Friday, November 21, 2014

I saw an attack on Schenker in Ferment Magazine

How convenient when I had just a month ago praised Schenker as one of my staple music theoricians. First, here is a link to the article I am refuting:

Ferment Magazine : Is Language A Language Language?
An introduction to the analytic systems of Noam Chomsky for language, and Heinrich Schenker for classical music

Now, for first quote:

"The difficulty lies in the fact that, although Schenker is guilty of nothing more sinister than drawing up personal connections between notes, chords, themes, harmonies, patterns and subdivisions within a classical composition, in exactly the same way that every serious musician does in mastering a piece, (Schenker was a piano prodigy) he is the only one that had the temerity to write his subjective choices down as a system to which everyone , including the composers themselves, were henceforth obligated to follow!"

Actually the system as such is so abstract that many pieces can be analyse in more than one ways!

As to everyone, including Brahms and Beethoven themselves being forced to follow his concrete analyses of such a piece of Brahms or such another piece of Beethoven, obviously he was a bit late to prescribe these composers anything. I have not read his analyses - except in excerps by Felix Salzer made to illustrate such and such a rule.

As to composers, and as to Der Freie Satz with its follow up in Salzer's Structural Hearing, it seems Schenker intended to give a kind of, to put it bluntly, "brain storming tool," or if you prefer the kind of "bypassing of a brain storming" which dramatic and novelistic writers have in the "five act structure" and similar. I will now quote a paragraph without the ending words, before commenting on them a little later:

"For some reason inexplicable to me, Schenker felt it his personal duty to cut away the human possibilities in a composition, much as a surgeon cuts away infected tissue, in order for him to get at what he believed to be the pure or absolute music underneath."

Not at all!

He was a Platonic, eager to lay bare for purposes of understanding a deep structure, much as a draughtsman perfectly capable of drawing a head without the circle, eye line, nose line, mouth line, nevertheless may give these to others when giving lessons. Mark Crilley and Marvel Comics and some manga related stuff are three major such courses on the market.

He was equally eager - or at least his disciple Salzer was - to demonstrate WHAT had been taken away to reach deep structure from composition, so as to give the composer a good hint of what kind of things he could add if going the other way round.

I have obviously profited.

Salzer actually did widen the attention to other music than the "Twelve Olympians" of Schenker - including such as lack a proper Bassbrechung at the bottom or even a proper Urlinie on top! I have myself used a "Bass ornamentation" instead of a "triadic" or "fifth related" Bassbrechung, i e instead of C-G-C (CEGC, CDGC, CFGC) I have used an ornamentation like C-Bb-C or C-D-Bb-C. Much rock is probably written that way, but obviously without the artists admitting as much spontaneously.

It is at least analysable that way.

Actually, there is another way of drawing than help lines, Japanese zen painters paint each detail as it comes to their mind, a novel can be written that way too, and I am doing it (around half way through), and the Marx after whom I consider myself a "real Marxist" (Adolf Bernhard, not Karl, nor even Groucho) recommended this for composers too: "first do everything you KNOW belongs to" whatever your plan is, including its beginning and end and "then look at the unwritten parts and determine them from surrounding written ones".

Now for the ending words of same paragraph and how it leads up to a quote:

"He admits as much in many places. Here is a typical quotation:

"Basically, a composition does not require a performance in order to exist. Just as any imagined sound appears real in the mind, the reading of a score is sufficient to prove the existence of the composition. The mechanical realization of the work of art can thus be considered superfluous . " ( H. Schenker, "The Art of Performance" )"

We are dealing with apples and oranges!

Just because a composition is a preset programme for good music which is good (or bad) in itself, even before being played, it doesn't mean he wants to do away with it.

Plus the quotation is understood with as little sensitivity for language as sometimes Chomsky shows (sorry Noam, but I said "sometimes"!):

"The mechanical realization of the work of art can thus be considered superfluous ."

"Can be considered" is closer to "could be considered" than to "is". If he had thought mechanical performance really WAS totally and unambiguously superfluous, and something to be surgically cut away, he would not have written the book. "The Art of Performance" - right?

