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Scriabin's Harmony

Discussion in 'Composing' started by Anonymous, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Anyone ever thought about the harmony schools created by the composers in the late 19th century, early 20th? specifically Scriabin's harmony and experiments on light-sound combination?
    i have some sources and files that i will attach later for interested musicians.it makes it clearer for pianists approaching scriabin's piano music, and for theorists and listeners approaching his light-symphony "Prometheus"
     
  2. r590

    r590 New Member

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    That sounds interesting. I'd be happy to learn more about it!
     
  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    There is a great deal to be explored in the realm of atonal harmony as well. Scriabin very much anticipated atonality in his music (in fact in some cases it pretty much is atonal). Learn about Bartok and Schoneberg, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and other 20th century composers who wrote atonal music. Many people dismiss this kind of music but there is lots of great stuff in atonal works. I plan to make a point of learning more about atonality while here in university.
     
  4. Kschyschtoff

    Kschyschtoff New Member

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    Recently I have listened a lot of late Scriabin's works and I'm writing something like composing exercises, copying his style. In fact, I'm using this chord too often:
    C F# Bb E A D G
    :lol:
     
  5. christoff

    christoff New Member

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    This post could be very interessing !
    Sarmadkhoury, what are your sources about the Scriabin's harmonies ?

    C F# Bb E A D G = C7 + 9 + 11 + 13 (jazz voicing !) :wink:
    Am I right ?

    Chris
     
  6. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Isn't that Scriabin's "Mystic chord", Kschyschtoff? :wink:

    I've seen his chart for the colours to be matched to each note.

    [​IMG]
    cf. also attached file (must log in to PS forum to view)

    I didn't see any other attached files on this thread, did I miss something?

    Also, Scriabin is anything BUT atonal music!!! I've never heard anything of his which was atonal, although I've heard a LOT of people play his music wrong. :roll:

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    PS: One other thing I've always been interested in are some of the tuning systems that were "replaced" by well-tempering. Anyone ever work in alternate systems besides the modern ones?
     
  7. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Just had to add the following since it was bugging me so much that I couldn't remember the exact voicing of Scriabin's mystic chord.

    Quoting from "Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music":
    So without the top G, Kschyschtoff, that would indeed be Scriabin's mystic chord. Also, christoff, the order of the notes is important so switching around the voicing isn't allowed (I'm sure Scriabin did constantly)

    Also, does anyone else out there write music also for colour and scent like Scriabin did. If so, what do you use as a basis for the scents. Aleister Crowley's "777" has some wonderful correspondences between scents and planetary attributions, but he wasn't a musician. Perhaps linking together Scriabin's correspondence of pitch to colour (or perhaps the system of Pythagoras) and then utilizing the planetary correspondence of colour to scent might work; although I haven't yet tried this.

    666's "777" has
    Luna = blue (Camphor, etc)
    Mercury = yellow (Styrax, etc)
    Venus = green (Rose, etc)
    Sol = orange (Cinnamon, etc)
    Mars = red (Dragon's Blood, etc)
    Jupiter = purple (Lign-Aloes, etc)
    Saturn = indigo or black (Sulphur, etc)

    but Scriabin didn't really use these exact colours (cf. picture from previous)
    Also there are twelve notes so the Astrological correspondences would seem to fit more easily

    Aries = red
    Taurus = red-orange
    Gemini = orange
    Cancer = yellow-orange
    Leo = gold
    Virgo = yellow-green
    Libra = green
    Scorpio = blue-green
    Sagitarius = blue
    Capricornus = indigo
    Aquarius = purple
    Pisces = crimson

    One possible interpretation of this would be
    c - Aries
    c# - Aquarius
    d - Leo
    d# - Capricornus
    e - ?
    f - Taurus
    f# - ?
    g - Gemini
    g# - Pisces
    a - Libra
    a# - Scorpio
    b - Sagitarius
    which still leaves out Cancer (yellow-orange) and Virgo (yellow-green), the two remaining colours being sky-blue and light-blue! :?

