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Topic: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

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  1. #1
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    The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    The trouble with orchestral composition, pre MIDI, is that the composers didn't have a clue what it was going to sound like 'with a full orchestra' until they heard it played for the first time 'with a full orchestra'.

    Allegedly, even 'Beethoven the Great' remarked, on the occasion of one of his 'premieres', "Booldy hell, I didn't know it was going to sound anything like that!(in German)" Of course it was too late then so, to avoid embarrassment, the maestros used to say “No, I meant it to be like that!” This laid the foundation for dissonant, atonal music....

    These pieces clearly weren’t the composer’s best and often disappeared in the 'anals' of history. The compositions 'they got lucky with' survive to this day…..as we know.

    It is all the more surprising then that, with the benefit of modern electrical apparatus, compositions are still performed which still draw similar comments….but this time from the audience.

    A little bit of history for everyone….just to set the record straight.

    Frank

  2. #2

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    Frank, novice composers and orchestrators might not "have a clue" how their stuff would sound, but it's reaching to make that a blanket statement.

    The sound is heard in your head before you write it down. My experience (pre MIDI) was that once you got to the session, the only real surprise was that it usually sounded better than you imagined it.

    The only time it surprised me was when I first started arranging and some voicings sounded different than I had pictured them. I made notes and would not make that mistake on the next session. So you eventually learn until you get to the point where there are no surprises (only good ones).

  3. #3

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    The trick isn't hearing it. Its never been a problem for me personally and I know many other people who can hear arrangements and works in their heads very clearly so its not a rare art by any means. The trick, when you first start, is learning to notate what you hear accurately - something I find quite a few people struggle with. But time, experience and technical know-how is the key to accuracy. I've always advised people who have difficulty notating their aural landscapes to spend a decent amount of time dictating previously written works and comparing what they score to the original manuscript. Of course, its not a precise art by any means but a close enough approximation should be achievable with enough practise. Plus its fun and good for the ear!.
    Trev Parks

  4. #4

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    Midi and the piano roll is all there is for me; my sight reading skills are terrible, but my understanding of harmony is good. Different technology and different method of working.

    Poor old Beethoven though - after a while he could barely hear any of his music for real. No wonder the 9nth is a mess.

  5. #5

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    a mess?

  6. #6

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    Must have only listened to a bad recording.

  7. #7

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardy Heern
    The trouble with orchestral composition, pre MIDI, is that the composers didn't have a clue what it was going to sound like 'with a full orchestra' until they heard it played for the first time 'with a full orchestra'.

    Allegedly, even 'Beethoven the Great' remarked, on the occasion of one of his 'premieres', "Booldy hell, I didn't know it was going to sound anything like that!(in German)" Of course it was too late then so, to avoid embarrassment, the maestros used to say “No, I meant it to be like that!” This laid the foundation for dissonant, atonal music....

    These pieces clearly weren’t the composer’s best and often disappeared in the 'anals' of history. The compositions 'they got lucky with' survive to this day…..as we know.

    It is all the more surprising then that, with the benefit of modern electrical apparatus, compositions are still performed which still draw similar comments….but this time from the audience.

    A little bit of history for everyone….just to set the record straight.

    Frank
    What drugs are you on? Most of what you said is completely untrue. Good composers do hear their works in the heads for the most part. Beethoven could obviously hear it in his head, since he was deaf near the end of his life and yet some how managed to "get lucky" as you say and write the late string quartets. Dissonance did not start becoming popular for any thing close to the reason you postulate.

    You need to go get yer' se'f an ed-u-ma-cation.

    John

  8. #8

    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    I've read that Mahler had some disappointing moments when he first heard his works. The feeling I got was that he was continually learning, and so was never fully pleased with his compositions and orchestrations. I'm not sure that this had anything to do with people striving to write dissonant and atonal music. I didn't get that from reading the little bit that I have about Mahler.

    -JF

  9. #9
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    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    [QUOTE=Luke Skirenko]Midi and the piano roll is all there is for me; my sight reading skills are terrible, but my understanding of harmony is good. Different technology and different method of working.

    Poor old Beethoven though - after a while he could barely hear any of his music for real. No wonder the 9nth is a mess.[/QUOTE]



    Frank

  10. #10
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    Re: The Truth...and nothing like the truth?

    Sorry Guys, I think the thread ought to stop....it was just a laugh, and I was certain it would be spotted as such......a little satire...I come from the Monty Python Generation. I didn't think anyone would take it seriously!

    I'd have to be an idiot to believe what I wrote....I'm afraid I thought it was a funny idea when it sprang to mind....Perhaps some folk take it a little too seriously....but it, again, shows how the written word can be misinterpreted!

    Apologies!

    Frank
    PS hands up those of you who think I'm an idiot??

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