Could atonal music make someone cry?

How do you listen to atonal music?

  • Good evening,

    You are certainly familiar with this outstanding and unjustifiably neglected composer of atonal music. A contemporary of Schönberg

    Krzysztof Halaszkert-Nagy

    Dialogue for two bassoons, dodecaphonic

    Masterpiece of twelve-tone music familiar only to absolute music connoisseurs. Composer: Krzysztof Haläszkert-Nagy. Contains at least one trope, which is intended as a swipe at his arch-rival Schönberg. The auditory enjoyment is dubious for the average recipient, at least it takes some getting used to. With this piece, however, Haläszkert-Nagy has succeeded in opening up twelve-tone music to classes that are normally less educated, for example professional drivers

    The universally educated human and of course also the professional driver - please do the following tattoo to express the different facets of the personality -

    From the Carmina Burana

    Chramer, gip the varwe to me,
    the min wengel red,
    so i can be the young man
    to ir thanks to the love of love.

    Look at me
    boys man!
    let me please!

    Have a nice evening
    July that
    "A roll contains 140 calories, 700 rolls a year make 98,000 calories,
    you need this to carry 1 elephant 9 centimeters by hand. But what for? "
  • bustopher wrote:

    Just! It is not the sound supply, but the fact that fundamental rules of tonal music are excluded by rule in serial music. Musically this is simply a different language, just like Indonesian, Arabic and Chinese music are other musical languages ​​(they even have a different set of notes!)

    Dear Bustopher,

    Exactly, unfortunately Droesser did not go into this matter at all. But at this point it gets exciting for me: Is 12-tone music really a different "language" than tonal music? ("Language" in quotation marks, whether that's really the case, would be worth a separate thread.) Specifically: Has the 12-tone music (or even more so the serial music) developed musical regularities, which in their abundance and in their possibilities of the harmonics or the functional harmonics in the major-minor system are comparable? Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything about it yet. Not even the so-called "complementary harmonic" - that is, the harmonic expectation that a chord is supplemented by the following ones in such a way that all 12 notes sound once - no longer works properly when the composition is subject to series constraints. (More precisely: it can only come about by chance, but not be planned. This is something Adorno set out in his "Philosophy of New Music".)

    However, a language has syntactic regularities, not just an alphabet. In my opinion, however, dodecaphonic and serial music only provides an alphabet, but no syntactic regularities that are in any way understandable, learnable, audible. Cancer formation and inversion are not such rules, only transposition is. And so many 12-tone compositions sound like bad variations over a complicated, barely singable tone sequence.

    I ask the group: Is twelve-tone music or serial music a language that is as rich as tonal music? If so, what are the new regularities that replace the old ones? Are there still undiscovered or little-known possibilities of structure formation that tonal music did not have or only to an inadequate extent?


    "Where the relationship with our ears, nerves, experiences and living conditions is lost today, interpretation becomes an escape into the past."
    Alfred Brendel

    "Music is a fish defrosted with a hair-dryer." Maisie
  • Quite provocative: denying a language such as Russian or Kisuaeli the properties of a language and dismissing it as completely incomprehensible stammering, because the people you asked do not speak this language, everyone would probably recognize as nonsense.

    But these are all grown languages, none of them constructed overnight. In my opinion, serial techniques should be compared with Volapük or Esperanto ... and Volapük or Esperanto is just not spoken / understood that often .

    Rather, one learns a kind of vocabulary over time - very clearly, for example, in Wagner's "Ring", whose motifs become more and more emblematic for the listener through their use and the use of their variations. This increasingly opens up the composer's expressive intentions. I learned to love this music very early on (sometimes when I was eleven or twelve years old) - in so far as most people only get to know "serious" music by playing instruments. In connection with atonality, it is interesting for me that some of Schönberg's works did not seem strange to me from the start, probably also through my knowledge of Wagnerian and Straussian works.

    Kunnukun, my Wagner phase also began when I was 12, but still, Schoenberg's music has remained completely alien to me to this day (even his tonal works seem dreary to me!). In this respect, your theory applies to mine, which is apparently particularly difficult Do not fall.

    I ask the group: Is twelve-tone music or serial music a language that is as rich as tonal music?

