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 Post subject: Distinction between Classical and Non-Classical Piano Music
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:56 pm 
To the admins of PS, I am sorry I did not introduce myself on the prior post where I posted my video.

My name is Jack. I am Big fan of PS! There, I have introduced myself. What I would like to know, and this post is related in some way to the post "what do pianists want?" but what I would like to know is what makes a piano piece classical. What I am first going to do is write what I think makes a piano piece classical, and please feel free to argue and interpose your comments of what you think, or why what I say is wrong. Speaking of which, please read my brief notice :)

Brief Notice:
I understand that progress is made this way in academics--one man or woman makes a claim, and another rejects it altogether, modifies it and agrees, or rarely you have the case where a person will agree with you without further ado.

Ok. What I think makes a piano piece classical:

General criteria:

-The piece can be played over and over again and sound beautiful every time!

-This piece does not have music motifs that are overly repetitious!! (as it would not sound good if you played it over and over again)

-There is some sort of narrative conveying in this piece. Narrative in its most basic form--hasten i mention its most generic form: There is a goal of some sort. The goal can not be reached because there is an obstacle standing in the way. This obstacle is heard musically. Some part of the piece contains the struggle of overcoming the "so called" obstacle. Maybe it happens once, likely it will happen more than once. Eventually we will hear a climax. What follows is the conclusion of the piece. In a large way music composition should be like composing a well rounded narrative.

-Repetition is used correctly. This is to say that we hear a chord progression introduced in the beginning of the piece, and it is used to correct effect later on in the piece. It is not played again and again and again without being spliced after a new chord progression.

There you have it, some general guidelines of what I believe makes a classical piano piece. It is not made to read like an instruction book for how to make a classical piece, but only how to evaluate such a piece. I listen to just about any piece by bach, and it hits all of the criteria.

What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Distinction between Classical and Non-Classical Piano Mu
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:23 pm 
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Jackpringle123 wrote:
Ok. What I think makes a piano piece classical:

General criteria:

-The piece can be played over and over again and sound beautiful every time!


This is highly subjective. Take something dodecaphonic and most classical listeners wouldn't find it beautiful even the first time.

Jackpringle123 wrote:
-This piece does not have music motifs that are overly repetitious!! (as it would not sound good if you played it over and over again)


Minimalism? Aren't Reich, Glass & Co classical composers?

Jackpringle123 wrote:
-There is some sort of narrative conveying in this piece.


Not at all. There's plenty of "abstract" classical music, without any narrative contents or the such.

Jackpringle123 wrote:
-Repetition is used correctly. This is to say that we hear a chord progression introduced in the beginning of the piece, and it is used to correct effect later on in the piece. It is not played again and again and again without being spliced after a new chord progression.


This is too narrow a criterion to be useful. By the way, what does it make the use of a repetition correct?


Jackpringle123 wrote:
What do you think?


Don't reinvent the wheel, a pretty good and generally agreeable definition of classical (music) is given on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music

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 Post subject: Re: Distinction between Classical and Non-Classical Piano Mu
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:39 pm 
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alf wrote:
Don't reinvent the wheel, a pretty good and generally agreeable definition of classical (music) is given on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music

That definition is vague and also falls short of defining what is considered to be 'legitimate' music in academia.

Wiki wrote:
European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century

We studied a number of composers who use pictorial and other kinds of notation. There was one that was just a random drawing, and the performers are supposed to play whatever the picture inspires them to play (please forgive me for not remembering the name of the 'composer'). On the final exam, we were asked to describe what this 'notation' meant. I said, 'It means to just play whatever.' How sad is that? It was the correct answer, of course...you might as well just record the orchestra warming up and sell it.

If a composer of popular music write out everything he sings/plays in Finale™, does that make it classical music?

There is something else going on here: it's not about reinventing the wheel, but about defining it properly, which I don't believe has been done.

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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on what makes piano music classical
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:36 pm 
Hi Alf,

First of all, thanks for your response, and I will try to address you and then Terez.
Quote:
-The piece can be played over and over again and sound beautiful every time!


This is highly subjective. Take something dodecaphonic and most classical listeners wouldn't find it beautiful even the first time.


When you said it is high subjective I agree, I was not being specific enough. However when you talk about dodecaphonic or twelve tone music, this makes me think of Phillip Glass. He will input a bar chord into a synthesizer, then we will hear the three notes play over and over :roll: . To some people this is not a pleasurable musical experience. I confess I am one of them. I am thinking of Theile's Chromatic Fantasy in Fugue, writing this question, and if you know a piano piece in the classical repetoire that you enjoy listening to over and over again then it is interesting to pick apart what makes it so ... easy to listen to over and over again. and I encourage you to tell me what the result is.

