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Topic: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

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  1. #21

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny Lost
    I myself was once a "self taught" composer before I went to school for Composition. So, I really can't ignore that aspect of the field.
    Hey! Me too!

    (Perhaps I should introduce myself ...)

    I'm Emily. I'm currently a composition student at Grand Valley State University (it's in Michigan), and will be going into my Junior year next fall.

    Back to the subject at hand. A few people have touched on the style of 21st century music, but I think I'll elaborate on that a little. Many times, I've heard the progression of eras in music history being compared to the swinging of a pendulum from one extreme of order and clarity to the other extreme of emotion and sentiment. I'm of the opinion that we're swinging back to emotionalism here in the 21st century, having just come out of the very well ordered 20th century.

    This is, of course, a very sweeping (ha, pun!) generalization, and I realize that it does not apply to all modern music (or even to all music of the 20th century, to be sure), but I think it has some merit.

    Much love,
    Emily

  2. #22

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Almost any aspect of the definition of "composer" will have counter-examples, e.g.:


    • Earns money from composing - many didn't. Curiously, Sorabji refused to allow performance of most of his works!
    • Writes music that is substantially original - most don't!
    • Self-image of iconoclast - only a few (e.g.,Beethoven, Chopin, Stravinsky, Messiaen)

    So the real questions for me are:
    • What makes a piece of music truly original?
    • How does the composer of original music reconcile orginality with having the music performed/listened-to?


    I believe that, thankfully, much of the sterile ground of atonal and aleatoric music has had its day, and the 'successful' modern composers are returning to some aspects of the romantic tradition. Above all 'good' music has to have an emotional content, that is, it has to move the listener either physically (dancing, to-tapping), or reach deeply into the brain's emotive structures to render appropriate feelings.

  3. #23

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonny Lost

    What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?
    That's a darned interesting question, but I certainly
    don't know the answer.

    And if the emphasis is on "21st Century", it may be
    too soon to tell.

    Then again, I didn't know the answer to this in the
    20th Century, either...

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  4. #24
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    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeterna

    (Perhaps I should introduce myself ...)

    I'm Emily. I'm currently a composition student at Grand Valley State University (it's in Michigan), and will be going into my Junior year next fall.


    Welcome to the forum Emily!



    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    That's a darned interesting question, but I certainly
    don't know the answer.

    And if the emphasis is on "21st Century", it may be
    too soon to tell.

    Then again, I didn't know the answer to this in the
    20th Century, either...

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .
    Go ahead and round it off to a millennium, what is it to be a third millennium composer, maybe too soon to tell. Will history be kind to us when they look back at ancient times, when people made music by rubbing violins with a stick with horsehair streatched across it.

  5. #25

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aeterna
    (Perhaps I should introduce myself ...)

    I'm Emily.
    Gosh, where are my manners!

    WELCOME EMILY!

    All my best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  6. #26

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Thanks for the warm welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by richtig
    I believe that, thankfully, much of the sterile ground of atonal and aleatoric music has had its day, and the 'successful' modern composers are returning to some aspects of the romantic tradition. Above all 'good' music has to have an emotional content, that is, it has to move the listener either physically (dancing, to-tapping), or reach deeply into the brain's emotive structures to render appropriate feelings.
    Are we now getting into the debate over whether atonal or aleatoric music is necessarily "sterile"? I have to disagree with you there. Certainly taking those techniques to their extreme -- where the point of the music becomes the lack of tonality or the randomness -- results in calculated, sterile music, but I tend to believe that if the point of your music is a technique -- any technique -- rather than an expressive intent, it's bound to be sterile. On the other hand, aleatory and atonality can indeed be used for expressive purposes. I'm starting to venture into those areas myself, and it's quite an interesting journey!

    I'm editing this message to remind myself that I shouldn't make categorical statements. In contradiction with what I just said, Ravel's Bolero just came to mind. The point of that piece was the orchestral crescendo, and it's certainly not sterile by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I still hold to my above opinion in a general sort of way.

  7. #27

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Professor,

    Down through the centuries, I am sure that each era had someone ask that very question. I think that our answers are probably about the same as their answers were then. We create. We push the bounderies of what our ancestors did. We add to and rebel against what they did. We never really know what we are going to be remembered for by subsequent generations. Rest assured that they will probably see some sort of an underlieing theme that our era cannot even grasp.

    When you are in a forest all you see are individual trees and not the overall shape of the forest itself. We are the trees fighting for our share of the light.

    Goodness... that was almost a coherent thought! Owwwww! My brain is protesting the deep thoughts! LOL

    I hope my answer was, at least, vaguely understandable! LOL
    Paul

    Prowland the posting Ninja

  8. #28

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Hello Everyone.
    I'm new to this Forum, and decided to introduce myself as Emily did, and also make comments about the topic.
    My name is Rafael Valle, I come from Brazil ( Rio de Janeiro ) and actually I study composition at UNIRIO ( with Ricardo Tacuchian ), and Conducting at UFRJ( with André Cardoso ).

    I belive that any composer should, in a lato sensu, master counterpoint, harmony, orchestration but, also and mainly, master rethoric and this cannot be taught on music.
    I also believe that any composer should master all the techniques avaiable, for example, Serialism, Variations, Audio processing ( Plugins, MAX... )
    And for the last, but not the least, master all the aesthesis that precedes him and that are conteporary to him.

    At this point, I think this composer would be able to do create something new, as did Debussy with his harmonies, or Penderecksi with his clusters.
    The main differences between them is that Debussy re-organized something that did exist, while Penderecski created something from nowhere.
    I've met Penderecksi personally and some friends asked what would be the future of music, in aspects of aesthesis. He said his music hasn't change much for 20 years and that he has mixed his Avant-Garde experience with neo-classical music, but that he did know the future of music.

    To reconcile originality with having the music performed/listened-to, the composer should be good at rethoric, seduce the listener. But, I don't know what would be truly original music, and if you know it, "please tell me that I want to compose that." ( Pendecksi )

    Saying that music has emotional content, in my point of view, is a Romantic tought. On contrary, I think we create the emotional content of the music. If music had an emotional content, then we would be able to have equal "emotional answers" about it's emotional content.
    I look forward hearing your ideas.
    All the best for everyone.
    Rafael Valle

  9. #29

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Hmmm ... are you saying that a composer must know everything there is to know about music before he/she can create something new? I would have to disagree there. I suppose, in a manner of speaking, you would have to know about all music ever composed in order to know for certain that what you're writing hasn't been written before, but then again, who can learn all of that?

    Of course, I am, in no way belittling the value of learning more about music if you really want to compose something not only creatively brilliant, but technically brilliant as well. I guess what I'm saying is that it isn't knowledge that makes a great composer, it's creativity. Of course, a composer with little knowledge and much creativity may end up "creating" an idea that's already been used without his/her knowing it. But I don't see anything essentially wrong with that. Before I went to college, I used my creativity to stumble upon a plethora of interesting musical ideas that I later learned were well-established rules in music. Far from being disappointed that my ideas weren't original, I was thrilled to learn that my ideas had been proven before my time, and it has instilled in me a belief that music is an intuitive and universal language.

    I hope I'm making sense.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum, Rafael! I look forward to hearing more from you.
    Aeterna
    The Ravenclaw Musician
    my_blog, my_t-shirt_shop

  10. #30

    Re: What does it mean to be a 21st Century Composer?

    Welcome Rafael and Aeterna!

    It's great to see such lively discussion on this topic!

    Best,

    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

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