The Listening Composer (Ernest Bloch Lectures , No 7) by George Perle

By George Perle

George Perle takes us into the composer's workshop as he reevaluates what we name "twentieth-century music"--a time period used to consult new or sleek or modern tune that represents a thorough holiday from the tonal culture, or "common practice," of the previous 3 centuries. He proposes that this track, during breaking with the tonal culture, offers coherent and definable parts of a brand new culture. inspite of the disparity of their kinds, idioms, and compositional tools, he argues, what unites Scriabin, Stravinsky, Bart?k, and the Viennese circle (Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern) is extra very important than what separates them.If we're to appreciate the connections between those mainstream composers, we even have to appreciate their connections with the earlier. via a very accomplished research of a unmarried piece through Var?se, Density 21.5 for unaccompanied flute, Perle exhibits how those composers refer not just to their contemporaries but additionally to Wagner, Debussy, and Beethoven.Perle isolates the years 1909-10 because the second of progressive transformation within the foundational premises of our musical language. He asks: What are the consequences of this revolution, not just for the composer, but in addition for the listener? What are the results for the idea and instructing of track this day? In his hugely unique solutions, Perle relates the function of instinct within the listening event to its position within the compositional process.Perle asserts that the post-Schoenbergian serialists have preoccupied themselves with secondary and superficial elements of Schoenberg's twelve-tone approach that experience led it to a useless finish yet he additionally exposes the speciousness of present choices similar to likelihood track, minimalism, and the so-called go back to tonality. He bargains a brand new and extra entire definition of "twelve-tone song" and firmly rejects the concept that accessibility to the recent tune is reserved for a different classification of elite listeners.

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But these are not the "equivalent sets" that Forte discerns in this passage. 16], B = T (A, 11). The invariant subset [2,5,9] is sustained in dotted half-notes while the remaining elements change. "9 In other words, what Forte sees as the basis of this excerpt are the two six-note collections that we find when we add together all the notes that occur simultaneously: d f a alternating with the same at the semitone below, d e f a. And what he supposes to be remarkable about the relation of these two simultaneities is that they share an invariant subset [2,5,9], more commonly known as a D minor triad.

In the traditional tonal theory from which we borrow this nomenclature for the two chord-types their names have very explicit implications that have no relevance whatever to post-tonal music. Both of them, like the twelve-tone scale itself, are cyclic structures, which is to say that each of them unfolds a single recurrent interval in a series that closes with a return to the initial pitch class. 17 Professor Cone's reference to a "major-minor clash" is more problematical, since it could lead one to conjecture that the pitch collection to which he thus refers is a particular chord-type with special characteristics that derive from the fact that it can be dissected into these familiar harmonic structures of traditional tonality.

I must admit, however, that there was a time when I thought I was 14The letters to Schoenberg are quoted in Moldenhauer and Moldenhauer, Anton von Webern, pp. , who infer, from the discrepancies between Webern's assertions regarding their durations and their actual performance times, that certain works "are played almost twice as fast" as they should be. 18 approaching a species of twelve-tone music. 15 Nowhere does he recognize the communality of his harmonic language with that of the twelve-tone composers that is implied in their shared premise of the harmonic equivalence of inversionally symmetrical pitch-class relations.

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