Quote:
Minimalism? Aren't Reich, Glass & Co classical composers?


Interesting. I have yet to hear Reich, but in my mind Phillip Glass is not composer that deserves a space in the classical music canon. I will say his music has elements of classical music, but let me qoute him in his own words: he claims he is "a composer of repetitive structures." So if he does not claim to be a classical composer, why should we arrive at that conclusion? of course one my argue that what a composers says in words is as important compared to what a composer writes in music, no doubt some of his newer music is beginning to step into the classical realm.

Quote:
-There is some sort of narrative conveying in this piece.


Not at all. There's plenty of "abstract" classical music, without any narrative contents or the such.


Are you referring to a specific composer in general? I guess i was not being specific with saying a narrative makes a classical piano piece. Fritz Froschhammer may be a good example, specifically his work "nacht". It is structured, though very atonal, in some ways without a narrative, but I think it is an excellent contribution to the world of classical piano music. Again, what one agrees on as "narrative" is malleable and non-permanent. Someone could say a piece is a narrative, and the next could think it is a farcry from a narrative. Depends on your perspective.
Quote:
This is to say that we hear a chord progression introduced in the beginning of the piece, and it is used to correct effect later on in the piece. This is too narrow a criterion to be useful. By the way, what does it make the use of a repetition correct?


Good question. I think this is a study of musical form. we have this format, AAAB, or AABB or AABA or ABBA and all of the different variations. It makes the audience pick up certain themes and hold them, remember them. So to answer your question, what makes it ok to use repetition later in a piece is that it is introduced earlier, either once or more than once. If you hear it that first time, the second time you hear it, the melody is stronger and the piece is not a scatterbrain of elements whose form is ACDBECBA, in other words not well defined.
Quote:
Don't reinvent the wheel, a pretty good and generally agreeable definition of classical (music) is given on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music


Interesting. Though you seem to be making the assumption that wikipedia is the resource that is worth its salt on what what makes a piano piece classical--a fair question by itself. Is classification what makes a piece classical (ie."European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century. yada yada", or is it purely a type of experience that one feels when listening to a piano piece performed by the composer perfectly, that which is hard to define in so many words.

Ok. Alf, thanks for your comments. I turn now to answer Terez.

Quote:
agreeable definition of classical (music) is given on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music

That definition is vague and also falls short of defining what is considered to be 'legitimate' music in academia.


I must say that I agree with you Terez. While I do like the structure of classical music, that the periods started and ended at a certain time, for example, that the baroque period of classical music started in 1600 and ended in 1760, it does little to answer what is on the table, if a unknown piano piece, then is it a piece that is classical music? Another way to look at wikipedia is with skepticism: that with anyone able to edit entries, how can quality come from that process? The counterarg being that with so many people editing the right answer is forced to the front, but I digress. 8)

Quote:
There was one that was just a random drawing, and the performers are supposed to play whatever the picture inspires them to play


I am little confused. So I could ask my brother, who is five, to write on a piece of paper. I could then ask him to play on the piano, asking him to play what the picture inspires him to play, and he will make classical piano music? I am not sure what I would hear would be nice to my ears... :?
Are you saying that this is what you are learning, and it is sad? Or that this is sad that there should be a better method?

Quote:
you might as well just record the orchestra warming up and sell it.


If somebody recorded the orchestra warming up, nobody would buy it! So are you saying that classical music must have a price tag to be classical music? Is something only valuable if it has a price tag?? I hope not--one of the reasons I am not an item listed on ebay :lol:
all kidding aside, I hope that classical music is something special and not something that you can throw together on finale. I do not think that anything wonderfully classical can come from something that is through together without some thought, without some serious thinking. some risks, well, you get the picture.

Quote:
There is something else going on here: it's not about reinventing the wheel, but about defining it properly, which I don't believe has been done.


I confess it has not been done to justice. I wonder what Franz Liszt would say to this question or Frederique Chopin, or Enrique Granados, or Bach.


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 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on what makes piano music classical
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:52 pm 
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Jackpringle123 wrote:
However when you talk about dodecaphonic or twelve tone music, this makes me think of Phillip Glass. He will input a bar chord into a synthesizer, then we will hear the three notes play over and over :roll: .