But the author goes on to state that it is arrogant to presume the performance which is correct is one close to the script. He gives an analogue:

"William Shakespeare did not envisage all the ways of seeing "Macbeth". He would have found it very strange to be told that he was obliged to anticipate all possible ways of performing "Macbeth" before putting them in his script. To the contrary, Shakespeare provides the foundation on which the actor can build a character named "Macbeth". The attempt to do otherwise would require the composition of a script of 10,000 pages or more. Even then the project would fail."

I don't think Shakespear would agree. He anticipated the one ideal way.

He wrote his drama in verse. And verse can famously be recited in two ways, one intended to hide it is verse - called declamation - and one intended to bring forth the verse, called scansion.

Of course, we are not quite talking about the mechanical scansion which is really exaggerated rather than straight. But I am pretty certain even pentameter was meant to be heard and remembered at least partially as verse. To take a parallel, Sophocles certainly wanted people to recall for iambic trimeter a line like:

ει θεοι τι δρωσιν αισχρον ουκ εισιν θεοι

He wanted the first θεοι to approximate one syllable and the second to be the two it is spelled like. He wanted this because he wanted people in the audience to recall it. And he knew it was easier to recall if rhythmical.

Both iambic trimeter and pentameter (five single iambs vs three double iambs, so pentameter is shorter) are however not meant to be read so rhythmically that one can't here the conversation imitation through it either.

But indeed, there are composers who want to give their performers less freedom than others, being tired of diva-dom. Mozart is one, and I think Schenker sympathised.

For my own part, I have given liberty to the good taste of performers in dynamics (as much as folk and pop composers), when I give a tablature for the guitar I am giving a fingering which serves as a help to those claiming not to read notes (I have come across such) and as a check for myself if the thing is at all playable - I have rewritten some, not because I tried physically, but because I saw a problem in the tablature. If a good guitarist wants another fingering, so be it, if the notes are the same.

"To the extent that music is a performing art the same considerations apply . Artur Rubinstein did not simply follow Chopin's instructions, nor even those latent in his deep structures! What he gave to his audiences was Rubinstein playing Chopin, albeit with intelligence and respect. Indeed, what Rubinstein found in a Chopin composition, very much resembled what Schenker "finds" in classical compositions: notes, chords, patterns, themes, harmonies , sections, and connections between them - his connections, not Rubinstein's, nor Richter's, nor Liberace's, nor (God forbid!) Yanni's .

The major difference between Schenker and the above, is that he wrote them out, called them a system and demanded that everyone else follow suit."

I am not sure whether the real idiot here is the author - or ostentatiously antischenkerian musicians.

I am sure Rubinstein may have disagreed on the connections to make in a composition of Chopin as to those made by Schenker of same composition. I am sure the connexions made by Rubinstein are pretty close to what he would have made if a Schenkerian - though obviously another Schenkerian than Schenker was when analysing same composition. In other words, though Rubinstein may have very honestly sneered at Schenker's analysis of a certain piece of Chopin, if he had added he was sneering also at what was written in Der Freie Satz, I am not sure he would have been honest. Again and again in music theoricians who write on such or such a composer - I half remember some example about Verdi - we find they do refer to this (naked) rising fourth then getting a parallel in a following (ornamented) rising fourth and so on - exactly as in Schenkerian theory.

The value of Schenkerian system as a theoretical tool is not dependent on the Schenkerian analyses made by Schenker himself. The abstract system is not quite dead, it is rather more frequently followed than not, but more frequently not mentioned as the theoretical basis, just as Rock Musicians may (perhaps in some cases for tactical reasons of personal profit) more often mention what beach inspires them and what emotional mood (alas, often a lecherous one!) inspires them than what exact Schenkerian Ursatz they are ornamenting with what exact steps to the middle ground and what exact more steps to the foreground. Perhaps they take a different approach when once famous they mentor a younger artists, but not so much when giving interviews for "Les Inrockuptibles".

But if from such musicians complaining about Schenker the writer in Ferment Magazine is concluding that Schenker has nothing to give musicians or composers, or that disagreeing with his analyses means disagreeing with his system of analysis (again, it is so abstract that some and even many great compositions are ambiguous as to exact analysis in it, as he might have denied but as Salzer affirmed), he has perhaps really been naive.

