Total Page Views

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Era of 'Isms'

Well I have officially experienced all of my classes for the 2012 spring semester. I will say that this should be a fairly easy semester, though I do have quite a few classes that intend on piling up the homework assignments. Probably my most challenging class will be Theory IV (surprisingly). That being said, I am however very excited about studying 20th century music - the broadest century for musical innovations. Or as Tim Miller calls it 'the era of isms'

Speaking of isms, I was trying to figure out to which 'ism' my style of music belongs. If I would have to pick, I would probably suggest that I am somewhere between impressionism and neo-classicism. It was Dr. Stem who actually initially put the idea of impressionism in my mind, but I think he said this when referring to my opening to Fantasy on an American Folk Hymn. The faster sections do imply a sense of neo-classicism, although particularly more conservative than that of Igor Stravinsky. But who isn't more conservative than Stravinsky?

Foreign words? Well.....impressionism, like art, focuses on a gentile emotion with soft, flowing sounds much like the paintings of Claude Monet, who used soft colors and indefinite line contours to give you a relaxing feel. Probably the best work to share when discussing impressionism would be Claude Debussy's (Claude....would that be like Christopher in French, in terms of being the most common name?) L'apres-midi d'un faun, one of my favorite works. now, see if you can tell the different between that and the below video.

Completely different styles. But with neo-classicism it was the description that I read on wikipedia that caught my eye. The idea of mixing tonal, classical harmonies and forms with 20th century styles and techniques. I feel I do that quite a bit in my music, particularly because I am stubborn and refuse to abandon the melody. A 20th century scholar may tell you that there is melody in the works of Pierre Boulez, but they are likely to be on drugs. So let's experiment with this idea. Watch a few minutes of the below video, and then see if you can sing the 'melody' back after its done.

I wouldn't say that this kind of music is bad, but it is a safe assumption that the emphasis on melodic value is severely weakened in late 20th century music. It seems composers are more focused on experimenting with timbres and rhythms. Which is ok, because the thing with innovation is that you don't have to like what the innovation is to be able to appreciate how innovated the person is.

But when ever I listen to this kind of music, instinctively i think.....

But if you like that kind of music, more power to you! I just like to be able to sing stuff back. Maybe I could make a good living writing memorable jingles for radio commercials.

So the Louisville cardinals basketball team....

It's really funny to see how Louisville fans are reacting to this. Just a few days ago, while they were slightly disappointed with the loss to Notre Dame they acted as though it wasn't coach Pitino, and that these players just weren't trying hard enough. And now - the fans are calling for his head. I suppose 'lil brother' is an appropriate nickname, considering our fans act just like the ones 80 miles east of us. This, of course being one reason why I have chosen to focus on more important things than sports. I'll still watch games, but I refuse to act like a sports game is the be all - end all in my life. Such a poor way to live if you ask me.

I missed the game yesterday, because I was in orchestra rehearsal - definitely the better place to be. Especially with the music we will be playing. It's great literature, but I will need to spend some quality time with my trombone woodsheddin' the toughest parts. That's what she said....

But the feature piece is none other than Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Pretty excited about that piece, especially because for the IUS 70th anniversary concert we will be using actual cannon. This concert will be May 18, at Warder Park in Jeffersonville, IN.

In closing, feel free to watch this wonderful performance by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra!

No comments:

Post a Comment