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Old 08-27-2012, 06:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
Perhaps. He tended to treat motives more as a collage than Beethoven ever did - break them down, stick them all back together again in a different order. Yes, that's development of a kind. It's not the same sort of development as Beethoven's kind of development though.
What you just described is almost the definition of development. Even Beethoven does that. In fact, Beethoven is especially known for that.

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As far as fugues go: There's not much development going on in a fugue. It's a more-or-less strict repetition of the same motivic figure at the octave and/or fifth. It's the break from imitative forms that produced sonata form and the kind of extended development of motives you get in Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, &c.

The principles of development is the same whether it's in sonata or fugue form. In fact, the development in a fugue is much more intensely focused. Strict repetition between octave and 5th? I don't think you fully understand the concept of fugues.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:31 AM   #22
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TS, as others have said, what you're referring to in your first post is counterpoint (not necessarily species counterpoint, although when you're ready to explore this, this would definitely be something worth looking into).

In terms of adding to what others have already said, I'd recommend familiarizing yourself more with Baroque music. First thing worth pointing out, is there is no such thing as Baroque music. The Baroque era is a clumsy construct that was applied by academia at some point in the 19th Century. If they'd known as much about "Baroque" music as we do now, then the huge variety of styles originating from different European regions between 1600 and 1750 would never have been put under one umbrella term.

As a starting point, it's worth listening to some composers from the Italian and the French baroque, as these are often recognised as being the two major Baroque styles, as other styles such as the English and German styles tend to be some combination of elements from these. This and this are two examples of early Italian baroque music. Opera is a major part of the French baroque (tbh, it also features a lot in the Italian Baroque, but to go into the differences is probably beyond the scope of this post ). You can read as much or as little as you like, or just pick out composers from Wiki.

I would think that the Italian violin virtuoso composers are probably the most useful to listen to in terms of ideas for non-classical music: Vivaldi, Tartini, Corelli, Uccellini etc. Also, there are more Castello sonatas like the one I posted, they're all awesome. But there's a lot of French music for Viola da Gamba, which I imagine would transfer well to guitar, like this (just skip through this until you find something you like the sound of )

It might be worth hunting out a book that explores Baroque music history. I'm afraid I can't really recommend any that aren't extremely dry, or that don't go through a massive detour through period performance practice, developments of instruments etc, but a quick amazon search might yield some interesting things.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:08 AM   #23
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At the time that Bach was writing his fugues, he was pretty much the only person writing them


The later fugues, certainly. The earlier fugues less so.

Just because Bach wrote a great many fugues doesn't mean he was the only person - even in his lifetime - who was writing them.


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yet somehow, people get this idea that all Baroque composers ever did was write fugues.


Apart from the courantes, allemandes, sarabandes, preludes, fantasias, concertos, ...
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
What you just described is almost the definition of development. Even Beethoven does that. In fact, Beethoven is especially known for that.


Hmm. Just because two things are on the same piece of canvas doesn't necessarily mean there's any more relationship between them than the fact that they are on that canvas.

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Strict repetition between octave and 5th?


More-or-less strict repetition. The first voice states the Subject, the 2nd voice states the Subject starting on the Dominant note but in the Tonic key. This might necessitate changing the Subject slightly to make it fit the underlying harmony so the repetition is strict in the sense that fugue is strict imitative counterpoint but more-or-less strict in that the Subject might require adjustment to get it to fit.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:45 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
Hmm. Just because two things are on the same piece of canvas doesn't necessarily mean there's any more relationship between them than the fact that they are on that canvas.
Except both Beethoven and Stravinsky connect separate objects to make new, distinct objects. In other words, development.

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More-or-less strict repetition. The first voice states the Subject, the 2nd voice states the Subject starting on the Dominant note but in the Tonic key. This might necessitate changing the Subject slightly to make it fit the underlying harmony so the repetition is strict in the sense that fugue is strict imitative counterpoint but more-or-less strict in that the Subject might require adjustment to get it to fit.

