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Please help me understand Beethoven (or counterpoint in general)

Hello Dear Forumers. :) Very happy to write my first post.

I'm an amateur and like to study works of classical masters to see how certain things are done and among other things I also try to grasp counterpoint theory and learn about species. Recently I listened and analysed the score of Beethoven's 9th symphony's 2nd movement molto vivace and was struck how the strings are written:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5favl2Qtx0

So when I looked at the score I could not grasp what is going on here because sometimes for example there are parallel thirds descending between two voices when another voice go opposite direction, sometimes the rhythm is hanging on one note, change of octavesetc. You can see the strings "bricks" in the video so you'll see what I mean. I can't understand how it is written, is it note against note counterpoint with rules broken? I have a hard time to figure out which voice is written against which voice if that makes sense. :)

I also have a side question for things like Bach:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y_L0-aqLLs

I was taught by the materials that two voices should generally be in opposite direction or oblique motion for the best effect, but this uses parallel motions almost all the time from the beginning minus the leaps on every first note in the group. Bach's ear dictated this or are there other principles behind this?

Thank you.

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"It's very... interesting" is code for "I don't feel at all taken by it."  If the first thing people say about my music is that it is "interesting" or "different" to them, I will feel as though I have failed.  

Rowy van Hest said:

> decadent writing.  drawn out spasms of cool sounds,  just ghastly and horrid...

That made me curious, Bob. It is quite an achievement to get such a emotional respond. Usually people just say that your music is 'interesting'. I had to listen to your music, so I went to your soundcloud page.

I heard this kind of music before, even 40 years ago, when as a first-year student I went to my first concert in the concert hall of the conservatory of music. This style was already starting to age back then, but I'm not complaining because I like to write my music in a much older style, although spiced with advanced harmonies.

Nowadays your style can't be called modern any more, because of its age, but who cares? You like it, that's what matters. As a composer though you must feel a bit isolated, because there aren't much musicians who want to play this. Back in the days that was a problem too, especially because there were no computers and virtual orchestras.

Which virtual string instruments did you use for the string quartet?

By the way, I found the registration of a concert at my old conservatory and as you will hear, you're not alone :-)

The concert hall is a former chapel. The conservatory used to be an old monastery. They moved out to a modern building in the city centre, but there are still concerts in the chapel.

Great post Socrates and a priceless link. My training in early polyphony came via Contrapuntal technique in the 16 thc by R.O.Morris.
which was a less pedantic book than the species book by Swindon I also ploughed through. The Morris is an excellent read and full of music from the literature rather than isolated footballs in 2 parts.

The subsidized part Ive read and am familiar with (IRCAM)  but I honestly really do find it hard to believe that the younger generation prefers to write tonal music.

They do and it's not my fault, because I couldn't care less :-)

I think this opinion is firstly heavily influenced by what kind of composing a person does...

Doesn't the same apply to you? And would it make any difference, if you're exercising a style that's going to disappear?

Again, I still think your take on this is from an outsider cursorily looking in, and not someone deeply entrenched in composing and performing 'modern music'..again, just my opinion. Please feel free to disagree.

I disagree. Still, the same goes for you. I'm getting a bit worried by now. Is it really that important that others except your style?

However when I ask to hear some of this when others have made such a claim, it usually never materializes or is sad to say not very well done, and in many ways lacking.

I wrote the modern stuff when I was young. And then I grew up and destroyed it :-)

I'm almost afraid to listen to your music now :-)

Daniel Zarb-Cousin said:

"It's very... interesting" is code for "I don't feel at all taken by it."  If the first thing people say about my music is that it is "interesting" or "different" to them, I will feel as though I have failed.



Mike Hewer said:

 The Morris is an excellent read and full of music from the literature rather than isolated footballs in 2 parts.

There are a whole host of aspects to a piece that one can respect, admire or find thievable without ever once being personally taken by it as a whole.

Daniel Zarb-Cousin said:

"It's very... interesting" is code for "I don't feel at all taken by it."  If the first thing people say about my music is that it is "interesting" or "different" to them, I will feel as though I have failed.  

