Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

I hate having to make a thread about this because I thought it was common sense but I guess I have to. 

I, and many other member of this forum, can no longer tolerate threads and topics being hijacked for other members wanting to discuss other topics that are loosely related or not related to the original topic. It is disrespectful to the original poster and it does not make it enjoyable for those who want to join the original conversation. Consistent topic derailment, especially if the original post complains about it, will result in suspension. 

Consider this a new rule, if we must call them that, and interpretation of it will be completely up to the admins. Post wisely.

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Replies to This Discussion

"You have to be a bit careful here. It is the OP's perspective that matters."

No, I don't think so.  The thread originator is one person, whose perspective is valued no more than any one else's.  And that's as it should be.  People who've been here longer know this is the case.   The lawmaker in Congress doesn't decide what can and cannot be said about his bill.   Why should the OP be able to tell other people what to say?  That's logically absurd, unless you believe in some kind of absolutely dictatorial way of thinking.   What's the idea?  We all become little Kim Il Sungs?  We all become Little Saudi Arabian Monarchs' in our own imaginary Kingdoms?

Clearly no one has that in mind.   

Chris and Tyler,

If only a few of the members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam decided to play their instrument, then anyone with a cazoo would disrupt the concert in a big way.

The problem is that many of the regular musicians of our Royal Orchestra aka this Forum don't play their instrument, i.e., they remain quiet and just scatter whenever objectionable speech or personal attacks arise.  That's why the problems are able to prevail.  I remember when a member's wife was attacked (by the way, the person doing this later did apologize using the chat box) and less than a handful of people said anything at all.  The context surrounding that episode was ENTIRELY related to music (a true rarity here!).  The attack was in no way related to philosophical or political meanderings, as only music composition for software was being discussed in that thread.

It should've been everybody complaining.  And this is why I have appreciated the few orchestra members who have not stayed quiet with respect to that kind and other kinds of objectionable content (which I mentioned yesterday in the "spirit of the forum" thread), and the reason I appreciate and feel grateful to those few.  I have done so as well.  I support the statement that objectionable speech can and should be countered by more speech.  Not by making calls for free speech, but by EXERCISING the free speech through the presentation of reasoned arguments in situations where there is no direct benefit to the person's momentary self interest.

In closing, I want to say that a Forum where only music can be discussed would have less than no value, it would in fact represent an aberration and anti-artistic monstrosity.  I think that may become clearer to you a bit later, too.  And I hope we all manage to cool our heads off a bit.

"The key is open discussion.  Once you begin to place restrictions on what is to be discussed, your public meeting place becomes something more resembling a committee meeting in a dark room.  It becomes a politburo meeting behind closed doors almost, where a small number of individuals determine who should speak and what they should say whoa whoa WHOA did someone just . . . DID SOMEONE JUST CALL ME A CUNT AND TRY AND GET ME BANNED

this really isn't on, you guys. also i don't like it when you make pat psychological analyses of me. no, obviously i think open discussion should be allowed. this isn't the politburo! i just would prefer people didn't say nasty things about me otherwise i'll have to use hundreds of words trying to seem above it and not at all annoyed ok cool thanks"

Funny, that's exactly what I was doing when I called for O's ban. I was not staying quiet with respect to objectionable content.

This is a music forum. Only discussing music on it is basically the opposite of an anti-artistic monstrosity. Anti-artistic is when people are put off posting and discussing music because some vocal members derail the issue.

I am looking forward to cooling my head and posting actual new scores in a few days.
Mariza Costa-Cabral said:

 And this is why I have appreciated the few orchestra members who have not stayed quiet with respect to that kind and other kinds of objectionable content (which I mentioned yesterday in the "spirit of the forum" thread), and the reason I appreciate and feel grateful to those few.  I have done so as well. 

In closing, I want to say that a Forum where only music can be discussed would have less than no value, it would in fact represent an aberration and anti-artistic monstrosity.  I think that may become clearer to you a bit later, too.  And I hope we all manage to cool our heads off a bit.

