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20th Century Unit 3
Transcript of 20th Century Unit 3
Norman Dello Joio
A M E R I C A N
P O P U L A R
M U S I C
T i n P a n A l l e y
B r o a d w a y M u s i c a l s
Tin Pan Alley songs
Charles K. Harris
Harry Von Tilzer
1. verse/chorus form
2. sentimental, unsophisticated,
romantic, not reflective of the
3. performed in vaudeville and
Vaudeville: singers, dancers, acrobats,
comedians, jugglers, child performers,
trained animals, dramatic sketches
Revue: sophisticated counterpart of
vaudeville; performed on Broadway;
The Experimental Tradition
J O H N C A G E
I N D E T E R M I N A C Y
S E R I A L I S M:
E L E C T R O - A C O U S T I C
M U S I C
Musique Concrete (1948)
Werner Meyer Eppler
Classical Electronic Music (1950-51)
Synthesizer Music (1955)
RCA Mark I and II
Computer Music (1957)
HARRY PARTCH INSTRUMENTS
Cloud Chamber Bowls
2. dance & percussion
3. prepared piano
1. time structures using square root formula
4. Eastern philosophies: Zen Buddhism, I Ching
8. sounds of nature
(pitch, timbre, structure,
consequences of indeterminacy
RELATIONSHIP OF MUSIC TO OTHER ARTS
John Cage.. about Silence
serialism: the details
toward more control
modes of limited transposition
unequal measure lengths
added value (value ajoutee)
rythmes augmentes et diminues
trois personnages rythmiques
Hans Werner Henze
1952: Boulez and Stockhausen
INDETERMINACY & SERIALISM:
moving along a continuum
Leon Theremin playing
his own instrument
Clara Rockmore plays the theremin
Saint-Saens: The Swan
EARLY ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS
Steel Wire Recorder
Introduction to the
Hindemith: Concerto for
Trautonium & Strings, 1931
1948: Pierre Schaeffer:
Etude aux chemins de fer
RCA Mark II Synthesizer
Blue Skies on RCA Mark II
Large Moog system
Demonstration of the Moog
Buchla 200 analog synth
Partch instruments #2
Spoils of War
Partch with Gourd Tree
If Satie's jokes often turn out to be serious, Cage's serious ideas sometimes appear hilarious in performance. He does not intend them to be funny, nor does he show, by facial expression or gesture when conducting them, that he sees the joke. But if humor is there he accepts it with equanimity, just as he accepts everything else that can enter into the work.
The move into chance operations... represents a dividing line in Cage's career. He had reached an age, 38, when revolutionary experiments often give way to quieter development and securing of artistic beachheads. He had won praise and serious consideration from some of the leading musicians of the day. From that point on, he was to experience little but rejection and hostility from the New York musical establishment, which accused him of artistic irresponsibilty and a cold shoulder from the European avant-gardists, who took up his ideas one by one, often not bothering to acknowledge the source.
It is characteristic of Cage that he pursued his new and highly unpopular course without hesitation and in the very best of spirits. Many years before, he had accepted Gertrude Stein's notion that all vigorous art was
, and that when it ceased to be irritating and became pleasing it was no longer useful. Cage has denied that his whole purpose is to be irritating merely for the sake of being irritating. "But whenever I've found that what I'm doing has become pleasing, even to one person, I have redoubled my efforts to find the next step." In this case the next step seemed clearly indicated: through chance operations, to discover a kind of music that would more truly imitate nature in her manner of operation. (Calvin Tomkins, 106-107)
Although Cage's venture into chance alienated a good part of the music world, he did find allies who were willing to move in the same direction. Leaving a Philharmonic concert early one evening-he had come to hear Webern's Symphony Op. 21 and had been so overwhelmed by it that he did not want to stay for the Rachmaninoff that followed-he met a large man in the lobby who was leaving at the same time and, as it turned out, for the same reason. This was Morton Feldman, a composer several years younger than Cage. "We introduced ourselves," Cage has recalled, "and that began our immediate friendship." Cage showed Feldman the Boulez Second Piano Sonata, which he had brought back from Paris. Feldman then introduced Cage to David Tudor, a young pianist whose brilliant technique and advanced ideas made him seem ideally suited to perform the Boulez work.....
