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What is it's emotional function today? Also, can someone better explain me how harmonic series relate to progression interpretation?

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Whether or not I am a professional composer has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. My initial comment was terse, but not meant to be provocative. I was just giving my input. There was no need to inject the amateur-professional thing. I regret that I took the bait with my second comment, which was admittedly defensive. 

Since I have nothing further to add to the initial question, I am bowing out of this thread. I suggest you begin a new thread on the differences between amateur and professional composers, if you feel the need. Good day and best wishes in your musical pursuits, John.

John Driscoll said:

I was just being honest and accurate.  I assume you are not a professional composer?

michael diemer said:

Did that put-down make you feel better?

John Driscoll said:

If your goal is amateurism, this is good advice.

michael diemer said:

Create music. Don't worry about rules. 

Michael, 

John isn't a professional composer. I hope he was merely pointing out a belief that one must know the traditional foundations of music before you can hope to be professional.

However there are plenty song writers who know nothing about music theory, that have made millions. Which I guess makes them professionals in most peoples eyes. 

Irving Berlin, who was undoubtedly the most successful songwriter in history, couldn't read music.

Bob Porter said:

Michael, 

John isn't a professional composer. I hope he was merely pointing out a belief that one must know the traditional foundations of music before you can hope to be professional.

However there are plenty song writers who know nothing about music theory, that have made millions. Which I guess makes them professionals in most peoples eyes. 

Balking at rules is something I've seeen many composers do. Thy think that their voice will be muffled by sticking to regulatuon when nothing could be further from the truth. One can take it to far but rules are vital for many things in music from coherence to expressing your concepts to texture and ensuring your music could be played by humans.

Its a strange notion almost entirely peculiar to art that ignoring rules is a good thing yet the same advice would seldom be given to a carpenter or clockmaker. Music requires craft and there is nothing unromantic or unemotional about that.

michael diemer said:

Create music. Don't worry about rules. 

These are not rules of execution or craft though Jon. Lucas is asking about very specific aspects of musical theory and the equivalent in sculpture might be which tools to use on which medium. "Include the severed head" is a detail of expression rather than medium and not a rule in the sense that this thread is discussing.

Jon Corelis said:

Actually, he created both those sculptures by breaking the standard rules established by previous Italian Renaissance artists.  The rule was that you didn't make a statue of David alone without including the severed head of Goliath, but Michelangelo's David is without it -- that is, a David tense before the fight rather than victorious after it, which was against the iconographic rule.  And the rule was that in a pieta you showed Mary as middle aged; Michaelangelo's pieta portrays her as very youthful.

Well I must insist... Rules are only ever used to teach someone, not for creating art. Music theory is an explanation of things that have already been created i.e. in the past therefore not bound by any rules. From Bach to the serialists you can find everybody "breaking" the rules, because nobody sees them as rules...

On the point of the uneducated, unfortunately they tend to follow norms and rules far more than the ones who have been made aware of certain trends and can therefore avoid them. Now remember that listening is also a (very valuable) form of education...

Jon, not completely accurate. By the time the David was carved, there were political forces at play. It's possible that Goliath's head was not shown because Florence may have wanted to show Rome a defiant David ready to fight. Not a David that had already finished a battle. The rest of the statue is completely classical in nature. As for the Pieta, There is some evidence that artists were already starting to show a youthful Mary. 

Composers need skills. If they write for real musicians they need to follow the rules of notation. These are a huge part of music theory. Possibly more important, they need to fully understand the instruments they write for. They can't write for orchestra unless they know the ranges, playing characteristics and techniques, of instruments. And how they blend and contrast with every other instrument they are playing with. 

Rules of counterpoint and harmony are useless if the above are not understood. 

I belive you can find from well-known composers examples of rules being followed at the expense of the music or certainly with the result that the music is informed by what was considered good practice over ewhat might have sounded better. Your way of creation is not the only way and several composers I know have used theory to suggest changes to my work or inform their own. However I do largely afree that theory exists to retroactively explain and that following it faithfully can reduce your own voice.



Claude Werner said:

Well I must insist... Rules are only ever used to teach someone, not for creating art. Music theory is an explanation of things that have already been created i.e. in the past therefore not bound by any rules. From Bach to the serialists you can find everybody "breaking" the rules, because nobody sees them as rules...

On the point of the uneducated, unfortunately they tend to follow norms and rules far more than the ones who have been made aware of certain trends and can therefore avoid them. Now remember that listening is also a (very valuable) form of education...

I think the key word here is "good practice". There are many things we do in a society that have no "rules" bound to it, but are considered good practice, neighbourly, good manners, etc. Of course if you go far back enough you will find a point where this is not true and behaviour was very much tied to a code of conduct (i.e. the church).

However, my point is that this hasn't been the case in music for anybody that's alive today.