Oh believe me, I'm right there with you. I was pastiche-quoting someone else who thinks moderating a forum is akin to the death of free speech. Nothing will please me more than a moderated forum where I can post Tallis-style choral harmony without fearing a political ramble or invitations to compose for individual air molecules. Bring cleansing fire!

 

I think it quite likely, Dave, that only good intentions motivated your last post.  Still, I would gently and politely admonish you not to mischaracterize any of my posts as invitations to "compose for individual air molecules."  That was not what I said, either literally or figuratively.  Nor was the comment made in response to anyone's effort to compose or post any specific piece of music, either a Thomas Tallis style work or any other.  I was speaking generally about the capacity of Logic music software to compose using "sound sculpture," which creates instruments made of experimental materials (made of wood, glass, steel or nylon; or in combination).   You may have inadvertently, misunderstood my remark.  I explained this before, but you might have missed the explanation.  

 

People interested in the methods of "sound sculpture," can examine this link and/or the image below.

 

https://ask.audio/articles/morphing-sounds-in-logic-pros-sculpture

 

 

 

 

There are no reasons for any of us to feel offended, or even at odds, aesthetically, on the broader issue.  By the way, I am a great admirer of the work Thomas Tallis, as much as anyone.  We can let bygones be bygones on that point.

 

Peter said, "Everything is about music."

 

A strict logician and musicologist might say the following:  The above statement is not about music.  It is about "everything."  Perhaps the amended statement, "Music is about everything," would be considered more acceptable in the current circumstances.

Ugh, I'd as rather not bring it up again, but look. This is what I'd asked:

"So . . . those of you who play with orchestras, or have done, what's your preference?"

Among other things, you replied:

" . . .don't write just for one violin, but write music for every string, every bit of wood in that instrument, for the bridge, and pegs, and for every molecule that the instrument is composed of. That is possible, now, you know."

You surely knew that this wasn't the kind of information I was after. Using my description of the topic as "vague" as an excuse is meaningless, since that referred to the fact that there will be as many perspectives on what a musician likes to play as there are musicians. The fundamental question was very, very precise. The fact that you could technically bend my wording to allow such an interpretation is irrelevant. I was asking orchestral musicians what kind of parts they prefer to play, not if I could compose for the tuning pegs and molecules of a violin; the context was very clear, understood by all others. And just in case I was unsure if you were being deliberately ridiculous, you later said:

"As musicians, what kinds of parts do you prefer to play within an orchestra?

In a contemporary music ensemble, I believe, the best parts to play within, around, underneath or above an orchestra..."

I mean, you actually pastiched my usage of the word "within". If you had any point to make, that is not the way to make it. If you personally have played the UPIC system in or for an orchestra, or played violin parts composed for the tuning pegs and molecules, that would be an interesting perspective, albeit entirely unrelated to the music I compose.

There was no inadvertent misunderstanding on my part. If anything, I had a vertent understanding of your deliberately provocative remarks, especially since I was asking the perspective of players, not fans of experimental composition. I've used that Logic Sculpture instrument, and that's definitely not the point you were making. (You cannot use it to compose for wood molecules in any meaningful sense, it simply creates sounds that we define and identify as glassy, woody, metallic etc. It has no direct real-instrument equivalent, so just because it sounds woody doesn't mean that you are composing for a wooden instrument like a violin.)

"Still, I would gently and politely admonish you not to mischaracterize any of my posts as invitations to "compose for individual air molecules."  That was not what I said, either literally or figuratively.  Nor was the comment made in response to anyone's effort to compose or post any specific piece of music, either a Thomas Tallis style work or any other."

Indeed! It was parody of your suggestion I compose for "every molecule" of a violin.

We like often different music and composers. That's fine. We have different worldviews. That's fine, too. But if you wanted to talk about composing for violin tuning pegs I wouldn't turn the discussion to composing conventionally, and if I want a player's perspective on what they like to play you shouldn't turn the discussion to unconventional, unrelated or impossible compositional concepts, and you definitely shouldn't do it in a casually satirical fashion.

