Today’s practitioners of what we after referred to as “modern” music are locating themselves to be all of a sudden alone. A bewildering backlash is set against any music creating that requires the disciplines and tools of research for its genesis. Stories now circulate that amplify and magnify this troublesome trend. It once was that a single could not even approach a major music college in the US unless well ready to bear the commandments and tenets of serialism. When 1 hears now of professors shamelessly studying scores of Respighi in order to extract the magic of their mass audience appeal, we know there is a crisis. This crisis exists in the perceptions of even the most educated musicians. Composers nowadays seem to be hiding from particular tough truths concerning the inventive course of action. They have abandoned their search for the tools that will support them build seriously striking and challenging listening experiences. I believe that is simply because they are confused about several notions in modern day music creating!
1st, let’s examine the attitudes that are needed, but that have been abandoned, for the development of special disciplines in the creation of a lasting contemporary music. This music that we can and will have to develop delivers a crucible in which the magic within our souls is brewed, and it is this that frames the templates that guide our quite evolution in inventive believed. It is this generative course of action that had its flowering in the early 1950s. By the 1960s, quite a few emerging musicians had turn into enamored of the wonders of the fresh and fascinating new planet of Stockhausen’s integral serialism that was then the rage. There seemed limitless excitement, then. It seemed there would be no bounds to the creative impulse composers could do something, or so it seemed. At the time, most composers hadn’t really examined serialism cautiously for its inherent limitations. But it seemed so fresh. Having said that, it soon became apparent that it was Stockhausen’s thrilling musical approach that was fresh, and not so much the serialism itself, to which he was then married. It became clear, later, that the strategies he employed had been born of two particular considerations that ultimately transcend serial devices: crossing tempi and metrical patterns and, specifically, the concept that treats pitch and timbre as unique instances of rhythm. (Stockhausen referred to the crossovers as “contacts”, and he even entitled one of his compositions that explored this realm Kontakte.) These gestures, it turns out, are seriously independent from serialism in that they can be explored from different approaches.
The most spectacular method at that time was serialism, even though, and not so a great deal these (then-seeming) sidelights. It is this pretty approach — serialism — even so, that just after getting seemingly opened so several new doors, germinated the very seeds of contemporary music’s own demise. The process is highly prone to mechanical divinations. Consequently, it tends to make composition effortless, like following a recipe. In serial composition, the less thoughtful composer seemingly can divert his/her soul away from the compositional method. Inspiration can be buried, as system reigns supreme. The messy intricacies of note shaping, and the epiphanies a single experiences from required partnership with one’s essences (inside the mind and the soul — in a sense, our familiars) can be discarded conveniently. All is rote. christabel’s members’ club is compartmentalized. For a lengthy time this was the honored process, extended hallowed by classroom teachers and young composers-to-be, alike, at least in the US. Quickly, a sense of sterility emerged in the musical atmosphere lots of composers started to examine what was taking place.
The replacement of sentimental romanticism with atonal music had been a crucial step in the extrication of music from a torpid cul-de-sac. A music that would closet itself in banal self-indulgence, such as what seemed to be occurring with romanticism, would decay. Here came a time for exploration. The new alternative –atonality — arrived. It was the fresh, if seemingly harsh, antidote. Arnold Schonberg had saved music, for the time being. Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, Schonberg produced a severe tactical faux pas. The ‘rescue’ was truncated by the introduction of a system by which the newly freed course of action could be subjected to manage and order! I have to express some sympathy here for Schönberg, who felt adrift in the sea of freedom offered by the disconnexity of atonality. Massive types rely upon some sense of sequence. For him a process of ordering was necessary. Was serialism a great answer? I am not so specific it was. Its introduction provided a magnet that would attract all these who felt they needed explicit maps from which they could create patterns. By the time Stockhausen and Boulez arrived on the scene, serialism was touted as the remedy for all musical issues, even for lack of inspiration!
Pause for a minute and consider of two pieces of Schonberg that bring the challenge to light: Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21 (1912 – pre-serial atonality) and the Suite, Op. 29 (1924 serial atonality). Pierrot… appears so crucial, unchained, just about lunatic in its particular frenzy, though the Suite sounds sterile, dry, forced. In the latter piece the excitement got lost. This is what serialism appears to have carried out to music. Yet the interest it received was all out of proportion to its generative power. Boulez as soon as even proclaimed all other composition to be “useless”! If the ‘disease’ –serialism –was undesirable, a single of its ‘cures’ –free of charge chance –was worse. In a series of lectures in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1958, John Cage managed to prove that the outcome of music written by likelihood indicates differs incredibly small from that written using serialism. Even so, opportunity seemed to leave the public bewildered and angry. Likelihood is opportunity. There is absolutely nothing on which to hold, nothing to guide the mind. Even potent musical personalities, such as Cage’s, usually have trouble reining in the raging dispersions and diffusions that chance scatters, seemingly aimlessly. But, once more, several schools, notably in the US, detected a sensation in the creating with the entry of free possibility into the music scene, and indeterminacy became a new mantra for anybody interested in creating some thing, something, so extended as it was new.
I think parenthetically that one particular can concede Cage some quarter that a single may possibly be reluctant to cede to other people. Typically opportunity has come to be a citadel of lack of discipline in music. Also frequently I’ve noticed this outcome in university classes in the US that ‘teach ‘found (!)’ music. The rigor of discipline in music generating should by no means be shunted away in search of a music that is ‘found’, rather than composed. Nonetheless, in a most peculiar way, the power of Cage’s personality, and his surprising sense of rigor and discipline seem to rescue his ‘chance’ art, where other composers just flounder in the sea of uncertainty.
Nevertheless, as a solution to the rigor mortis so cosmically bequeathed to music by serial controls, possibility is a really poor stepsister. The Cageian composer who can make opportunity music talk to the soul is a uncommon bird indeed. What seemed missing to several was the perfume that tends to make music so wonderfully evocative. The ambiance that a Debussy could evoke, or the fright that a Schonberg could invoke (or provoke), seemed to evaporate with the modern technocratic or totally free-spirited approaches of the new musicians. Iannis Xenakis jolted the music globe with the potent option in the guise of a ‘stochastic’ music. As Xenakis’ perform would evolve later into excursions into connexity and disconnexity, providing a template for Julio Estrada’s Continuum, the path toward re-introducing power, beauty and fragrance into sound became clear. All this in a ‘modernist’ conceptual strategy!