I already said that it also does affect me, but that I do spend hours each and every day to listening to newly composed music of all genres. So I am still hearing a broad spectrum of whats out there, of all kinds, and perhaps you might do the same just to get a fair opinion. Thanks.

I'm getting a bit worried by now. Is it really that important that others except your style?

No not at all, not in the least--accepting my style or music, or not is simply left to everyone to decide on their own--but if something you perceive such as this worries you, well maybe we'll end this discussion. It isnt worth worrying about Rowy.

I wrote the modern stuff when I was young. And then I grew up and destroyed it :-)

Grew up? Well thats a matter of opinion.LOL..however it usually ALWAYS goes this way, Rowy..many say, such as you that  they've done it, and then when pressed for examples, there's never anything to have a good listen to. Ah well, I expected it to be this. Thanks anyways.

Thanks for the discussion..lets leave it as this as you shouldnt worry about things, much less this. And its also off topic.

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito



Rowy van Hest said:

The subsidized part Ive read and am familiar with (IRCAM)  but I honestly really do find it hard to believe that the younger generation prefers to write tonal music.

They do and it's not my fault, because I couldn't care less :-)

I think this opinion is firstly heavily influenced by what kind of composing a person does...

Doesn't the same apply to you? And would it make any difference, if you're exercising a style that's going to disappear?

Again, I still think your take on this is from an outsider cursorily looking in, and not someone deeply entrenched in composing and performing 'modern music'..again, just my opinion. Please feel free to disagree.

I disagree. Still, the same goes for you. I'm getting a bit worried by now. Is it really that important that others except your style?

However when I ask to hear some of this when others have made such a claim, it usually never materializes or is sad to say not very well done, and in many ways lacking.

I wrote the modern stuff when I was young. And then I grew up and destroyed it :-)

Hi Daniel-

I dont take it that way--simply that they find it interesting, or different. And I find it MUCH better to not think one has failed because of others opinions. Write what you feel, and stand by it.

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

PS hey Rowy..my God now youre afraid of THIS? You seem afraid of and worried by EVERYTHING!! LOL!!

Rowy van Hest said:

I'm almost afraid to listen to your music now :-)

Daniel Zarb-Cousin said:

"It's very... interesting" is code for "I don't feel at all taken by it."  If the first thing people say about my music is that it is "interesting" or "different" to them, I will feel as though I have failed.

Bob Morabito said:

[...] Write what you feel, and stand by it.

Hi Bob, just wanted say that despite all the things we disagree on, this is spot on. Composers should be sincere and write what they feel, rather than what they think others would like.  If they won't stand by it, then why write it in the first place?!  Life is far too short to be wasted on writing throwaway pieces.

+1

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

Mike Hewer said:

Great post Socrates and a priceless link.

I couldnt agree more H.S.-thanks :)

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

H. S. Teoh said:

Bob Morabito said:

[...] Write what you feel, and stand by it.

Hi Bob, just wanted say that despite all the things we disagree on, this is spot on. Composers should be sincere and write what they feel, rather than what they think others would like.  If they won't stand by it, then why write it in the first place?!  Life is far too short to be wasted on writing throwaway pieces.

And now you're being offensive. The more I was praised for my so called modern work, the more I wanted to destroy it and so I did. It was nothing more than "interesting" music and even as a young composer I knew that this kind of music is the Emperor's New Clothes. Back then people argued that in due time it would grow on the audience. That never happened. People got less interested, not more. That's why your style is not modern. So what?

If it is important to you, you should keep writing it. Perhaps it's therapeutic, or it just makes you feel good. I really don't care.

Bob Morabito said:

I wrote the modern stuff when I was young. And then I grew up and destroyed it :-)

Grew up? Well thats a matter of opinion.LOL..however it usually ALWAYS goes this way, Rowy..many say, such as you that  they've done it, and then when pressed for examples, there's never anything to have a good listen to. Ah well, I expected it to be this. Thanks anyways.

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