Tallis makes me sad. My reaction to his music is pretty similar to the portrayal of Salieri's reaction to Mozart, it's so beautiful I find it hard to enjoy. See, that's something we could probably profitably discuss.

Olmnilnlolm said:

 

I think it quite likely, Dave, that only good intentions motivated your last post.  Still, I would gently and politely admonish you not to mischaracterize any of my posts as invitations to "compose for individual air molecules."  That was not what I said, either literally or figuratively.  Nor was the comment made in response to anyone's effort to compose or post any specific piece of music, either a Thomas Tallis style work or any other.  I was speaking generally about the capacity of Logic music software to compose using "sound sculpture," which creates instruments made of experimental materials (made of wood, glass, steel or nylon; or in combination).   You may have inadvertently, misunderstood my remark.  I explained this before, but you might have missed the explanation.  

 

People interested in the methods of "sound sculpture," can examine this link and/or the image below.

 

https://ask.audio/articles/morphing-sounds-in-logic-pros-sculpture

 

 

 

 

There are no reasons for any of us to feel offended, or even at odds, aesthetically, on the broader issue.  By the way, I am a great admirer of the work Thomas Tallis, as much as anyone.  We can let bygones be bygones on that point.

 

It's not. I mean, everything could be about music to you personally, but generally, it's really not. I just had some sweets, and they definitely weren't about music.

Peter Brown said:

Everything is about music. 

Not even that. Just sweets. You can read qualities of music in entities, but when I make a sandwich that sandwich is a sandwich. You could say it's a symphony of flavour or a broken arpeggio of texture but it's not about music. It's about lunch.

Peter Brown said:

Hey Dave,

Good point. The sweets were probably just music to your taste buds...

Dave Dexter said:

It's not. I mean, everything could be about music to you personally, but generally, it's really not. I just had some sweets, and they definitely weren't about music.

Peter Brown said:

Everything is about music. 

Dave, you said,

 

'Ugh, I'd as rather not bring it up again, but look.'

 

I think you can bring it up again, if you so desire.  It's up to you, since this is obviously a music related issue.

 

You went on to say,

 

"This is what I'd asked:  'So . . . those of you who play with orchestras, or have done, what's your preference?' ."

 

Then you said to me, "Among other things, you replied:

 

" . . . don't write just for one violin, but write music for every string, every bit of wood in that instrument, for the bridge, and pegs, and for every molecule that the instrument is composed of. That is possible, now, you know."

 

But, Dave, that was not the whole of my statement, and if you take it alone, apart from other statements I made, you lose the meaning of my larger point.  I'll attempt a different way of explaining it.  Mine was simply one of many possible answers to your question, involving preferences of instruments and parts for instruments.  Clearly, the synthesizer, the electronic keyboard, and computerized instruments I mentioned are options, and can be played "within an orchestra."  Of course I was speaking in a metaphorical way, a mystical way, or in a poetic way, when I spoke of "writing music for every molecule," but it's almost literally true, when you consider that modern sound sculpture can reproduce real sounds, like the sounds of instruments made of glass, steel, nylon and glass, and combinations of these, with varying degrees of tension and compression. (More on that below).   I said,

 

" ...  it is true that a computerized instrument which is capable of accurately synthesizing all musical sounds, and many more types of acoustic vibration, will be said (in some sense) to supersede all individual musical instruments.  This can be stated from the point of view of the composer who does not seek out a large ensemble of instrumentalists and performers  ...  "It's not an unreasonable perspective.  And I strongly state, this is not simply a matter of  just composing, using a computerized apparatus.  The UPIC, or synthesizer, or modern electronic instrument can be used, and has been used, by composer-performers in concert.  It's something amounting to a tradition, by now.   I saw Stockhausen do this in 1976, and many others have done so since that time."