Cage, Feldman, and Tudor met nearly every day from then on, in Cage's Monroe Street apartment...they were often joined by Christian Wolff, a young music student and composer who was still in high school. "Things were really popping all the time," Cage has said of this period. "Ideas just flew back and forth between us, and in a sense we gave each other permission for the new music we were discovering."
Feldman left the room one evening, in the midst of a long conversation, and returned later with a composition on graph paper, which provided three numbered "ranges" (high, middle, low) of sound in which the performer was to play a given number of notes-any notes he chose within the specified range-during a given length of time. It was the first step toward a music that went beyond chance, into what is now called indeterminacy - music whose sounds cannot be foreseen.....
Reminiscing about the Monroe Street days, Feldman has said that it would be almost impossible to describe the sense of utter freedom and excitement they all felt. "You had to remember how straight-laced everything had always been in music. Think of the number of painters since Piero della Francesca (b.1415) who have been absolutely first rate -- hundreds. And then think of the number of composers in the same period... Just to change one little thing in music was a life's work. But John changed everything...What we learned was that there are no catastrophes. Of course, John was freer than the rest of us. I've never wanted to give up my own taste completely, to give up all control. He's gone much further than anyone else..." (Calvin Tomkins, 107-109)
Schaeffer and Henry: Symphonie
pour un homme seul
Stockhausen in the Cologne Electronic Music Studio in 1951
And on the Seventh Day
Petals Fell on Petaluma
Boulez: Sonatine for
Flute and Piano
Elegy for J.F.K.
"There is only live music and dead music: the music of our time and the music of other times. Dead music is very beautiful sometimes and always pretty noble, even when it has been painted up and preened by the undertakers who play or conduct it with such solemnity at our concerts.
Live music is never quite that beautiful. Neither that beautiful nor that dumb. Because live music speaks to us all. We may not like what it says, but it does speak. Dead music, that whole baroque, rococo and romantic repertory we call 'classical,' is as comfortable and as solacing to mental inactivity as a lullaby heard on a pillow made from the down of a defunct swan."
American composer and critic
"You compose because you want to somehow summarize in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down... some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today."
"Melody is a form of remembrance. It must have a quality of inevitability in our ears."
Gian Carlo Menotti
"True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time."
"I was meant to be a composer and will be I'm sure. Don't ask me to try to forget this unpleasant thing and go play football - please."
"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."
“Right now, when we need musical leaders in every community, we are concerned only with training virtuosi for a nonexistent market. Musical education has to be ventilated. We must develop educated people who are musicians in order to develop music.”
William Schuman, in a 1945 essay for Time magazine assessing the overall state of music education.
I must say I've always composed music from the point of view of the performers.”
"What we ask of music, first and last, is that it communicate experience - experience of all kinds, vital and profound at its greatest, amusing or entertaining at another level."
''The composer must be completely free to decide whether he wants to go back to original, simple forms or to go ahead with new forms.''
“Music can be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has powers of evil as well as for good.”
Dr. Howard Hanson, Director of the Eastman School of Music
"The hardest of all the arts to speak of is music, because music has no meaning to speak of."
"Teaching composing is nothing more than trying to give the benefit of one's experience to people who have had no experience. You can't teach a person to have talent or creative ability. You can just show them, to the best of your ability, the technical means, and if they do have any talent they can use that."
Norman Dello Joio
In an interview with Bruce Duffie in 1986, nine months before he died, Vincent Persichetti gave this response to the question: "Are you optimistic about the future of music?"
"I am, yes. We are speaking of our time, and I think a lot of the music that we're hearing now will be here to stay. If Phil Glass bothers you, or bothers a person because of overmesmerization, he's still contributing something; he's giving composers of the next century a way to include mesmerization within a piece.... I can't just dismiss any of these composers. I think many of them are making a sacrifice by specializing in one thing in order to give the next century a better footage, a better means of writing what they want to write and what they can write."
