The Art-Music Forum
November 19, 2017, 09:22:31 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Here you may discover hundreds of little-known composers, hear thousands of long-forgotten compositions, contribute your own rare (non-copyright) recordings, and discuss all the Arts in an erudite and decorous atmosphere full of freedom and delight. To participate, simply log in or register.
 
  Home Help Search Gallery Staff List Login Register  

What are the most annoying things about modern composers?


Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: What are the most annoying things about modern composers?  (Read 1555 times)
Ian Moore
Level 3
***

Times thanked: 20
Offline Offline

Posts: 119


View Profile
« on: August 22, 2015, 08:16:50 am »

I love modern music but what do you find annoying?
Report Spam   Logged

Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous.
-Boulez

Social Buttons

ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 25
Offline Offline

Posts: 846


View Profile WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2015, 08:33:03 am »

I love modern music but what do you find annoying?
ALL modern music? With no exceptions whatsoever? Everything from Pärt to Ferneyhough, Adams to Boulez, Jenkins to Barrett (now there's a question for those from Abertawe!), Reich to Hespos, Matthews to - er - Matthews? Hmm. One might answer your question with "anyone who appars to lack discrimination in it"?...
Report Spam   Logged
Gauk
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 43
Offline Offline

Posts: 1068



View Profile
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2015, 11:35:28 am »

Here are two annoyances:

Composers who claim that nothing more can be done with tonality because so many composers have used it in the past, so that it is now exhausted. You might as well say that no more poetry can be written in English for the same reason. It just shows a lack of imagination.

Composers who claim to "reinvent musical language" with every new piece. For crying out loud!
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 69
Offline Offline

Posts: 1241



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2015, 03:18:10 pm »

Composers who claim that nothing more can be done with tonality because so many composers have used it in the past

Entirely agreed.

In fact there are many good and worthwhile modern composers working today. It's a pity their thunder is stolen by a small minority of Look-At-Mes!

I am also sick of works with pretentious aren't-I-jolly-clever introductions by the composer, viz "In the end, the piece is about a foregrounding of the process of translation rather than the result of that process.  It addresses the way in which meaning and content are transferred and embedded and examines the can't-tell-youtic aspect of that transference and embedding.  It explores the way in which we understand meaning and the ways in which meaning can be inferred even through the absence of stable, codified grammar, syntax, and even words.  The piece explores the instability of word boundaries, using common morphemes and can't-tell-youmes to shift between languages and modes of syntax to undermine and destabilize the intricacies of linguistic codes."

As Peter Brook said in The Empty Space - if you find you need to write a program note to explain what you've done, then you're wrong. The longer the program note, the more wrong you are. All artistic work must make its full impact without recourse to extraneous explanations.
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 25
Offline Offline

Posts: 846


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2015, 05:24:52 pm »

Here are two annoyances:

Composers who claim that nothing more can be done with tonality because so many composers have used it in the past, so that it is now exhausted. You might as well say that no more poetry can be written in English for the same reason. It just shows a lack of imagination.

Composers who claim to "reinvent musical language" with every new piece. For crying out loud!
Yes, those will do for starters! Why in any case would a composer necessarily work - or even consider that he/she might be expected to work - at a piece from the principal premise of "doing something with tonality" (as if to prove some kind of unnecessary point) rather than just getting on with the business of writing the piece and if it embraces tonality in any which way then so be it?
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 25
Offline Offline

Posts: 846


View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2015, 05:52:44 pm »

Composers who claim that nothing more can be done with tonality because so many composers have used it in the past

Entirely agreed.

In fact there are many good and worthwhile modern composers working today. It's a pity their thunder is stolen by a small minority of Look-At-Mes!

I am also sick of works with pretentious aren't-I-jolly-clever introductions by the composer, viz "In the end, the piece is about a foregrounding of the process of translation rather than the result of that process.  It addresses the way in which meaning and content are transferred and embedded and examines the can't-tell-youtic aspect of that transference and embedding.  It explores the way in which we understand meaning and the ways in which meaning can be inferred even through the absence of stable, codified grammar, syntax, and even words.  The piece explores the instability of word boundaries, using common morphemes and can't-tell-youmes to shift between languages and modes of syntax to undermine and destabilize the intricacies of linguistic codes."

