doubt we can say exactly what in Nature or in the “human condition” Bach is “mirroring” in the majority of his Preludes and Fugues. Or what Hindemith is “mirroring” in his Kammermusik, or Stravinsky in his neo-classical abstract works.

I do not dare, of course, compare myself with any of the truly great composers I mention, however much they inspire me or inform what I attempt to do.

You said,

“I've always liked the expression 'form follows function'.”

I have always thought that form was secondary, and content was primary, in matters pertaining to poetry, literature, and philosophy. In music, I suppose if one is a Romantic, one can also adhere to that view as well. As a matter of personal taste, I have always favored that outlook, and I generally prefer “Romantic approaches” in the music I listen to: I prefer Beethoven to Bach; I prefer Mahler to Brahms, and I like Shostakovich and Prokofiev generally much more than Stravinsky in his later periods. (Sometimes, the composer can go to far with the emotive approach, as I feel that Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff do all to often, so it’s not a hard and fast rule with me, in my own mind).

When all is said and done, however, I find that the act of composing music (or constructing it) is not very much like writing poetry or literature, where specific content, in terms of meaning, is so obviously present in the mind throughout the entire procedure of creating. In music, “Form” is always confronted, and being framed, as one is conceiving and creating the actual musical content. Form and content (or form and function, if you like that opposition better) are virtually inseparable in music, as they are in the most abstract mathematical equations; and I daresay in music, they are more closely linked even than they are in architecture (where very practical concerns attached to the function of various parts are so often of paramount importance).

So whereas Goethe says, “Architecture is frozen music,” I think actually, think that “Music is architecture in perpetual flow,” with few constraints on form flowing into function, and function flowing into form or content.

You suggest,

“Possibly you can explain the function of this genre, so I can better grasp your intent.”

I am not sure how clear this is: The genre of music I write is, as I think you grasp, generated usually from an idea, a concept, or a form, first—perhaps from a “form” (I might hope) in the Platonic sense. As it is worked out in practice, eventually the functions, meaning, content and feelings become more apparent. Perhaps other composers, more so than I do, start out with a “feeling” “an emotion,” or some image of an event (or a mirroring of some situation connected with a specific aspect of the human condition).

So the answer to your question may be: the “function of this genre” is, so to speak, to access some IDEA, FORM, NOTION, or THEME; and then to work it out, so that it ceases to be merely abstract (as a geometric object or an equation might be), and eventually attains some sort of musical mode of expression, which has the value of music, while remaining not entirely unconnected with the original idea. I could say more, but probably, that is enough for now.

Ondib, absolutely no offense intended, but perhaps ,if you could

climb down from your Ivory Tower for a few minutes and reread

what I wrote from a simple 'brass tacks' perspective, my response

would be clearer and we could discuss the idea of form and intent

shaping content,and the humanistic vs. the intellectual pursuit of

music.( By means of your own support )    Thanks, Roger

I love this piece a lot, I like the sounds that you were able to produce and the way you straddle between harmonies and sounding mass. 

I do have a few questions though. 

Is this suppose to be for both live musicians and electronics; if so, is it electro-acrostic (like tape and live performers) or does is it for live electronics that are controlled by someone else. If it is for live performers and the list of instruments and items you provided are necessary, is it one of those pieces that are not intended to be performed. And also is their sheet music, I would like to see how it is notated. 

I personally, think it sounds better as just an electronic piece, which if that is the case, I do wish you manipulated the sounds of the percussion more. Reverse chimes, music concrete sounds, extreme ranges in the trombone samples and stuff of that nature. I like the "other worldly" atmosphere you create, but I feel that it gets slightly ruined by the very earthly sounding percussion samples. 

Other than that great job. 

Hello Roger. You said, "No offense intended." I take no offense from what you have said. I don't mind rereading what you have written. My response was merely a series of elaborations of thoughts that your post prompted in my mind. I apologize if I misunderstood your question, or didn't address it in a way that facilitated communication.

We can try again. I would be happy to talk about "brass tacks" and the "the idea of form and intent
shaping content, and the humanistic vs. the intellectual pursuit of music," as you say.

I thank you, for your interest. Maybe you could just rephrase your essential question, in another way, and my next response will be more appropriate. It's good for us all to feel free to object to responses that are unhelpful (as you felt mine was), and to ask to turn the conversation in way that will help us increase mutual understanding. I am all for that.

----

Thank you, Tyler, for your very kind remarks. You are absolutely on the mark with your observations on the chimes and the percussion in general. You said,

“I do wish you manipulated the sounds of the percussion more.”

I wrestled with that, and ended up abandoning the more radical alterations of natural percussion sounds, at least for this version. But you help me confirm my original intuition regarding the “concrete” approach to sound alteration.

You said, ‘I like the "other worldly" atmosphere you create, but I feel that it gets slightly ruined by the very earthly sounding percussion samples.’

Yes, there is much in what you say. I will have to work on that, and improve the percussion sounds, alter them substantially, using the EXS function, to make them much more otherworldly. Thanks very much for your interest, and your comments.

[PS. How exactly would you do "reverse chimes" (a la Pierre Schaeffer, or music concrete), or create any backwards sound, using Logic Pro, or any compatible applications. I can alter pitches and speed and timbre of sounds considerably, but I have never actually reversed them]]

Here's a challenge for you..... describe or define the difference between music 

     and noise, in logical terms.