 

I think, Dave, you must have heard a synthesizer, or computerized instruments of some kind, being played WITHIN an orchestra at some time.  IN MY VIEW, only a narrowing of the concept of "instrument" to a pre-World War II perspective, or earlier, would disallow the mention of instrumentation used by Varèse, Xenakis, Stockhausen, and many others.    Busoni conceived of the idea even earlier.   You may or may not, upon deeper reflection, think this was relevant to the broader topic.  I did honestly think it was relevant (and that it is relevant today, and that the point will become more and more relevant as time passes): and there is no rule in logic or in discourse which says, one person's consideration of what is "relevant" must over-rule and dominate an exchange about a subject in modern times.  This is especially true, in connection with an open minded consideration of possibilities, which may involve a wide variety of approaches and conceptual interpretations of the nature of "instruments," orchestras and musical ensembles.   You said,

 

"Using my description of the topic as 'vague' as an excuse is meaningless, since that referred to the fact that there will be as many perspectives on what a musician likes to play as there are musicians."

 

That latter part, underlined, is precisely my point. As many perspectives as there are musicians, composers, performers, even individuals.  And electronic instruments, of the type designed by Xenakis, and Stockhausen WITHIN AN ORCHESTRA, constitute one possible choice.  I might also say, this:  One doesn't or shouldn't really need an "excuse" to express one's view on a topic connected with music and a choice of musical instruments, in a Composer's Forum, or so it seems to me.    You expressed discomfort with my having said,

 

"In a contemporary music ensemble, I believe, the best parts to play within, around, underneath or above an orchestra..."

 

I was reading about this notion several months ago, so it came into my mind.  I said what I did, in this way, because in Stockhausen's, and in other avant-garde composers' acoustical conceptions, the concert hall is (and has been) actually altered.  Speakers are installed that do play LITERALLY within, around, above, and below an orchestra, and within, around, underneath, or above an audience.  Electronic and Sound Theaters at some universities have been, and are now, actually being constructed this way, so that both orchestral and electronic, or various synthesized sounds can IN REALITY come from many different directions.  I am not making this up.  Do you think I am?  Of course, the use of any computerized instrument can be limited to playing solely WITHIN the orchestra as well.  I see nothing wrong with mentioning the other possibilities.  Even Gustav Mahler had trumpets playing, not WITHIN the orchestra, but sometimes, off stage, or behind the stage, away from the orchestra.   None of this is as strange as you appear to think it is.  It's quite common, even though it is not totally standard (any more than the trombone or the piano were considered normal in Bach's and Palestrina's time).  You stated,

 

"There was no inadvertent misunderstanding on my part."

 

That's for you to say, of course, if you wish.  But in any case, you still may not understand my point, fully.  It is possible. And I may not yet fully understand your perspective.  In fact, both possibilities are likely. That's why dialogue often continues, and why we do well to deepen dialogue and discussion, so that the points can move closer and closer to crystal clarity, and mutual comprehension can be obtained, if that is possible.  

 

You noted, "I was asking the perspective of players, not fans of experimental composition."  

 

But I am not clear why that should matter. There are many types of playing, and many ways to "play," instruments, live, automatically, taped, recorded; and as one might normally play a piano, or one might "play" a piano using a "piano roll," as Conlon Nancarrow did. (Even Mahler, Stravinsky and Ravel did this).  Consider the performance of many instruments, even a large ensemble, automatically, as in the case of the "Ballet Mechanique."   I am not sure it makes sense, necessarily, to exclude "experimental composition" or experimental modes of playing.  You asked about preferences, and I told you what I preferred.  It wasn't a question about what YOU prefer.  It was a question posed about what OTHERS prefer. If I asked a question about what instrument you might prefer, or what part you would like to play, and you said "the harpsichord," I think it would be equally unwarranted on my part to reject that answer (or call it irrelevant), simply on the grounds that I DIDN'T HAVE that preference, or have it in mind, when I asked the question.  Presumably, part of the purpose of any question, in a forum, is to receive answers you may not have anticipated, or even answers you might not agree with.  Perhaps those answers are actually the best.   I don't think a person's individual question can ever dictate as narrowly as you suggest how responses should be given, or what words and concepts should be utilized. 