Dodecaphonic music is twelve-tone music, or music that employs tone rows. Wikipedia gives a decent summary of it. :wink:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodecaphonic_music

Jack wrote:
I am little confused. So I could ask my brother, who is five, to write on a piece of paper. I could then ask him to play on the piano, asking him to play what the picture inspires him to play, and he will make classical piano music? I am not sure what I would hear would be nice to my ears... :?
Are you saying that this is what you are learning, and it is sad? Or that this is sad that there should be a better method?

It is sad to me that this sort of thing is considered to be art music. I think it's crap. But that's just my opinion.

Jack wrote:
I wonder what Franz Liszt would say to this question or Frederique Chopin, or Enrique Granados, or Bach.

Well, the question wasn't really as relevant in their eras. It was somewhat relevant, and Wiki's definition would probably apply best here, where legitimate music was written down, and other music, popular music, was the sort of thing you would hear in the inn common room on evenings, music that was learned by rote. Tunes that were well-known across national boundaries sometimes, with different words. Some of these tunes were used in classical music. But now we have 'classical' music that isn't really possible to write down properly, and uses recorded tracks, and conversely, we have popular music songbooks.

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 Post subject: Re: Distinction between Classical and Non-Classical Piano Mu
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:24 pm 
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Terez wrote:
alf wrote:
Don't reinvent the wheel, a pretty good and generally agreeable definition of classical (music) is given on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_music

That definition is vague and also falls short of defining what is considered to be 'legitimate' music in academia.


Yes, Wikipedia is not the Grove (but if you look better, it quotes the Grove and other reliable sources), that's why I added "pretty" and "generally". ;) It still gives the layman a working definition of (Western) CM. I think that a better Wikipedia article about this topic is under "Art music" ("Art" and "Classical" are of course interchangeable here, even though "classical" may sound misleading and "art" discriminatory against other kind of valuable music not considered "classical").

Terez wrote:
Wiki wrote:
European music is largely distinguished from many other non-European and popular musical forms by its system of staff notation, in use since about the 16th century

We studied a number of composers who use pictorial and other kinds of notation. There was one that was just a random drawing, and the performers are supposed to play whatever the picture inspires them to play (please forgive me for not remembering the name of the 'composer').


Hermann Rorschach? :P

Seriously, the notation thing of course cannot be a good criterion, both ways.


Terez wrote:
There is something else going on here: it's not about reinventing the wheel, but about defining it properly, which I don't believe has been done.


Then I'll do it now for the original poster: a piano piece can be labeled as "classical" if liked by less than five per cent of a random sample of listeners. Beautifully simple, except that you have to run a poll every time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:32 am 
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I remember when I was a kid there was an insult that went like this: If you look up ugly in the dictionary, you will see your picture.


Meaning: If you look up classical music in the dictionary, you will find the portrait of Mozart!


But of course that is subjective too :wink: :twisted:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:09 am 
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THANK THE BIWIDNB.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:11 pm 
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alf wrote:
Then I'll do it now for the original poster: a piano piece can be labeled as "classical" if liked by less than five per cent of a random sample of listeners. Beautifully simple, except that you have to run a poll every time.

I suppose it's okay for the original poster, but I don't like that one either! I know it was just one of those 95% of all statistics that were made up on the spot, but lots of people like older music; it's the crazy contemporary stuff they tend to not get. Well, most people can handle this sort of music better when it's incidental music in a film or some other kind of drama, because it isn't trying to be music for the sake of music; that goes for all 'classical' music, but more so for the wildly dissonant music. But if you take a random poll, I'd guess at least 20-30% of people would like a broad range of classical music, and even more would like a smaller range of it.

I took an instrumentation course this past semester with the resident composer at my school, who retired after the semester after about 30 years of holding his post (this guy). He had composed music for films once, but he hated writing incidental music, and whatever class he taught got a lecture from him at some point about the horrible injustice of it. (You might find it amusing that he liked to pretend that he was from Italy...I'm sure he had immigrant parents, so he spoke the language more or less fluently, but he was decidedly second-generation, despite having spent some time in Italy over the years. He liked to speak Italian to our resident Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking students for some reason that I can't determine. Does that even make sense?)

He also had a huge attitude about functional harmony, thinking it was a dead horse and that any composer worth his salt would stay away from it (after learning it completely, of course...I would like to see the fugue(s) this guy wrote for his counterpoint classes). He tended to use what I felt were some traditional early-to-mid 20th century techniques in composition, being the 'white jazz' of the 30s-40s and wind composers like Persichetti. If you pointed out functional tendencies in his music, he'd say that you were reading something into the music that he didn't intend, because you were indoctrinated in function and inclined to hear it where it didn't exist.