     I will agree that the term music as a general catchall word can be as misconstrued

    as the word love is, but I doubt that either can be defined other than subjectively.

    (and whatever you do , please don't be anti-semantic- the PC police are on the prowl)

  ps- unless of course you have something better to do       RS
 
Kristofer Emerig said:

Spoken language, like tonality, should be revamped and infused with renewed logical vigour. We are trying to designate too many things with this single word "music". Following the analogy, perhaps we need a music subscript 1, music subscript 2, etc.

The first and foremost distinction needed is one between music which imparts tonal meaning via a controlled use of frequencies, ie, the application of a tonal hierarchy of simple to complex ratios, and music which is comprised primarily of the arrangement and organization of patterns of sound. Of course, in the real world, many examples would qualify in greater or lesser proportions to both.

This is far more the latter to me, lke poetry comprised of syllables arranged in patterns, but without an underlying semantic role in classical language.

Benim değerli arkadaşım, Kristofer Emerig,


(which can be roughly translated as, “my esteemed friend,” or “my valued friend,” with the word arkadaş being a Turkish term, signifying something slightly warmer than the English word acquaintance, and something a bit less warm than the Turkish word “dost,” which refers to a very, very close friend)


Please permit me the following observation:


You said, with considerable acumen, “Too much of the exchange of ideas here of late have been bogged in the chimerical notion that anything can be proven objectively…”


I hope you and others are aware that when I have put forward a proposition about the alleged “objective aesthetic value” of a specific piece of music, or the overall quality of a given composer’s work, the statement was a kind of jest, as it were. In principle, I agree with your view: The nature of music, and art in general, is such that “objective value statements” are notoriously difficult to prove. Of course, I would still firmly maintain—to the death—that the following ten statements are totally (absolutely, uncontestably, and indisputably) true, without exception, to any reasonable person, who knows at least some of the music of the composers mentioned:





Beethoven’s work is objectively superior to George Gershwin’s.

Stravinsky’s is objectively better than Alessandro Scarlatti’s.

Bruckner’s is superior to Zoltan Kodaly’s.

Luigi Bocherrini is superior to Phillip Glass.

Serge Prokofiev is better than George Phillip Telemann (or Gaetano Donizetti).

Jacques Ibert is superior to John Adams.

Albert Rousseau is better than Franz von Suppé.

Conlon Nancarrow is better than Carl Ruggles.

Ligeti’s music is superior to Louis Spohr’s.

By the way, is it true that you were censored recently? Where? On this thread?

Given your customary politeness, rationality and moderation, I find that rather surprising—even shocking!



Kristofer Emerig said:

Too much of the exchange of ideas here of late have been bogged in the chimerical notion that anything can be proven objectively, so I'll respectfully decline your challenge out of complete disinterest. However, what I do find fascinating is that everyone is seemingly so fixated on the task, as though casually discussing things, and taking into account the perspective of others has gone out of fashion in favour of rigorous proofs of absolute truths.

I've already broadly framed the distinction between music comprised of "organized patterns of sound" versus "tonal language", and of course there are myriad complex subtleties in that distinction which could be discussed

I said nothing of noise, however. That distinction seems quite easy to make. Music is crafted with deliberate and artistic intent to convey something, whereas noise simply occurs incidentally; I see no deep difficulties in that broad distinction, depending upon just how esoteric you'd like to get with the matter. Despite Cage's wishes, abusing the language does not existentially change the subject of the language, but only degrades the language itself. Every connotation of the word noise is contrary to the concept of music, so why would we intentionally confuse the conversation by misusing words?

The point is, there's no sensible answer to your question, because if it is indeed music, you probably shouldn't choose the word "noise" to denote it in the first place, unless figuratively.

Now as far as the conspicuous "policing" of this site. I have said (it was deleted) with emphasis, any truth which must be protected from scrutiny is not the truth. Censorship is nothing more than intellectual fear coupled to a desire and ability to control, nothing else, no matter what justification is manufactured. Wherever we are told that we must be silenced for our protection or welfare, open your nostrils and smell nothing but mendacity and fear, because it is only the unjust and dishonest who fear free speech. Don't ask me to prove this, my only citation is the wisdom that comes with living.
 
roger stancill said:

Here's a challenge for you..... describe or define the difference between music 

     and noise, in logical terms.

     I will agree that the term music as a general catchall word can be as misconstrued

    as the word love is, but I doubt that either can be defined other than subjectively.

    (and whatever you do , please don't be anti-semantic- the PC police are on the prowl)

  ps- unless of course you have something better to do       RS
 
Kristofer Emerig said:

Spoken language, like tonality, should be revamped and infused with renewed logical vigour. We are trying to designate too many things with this single word "music". Following the analogy, perhaps we need a music subscript 1, music subscript 2, etc.

The first and foremost distinction needed is one between music which imparts tonal meaning via a controlled use of frequencies, ie, the application of a tonal hierarchy of simple to complex ratios, and music which is comprised primarily of the arrangement and organization of patterns of sound. Of course, in the real world, many examples would qualify in greater or lesser proportions to both.

This is far more the latter to me, lke poetry comprised of syllables arranged in patterns, but without an underlying semantic role in classical language.

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