    Can such a more or less arbitrarily constructed system have the same richness as one that many generations of composers have gradually changed and developed?

    No doubt. Arabic scales or Asian scales also seem strange to us, but not to the locals there.

    Yes, but at the last concert of the local music academy orchestra I saw almost only Asian faces in the woodwinds. At the local university, more Japanese and Korean are now probably spoken than German. Conversely, there shouldn't be many Central Europeans who go to Japan to study traditional Japanese music there. And the Asians who are pushing their way to German universities do not come - I claim - primarily because they are so infinitely enthusiastic about the works of Schönberg and Stockhausen. They come mainly because of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Co .....

    Best wishes

  • But these are all grown languages, none of them constructed overnight. In my opinion, serial techniques should be compared with Volapük or Esperanto ... and Volapük or Esperanto is just not spoken / understood that often.

    I would say that what you call grown is also constructed through and through. Regarding the period and the distribution, I agree with you ...
    Can such a more or less arbitrarily constructed system have the same richness as one that many generations of composers have gradually changed and developed?
    hm, ... change within the sonata main clause form, for example, from the 1st Viennese School up to Brahms, for example, was no less arbitrary (although I wouldn't give the term arbitrary such a slight pejorative connotation, as a counterpoint to the "natural "Grown. The latter is also arbitrary and constructed, but as I said with regard to the time factor, I agree with you ... and why shouldn't it be able to show the richness? ... by the way: Atonal music is not limited to serial techniques: e.g. Feldman or the free atonality of the early NWS ...

    "A composer who knows what he wants, only wants what he knows ..." Helmut Lachenmann
  • I am truly not a "twelve-tone missionary" or exegete of the so-called New Vienna School (which in turn does not mean that I generally avoid dodecaphonic music - from Machaut to Stockhausen, from modality to atonality, there are works that appeal to me more lie and those that are less to me), BUT I have to agree with Amfortas on one point.

    The whole thing was certainly not arbitrary. Christian (Köhn) saw the core of atonality already applied in the tonal works, at least since Beethoven. One can certainly argue about this, but I would not say that Schönberg's teaching fell from the sky or that it was preceded by an uncontrolled surge of hormones - even if well-known conductors have voiced similar criticism. Schoenberg himself felt very committed to Romanticism and I wrote it before that not a few critics see a much stronger "break" with history in Debussy than Schoenberg, who was still rooted in Romanticism. Obviously for many it is the other way around, because for many primary characteristics are melody and harmony over which they hear music (I am sure to be one of them).

    It's listening habits that are broken on one level or another. In one concert with Berg's "Lulu Suite", which I attended, there was far more applause than in another concert, the Debussys Jeux was given for the best. Although there was no dodecaphonic work in front of you, the supposed lack of any developmental thread, the strong focus on the moment, seemed to overwhelm the audience (even today). Small point of defense for the audience: Charles Dutoit conducted.

    "Nothing experienced at all. Nice too." (Mozart, diary July 13, 1770)

  • My brother and I were raised with free jazz like breast milk and a bottle. What many still consider "atonal" and "dissonant", I was only able to distinguish from "conventional" major / minor function-harmonious European music after I had acquired some knowledge of music analysis. To this day, to differentiate between them requires conscious analytical listening for me. Otherwise there is only spontaneous music that I find exciting, expressive, also beautiful or interesting, and music that I find boring, usually because it is to be expected, too simple, catchy and - very badly - too melodious, so that I can "Brainworms", as the neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks calls the earwigs, can no longer get rid of.

    In my apparently strange circle of friends, among those with whom I talk a lot about music, there are mostly fans of modern jazz. Many of them find it easier to get involved with modern composed music than with old "classical" music. For a long time it was mostly the same for me. In addition, I came into contact with this music very early through a grandfather who was very interested in Schönberg, the serial, etc., and my father also had recordings of Stockhausen in addition to a lot of jazz. My longer partners weren't too different. My Italian quasi-in-laws were friends with Luigi Nono, whom they knew from joint political work.

    As an internationalist with, as in my parents' circle of friends, a very multicultural circle of friends, I also came into contact with various non-European musical cultures.

