Week 2 thoughts:
What did you read that made you want to learn more?
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed some of Alban Berg’s music. I always think of Schoenberg and Webern’s music first, and in general find it lacking in humanity, so skip the entire mess. Luckily with the help of the group I have rediscovered Schoenbergs “Transfigured Night”, as well as Berg’s Pieces (3) for Orchestra Opus 6.
Did the listening clips from the author help your understanding of the pieces? How?
Having suffered through music theory, I conveniently blanked out the liberal thrashings I endured while teachers tried to knock a sense of music’s structure into my thick skull. For the briefest of briefs. Here is an explanation of the standard western style major scale:
And here is a section on the lesser used scales.
The same resource has information on a lot of music’s structural components, and may (or may not) be useful. We are going to be reading about the dismantling of a system that took 600 years to build. The western classical structure we are all familiar with is based on the liturgical chant forms (with historical roots going back to antiquity of course). Bach kind of codified the fundamentals, and then the system improved, and pushed boundaries to grow up to Wagner, Mahler and Bruckner at peak romanticism. We are reading about the reaction to romanticism or as I think of it “complex lushness can go no further, what next” .
Because we are reading about a stage where a lot of long held fundamental s are cast aside, the music theory basics break down real fast. For example, although the text did not touch on it, one of the techniques Schoenberg pioneered to move past the western harmonic structure was serialism.
Serialism of the first type is most specifically defined as a structural principle according to which a recurring series of ordered elements (normally a set—or row—of pitches or pitch classes) is used in order or manipulated in particular ways to give a piece unity. “Serial” is often broadly used to describe all music written in what Schoenberg called "The Method of Composing with Twelve Notes related only to one another"or dodecaphony, and methods that evolved from his methods. wikipedia
Or, to simply give examples as @PaisleyUnderground asked for:
A piece written in fairy strict western harmonic structure - Bach Prelude in C Major.
A piece written using whole tone scale - Debussy - Reflets dans l’eau
Our next book club may need to be a history of punk music. yonks.