As Peter Brook said in The Empty Space - if you find you need to write a program note to explain what you've done, then you're wrong. The longer the program note, the more wrong you are. All artistic work must make its full impact without recourse to extraneous explanations.
I do not know the origins of the example that you quote but have read plenty more similar and similarly wearisome "explanations"; if I could care less, I would feel a wish to ask the composer how in particular the E flat clarinet multiphonic on page 14 of the score or the violin sul ponticello tremolando glissandi on page 30 of the same did any of those things, albeit without the slightest hope or expectation of an intelligent, let alone informative, answer.

Brook was right, of course - as indeed was Delius many years before him when observing (in an article entitled At the Crossroads in what I believe may well have been the first edition of the short-lived English journal The Sackbut in 1920) that "music that needs "explanation", that requires bolstering up with propaganda, always arouses the suspicion that, if left to stand on its own merits, it would very quickly collapse and be no more heard of".

That "music begins where words leave off" may be an overworn cliché does not mean that it is devoid of good sense - indeed, I've often thought that, if I could say in words what I aimed to convey in a piece, I'd write the words instead of the piece - but the kind of thing to which you draw attention here is a case of words beginning before the music has even had chance to start off. When asked years ago by BBC R3 to give some kind of account of what lay behind my third piano sonata in advance of its broadcast première I seem to recall saying that it was around 15 minutes long and in one continuous movement (I had nothing else to say about it as I not unnaturally or unreasonably expected the pianist to "say" all that there was to be said) - and, as the work actually played for 17 minutes, I didn't even get that right!

It's the same in rehearsal; the less I feel obliged to say to any performers, the better, preferring as I do to sit quietly in a corner and just listen to them bringing to life what I've tried to do and, fortunately for me, this is what has usually happened in such circumstances (and there can be little more annoying - since annoyance is part of this thread topic - than a composer who doesn't know when to shut up and let his/her performers get on with it).

Without wishing to sound churlish for the sake of so doing, it's sometimes hard not to suspect that such circuitous, circumlocutory, abstruse verbosity as that in the example that you quote might almost have been intended to cover up the possible vacuity of what it purports to describe and/or explain.

I think that the fact that such practice is rather more widespread today than was once the case (although the Delius example from almost a century ago demonstrates that it's nothing new) has much to do with those areas of musicological practice that depend for their very existence upon the wilful creation and development of largely impenetrable verbal precepts, structures and pseudo-philosophies that one might argue have scant impact (let alone use) outside the ever-decreasing (if only!) academic circles within which they are propagated by those whose principal interest appears to be writing mainly for their peers about things that have little if anything to convey about music itself, almost as though music exists for them primarily as a breeding ground for it rather than in its own right as something to communicate whatever it does to listeners; this sort of thing has expanded into a kind of sub-profession of its own over time and sadly shows little sign of waning.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 09:45:08 am by ahinton » Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 69
Offline Offline

Posts: 1241



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2015, 06:59:25 pm »

Without wishing to sound churlish for the sake of so doing, it's sometimes hard not to suspect that such circuitous, circumlocutory, abstruse verbosity as that in the example that you quote might almost have been intended to cover up the possible vacuity of what it purports to describe and/or explain.

I had exactly the same suspicions myself.  The piece itself may, or may not, be a worthwhile composition. The wordy apologia for it made by its composer does indeed cause much doubt.
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 25
Offline Offline

Posts: 846


View Profile WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2015, 07:13:28 pm »

Without wishing to sound churlish for the sake of so doing, it's sometimes hard not to suspect that such circuitous, circumlocutory, abstruse verbosity as that in the example that you quote might almost have been intended to cover up the possible vacuity of what it purports to describe and/or explain.