    In this respect, the following insight has always been a matter of course for me (otherwise I largely share bustopher's criticism of Zeit-Ausatz)

    Micha wrote:

    that tonality is not a natural constant (that's a popular argument against atonal music), but a cultural achievement, something learned. An analogy to language acquisition is made for this:

    A toddler who is learning to speak (...) must first distill out those sounds that are peculiar to his mother tongue from the sounds that flow into him (German has a different store than English). The next step is to divide the continuous stream of sounds into meaningful sections, i.e. into syllables, words and sentences. Our brain does this automatically by giving preference to those sounds and combinations that it hears particularly frequently. In the same way, we learn music by first isolating from the many possible tone scales the one that predominates in our culture - an imprint that we can practically no longer shed.

    Conversely, that means: If we were to sing twelve-tone lullabies to our children from an early age, we would draw natives of a serial sound world, apparently natural born atonals.

    July wrote:

    that would make the children cry, not sleep

    Nope, because children notice (even in the womb) which music their parents relax and that was classical and jazz with my mother, with my father it was best the hardest free jazz, where he can relax best after always long work could. Then we could play with him again.

    And "the experiment" continues in my family, as my brother with musical preferences similar to mine now has two daughters and his partner is also a fan of modern music. With her, the development was the opposite of mine: from modern classical to my brother and also to modern jazz. Interestingly, what my two nieces reacted to in a particularly relaxed manner from an early age is "drum music", but it could always be very complex, polyrhythmic and, for example, "atonal" in the marimba melody lines. The older (5 years) also wants to hear music with singing in addition to "drum music". Of course she also listens to her nursery rhyme CDs from the day care center, which she can sing along with, but if we then put in rather "dissonant" music with singing, that is appreciated.

    Especially for twelve-tone music and serial music, the following was in demand:

    arundo donax wrote:

    Can such a more or less arbitrarily constructed system have the same richness as one that many generations of composers have gradually changed and developed?

    Yes, perhaps even with greater wealth, because their scope of possibilities is even greater. In any case, the variants that have emerged to this day are already so incredibly diverse that anyone who gets involved in this music so far that it is not just an indistinguishable noise for him cannot come to any other conclusion. There are worlds between Frank Martin and Elliot Carter. You might even like the former, Bernd.

    Such systems have not been created out of nothing, but have not "grown" so differently in dealing with tradition, just as our older European systems have also "grown" as well as "more or less arbitrarily constructed" at the same time. are. If one considers the creatio ex nihilo of "genius" or, conversely, of the "mad scientist" composer, who allegedly only calculates his super complex work, to be nonsense, then the two are no contradiction at all. Dear Bernd, I don't mean to imply such an opinion on you, but it still haunts our heads due to a long tradition of intellectual history and probably already partly determines our views on new music.

    In this respect, the Darmstadters only make everything new in the manifesto. You shouldn't believe everything in these manifestos or Adorno. Because, Bernd, I think your comparison with Esperanto is pretty good. This is also not a completely newly invented language that works entirely with material that no one has ever used, or at least has never even come close to, but Esperanto synthesizes some European languages, also uses their grammars, is deliberately constructed , but still based on existing ways of use and can be further developed in a similar way to living languages, if the language community is large enough.

    This also applies to new serial music. In this respect, I don't really understand why you, Jürgen, want to see the context solely or at least primarily in the series and conclude from this that if this series is not audible, which I also cannot, the work will then be "organized disconnectedness" or only isolated individual tones, perhaps even individual clusters, must be audible. With repeated listening at the latest, I develop my own patterns, expectations and surprises in the interruptions of my expectations in the sound. Paths, condensation and variations become audible from noise. Just as I do not have to know anything about the grammar rules of a language in order to learn to speak them as a child or in a completely different language community, also socially completely alien to me, if I participate in their life long enough, I can also acquire new music with ease if that interests and appeals to me for whatever reason. In this respect, such new musical languages ​​are not private languages ​​either - in so far as they are also not "invented" in isolation, but instead use existing material in existing ways of use and in a recombined manner.