 

You speak of my words as being "deliberately provocative."  Webster defines provocative, as:

 

"causing discussion, thought, argument, etc."

 

I don't really see what the problem is, unless you object to discussion and thought (or even "argument," in the best sense of the word, according to a dialogical, dialectical or rational set of procedures, as we see recorded in the writings of Johann Joseph Fux or Plato).

 

Webster also has this:

 

Example of provocative in a sentence:

                       

"a thoughtful and provocative book"

 

That sounds like a good thing, to me.  It certainly does not entail anything rude or personally disrespectful.

 

You also said,

 

"you shouldn't turn the discussion to unconventional, unrelated or impossible compositional concepts ..."

 

I am not quite sure why "unconventional concepts" are in and of themselves (or even in this context) "bad," or why they constitute notions that "should not be said."    If  one doesn't like them, one can ignore them.  If someone does like an unconventional idea, it can spark additional conversation.  The internet is not some cramped place with limited space.  Scrolling up and down is quite easy.  When I read something that doesn't interest me, I simply scroll past it.  I am not sure why the new environment of the internet is not usable in a way that can be appreciated and user friendly to all concerned, whatever ideas (conventional or non conventional) are expressed.

 

On the issue of sound sculpture:

 

You spoke of the Logic Sound Sculpture system in what I thought were very limited terms, and I wonder how much you've delved into it, and actually used it, since it can and does actually present "real sounds" in a way that older systems did not (such as the Moog Synthesizer for example).  On top of that, I made it clear that I was not simply speaking of Xenakis' system, or Logic Sound Sculpture alone, but also of future systems to be developed.  I think I am conceptually allowed "to prefer" instruments that may be developed in the future, which may sound absolutely and totally indistinguishable from real live instruments today, and which (in future) may actually and literally be able to create acoustic vibrations down to the molecular, atomic, or even subatomic level.  Of course, this is only the case if I am permitted to use my imagination in connection with the music of the present, the avant-garde alternatives, and any potential future development.   

 

When you spoke of " impossible compositional concepts ...," I wondered what you meant.

 

What occurred to me was the French saying,

 

Soyez réalistes, demandez l'impossible ...

 

[Be realists, demand the impossible].

[Picasso, 1968]

 

Of course, Peter, my sympathies are fully with your position. 

 

Even so, it's fun to do some linguistic philosophical analysis with these propositions about music.  Reviewing your suggested proposition, with a bit more scrutiny, we can call it,

 

Sentence A.

 

"Everything is about music."

 

[Clearly false, since the above sentence begins with the subject EVERTHING, and the predicate is "music," not the subject.  So the above sentence is about EVERYTHING, not about music," as I mentioned before].

 

But let's not despair.   It gets more interesting, and more promising, I think, if we go further.

 

Sentence B. 

 

"This sentence is about music."

 

[Clearly false, again, because the subject of the statement is "this sentence," and again, the predicate is "music," so the above statement is about "this sentence," and not about music—illustrating a second time that not everything is about music, since both Sentences A and B are not about music].

 

That seems bad, but things improve here:

 

Sentence C.  

 

"Music is not what this sentence is about."

 

[But certainly, THIS statement IS ABOUT MUSIC.  Even though the statement says it is not about that.  "Music" is the subject of the sentence, grammatically, and the predicate is the phrase "not what this sentence is about."  But since the subject of the sentence is the word "music,"  MUSIC is what the sentence must be about].

 

And finally, in line with your thought,

 

Sentence D.

 

"Music is what all things are about,"

 

[The subject is clearly music, so the sentence is definitely about music.   And since the predicate is "what all things are about," this much follows:  it can be set down as an axiom, which, if it is stated a certain way, the entire proposition "Music is what all things are about," can be accepted as an axiom. It can even be set down as an indisputable postulate, provided all the terms contained therein are defined in a very specific and exact way].

 

The only problem is that "this entire post may not be about music;" or the problem is that "MUSIC may not be what this whole message is about."  The post itself may instead be about logic, linguistics, subjects and predicates.  So it could be off topic.

 

Oh well.

 

 

 

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