That's not what I was getting at. You're trying to mitigate what you said with some exact mechanics for a very specific kind of situation. But there's no need. You're not getting the overall, abstract concept of the fugue. It has nothing to do with a tonic-dominant relationship or anything mechanical in that sense. The fugue, quite simply, is all about the extensive development of a single idea through counterpoint and the principle stated above.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:56 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
The later fugues, certainly. The earlier fugues less so.

Just because Bach wrote a great many fugues doesn't mean he was the only person - even in his lifetime - who was writing them.

He was basically the only person writing "Bach fugues" though, which are a more or less specific formal design. Fugue itself can be three things:
1) A technique
2) A style
3) A form

Lots of composers wrote the first two, i.e. using the technique of fugal exposition and a contrapuntal, imitative style, but Bach was really the first to use it as a more or less specific form, although he developed his formal design from earlier composers.

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Except every composer worth talking about connects separate objects to make new, distinct objects. In other words, development.

Fixed.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:28 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Except both Beethoven and Stravinsky connect separate objects to make new, distinct objects. In other words, development.


Yes but by the same token I could argue that that would mean a 3-minute track that alternately plays 5 seconds of Bach then 5 seconds of Motorhead constitutes musical development. You could probably find motivic links between the two repeated sections if you looked hard enough too. I wouldn't call that musical development though. Probably I would call it anathema and insist its creators be shot.

For me musical development has to do with teasing out the possibilities of a single idea; I don't tend to think of juxtaposition as a means of development, more as a means of creating relationships where there weren't necessarily any.

As far as the Rite goes: S's use of block-technique tends to make it look like he's more interested in creating strong contrasts than the art of "developing variation". I'm quite aware that he generated the ideas by standard processes of development and that there are relationships between the ideas, but the presentation of those ideas makes it appear otherwise.

Which brings me back to my original point, which was - despite all the narkiness and general name-calling - intended as a tongue-in-cheek reference to his use of block technique. It wasn't a musical manifesto, it was a joke. FFS.

(There were plenty of people at the time the Rite was first performed who accused him of failing to develop motives, largely as a result of the block technique he employed. I presumed people in general might have cottoned onto that and made the connection. And maybe laughed. Apparently not. Sorry I spoke. /butthurt)


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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
That's not what I was getting at. You're trying to mitigate what you said with some exact mechanics for a very specific kind of situation. But there's no need. You're not getting the overall, abstract concept of the fugue. It has nothing to do with a tonic-dominant relationship or anything mechanical in that sense. The fugue, quite simply, is all about the extensive development of a single idea through counterpoint and the principle stated above.


I'm not trying to mitigate anything: I'm describing how I have, as a matter of practical fact, written fugues. If I hadn't bothered to try the technique for myself over the course of a year or so I'd have shut up quite a long time ago. It's precisely the persistent return to the Subject during a fugue which makes me think that even though the texture is dense and some of it might be derived via standard developmental methods, there can often be far less development going on in a fugue than in than, say, Sonata-form.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:39 AM   #28
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Yes but by the same token I could argue that that would mean a 3-minute track that alternately plays 5 seconds of Bach then 5 seconds of Motorhead constitutes musical development.
Would they be connected and blended in a meaningful way with the right harmonic, melodic, and textural support? If so, then sure. That's avante garde for you.

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You could probably find motivic links between the two repeated sections if you looked hard enough too.
It's hard to argue that developmental objects in Beethoven, Stravinsky, or any other master composer aren't created with a conscious effort to make substantive combinations and connections, especially when they make it so obvious.

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For me musical development has to do with teasing out the possibilities of a single idea; I don't tend to think of juxtaposition as a means of development, more as a means of creating relationships where there weren't necessarily any.
I didn't say development was reserved for a single idea. You're right in the second one, which is very puzzling considering that's exactly what you were arguing against before.