There is a publicity value for artists to deny following theoricians. If I do not do so, I might simply not agree with the ideology that says basically (though not in so many words) that Mozart was an original genius who had never heard of Riepl. Piano practise, yes, that is good publicity for piano teachers, but composition textbooks? Fux for counterpoint? Riepl for harmony and contemporary forms? Admitting that would make composition a less secretive élitist trade than some guys want.

Some guys for instance want a composer to be required to first master an instrument in order for him to have had a mentor (I have had both a loaned guitar reclaimed and a bought recorder stolen to stop me from learning an instrument on my own independently of the methodology and ideology of mentor wannabes). And such people can't stand the idea of just a mere anybody learning to compose for instance classical music without a mentor (whether their ideal mentor is Jewish or Gipsy, Negro or Cowboy, Freemason, Communist or Satanist depends on their ideology - but they do not quite like the idea of "here are three chords, now form a band" except for those using the three chords like they would themselves).

And to conclude from the obvious factoid that Schenker is dull that a composer using him somewhat as a guideline is writing dull music, is total bosh. Schenker had a case for saying a composition can be judged by those who can read the music internally from the paper. If I can't, except for rhythm, ma can and she has approved of mine.

As to Chomsky, that is another story. There are things about some of his more intricate tree diagrams I would like to get a grip on, not because necessarily best analysis for language (I am a Latinist - how do you get tree diagrams for free word order with optional chiasmic insertions of one part into another?)

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Présentation de la
Très Sainte Vierge dans le Temple
21 - XI - 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dieter de la Motte, Schenker, Budday (my staple theoricians, back when I had libraries of Malmö and Lund at hand)

On Antimodernism, I referenced these works and musical theoretical authors on / before Friday 15th of February, Year of Our Lord 2008

PS en français:

On peut ajouter Ralph Kirkpatrick: Domenico Scarlatti chapitre XI, "Anatomie d'une sonate de Scarlatti", les pages 277 à 302 dans l'édition qui se trouve à la Méjanes.

Avant de lire ça, j'appelais Sonatine ce que n'a qu'un mouvement. Comme je le fais encore pour les sonatines de guitarre.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bavaria - Northern Spain

Schones Osttirol grossglocknerkapelle kals

I felt musically very at home on the Pilgrimage of Saint James.

In Galicia things sounded like Irish folk musik. But other parts of Northern Spain would not have been strangers to these tunes. The Jota I think, except for details of rhythm, is very closer to this than to the Music of Andalucía.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
St Laurence Giustiniani
First Patriarch of Venice

(PS, I have another music sheet ready and hope to have more soon, I long for an opportunity to scan)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

La démothèque, c'est quoi?

Bibliothèques de Paris : Démothèque de la Goutte d'Or

En résumé: un artiste qui a fait une démo peut en déposer un exemplaire dans cette "démothèque". Elle sera prêtable, non pas comme les autres supports musicaux des bibliothèques contre une carte payante, mais bien comme les livres, avec une carte de bibliothèque gratuite.

Ce n'est pas marqué que l'artiste doive être le compositeur. Si quelqu'un voudra faire un compositeur de l'époque baroque inconnu sauf pour les spécialistes, ou si quelqu'un voudra faire un enrégistrement avec mes compositions, je ne crois pas que ce soit interdit - au moins ce n'est pas marqué. D'ailleurs, souvent les artistes sont aussi leur propres compositeurs.

Bon, en attendant qu'un quatuor va s'apitoyer sur mes quatuors, faire un maquette et la déposer pour la démothèque, devenir connus, se remporter de l'argent et me remporter de l'argent, je fais quoi? Encore une composition, ou je roule les pouces?

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bibl. Audoux
St. Henri I, Empéreur Romain
de Nation Germanique

Monday, July 7, 2014

Un compositeur noir pour le studio Ghibli?