    Does anyone have any information on whether Scriabin left any tables of correspondence between musical pitch and scent? Please let me know of any valid sources. I'm personally not that acquainted with just how much material he left behind in his composition of The Mysterium. I've heard the version that Alexander Nemtin finished and I think the Nemtin is HORRIBLE - Not really Scriabin-esque at all. Also I'm not even sure that Nemtin used incense, etc (ergot?) in his composition. He certainly didn't hang anything from the clouds!!! :lol:

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    Let me know if others are interested in pursuing this thread, ... or not! Thanks.

    LATER NOTE: After finding the colour wheel while looking for the keyboard diagram...
    Now this arrangement makes it EASY!
    15 C - Aries - Dragon's Blood
    24 C# - Scorpio - Opoponax (or Siamese Benzoin)
    17 D - Gemini - Wormwood
    26 D# - Capricorn - Musk or Civet
    19 E - Leo - Olibanum
    29 F - Pisces - Ambergris
    22 F# - Libra - Galbanum
    16 G - Taurus - Storax
    25 G# - Sagitarius - Lign-aloes
    18 A - Cancer - Onycha
    28 A# - Aquarius - Galbanum
    20 B - Virgo - Narcissus

    These are from Column XLII (Liber 777) BTW. However, they place some very unusual colour attributions to some of the signs, e.g. Leo as green is way too Venusian for Leo's Solar nature, but then the rest spread out from there. IMNHO, the "fault" with Scriabin's attributes stems from his over-use of blues and purples. They take up much more than half the colour wheel, effectively ripping off the orange, yellow, and green tones. Is anyone familiar with how he came by this arrangement? Was it ergot? Absinthe? or some other revelation? ...

    I guess having this forum thread with myself has paid off somewhat already. It would have been nice if the original author of this thread had supplied references to these wonderful sources he/she wanted to share. Nevertheless ... I guess I'll have to explore column XLIII in relation to tonality by myself as well. Maybe IT will give some clue as to Scriabin's sources! 8)
     
  8. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Oh, I almost forgot :oops: (I sometimes get carried-away when the subject is Scriabin), does anyone have any ideas of how to resurrect "the Wolf"?

    Quoted from "Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music"
    Fretless stringed instruments would be a piece of cake, merely acquiring the ear for the tuning system, . . . I'm referring to on a piano or synthesizer.

    Any thoughts. . .

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    FURTHER NOTE: Of course the above attributions all change when a different system of tuning is used, since splitting the black keys in half (e.g. for F# and Gb) would then extend the system to 17 tones or notes (as well as 17 colours and scents). If somehow (I haven't yet worked out the mathematics of it yet) one could create a circulating system of mean-tone (for example) then perhaps also the white keys would have to be split into fore and aft (or more) to actuate C vs. B# vs. Dbb / D vs. C## vs. Ebb / E vs. D## vs. Fb, etc ... (with their subsequent additional colours and scents, etc) ... :shock: ... of course, doing so has brought us into the realm of MICROtonality and we've completely left the realms of medieval tuning systems (as well as Scriabin's tonalities) entirely!!! ... or have we merely begun to enter into it? ...

    Any thoughts?
     
  9. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    You are heading conceptually past the middle eastern ideas of quarter tones. The only problem is, anywhere further than quarter tones is bereft of sentimentality. Therefore, i wouldn't really agree with such a use of microtones. Music wasn't made to be a little interesting and sound cool, it's the aspirations, emotions, depression, contentment, and pure humanity of those individuals who are more of a solitary, brooding nature. Maybe misanthropic, but more disappointed in people, really. To do such a thing to music would be the ruin of the most beautiful human element we have come across. Something that defies our logic, and we just don't care. We all tell the logic to go to hell and just enjoy music without ever knowing why, ever knowing why bad is bad and good is good, why it's so hard to just take a leap of faith(i used to be agnostic), or ever knowing what any of our conventional knowledge or culture really means besides a lucid, hazy illusion full of intense trickery wanting to shout at us just how real it thinks it is.