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As far as the Rite goes: S's use of block-technique tends to make it look like he's more interested in creating strong contrasts than the art of "developing variation". I'm quite aware that he generated the ideas by standard processes of development and that there are relationships between the ideas, but the presentation of those ideas makes it appear otherwise.
So just because it doesn't fit your strict aesthetic sense of development means it's not development? I don't really understand where you're going with this.


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I'm not trying to mitigate anything: I'm describing how I have, as a matter of practical fact, written fugues. If I hadn't bothered to try the technique for myself over the course of a year or so I'd have shut up quite a long time ago. It's precisely the persistent return to the Subject during a fugue which makes me think that even though the texture is dense and some of it might be derived via standard developmental methods, there can often be far less development going on in a fugue than in than, say, Sonata-form.
Sure, far less in the sense that there's less material to work with. But the great fugue writers can get abundant mileage out of the exposition material with profoundly focused development. Development is not dictated by quantity.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:03 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
The later fugues, certainly. The earlier fugues less so.

Just because Bach wrote a great many fugues doesn't mean he was the only person - even in his lifetime - who was writing them.


You were trying to argue that sonata form was some kind of reaction against fugues, which to me would imply that in the years approaching the Classical period, there would be some kind of widely established tradition of fugue writing. This simply wasn't the case: I don't really see Fugue as being one of the defining features of the Baroque aesthetic.

Sure, there were Froberger and Buxtehude who wrote a significant number of "stand-alone" Fugues before Bach did, but other than that, Fugues from the period are overwhelmingly one of the fast movements in sonatas of the Italian style, and although they undergo the same processes as Bach fugues, they're not really comparable. You could listen to them and sort of forget that they're fugues, in a way that you couldn't with Bach's fugues.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:44 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Would they be connected and blended in a meaningful way with the right harmonic, melodic, and textural support?


No. 5 seconds of, say WTC I, Fugue 4. Then 5 seconds of Ace of Spades. Repeat for 3 minutes. Then stop. No blending, just juxtaposition.
The point being - as I said before - just because things are juxtaposed doesn't mean there is any other relationship between them other than the juxtaposition.


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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
It's hard to argue that developmental objects in Beethoven, Stravinsky, or any other master composer aren't created with a conscious effort to make substantive combinations and connections, especially when they make it so obvious.


The original point

"Unless you're Stravinsky."

about Stravinsky was a joke. I've just not only explained that it was a joke, but in exactly what regard it was a joke. With references to contemporary assessments of his work. See above. Not only that but I've also apologised for making that self-same joke and claimed (falsely) to be butthurt in an attempt to re-inject some humour into the debate in the spirit of the original quip. This appears also to have failed. I'd make a joke about it but my guess is some wiseass would take it seriously and we'd be off again on another wild goose chase trying to work out exactly what it was that was going through my head when I laughed and made a joke.


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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
I didn't say development was reserved for a single idea.


I didn't say you did. I said "For me musical development has to do with teasing out the possibilities of a single idea". It was a statement about the contrast of technique of juxtaposition - which I tend not to see as a developmental technique, but as something used to create contrast - and other methods which I do tend to see as developmental techniques. The point I was making wasn't about what you said, it was a point about whether - and to what extent - juxtaposition could be said to be a developmental technique. It relates to the previous point I made immediately above that regarding Bach and Motorhead.


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So just because it doesn't fit your strict aesthetic sense of development means it's not development? I don't really understand where you're going with this.


No. I just don't tend to think of juxtaposition as a developmental technique. That is all.


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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Sure, far less in the sense that there's less material to work with. But the great fugue writers can get abundant mileage out of the exposition material with profoundly focused development. Development is not dictated by quantity.


No, development isn't dictated by quantity, but it does have at least something to do with the amount by which the initial motive is changed (by various methods). If the motive doesn't change at all, or it changes very little, then there isn't much motivic development going on.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #31
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You were trying to argue that sonata form was some kind of reaction against fugues, which to me would imply that in the years approaching the Classical period, there would be some kind of widely established tradition of fugue writing. This simply wasn't the case: I don't really see Fugue as being one of the defining features of the Baroque aesthetic.