"Le Mozart Noir :Reviving A Legend" - Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier des St. Georges (Part 1 of 5)

Dans la "gotha Noir" je trouve comme premier personnage un contemporain (plus ou moins) de Mozart. Je suppose que la musique du documentaire est par le compositeur, alors il est très bon. Voici du texte de ce livre, une petite citation:

L'homme était un fabuleux compositeur, le premier sans doute à avoir exprimé avec autant de justesse les sentiments humains. Mais à la différence d'un Mozart, qui a su utiliser Da Ponte, le Chevalier de Saint-George n'a jamais trouvé un librettiste à la hauteur de son talent. Et réglièrement, la critique saluait la force de sa musique, mais brocardait la faiblesse des intrigues de ses opéras. IL n'a d'ailleurs pas été le seul. À l'exception notable de Mozart, de Gluck et, plus tard, de Boieldieu, la plupart des livrets d'opéra de l'époque tombent des mains. Moutons, petits oiseaux, ruisseaux, orages, jolies marquises et comtes aux nobles sentiments : tout le bestiaire et l'imagerie du règne de Marie-Antoinette y passent.

Voyons, je crois qu'on a la recette d'un succès.

Il me semble que Heidi, par Johanna Spyri, passe assez bien de nos jours. Comme BD et comme animé encore davantage que comme livre.
petits oiseaux,
"Låt oss liksom svalorna, bygga oss ett bo" - les hirondelles passent assez bien en Suède.

Sans oublier les petits oiseaux dans le film Disney Cendrillon! Parlés par Marion Darlington.
Et les scènes de la Old Forest et de Fangorn font parti du bonheur chez les lecteurs de Tolkien, sans oublier les ruisseaux dans le roman Le Hobbit, et il y a des scènes en Narnia avec, comme celle où Jill voit Aslan à travers un ruisseau.
Hitchcock? Ou le film Île du Trésor?
jolies marquises
Et depuis quand est-ce que les jolies filles ne passent plus, si elles sont bien kawaii?
et comtes aux nobles sentiments
On préfères peut-être les nobles sentiments (voir aussi les mangaka nippons) aux sentiments pas toujours tout aussi nobles d'un Comte Dracula, non?

Peut-être que le Chevalier Saint-Georges préférait ses librettistes à Da Ponte? Et peut-être qu'il avait raison.

C'est triste que l'écrivain Alain Guédé soit trop politicalement correct pour apprécier ce qui pourrait de nos jours donner une carrière posthume à Saint-Georges. Mais peut-être que son opéra ne plaira pas tellement aux Noirs de France qu'aux Japonais - et aux Autrichiens?

Ça serait dommage s'il était surtout entendu dans ses compositions maçonniques et funèbres. Comme ce serait le cas pour Mozart. Même de la Flûte enchantée on se souvient mieux de Papageno que du salaud eichmannien Sarastro.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Sts Cyrille et Méthode

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Is Ennio Morricone waiting for Box Office incomes for My Name is Nobody?

I tried to access this video (more for Terence Hill than for Ennio, but now it was mentioned, yes, the film music was good).

Terence Hill - My Name Is Nobody ( Full Movie English ) 1973

Cette vidéo inclut du contenu de SACEM, Believe Music, Studiocanal, [Merlin] Rossiter Road UK LTD et de UMPI. Au moins un de ces propriétaires l'a bloqué dans votre pays pour des raisons de droits d'auteur.

Ennio Morricone is not even mentioned. Not "this video contains material belonging to Ennio Morricone" but "this video contains material belonging to SACEM".

If that is the problem.

Or perhaps Believe Music claims the rights to Morricone's music? If that is the problem.

Or perhaps StudioCanal is worried if the video is not blocked, they earn less on lending videos with the film.

But they did not perhaps produce it? How can they then own it?

The company was founded in 1988 by Pierre Lescure as a spin-off of the Canal+ pay-TV network. The original function was to focus on French and European productions, but later made strategic deals with American production companies. StudioCanal's most notable productions from its early years include Terminator 2: Judgment Day, JFK, Basic Instinct, Cliffhanger, Under Siege, Free Willy, and the original Stargate movie. In those days, it was known as Le Studio Canal+.

