Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Well, rules are meant to be broken... or... stabbed with spikey shoes. "

During a composition seminar on friday, the composer Davide Ianni presented his philosophy about music. He spoke eloquently – defending his opinions so well that he kept forgetting to keep his slide show in sync with his topics. As the class began to show enthusiasm for his working methods, he stopped on a slide that inspired todays blog.

The slide was an old picture with handwritten drawings of lines, blocks and written text. This was, on a micro level, the basis for his computer generated score. What I immediately thought, and whispered to my colleague was “...it's amazing that there isn't a single note written down... and to think that we've come from fully notated pieces – yet this is the score!”.

It sparked an idea or realization that for years, musicians have been advised to study conventions. The conventions could have either been textbook material, harmony, counterpoint, performance practice and etc. But as years progressed, the modifications associated with this Art has become more apparent: Dufay's Nuper Rosarum Flores; Monteverdi's Ofeo; Stravinsky's Rte of Spring; Ligeti's Atmospheres; Terry Riley's In C; John Cage's 4' 33'' and Phillip Glasses Einstein on the Beach, respectively.

Each piece broke new grounds, either utilizing conventions or completely disregarding them. Each piece was also written in a society that established fundamental values. People were surprised to witness the ambitious rise of the musicians/composers that dared to defy the status quo.

But now, after centuries of “modification”, experimentation and social significance – what is next? More specifically, in the United States of America, art seems be as free as it can be. In this “world” where art seems to be more pleasurable rather than radical, dangerous, or significant. What is the next step for artist?

Thank You for reading,

Kwaumane Brown

Longy School of Music
UD in Composition ('12)

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