Good grief no, I'm not saying anything like that. Sonata form isn't a reaction against anything. I just meant that the preponderance of imitative counterpoint is gradually superseded as the Baroque gives way to the Classical. My fault really - I did say 'imitative forms' when I meant 'imitative counterpoint', and I did say 'break' when I meant more of a transition. In my defence it's because I had juxtaposition on the brain.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:32 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Sleepy__Head
No. 5 seconds of, say WTC I, Fugue 4. Then 5 seconds of Ace of Spades. Repeat for 3 minutes. Then stop. No blending, just juxtaposition.
The point being - as I said before - just because things are juxtaposed doesn't mean there is any other relationship between them other than the juxtaposition.
Ok, but no one is saying that juxtaposition alone creates meaningful relationships. The example that you're giving is extreme and unrealistic. The composers we're talking about are not even close to that.

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about Stravinsky was a joke. I've just not only explained that it was a joke, but in exactly what regard it was a joke.
Sorry man...no one got the joke

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The point I was making wasn't about what you said, it was a point about whether - and to what extent - juxtaposition could be said to be a developmental technique. It relates to the previous point I made immediately above that regarding Bach and Motorhead.
By itself it doesn't merit development. But so many ideas are juxtapositions that creates the POTENTIAL for great development when the two are combined.

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No, development isn't dictated by quantity, but it does have at least something to do with the amount by which the initial motive is changed (by various methods). If the motive doesn't change at all, or it changes very little, then there isn't much motivic development going on.
But that's simply not true of fugues. Fugues go through a lot of motivic change as the subject is placed in many contrasting harmonic contexts and melodic positions. Not to mention that the subject is usually broken up into subsections to create entirely new material, along with anything else in the exposition. Of course, a fugue that doesn't explore the subject well enough would suffer from a lack of development, but the same would be true for a sonata. Frankly it's almost mindboggling how you consider the fugue to have less potential for development.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:14 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Ok, but no one is saying that juxtaposition alone creates meaningful relationships.


OK, right, I guess I misunderstood you. I thought that's what you were saying.

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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
The example that you're giving is extreme and unrealistic. The composers we're talking about are not even close to that.


For sure.

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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Sorry man...no one got the joke


Ah well, these things happen.

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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
By itself it doesn't merit development. But so many ideas are juxtapositions that creates the POTENTIAL for great development when the two are combined.


I'm right with you there. Juxtaposition can yield relationships that you'd just never get otherwise. As you said before you have to use it creatively - it's no good just plastering things together and hoping they'll work. There has to be some attempt to work things into place.

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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
But that's simply not true of fugues. Fugues go through a lot of motivic change as the subject is placed in many contrasting harmonic contexts and melodic positions. Not to mention that the subject is usually broken up into subsections to create entirely new material, along with anything else in the exposition.


Ah! Now I think we're getting somewhere! I don't tend to think of that "placing stuff in a different harmonic context / melodic position" as development per se. I was thinking much more of sequence, truncation, elision, &c. of the Subject, as opposed to casting new light on it by altering its context. Not that that means it isn't development, just that I tend to think of the procedure of altering melodic / harmonic context as slightly different from developing variation from a seed / motive. For me development is more a question of (to put it crudely) "coming up with new melodies based on existing material" than it is of "using existing material in different contexts".

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Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
Of course, a fugue that doesn't explore the subject well enough would suffer from a lack of development, but the same would be true for a sonata. Frankly it's almost mindboggling how you consider the fugue to have less potential for development.


Given the above perhaps it's just the case that we're using the term 'development' in different ways? If you include change of harmonic context & melodic presentation as development then of course fugues develop - how could they not?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:19 PM   #34
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If you don't want to do the theory as such, you could try simply learning some of the standards, like the Bach lute suites arranged for guitar. It's not easy music, and as an amateur musician I still can't play the Gigue in E-minor well enough to perform for people. I found that learning to play the actual notes wasn't that difficult, but it took me additional practice before I could do so in a way that made the counterpoint work.
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