I am not disputing they have a moral as well as legal right to earn money by lending out copies of My Name is Nobody.

But they do not have a moral right to block everyone else from giving access to the film in other ways, including for free. If they are the problem.

Now, I looked up Rossiter Road. They are on LinkedIn:

Rossiter Road Uk Ltd

We would like to meet artists/musicians of all kinds to help them to make know all around the world, to sell their musics.

If that is honestly what they would like to do (never mind the spelling mistakes, they will correct it no doubt to "help them to make them known" or sth), they are not the problem, they did not ask for that blocking.

Ennio is hardly in need of them to get known and blocking a youtube is hardly making anyone better known.

But, let us suppose that Ennio Morricone has given one of above a legal right (though not a real moral one) to act like this, that gives NO ONE of them any kind of even merely legal right whatsoever to go about - no doubt through unimportant underlings who can be promptly sacrificed if I should succeed - blocking artist after artist who heard of me from playing my music and sending me voluntary royalties.

The composers who buy into this system may or may not have a moral right to do so if they think they would otherwise be ruined by plagiarisers (would Morricone take my place as a beggar if this video were not blocked? I do not think so) BUT neither they nor these right holding companies have any kind of right to take such a decision for a composer who does NOT wnat to sign up on this system.

I am not begging because of all who play my music without paying me. But because my music is not played for paying public by artists then paying me voluntary royalties. And this has come to be so persistent, despite a very prolonged campaign to get played, that I suspect some mighty men are involved in a kind of blockage.

Hans Georg Lundahl
BpI, Georges Pompidou
St Aloysius Gonzaga

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Restriction against French Téléthon applies also to March of Dimes.

I just got this clarification from a FB friend or two:

Just so you all know, the March of Dimes is pro-abortion. Do not support them in any way.

The March of Dimes is an organization that markets themselves as a charity that works to prevent birth defects. They started asking for donations of dimes, which suited them because the dime has an image of Roosevelt, who became handicapped. Not that they haven't done some good somewhere, but one of the means of preventing birth defects that they advocate is the prevention of the birth of babies with defects, in other words, aborting them. Then they can point to statistics that show a drop in the percentage of births of babies with handicaps, and claim credit for it.

That is then the exact counterpart of French Téléthon, which I have already explicitly banned from using my compositions to raise money for their cause.

My ban therefore extends to March of Dimes as well.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Thursday in Pentecost Octave
12 / VI / 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Britten n’était pas plagiaire, moi non plus

En CLASSICA n° 160 je trouve une question à laquelle la réponse est exemplaire d'un côté et lacunaire d'un autre:

J’ai retrouvé sur Internet l’ancien indicatif du club de la presse d’Europe 1 de 1976 à 2000. Cette œuvre,The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, opus 34 de Britten, sous-titrée Variations et fuguesur un thème de Purcell , est-elle un plagiat ? Merci de m’indiquer alors les références de la version originale de Purcell, si c’est le cas.

Stéphan Yvon (Rennes)
Dans cette œuvre d’une quinzaine de minutes destinée à initier les jeunes aux instruments de l’orchestre, Benjamin Britten a repris un thème de Purcell du rondeau d’Abdelazer, musique de scène créé en 1677.

CLASSICA (n° 160, mars 2014) n’a pas répondu à toute la question. Le magazine n’a pas donné la réponse correcte que The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra ne constitue pas un plagiat. Ni directement prétendu qu’elle le fasse non plus.

La question à plus qu’un niveau.

Le niveau juridique précise que dès 50 ans ou 75 de la mort de Purcell il n’a plus de la propriété intellectuelle et artistique, donc il n’y a aucune infraction au code de la propriété intellectuelle et artistique. Britten avait le droit de faire ce qu’il voulait, et si un descendant de Purcell avait voulu lui faire le procès, il ne l’aurait pas pu.

Du vivant de Purcell cette propriété intellectuelle et artistique n’existait même pas sur le plan juridique. Si je reprends un thème de Bob Dylan dans un contexte qui ne lui plait pas, ile peut me faire un procès. Si tel autre compositeur aux temps de Purcell aurait pris ce thème, même de son vivant Purcell n’aurait pas pu lui faire un procès.