Also, he had a hatred of contemporary popular music. He saw it as rising from a culture that was anti-European, and cultivated by masses of people who were too stupid to know what 'art' music was, and all the while he would tell us that it was wrong to make value judgments on music, as if he actually believed that. It was clear that he wanted the freedom to have his own prejudices, but he didn't feel they were right when directed at his own music.

He would usually (not always) have some way of talking his way around the contradiction, a way of reducing his prejudices to causal moral rights, if it was brought up in class. Incidentally, at the beginning of the semester I was reluctant to take part in the discussion because he made me mad and I didn't trust myself to not be compelled to show him up on something in class. And it wasn't that I thought I knew more about the world than he does - he's 78 years old so he's bound to have forgotten more than I have yet learned - but these were the tactics that he used on us, so I wanted to use them on him. But I kept my mouth shut, and he eventually called me on it in front of the class as a way to humiliate me. He couldn't shut me up for the rest of the semester. :lol:

His defense tactics still amaze me. He liked to question students about things that they 'liked', asking this and that about the piece or the composer or whatever, and always coming to the conclusion that we didn't know the piece well enough to like it. In some cases, the questions he asked showed that he knew something about the piece, but in most cases, he did not give any such indication and probably didn't know the first thing about the piece either. And of course, if you called him on it, he'd tell you that it didn't matter, because he wasn't the one claiming to like the piece. If you called him on anything, he would use the same 'you have no idea what you're talking about' tactic to try to turn it around to where he 'won' the argument. It was pretty clear that he was using his old-age arsenal of random tidbits to BS his way into controlling the ideology of the class conversations, but I had gathered from my studies in other areas that he was not alone in his ideology. His ideas weren't anything close to original....they represented something that was close to a doctrine for academic musicians, especially composers-in-residence.

When I first came to this school in '96, I wanted to study composition, but one class with this guy (20th century harmony, which I dropped in my last semester, in '98 ) was enough to convince me that it wasn't going to happen so long as he was resident composer. I came back to school this time, in '07, with different intentions, wanting to do music history as my bachelor's degree and theory for grad school. Ended up going for piano performance instead, not because it's what I'm good at, but because it's the only place where I got any real encouragement from the faculty.

But this is what 'classical' music has come to: a hierarchy of resident composers at universities who earn a salary plus commissions to write music that no one has to like (not even the person/group who commissioned the music). Phillip Glass was one such resident composer, though he managed to gain a following. My resident composer claimed to have known Glass personally, and that Glass had told him that he didn't consider his own music to be very good at all, and didn't consider himself to be an important composer. Perhaps that was true.

Why has 'classical' music come to that?

During the Industrial Revolution, patronage of the arts shifted from the nobility to the middle class. In the late 19th century, economic power had shifted notably to the US. Out of the Emancipation Proclamation came jazz, and for the first time since the onset of the ticketed venue, the academia disapproved of where the public chose to put its money, by alarming consensus (interest in academic music was declining). Perhaps there was good reason beyond simple racial prejudice at first, as untrained musicians rarely produce anything of interest, but by the 30s and 40s at the latest, jazz harmony, more inspired by Debussy et al. than anything the schools were producing, had seeped into white popular music as well, including the new stage music, which replaced operettas as a result of the anti-European prejudice in the US at the time, and black jazz musicians were emerging with improvisational talents not seen in living memory, and new ideas about music that were interestingly connected to old, proven ideas about music, and even connected to 'modern' academic music in interesting ways. By the time jazz was accepted as academic music in the late 20th century (not until the year 2000 at Juilliard), it was too late; popular music had become something far removed from the academic notion of music, and academia had developed its own notion of modern art music that was far removed from jazz. And though all forms of popular music are arguably far more influenced by jazz than modern art music, jazz music is already old-fashioned in the eyes of the general public.

What do to? :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:23 am 
I am just going to address stuff on here helter skelter style:

Quote:
Then I'll do it now for the original poster: a piano piece can be labeled as "classical" if liked by less than five per cent of a random sample of listeners. Beautifully simple, except that you have to run a poll every time.


I am not totally sure about this answer. Consider a sold out concert featuring Freddy Kempf. If people are paying money to see him perform Beethoven's Pathetique, then how could it be that 5 out of 100 people are the only ones who like it? (why would the other 95 waste their money on something they value at zero) Or are you saying that each member of the audience is going to be 1 of 5 from a random sample of 100? I am not so sure I understand how this statistic can truly represent populations of the present-day. It is still an interesting question which I give you credit for asking.