    Have i lost you? Try this quote on for size(don't blame me it is corny and stereotypical to come upon at this point :lol: )

    "What's in a word? A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet."

    That would be my comparison to our system of measure. What does the number one or two mean when everything is obviously relative as Einstein predicted? You can take two pieces of paper and equate them to the same basic measurement, and then see clearly that one has more atoms than another. And god knows if you are persistent enough to find two papers that are atomically identical, one will have more quarks(an exceedingly small measurement) than another. Therefore nothing is equal besides an imaginary concept of ours stating that 2=2. I believe that proves that our measurements are irrelevant, almost an insult as if we are saying that we could possibly categorize the infinite and yet solitary(referring to the theory of one) state of matter we inhabit.

    I believe that theory of mine may be somewhat akin to Scriabin's ideals.(although i don't condone the fact that he thought he was a messianic figure)

    What say you on this topic?
     
  10. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    OM(PAoDPA)!!! :roll:
    (Oh My Projected Anthropomorphism Of Depth Psychological Archetypes)

    Nevertheless ...

    It might be bereft of sentimentality to one who is not accustomed to hearing such tonality. Einstürzende Neubauten only sounds like noise to one who hasn't accustomed their ears to hear the subtle beauty of tonality inherent in that modern off-shoot of Wagner's 'anvil-Musik'. I certainly never suggested that people should make 'music' based solely on mathematical formulae, although that IS essentially that upon which it is based. I find it extremely humourous to receive a lecture concerning feelings, from a forum attached to a web-site upon which my musical performances have been posted and from which they continue to be downloaded daily. :shock:

    You speak of roses (which by the way come in other colours besides pink, and have vicious sharp thorns) and sentimentality as if there is nothing more to music besides elevator-music-musings, and yet ... :roll: I also find it extremely interesting that you've begun to criticize my original compositions, even though none of them have been released to the general public yet :!:

    I further find it incredible (and more than a little amusing) that you compare your ideas and hypotheses to those of the Russian Satanic-occult-composer, Alexander Scriabin, while putting forth an argument that sounds more like Satie-sentimentality-lite! than anything else. Scriabin was not a man without PASSION! :roll: That's the reason that some dislike his works with equal passion.

    I really DO appreciate other points of views, but you should really muse over your own motives for telling me that I'm somehow doing such a great disservice to music by exploring alternative systems of tonality and tuning. Especially since I know for a fact that you've never heard (let alone read the scores from) anything that I have written!! and I'm willing to take a guess that you've not yet listened to the collection of Orgel-Musik on YouTube played upon instruments tuned according to alternate systems.

    As for "heading conceptually past the middle eastern ideas of quarter tones", that's not what this forum thread is about. Although I love excellent Arabic music (especially works on the Oud) many Westerners have problems listening to the music of A'arabia due to the system of tuning in use there to which they are not accustomed. and that really brings me back to my original point, that one should not be criticizing that which they have not yet heard. If you would care to discuss your point further, please go listen to some of the Pachelbel, etc played upon different tuning systems (as mentioned above) first. For I feel that it's very important to depart from a firm foundation if you expect to arrive at the Ecstatic heights of Scriabin's Harmony.

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    P.S: As for Scriabin "thinking" he was a messianic figure, you should reflect upon how he has indeed 'saved' us from the banality of church modes. :twisted:

    P.P.S: It was actually Galileo who first suggested that everything was relative, as credited in Newton's works, not the autistic savant Einstein. :p
     
  11. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    You sound rather heated, but i agree with your additions about Scriabin and Galileo. As for the sentimentality debate, i was commenting on the fact that making music based entirely upon ideas that seemed interesting rather than for the wonderfully complex imprint one leaves of their own emotions, it is a bit disturbing. Einstürzende Neubauten i actually like because he follows a disciplined, well thought out art form. I apologize if it seemed i was lecturing you. However, it seemed like an interesting topic to bring up in the posting concerning a composer who was a rather complex thinker.

    I have played the sitar, own one and am rather fond of quarter tones, but any tones smaller than that only strike a feeling of interest. An absolutely random discharge of noise seems like nothing but abstract, less passionate music that is only probably made to seem intelligent whenever it seems more prevalent that there is a lack of discipline and humanity. I don't like my music more than human, i like it perfectly human(and that's even harder to achieve).

    Please correct me if you feel so inclined, and maybe give me another example of heavily abstract music that has a fair amount of inherent humanity, and feel to it. I just hope you don't take this as an insult, but rather a good natured debate, what it was originally intended to be...

    Have a good one, my friend.

    Edit:: I was actually mostly wondering what you thought about relativity and the human urge to categorize everything as if they could exert a degree of control over something that lives and changes on it's own wonderful terms.

    Another edit: i love that you guys brought up the topic that scriabin envisioned colors along with sound and even made a sound color spectrum board on the circle of fifths :D
     
  12. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    The reason my reply was 'rather heated' was due to the appearance of your assumption that the only reason I was exploring alternate tonality was to be interesting. My suggestions for splitting the black keys into two notes is not my original suggestion; many organs were made in such a fashion before the current tuning systems were established. That was also the reason I suggested you listen to some of the Pachelbel works, etc on YouTube

    Pachelbel in Praetorian mean-tone with 520Hz pitch

    BWV 531 in 1/4 Comma mean-tone temperament

    and especially

    Buxtehude and Bohm: temperament Examples - Part I

    Buxtehude and Bohm: temperament Examples - Part II

    Many people won't be able to tell the difference on some of these, but a musician should be able at least to pick up on a different feel to the piece. The tuning systems used is not implemented by quarter tones, since the first thing one would have to decide is exactly how many cents comprised a tone.

    Temperament: A Beginner's Guide

    More on the basics

    Further explanation

    I'm sure you can now relate to my reaction to someone suggesting that I'm exploring these ideas to make something that is a little neat-o without any foundation into 'how it sounds'. The point is that this is how the tuning systems used to be, but all of them fell into disuse after Well-Temperament/Equal Temperament became established. My only 'innovation' to the physical keyboard would be to split the white keys as well (which would have to be in thirds to preserve the original note), so that the tuning system could retain some of its original colouring of tone and yet also be transposable. I.e. to be able to preserve the older systems so that the musician could choose the temperament in which to play (without re-tuning the instrument each time), yet not have to avoid playing in certain keys due to the (at that time) perceived dissonance of 'the wolf'. Once one gets accustomed to hearing mean-tone temperament (or Arabic or even Chinese tuning systems), the music sounds out-of-tune if that system is NOT used until they re-adjust themselves to the new system.

    One of my main points was "Why lose ANY of the temperaments at all?" All of them have their uses and unique flavours. Perhaps even utilizing several within the same composition ...

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    P.S: More composers than Scriabin were involved in the attempt at creating The Mysterium, or the Gesamtkunstwerk. IMNHO, Scriabin was just the one who made the largest strides in that direction ... er, that is ... since the time of the Eleusinian Rites. LOL

    P.P.S: Oh, and as for my philosophies concerning the human condition start with Liber AL vel Legis; in eleven words "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." whereas in reference to relativity.
     
  13. camaysar

    camaysar New Member

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    Lukecash wrote:

    If ever the words of John Cage needed to be called into service, that moment is now:

    "It's music if you think it's music."

    It's ok not to care, Lukecash. But others are drawn to the mystery you speak of, and want to know more. This does not mean that their listening experience is less "human" than yours. Isn't everything, every idea, every feeling and desire experienced by man "human"? It just means that they want to study it, get closer to it on more levels, maybe enhance their own experience in their own way. The search is another aspect of the mystery.

    I find it best to take steps towards than away; this is how we learn. I mean, Scriabin is not murdering or corrupting anyone (at least no one who doesn't want to be corrupted).

    This subject on pitch - color (and scent) correspondences is fascinating, and the first thing that strikes me is the multiplicity of systems and solutions. The extra-musical correspondences most commonly heard are those that stress the "heroic" E flat Major, the "passionate" c minor and "romantic" f sharp minor, but "placid" F Major. These are distinctly classical-romantic attributes. Note how little (on the surface, at any rate) they seem to jibe with Scriabin's wheel.

    But then pitch-color relation must be based on a more essential system of correspondences, at the pure, primal vibrational ("sub-vibrational"?) level (deeper than "vision" per se), and must reflect subtle physical-emotional operations. Maybe even a sort of crossover of the "wave-particle" variety. This would also accommodate the planets (as entities with essential astral significance}. Though the concept seems to imply universal application, I feel it must be, in the end, subjective, at least to a degree.

    We might need a "new race of listeners" to tune in at the experiential level of these correspondences, and perhaps that is what Scriabin was attempting to create. Still, I think most people in a receptive state would have a special experience when listening to Scriabin's music with his light show. I would wonder if the correspondences might vary with the individual, if we each embody our own system of natural sympathies... like "I'm an E flat - blue person, but my sister is F sharp - blue".

    Btw, I like Crowley's planet/color correspondences best.

    Do you know the music of John Eaton? He wrote the "Microtonal Fantasy" and other such works. I love the idea of writing and performing music in other temperament systems, taking advantage of the "wolf", etc.

    The subject could produce a long post, but I'd better hold it here or the neighbors will start wondering why I'm not practicing!

    James
     
  14. Jennifer

    Jennifer New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well I am not an expert on Scriabin's harmony but I have done much research on the use of his "mystic" chord as well as his synesthetic perceptions. I owe a lot to Scriabin and his philosophy becuase he really caused me to begin composing seriously.

    In my opinion, much of Scriabin's music is not atonal.

    Many of his works are centered around specific harmonic elements like the "mystic" chord. So let's take his famous 1910 symphony which is based on the "mystic" chord. I would not call this work atonal becuase Scriabin uses the mystic chord as a replacement for the diatonic major minor key systems. So there is an acual point of reference becuase the work centers around transposions of these chords. A work that is truly atonal, has no point of reference and treats all the notes on the octave equally.

    Ok, that is enough babbling. You don't have to agree, I am just putting adding my two cents to the discussion:)
     
  15. aryobrand

    aryobrand New Member

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    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Just a quick note away from my studies ...

    Most people owe quite a lot to Scriabin and his innovations, yet most (the same as with Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Field, Wagner, Bartok, Debussy, etc) aren't even aware of just how much... :wink: I totally agree with your sentiments!

    I also agree with you completely concerning the "atonality" of Scriabin. I'm probably repeating myself by saying that I personally have not come across ANYTHING of Scriabin's that was atonal!!! All of his compositions have tonality, he just utilized many alternative tonalities (and that's really one of my main points in this thread.) I'm especially pleased to find others that can understand this. Thanks Jennifer. :)

    Love is the law, love under will.
    Aryobrand

    P.S.: To anticipate a potential future question ... Q:"What do I consider atonal music?" A: John Cage wrote some intriguing pieces with atonality (for starters).
    BTW- Even though I'm not as familiar with his music (as I am with Scriabin's), I can't recall anything by Bela Bartok that was atonal either. I'm familiar with some Bartok BI-tonal music (where he plays in two different keys simultaneously) or alternate tonalities (whole-tone, etc), but I can't recall any A-tonal pieces. Can someone enlighten me as to this, i.e. if he wrote any?
     

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