Il y a un autre plan, celui de l’honnêteté. Là il ne s’agit pas du droit que l’artiste a à un certain revenu et à un certain contrôle sur ce qui se passe avec son œuvre, ce qu’est le contenu de la propriété intellectuelle ou artistique. Là non plus Britten n’a pas plagié Purcell.

Il faut savoir que même du vivant de Purcell, quelqu’un avait repris le thème en niant qu’il était de Purcell ou en prétendant qu’il était de lui-même seul (c’est autre chose s’il avait dit « de quelqu’un » et laissé à son public de deviner qu’il est de Purcell), Purcell aurait pu lui faire le reproche de plagiat. S’il avait voulu se défendre en lice, il n’aurait pas pu citer Purcell pour calomnie, car il aurait commis l’acte reprochable que lui reprochait, dans ce cas fictif Purcell.

Par contre, si Benjamin Britten sous-titre son œuvre «  x sur un thème de Purcell » alors il n’y a aucun plagiat, mais au contraire un compliment. Ça veut dire « Mister Purcell, votre rondeau est tellement beau qu’un thème peut servir dans ma musique aussi ! » et jamais dans la vie que Purcell aurait pu prendre ça comme un insulte, à moins que le nouveau contexte était vraiment laide.

Combien d’une œuvre peut-on reprendre sans commettre plagiat même sans avouer l’emprunt ? Mon professeur de musique – que j’avais sur SSHL, fin collège et ensuite lycée, sauf quand il était remplacé par un collègue d’Australie - m’a précisé que la limite est de quatre mesures.

Si donc j’ai repris quatre mesures d’un thème de Bach (qui se trouvait dans un livre d’instruction pour l’écriture fugale), et si le thème est de précisément quatre mesures, et si dans ma composition non pas seulement je donne « sur un thème de Bach » (ou « za temat Bacha ») mais en plus je souligne l’endroit dans ma composition où il se trouve à son état pur, il n’y a aucune infraction à la propriété intellectuelle et artistique de Bach et pas non plus contre l’honnêteté.*

En occurrence, c’est ce que je faisais à l’époque que j’étudiais le polonais (d’où le choix de Polonaise plutôt que Menuet, d’où le titre en polonais).

De fait il y a encore deux compositions dans l’ensemble sur ce blog jusqu’à présent** qui ont un thème emprunté. Dans l’une occasion Oscar Hammerstein II devrait avoir des héritiers encore en vie, mais ce n’est que le thème subsidiaire de Doe, a Deer … (et avoué comme tel), dans l’autre occasion j’ai laissé à mon public de deviner la référence.

Ceci n’est pas plagiat. Honni soit qui mal y pense.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bibliothèque Mouffetard
St Casimir de Pologne et
de la Lithuanie

* Quant à la possibilité que le thème soit d'un autre compositeur, il y aura emprunt mal attribué, mais pas du plagiat pour mon propre compte. Il y avait dans le livre d'écriture fugale deux listes de thèmes, un purement de Bach et celui était de l'autre liste qui comprenait des thèmes de Bach aussi. J'avais confondu les listes et je n'ai pas trouvé autre précision quant au compositeur.

** Qui exclut jusqu’à présent les œuvres de jeunesse qui reprenaient incessablement Folie d’Espagne, sa version en gamme Majeure (ce qui donne God save the King, à peu près, mais je crois avoir évité de le reprendre directement), et le thème de Six Ribbons que le remplaçant australien avait présenté comme une reprise d’une chanson populaire (Three Ribbons, je crois l’avoir croisé sous ce titre) après ma requête sur le programme sérialisé Against the Winds, des thèmes sur lesquels j’ai fait mes dix mille heures proverbiales de « gammes » en matière de composition.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Music from my Country, Sweden

Nisse Nordström spelar nyckelharpa

And "nyckelharpa" is the instrument, a bit like a crossbreed between violin and piano .../HGL

(Since he is from Uppland and my ma from Sörmland - the regions North and South of Stockholm - we speak about the same dialect, although I spent most of my life in Malmö).