Must it be new?

To me, yes. Most of the music I hear on this site (I listen to everything posted) is in a neo-classical/neo-romantic/19th century-imitating/or new age vein. I've no interest in this music, so don't comment on such posts. I am only interested in music which does something new, which to me is the heart of what classical composition is about. I don't think this applies to band music composers, jazz, and rock, they have a tradition they are working from. But classical is different - it, I think is supposed to be about expanding the tradition/changing the tradition/doing something new. Also, I notice that many of the pieces on this site start out slowly. I guess the composers feel like a slow-build to something exciting is a good approach, but most of these pieces come across to me as just being turgid. I like to grab the listener from the first bar. For those who feel like their approach to music is a rejection of strange 20th century movements such as 12-tone music and aleatory stuff - I agree, tonality rocks, just not the tonality of the past - come up with something new in the tonality arena, it can be done in many ways I think. I'll suggest a composer on this site who I think is underappreciated, Ondib Olmnilnlolm, who experiments with sounds in a playful and experimental way. Best to you all -

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  • Just write music that is you and ignore what anyone else has to say on the matter, including the OP.

  • and we need to compose for the shake of making something "new"? should we disscard pieces because they are not "new"? In the end, isn't music's goal to bring emotion, express feelings? does it really matter if that happens with a fugue or an atonal piece?

    people have tastes, and I suppose the music one writes reflects that. and it's something that you or I cannot, and should not, change.

    So if someone's aesthetic are stuck in 1800, let him be. "Classical" music, if we agree that means "formal" music, from 1600 until today, is a huge thing, full of tradition, techniques, ideals, tools if you like. Style evolves, doesn't just happen. Rachmanninov or Shostakovitch didn't happen overnight. Neither any of the recent composers of "new" music, as you put it.

    Let people write what expresses them. Their time affects them in subtle ways, even if htey try to mimic a style,  which you are missing unless you see things from a wider prespective, time-wise.

    Yes, occasionally someone will come and rock the waters, bring something revolutional, something completely and suddenly different. But this is not how the world has been going around for the last 3000 years.

  • I'll just remind everyone that the first sentence of my post was "To me, yes," because I realize that everyone has their own opinion. I won't repeat or reassert that statement, but here are a few specific responses to your comments - @PW: most avant garde music I've encountered is bad. I don't like squeeks and squarks or brittle dark atonal stuff. I think Robert Vandall is an example of a composer who is doing good things in a modern vein - he writes rock- and pop-infused stuff and it is very accessible and satisfying. @BP: sure, rock can move forward too. Please name a band which you think has done so, I might go out and buy 'em. Jazz as an evolving art form is dead, or at least is on life-support I think. @SM: everyone should do what they enjoy.@TJ: What is OP?

  • If one has the ambition to join the pantheon of Western Art Music and take one's seat at the top table with Bach through to Ligeti than yes, one better not compose merely imitative music. Such a composer must find their unique voice and it must be one that has something to say. It does not have to be at the cutting edge of experimentation, in fact I rather think we've 'been there and done that'. It just has to be a voice that can rise above the din of mediocrity and one that has an identity of it's own. No mean feat that's for sure.

    However, if one has the ambition to write music for film and TV then 'newness' is not generally what is desired but more likely 'appropriateness' to the job in hand. Usually this means being highly imitative. I've never heard a non tonal piece of film music that evokes a feeling of, for example, an heroic homecoming. If that is a cue you are asked to write, you're better off listening to (and stealing from, as all good film composers do) the great works of the 19th and early 20th century.

    Then again, if one's ambition is to write music as a pastime and post it for the enjoyment of others then one can ignore the critics and just get on with it.

    Imagine this was a forum for painters who photographed their art and posted it for others to comment on. There would be still lives, water-colours, portraits, abstract, piles of bricks, op art. The question would be, is it well conceived and well executed? 

  • @MT: I think that many musicians for TV and movies write great original music, in their own voice. Hoyt Curtin, the Hanna-Barbara house composer, wrote fantastic original music for the Jonny Quest series, sometimes semi-atonal. John Barry, who wrote some of the more memorable James Bond theme music had a distinct sound, very tonal and emotional. Music in these genres can sometimes be rote, sure, but there are many examples of composers who write exemplary music which adheres to the dictates of the show and at the same time is original. I'm a great admirer of these composers.

  • OP = Original Poster, as in the person who posted the thread.

  • Danke

  • I am wholly apposed to composing the new for the sake of being new. I'm sure most people here would agree that Stravinsky was an exceptionally talented composer, yet even he had to take a very slow approach to new trends, refining everything so his compositions remained immaculate.

    I'd be confident in saying most people here are just exploring composition, developing their sense of form. If they want to grasp the more distant relations in music, they would want to have a good grasp of the close relationships to begin with, otherwise you may pass off a disjointed mess as being "complicated" and "modern". Furthermore I see the whole idea of pushing new ideas to be a bit backward, for me innovation only happens when an artist has exhausted his means of expression and forges something new by necessity, it comes by expressing yourself using those old tried techniques until you reach the point you can expand from that. Setting innovation as an artists goal to me is putting the horse before the cart, it's like diving in to the deep end before learning to swim.

  • If you can find your own musical voice in a style that is neither too esoteric (eg. the most random of random soundscapes) or too obvious (eg. Andrew Lloyd Webber; sorry but you're also a Conservative supporter) and your work is emotional and well crafted, then I think you've got a big head start.

    Being "new" for the sake of it (eg using a bow to play the guitar) is in this case not really necessary. People will take the time to listen and appreciate that you have something to say that is distictive and engaging and you have said it in your own voice.


    Just how you achieve the above is another question for another day...

  • I admire many film and TV composers too. I was speaking in general and think it is still true that 99% of such music is not really that 'new'.

    Gav Brown said:

    @MT: I think that many musicians for TV and movies write great original music, in their own voice. Hoyt Curtin, the Hanna-Barbara house composer, wrote fantastic original music for the Jonny Quest series, sometimes semi-atonal. John Barry, who wrote some of the more memorable James Bond theme music had a distinct sound, very tonal and emotional. Music in these genres can sometimes be rote, sure, but there are many examples of composers who write exemplary music which adheres to the dictates of the show and at the same time is original. I'm a great admirer of these composers.

    Must it be new?
    To me, yes. Most of the music I hear on this site (I listen to everything posted) is in a neo-classical/neo-romantic/19th century-imitating/or new ag…
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