Quote:
Meaning: If you look up classical music in the dictionary, you will find the portrait of Mozart!
But of course that is subjective too


Yes, very subjective. The line of logic then points to the authors of the dictionary. What is required for one musician to be featured in the dictionary? Is it a certain amount of works? universal acclaim? What is required for one person to be featured in the dictionary for that matter? It is a question worth some serious study.

Quote:
I know it was just one of those 95% of all statistics that were made up on the spot, but lots of people like older music; it's the crazy contemporary stuff they tend to not get.


Yes, consider also the idea that statistics are only used to support whatever argument the user is attempting to win. The contemporary music just doesn't carry the same weight as old music. Perhaps you have heard it before: that artwork, (music or other) only gets appreciated after the artist is dead. That reminds me of a quote who I can't remember who said it that claims art is either ahead of its time or behind its time.

Its a shame you had that experience with that teacher. I feel a similar sentiment with some of my college professors. They address you in a way that is always in their best interest. If they are confronted with a topic that they do not totally understand, they say "it is not important," or "you will not be quizzed on this" and move on. I must admit if I was and ever become a Graduate student I will probably use the same or similar tactics. It is part of the job methinks.

But anyways, I guess it is agreed that there is no definitive answer to what makes a piano piece classical vs. not classical. So be it. Or as you say,

What to do? :?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:11 am 
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Jackpringle123 wrote:
But anyways, I guess it is agreed that there is no definitive answer to what makes a piano piece classical vs. not classical.

I could have told you that upfront :D
Besides, why is the question even relevant ? Are things either black or white, good or bad, etc ? I find such choices rather outdated.
Having said that, we have to make this choice here on PS regularly as we claim to be a classical music site. But there is no criterium for this, the deciding factor is whether we like something or not.

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 Post subject: Subjective criteria
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:50 pm 
Quote:
Besides, why is the question even relevant ? Are things either black or white, good or bad, etc ? I find such choices rather outdated.

The idea of what one can judge as a classical piano piece by methods of subjective deduction raises a lot of questions.

One of the questions is if what the process comes down to is purely a matter of personal taste, how can what a professional critic firm, like Naxos or Allmusic.com, say about a piece in question be fair?

In laments terms, if Johnny submits a piece for $20 and it sounds like classical music, and Tracy submits another piece that sounds also like classical music also, but instead for $25, how can it be fair that a reviewer would call Tracy’s music classical and Johnny’s non-classical or experimental if both pieces an average listener would deem classical?

In this type of arena—and I hope this isn’t the future of classical music—the composer who pays the most money to the reviewer to make the media sync their image with the classical composer card the faux classical composer gets his wishes upon the completion of the monetary transaction. Johnny walks away with his piece, perhaps because it was not sophisticated--likely because of his image or lack of dough. It is a sham that has no doubt occured from time to time.

Quote:
the deciding factor is whether we like something or not.


I guess after enough money is offered, if your piece stinks like doggy breath, no one will accept it. Especially when the public realize what an arrhythmic and melodically unsophisticated piece is on the table. True, a sucker is born every minute, but when the sucker tells his friends about it-- the jigs up! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:59 pm 
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I don't think that anyone has ever been under the impression that music reviews, or book reviews or movie reviews or any other kind or reviews, are completely objective. Such an assumption would be naïve at best.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:52 pm 
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This is largely an academic question that began to occur over the last 50 to 100 years. Its main purpose is to categorize music in was that were not needed in past centuries. The answer will ultimately be left to future music historians.

In previous centuries, as musical ideas developed and changed, earlier ideas were forgotten for a time or at least put on the back burner for later rediscovery. Remember, all of the composers of the past wrote "contemporary" music and most would on some level hope that it would be "popular" at least with their primary markets, which was the church, the court, and over time the wealthier middle class.

The 20th century became unique in that music performances could be transmitted even to areas without concert venues. Further these performances could be stored. One could hear the New York Philharmonic or the Berlin, London, Vienna, Moscow et. al. for the cost of a piece of vinyl as opposed to the cost of transportation, tickets, meals, and lodging in these locations.

Unlike previous centuries, the performance of many pieces by 20th century composers were not only stored in music notation but also on recordings that were performed by the composer or by someone in consultation with the composer and thus for the first time we have had potentially definitive renditions of a composer's intentions.

At the same time, particularly in America, music for everyday consumption came into its own. Jazz and blues and the myriad of styles that came out of them caught on with the masses. People would attend these "concerts" (which usually involved dance) in much the same way that earlier generations attended the symphony, opera, salon recitals. An advantage that these "popular" works had over the "Art music" of the time was that they could be so arranged to fit in the time restrictions of the early recording medium -- "classical" music would have to be sliced and diced so that it could be extended over several sides of vinyl.

Also, after WWI, composition of "Art" music went off in so many directions -- Atonality, Twelve-tone composition, serialism, neo-classicism. Then, for several composers, composition and the recording process became united. Early electronic music required huge computers that were not easily transported from one performance venue to another, therefore they were created and performed once. This also occured in "popular" music. By the 60s and 70s, several groups that had begun as touring groups became studio musicians -- The Beatles, Beach Boys, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Moody Blues -- others started as studio musicians. At this point, things could be done electronically that could not be done live making it nearly impossible for this music to be performed live by any group -- at least without substantial re-arrangement.

Anyway, after that meander, as I said above, how to sort out the various streams of 20th century music will ultimately rest on future music historians. Who is to say that the music of the Beatles, ABBA, New Kids on the Block, etc. will not be considered "classical"? Maybe in some future time there will be "Neo-Acid Rock" or "Neo-Rap".

As far as today, the classification has more to do with deciding what one can program together in certain venues. And that is up to the music directors of each organisation. There are those who have programmed the music of Lead Zeplin with the works of Berlioz, or Beethoven. If the director is successful then fine, if not, he may be looking for another job. And reviewers will do their thing, some more interested in using a catchy phrase than in actually critiquing the merits and short comings of a given performance.

Oh, well, I've rambled on enough for now.

Scott


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 Post subject: Classical piano music
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:03 am 
O.k. Great questions, I will address Terez then Scott:

Quote:
I don't think that anyone has ever been under the impression that music reviews, or book reviews or movie reviews or any other kind or reviews, are completely objective. Such an assumption would be naïve at best.


Never completely objective, I agree that such an assumption is naïve at best, but how can one be 100% objective? In practice it is impossible, in theory it is a possibility. In the words of Liszt: “The Truth is a great flirt” It is like saying is it possible for one to perform the Moonlight Sonata perfect? Without flaws? The answer is aptly no, as even if one could, he or she does not have the resource of asking Beethoven for his approval of such a spotless interpretation.

Critics would like to think it was close to the interpretation because the notes are all correct, but I doubt Beethoven would approve of the lackluster midi renditions of his pieces available on classicalarchives.com. Basically all the notes are correct, but still, the variables in sonic texture that are produced from a hammer hitting a string on an acoustic piano are yet unmatched by most advanced of todays sampling technology. Pianoteq and reason piano samplers are probably the best from the spread of what is available on the market today that imitate the acoustic piano. Sorry-- little off topic. :)

Quote:
This is largely an academic question that began to occur over the last 50 to 100 years.


Largely an academic question but I would like to argue that while what abstract studies musical critics produce at Julliard are important, what is on the market is also important. If one can study Mozart and realize his work was underappreciated at the time, then it is likely his work will be historically important, despite being poor and an achoholic.
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20th century music will ultimately rest on future music historians.


This seems to support the idea that classical music is underappreciated, but I think it is necessary to point out that current music historians can make some poignant judgments about an artist. If you look at the review for Jon Schmidt, a classical piano composer on allmusic, it is interesting the way they describe him,
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Born into a family of outstanding musicians, Jon studied with his older sister, a classical pianist, when he was young. By age eleven, he was accompanying his father's operatic tenor performances and composing music far in advance of his years. Some of his early music is featured on the present title. The solid underpinnings of his classical training shine through in these melodious, heartfelt selections.


To think that Beethoven as a composer who was the apprentice of Mozart, as a music artisan, may have been described in a similar way is interesting. Speaking of greats like Mozart, look at Debussy. He played Beethoven, Schumann and Weber, so it is likely he is influenced by piano music.

My questions seems to raise more and more questions, and some lead to more theoretical type arguments, while there is a mixture of concrete type argument. Some leading to simple answers that satisfy, while others leading to blank confusion. Like if a man claimed his freshly composed piano piece was classical, should we decide it is classical, unless it has characteristics of jazz or improvisation? Once again I am hit with a roadblock and a circular argument, but I really do enjoy hearing what has been said here


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