"Sounds better" is of course completely subjective and not the topic of this conversation.

I suppose we could stretch the conversation, as Bob pointed out, that we DO indeed have rules when it comes to orchestration, but that is because orchestration operates in the realm of physics (where we do have rules) whereas music theory falls in the category of philosophy e.g. there's a rule that says a flute cannot play lower than B3 or louder than a trombone, but there's no rule that says you cannot end a tonal piece of music on a dominant.

Charles Holt said:

I belive you can find from well-known composers examples of rules being followed at the expense of the music or certainly with the result that the music is informed by what was considered good practice over ewhat might have sounded better. Your way of creation is not the only way and several composers I know have used theory to suggest changes to my work or inform their own. However I do largely afree that theory exists to retroactively explain and that following it faithfully can reduce your own voice.



Claude Werner said:

Well I must insist... Rules are only ever used to teach someone, not for creating art. Music theory is an explanation of things that have already been created i.e. in the past therefore not bound by any rules. From Bach to the serialists you can find everybody "breaking" the rules, because nobody sees them as rules...

On the point of the uneducated, unfortunately they tend to follow norms and rules far more than the ones who have been made aware of certain trends and can therefore avoid them. Now remember that listening is also a (very valuable) form of education...

You had stated "rules are only ever used to teach someone, not for creating art" and that is simply untrue. I merely wanted to make that point. There are rules or trends or traditions in music that are absolutely followed when creating new art by composers either living or dead.

Claude Werner said:

I think the key word here is "good practice". There are many things we do in a society that have no "rules" bound to it, but are considered good practice, neighbourly, good manners, etc. Of course if you go far back enough you will find a point where this is not true and behaviour was very much tied to a code of conduct (i.e. the church).

However, my point is that this hasn't been the case in music for anybody that's alive today.

"Sounds better" is of course completely subjective and not the topic of this conversation.

I suppose we could stretch the conversation, as Bob pointed out, that we DO indeed have rules when it comes to orchestration, but that is because orchestration operates in the realm of physics (where we do have rules) whereas music theory falls in the category of philosophy e.g. there's a rule that says a flute cannot play lower than B3 or louder than a trombone, but there's no rule that says you cannot end a tonal piece of music on a dominant.

Hmmmm...! Tricky one to follow. We might be hitting a semantic wall... Just to clarify, for me a rule is something written and globally (or the majority) accepted by a community and if you break it you will be punished to some degree. In the case of music, especially in the old days when the church ruled, this punishment could mean anything from your music being dismissed, to being called untalented, to being burnt alive. Everybody that I know, even my very, very old friends have lived in an era that allows people to write however they wish: noise, atonal, tonal, modal, freely improvised, etc. Hence my statement.

On the other hand you point out very correctly that there are trends and traditions, but I do not (and nobody really should) consider them rules. Especially if you live in a so-called "free" country.

And of course we have stupidity to consider too: if I approach a blues band and offer to compose them a piece and I show up with a serial composition they would be right to say that is NOT a blues. But I wouldn't consider this as "breaking" any rules...

Charles Holt said:

You had stated "rules are only ever used to teach someone, not for creating art" and that is simply untrue. I merely wanted to make that point. There are rules or trends or traditions in music that are absolutely followed when creating new art by composers either living or dead.

Claude Werner said:

I think the key word here is "good practice". There are many things we do in a society that have no "rules" bound to it, but are considered good practice, neighbourly, good manners, etc. Of course if you go far back enough you will find a point where this is not true and behaviour was very much tied to a code of conduct (i.e. the church).

However, my point is that this hasn't been the case in music for anybody that's alive today.

"Sounds better" is of course completely subjective and not the topic of this conversation.

I suppose we could stretch the conversation, as Bob pointed out, that we DO indeed have rules when it comes to orchestration, but that is because orchestration operates in the realm of physics (where we do have rules) whereas music theory falls in the category of philosophy e.g. there's a rule that says a flute cannot play lower than B3 or louder than a trombone, but there's no rule that says you cannot end a tonal piece of music on a dominant.

HI, guys. I was travelling so I coudn't answer. I'm sory for sowing discord (in a way), that wasn't the intention. I'm very interested in the way we percieve music, so I can promove awereness in myself and in other people. Theory, for me, is nothing but a view on a sbject. Someone very much well versed in music percieved it in this way, so maybe I can work on my perception by translating to my mind what did he ment by following that path. Schoenberg, as the past musicians, were very sesate human beings, very sensible too, but they where human beings after all. They too can have been influenciated in they persue for expression or beauty on the way. More than expression or beauty, music can be a logic tool (and this being a way of tangenciate reality, our own reality). Theory helps me on that. I could percieve music with cues, ones that linked together (and on their own) have a value for my understanding. All I wnted to know is how to feel those cues, how to bring to surface those simple truths of the heart?

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