I had exactly the same suspicions myself.  The piece itself may, or may not, be a worthwhile composition. The wordy apologia for it made by its composer does indeed cause much doubt.
Quite. As a matter of interest, are you prepared to divulge the author/composer's identity, given that you have provided an extensive quote from him/her?
Report Spam   Logged
shamus
Level 4
****

Times thanked: 64
Offline Offline

Posts: 367


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2015, 07:46:24 pm »

I love any number of modern composers, what I hate is electronic amalgamations named "compositions", most minimalism--if it's minimal, did it need to be written at all?--the abuse of instruments by "extending" them, i.e, turning the beautiful clarinet family into duck callers, using piano strings (and cabinets) as a percussion instrument or as an untuned harp (good grief, we have harps, tuned, even) and having somebody scream in the middle of a piece as if his or her neighbor just shoved.......
But mostly, any combination of musical sounds, tonal or atonal is always worth at least a listen for me, and if it doesn't make me happy I may not make it to the end. And if it does make me happy, I will file it with Beethoven and Brahms, et al. for further listening.
Report Spam   Logged
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 69
Offline Offline

Posts: 1241



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2015, 07:47:30 pm »

I think the composer had better be anonymous in this example.  

I don't criticise the composition itself, but the fulsome apologia for it  Smiley
Report Spam   Logged
Ian Moore
Level 3
***

Times thanked: 20
Offline Offline

Posts: 119


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2015, 08:13:05 pm »

I love modern music but what do you find annoying?
ALL modern music? With no exceptions whatsoever? Everything from Pärt to Ferneyhough, Adams to Boulez, Jenkins to Barrett (now there's a question for those from Abertawe!), Reich to Hespos, Matthews to - er - Matthews? Hmm. One might answer your question with "anyone who appars to lack discrimination in it"?...
I didn't mean that one answer fits all. I meant was there a specific thing that annoyed you with a certain composer.
Report Spam   Logged

Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous.
-Boulez
Ian Moore
Level 3
***

Times thanked: 20
Offline Offline

Posts: 119


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 08:14:45 pm »

Composers who claim that nothing more can be done with tonality because so many composers have used it in the past

Entirely agreed.

In fact there are many good and worthwhile modern composers working today. It's a pity their thunder is stolen by a small minority of Look-At-Mes!

I am also sick of works with pretentious aren't-I-jolly-clever introductions by the composer, viz "In the end, the piece is about a foregrounding of the process of translation rather than the result of that process.  It addresses the way in which meaning and content are transferred and embedded and examines the can't-tell-youtic aspect of that transference and embedding.  It explores the way in which we understand meaning and the ways in which meaning can be inferred even through the absence of stable, codified grammar, syntax, and even words.  The piece explores the instability of word boundaries, using common morphemes and can't-tell-youmes to shift between languages and modes of syntax to undermine and destabilize the intricacies of linguistic codes."

As Peter Brook said in The Empty Space - if you find you need to write a program note to explain what you've done, then you're wrong. The longer the program note, the more wrong you are. All artistic work must make its full impact without recourse to extraneous explanations.
Incomprehensible or obtuse program notes.
Report Spam   Logged

Revolutions are celebrated when they are no longer dangerous.
-Boulez
Neil McGowan
Level 7
*******

Times thanked: 69
Offline Offline

Posts: 1241



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2015, 08:34:39 pm »

Incomprehensible or obtuse program notes.

Not exactly program notes. I mean pseudo-intellectual agendas advanced for the works aimed at painting the audience as fools who fail to understand the depth of the composer's intellectual processes.

Aka The Emperor's New Clothes.

The same can be said of pieces which are, for example, alleged to be musical realisations of Mandelbrot fractals. Disliking such pieces would be... well, like thumbing your nose at Mandelbrot, wouldn't it!  And who would ever do that?  Wink 

No mention of exactly, errr, HOW the fractal was turned into music....  'natch!
Report Spam   Logged
britishcomposer
Level 3
***

Times thanked: 32
Offline Offline

Posts: 232


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2015, 09:15:11 pm »

Incomprehensible or obtuse program notes.

Actually in fine arts most of these texts are generated automatically, you know? Wink

http://www.playdamage.org/market-o-matic/
Report Spam   Logged
ahinton
Level 6
******

Times thanked: 25
Offline Offline

Posts: 846


View Profile WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2015, 10:37:28 pm »

I think the composer had better be anonymous in this example.  

I don't criticise the composition itself, but the fulsome apologia for it  Smiley
OK - all understood!
Report Spam   Logged

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum

Buy traffic for your forum/website
traffic-masters
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines