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Fw: zen and the fluent music
Wow good thoughts too, Jon.
This remember me of a book I read online called "how music really works"
This explained in easy terms how a song should be a journey, how to use
tension, to come back to the main cadence, how the scale were
If I remember well there was also a chapter on how our brain is receptive
music and tension even before we were educated.
I used mainly the book's chase charts to complete pop/rock songs at the
but I think this is completely in line with this thread.
Unfortunately the online version seems to have been removed.
How I love this list! It's just sometimes too difficult to explain in my
limited English :-).
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jon Southwood" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
> Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 9:28 PM
> Subject: Re: zen and the fluent music
> Lots of interesting thoughts on looping in a
> through-composed(/improvised) manner. A couple further thoughts,
> expressed far less poetically,particularly regarding statements about
> rounded forms (e.g. ABA, ABA', ABACA, etc.):
> In Western Classical Music of the so-called common practice era (ca.
> 1685-1890), it is true that probably 95-99% of small pieces, or
> movements within larger works are constructed in some sort of rounded
> manner (by rounded, I mean "bringing back the A section material to
> round-out the form"). However, rarely is (or should) a dance suite or
> a sonata or a symphony "parted-out" such that one only hears a single
> movement and nothing else. It is far more rare to find a large scale
> form like the symphony or even a suite where the whole is constructed
> to be rounded. In other words, the final movement of the symphony
> rarely brings back the primary theme of the first movement. (I am
> certainly not claiming it never happens, though.)
> To perhaps amend the analogies and make some other points:
> 1) The movements within a larger work act as in a similar manner to
> scenes in a play or a movie, or even a scene or chapter in a novel.
> The movements deal with a specific theme in a specific setting, often
> related in some way to the themes used throughout the other movements.
> A good symphony has a balance of ties to and development away from
> material in various movements.
> 2) The analogy between a piece of music and a photograph or painting
> is strained by the fact that a piece of music must move through time
> in order to be experienced. When viewing a painting or a photograph or
> a sculpture or some other object, one can spend one's own time with
> the experience of the work. I can look at one part of a painting, then
> move back to view the whole, and then move to another section of the
> painting, perhaps focus on a part I've already seen, making
> connections between the parts or not. This is not true with a piece of
> music. With certain exceptions, each piece of music has it's own
> time-span during which it must be experienced. As time progresses, we
> don't have the luxury of pausing and rewinding or fast-forwarding to
> attempt to experience the piece in a non-linear way. In fact, even if
> the piece is constructed in a non-linear manner, we must experience it
> in a linear way. No matter how complex the form of a Stravinsky work,
> or the non-linear DJ-style glitch looping of Andre Lafosse, we
> experience it linearly.
> 3) It is precisely this linear nature of music which makes the role of
> repetition within the development of Western music so important. It is
> certainly not the act of a lazy composer looking for the easy way out.
> If one spends any time looking at the sketchbooks of Beethoven, it
> becomes quite clear that even the slightest variation of a basic
> motive within a piece was subject to countless revisions. Repetition,
> either direct or varied, aids in the comprehension of a piece of
> music. It is very similar to the Taoist principle of "from one thing,
> know 10,000 things." In other words, with even a varied repetition of
> a motive or theme, we are able to comprehend that motive or theme,
> since we can go from what we know (i.e. what we remember of the
> motive/theme from earlier in the piece) to what we don't know (i.e.
> the new form of that motive/theme).
> 4) Repetition is helpful in creating drama and surprise within a piece
> of music. Even if we take hundreds of works as our set of varied
> repetitions (i.e. how many pieces end with a V-I harmonic progression,
> implied or explicity?), then that repetition gives us a chance to
> dial-up the tension at the right moment by playing with the listener's
> expectation upon hearing the V...if we shift gears and follow it with
> the VI (or vi, depending on how you like your roman numerals), we have
> the classic "deceptive cadence" which really dials up the tension to
> be later released by the so-called "authentic" V-I cadence. This is
> part of the difficulty of composing music that does not follow the
> harmonic and melodic grammar of music so frequently
> heard---repetition, however, aids in defining the grammar for a
> particular piece. This can be, also, the difficulty of
> through-composed/improvised music: it's as if an entirely new set of
> characters are introduced with each new scene, with few or no
> characters held-over or brought back from earlier scenes. Granted, to
> the specialist listener, these new characters may be heard (seen) as
> the same characters in various levels of disguise, but to the average
> (and often the above average) listener they bear little or no
> resemblance, leaving them confused. Confusion is an uncomfortable
> feeling which often leads to a dissatisfaction toward the piece of
> music which left them in that state. At the very least, it creates a
> tension that most listeners will want resolved.
> I make these observations/statements as one who has composed a number
> of works that range from maximal repetition to minimal repetition,
> although usually with some sort of 'rounding' to the form.
> Thanks for helping me think about something other than work for a
> little bit this morning/afternoon.
> Jon Southwood
> On 7/10/05, Matthias Grob <email@example.com> wrote:
>> it seems to me that far over 90% of the ever played music ended in
>> the same theme as it started in, because its basically showing a
>> single picture.
>> There may be some dynamic, even a story in the middle, a natural way
>> to show a picture is to show its total first, then go into details,
>> back to the total, some other detail .... and close at the total.
>> wants some ABACA... structure... probably a reminder of old dance
>> styles and polite forms... and simply a help for the memory... easy
>> composing... ?
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