Today’s practitioners of what we once called "modern" music are discovering themselves for being suddenly alone. A bewildering backlash is scheduled against any music making that will require the disciplines and tools of research for the genesis.
This attitude appears periodically in music history, yet it is most effectively understood damaging credit creativity, most pronouncedly found late in the Last century. Modern music will be the music composed that results from research on the features of sound, and into the ways we perceive sound. It usually involves experimentation; the experimentation yields special discoveries that bear fruit in the act of composition. This distinction is crucial; for even though much cluster music, plus some neo-classical music, contains high dissonance, their focus is reactionary. The experimental work of Schonberg, Berg, Webern, Bartok, Varese, and that of some Stravinsky, is forward-looking, in the the music is not a solution unto itself: it has a template for additional work and exploration into that area. Far more so, the works of Cage, Xenakis, Scelsi, Nono and Estrada.
The composers chosen for discussion herein are the types I think are the most exemplary models from the growth and development of sound based composition. They can be the following:-Janacek (nationalist inflection)-Debussy (chord-coloration)-Mahler (expressionism and tone-color melody)-Ravel (impressionism)-Malipiero (intuitive discourse)-Hindemith (expressionism in a quasi-tonal context)-Stravinsky (octatonic diatonicism)-Bartok (axial tonality, arch form, golden section construction)-Schonberg (expressionism, atonality, klangfarbenmelodie))-Berg (’tonal’ serialism)-Webern (canonic forms in serialism, klangfarbenmelodie)-Varese (noise, timbral/range hierarchies)-Messiaen (modes of limited transposition, non-retro gradable rhythms, color chords)-Boulez (special live electronics instruments)-Stockhausen (pitch/rhythm dichotomy)-Cage (indeterminacy, noise, live electronics)-Xenakis (Ataxy, stochastic music, inside-outside time attributes, random walks, granularity, non-periodic scales)-Nono (near inaudibility, mobile sound, special electronics)-Lutoslawski (chain composition)-Scelsi (the last dimension in sound, counterpoint inside of a single tone)-Estrada (The Continuum)There is so much glitter on the planet, and for that reason much environmental noise that we are now being rendered unfit to be reflection in addition to creative thought. We become mortified at the idea of any little challenge.
We’re paralyzed when faced with the dispute of keeping our evolutionary legacy in focus. We can’t afford to trade away quality for mediocrity, just because mediocrity is less complicated and even more enticing. This would not be a good social outcome. To reside in we need to thrive. To thrive we simply cannot rest. Entertainment is often a laudable pursuit in some settings and times. It can’t function as force that drives how we live. If your composer wants to write entertaining music, that’s alright. But that composer has to be honest about his or her motives for doing so. Don’t write entertainment and continue to con the public by claiming this is certainly great music.
It’s best to have the capacity to identify the answer to the writing of a music that will fulfill an excuse for tomorrow. By understanding nature, the type of sound and also the human condition, we can write music efficient at conveying something essential. That goes beyond entertainment. It fulfills music’s most essential purpose: providing a teaching role. Feel to go through a learning process rather than find oneself the process while wrapped in a cocoon of beauty? Music can be our very best teacher. It will be directly to find beauty in old sources. Even Respighi can be hugely charming, engaging.
It’s also every bit as good to listen to soothing, euphonious music since it is to write down such music. But can’t we as composers fare better than this? Why can’t we give something besides pleasure to tomorrow? Young composers today have reached a crossroads. They will fulfill a significant mission by helping fulfill a tradition that persists a cultural legacy. Today’s composers must start to dream; then compose LiveCycle Exam.