"Happenings," a series of improvisational events put on by artists in New York and at Black Mountain (in the 1950s and 60s) persuaded Cage that theater, more than music, offered the opportunity to imitate nature in her manner of operation. Theater he defined as everything going on at the same time, including music, and in Cage's view it came close to being synonymous with life. "Theater takes place all the time wherever one is," he wrote, "and art simply facilitates persuading one this is the case."
The clearest possible expression of this idea may very well be the famous "silent" piece in three movements that Cage composed at Black Mountain in 1952 and called 4'33". The title refers to the number of minutes and seconds the piece takes to perform, but Cage liked the thought that it could also refer to feet and inches - a sort of personal space-time continuum. age had come to realize that there was really no such thing as silence. This was brought home to him with great force when he was taken into a sound-proof room, called an anechoic chamber, in the physics laboratory at Harvard; instead of the total silence he expected, he heard two sounds in the chamber, one high and one low, and was told when he came out that the high sound was his nervous system in operation and the low one was his blood circulating. If true silence did not exist in nature, then the silences in a piece of music, Cage decided, could be defined simply as "
sounds not intended
" and Cage made up his mind to write a piece composed entirely of just such sounds.
Seeing Rauschenberg's all-white paintings at Black Mountain-canvases painted flat white, on which the only images to be seen were the shadows and the reflections of the painting's environment-gave him the encouragement he needed. Cage's 4'33" received its first performance in August of 1952 at the Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, New York. David Tudor, who performed it, solved the problem of the piece's division into three parts by closing the cover of the piano keyboard at the start of each movement and opening it at the end of the specified time. Aside from these actions, he did nothing but sit on his bench, immobile but intent. The Woodstock audience considered the piece either a joke or an affront, and this has been the general reaction of most people who have heard it, or heard of it, ever since....In the Woodstock hall, which was wide open to the woods at the back, attentive listeners could hear during the first movement the sound of wind in the trees; during the second, there was a patter of raindrops on the roof; during the third, the audience took over and added its own perplexed mutterings to the other "sounds not intended" by the composer. Whether this was a case of art imitating nature or nature imitating art is perhaps an open question. (Calvin Tomkins, pp. 117-119)
For some time Cage had been mulling over the idea of writing a piece of music for radios, whose sound he had always detested. It has been his custom to come to terms with sounds he does not like by using them in a composition (he would later come to terms with Beethoven by using a snatch of the Ninth Symphony in his Williams Mix), and he felt that it was high time he overcame his dislike of radio sound. Accordingly, when the New Music Society asked him to write something for a concert in New York in the winter of 1952, Cage set to work on a four-minute piece for twelve radios, which he called Imaginary Landscape No. 4. His musical materials in this case were sound (any sound picked up by turning the dial), static and silence. Each radio was to "played" by two performers, one working the station selection and the other the volume and tone controls - "like fishermen catching sounds," as Cage described it.
The concert took place in Columbia University's McMillan Theater before a large audience (admission free). Interest in the Cage piece was running high as a result of a recent article by Virgil Thomson in which he drew a parallel between Cage's chance operations and the work of some abstract contemporary composers. Over Cage's objections, the Imaginary Landscape was placed last on the program as the "pièce de résistance." The earlier part of the program turned out to be exceptionally long. In plain view on the stage throughout the evening were the twelve RCA "Golden Throat" radio sets lent by the manufacturer. By midnight, when the time came for the Cage work, nobody had left the hall and a buzz of anticipation filled the air. Unfortunately this was very nearly all that did fill the air. The twenty-four performers took their places at the twelve radios and for four bewildering minutes the audience listened to great deal of silence broken only by a few faint wisps of sound, when a station selector happened to hit a station at the same moment that the volume dial was turned on loud enough to hear it. Cage had been prepared to draw a blank much of the time, but he had counted on the piece being performed after midnight when most stations went off the air. "It certainly was not what Lou Harrison used to call a rabble-rouser. " he admitted later. The disappointment of the audience was intense and when Cage went backstage afterward he found both Virgil Thomsom and Henry Cowell looking decidedly glum. "Virgil told me later I had better not perform a piece like that before a paying public," Cage has recalled. "And so we had difficulty after that."
Stockhausen Studie II