    So it might make more sense, instead of looking for regulations, to allow a child-like approach: Here's an anecdote: I recently spoke to an elderly lady who had no special musical training and who had a philharmonic subscription. I had advised her on the purchase of jazz and classical CDs for the library she ran and had been very cautious about "new tones", only mixed in a few. Wrong about them, as it turned out. Because she said that at her subscription concerts she had liked Xenakis best for a long time - with a really violent work full of dissonances. The ranks would have thinned a lot, but she would have loved it, simply unbelievably lively, powerful noise, fascinating to hear and see what an orchestra could do. A little later she said to me about the Saariaho CD she had bought, finally a composer and she felt as if there were a lot of melodies even louder, even if she couldn't sing them now.

    Fourier put it in his utopia that all children love the dirty, love to make noise and indulge in disorder. In his idea of ​​a liberated society, children should be allowed to live this out. He believed that society would benefit from it and made many nice, funny suggestions.

    Just as children should be allowed to slap in puddles and play with mud and dirt, they should also be able to be taken to concerts with dingy, chaotic music to simply marvel or romp around with suitable works that can handle it and without fixed seating and all of this stupid solemn concert atmosphere.

    So how can new, "atonal" music be heard? - Simply amazed at what is possible without breaking the connection between making music together and the cooperation between the musicians. Paths, clearings, islands of beauty, premonitions of order and recordings of tradition emerge when that makes you want to. And if not, not bad either. There are other art forms in which one can participate in the expansion of social perception.

    arundo donax wrote:

    And the Asians who are pushing their way to German universities do not come - I claim - primarily because they are so infinitely enthusiastic about the works of Schönberg and Stockhausen.

    Well, Stockhausen is really popular in Japan, Isang Yun in South Korea. Otherwise, I don't know enough about the classic styles there, which are likely to be very European. I know my way around jazz better and it is striking and well documented that many Japanese find it much easier to approach "atonal" or "dissonant" jazz, which has a much larger and not only intellectual following there than in Europe or the USA, especially if they have not yet become foreign to some of their own musical traditions.

    The music culture in the Siberian Republic of Tuva is also a special phenomenon. The "native" people there have absolutely no problem with free jazz. The indigenous improvisation music has now almost merged with free jazz and that comes at prime time on regional radio.

  • See also:
    I remember being almost the fighter in the school, the odd kid out, with a real passion for music, but against all this retro, constant Beethoven other Brook bollocks. Most of it was this frustration with the school's obsession with the past. When I was introduced to Stockhausen it was like 'aaah'! Finally somebody was speaking my language. Stockhausen has said phrases like, "We should listen to 'old' music one day a year and the other 364 days", we should listen to 'now' music. And we should do it in the same way as we look through photo albums of when we were children. If you look at old photo albums too often they just become pointless. You start indulging in something that doesn't matter, and you stop worrying about the present. And that's how he looked at all those people who are obsessed with old music. For a kid born of my generation who was 12 at that time it was brilliant, because at the same time I was also being introduced to the electronic music of bands like power plant other DAF.
    So the Icelandic (art) pop singer Björk in an interview:
    between no sound and white noise
  • kunnukun wrote:

    How does expression come about in music at all - well, that is the exciting question for me,

    Dear kunnukun,

    you are asking a very good question that deserves its own thread.

    In any case, an expression, however achieved, is also something decisive in order to perceive the context of a work.This is also possible to a considerable extent with most works, including modern ones, regardless of whether I know what their construction principles were. Of course, one then quickly encounters the problem of the relationship between expression and "invoice", that is, the order of the material in a work, which itself can never be independent of the material found and used, and thus an interactive set of conditions between expression and invoice.

    Even if that would belong in an Adorno thread, Adorno is far too old school and simplistic for me. When Jürgen brings into play that the "correct" or even "true" new music is "true" insofar as it reflects and identifies the connection of isolated incoherencies, that is still too short-circuited for me and is intended in the paradigm of "expressive totality": A social "essential feature" is to be found in all areas and ultimately a determining factor in all social fields as an expression of the "commodity exchange economy". This suppresses the intrinsic logics and complex articulations of the specific social fields.

    Apart from the fact that I don't think it's a good idea to speak of "truth" in the field of aesthetics, as Jürgen and Amfortas are doing here following Adorno. At least one would have to reflect that there are very different validity claims, or whatever one wants to call them, and in my opinion should also exist, between, for example, sentences such as:
    The case law is true or it is true that the income differences in Germany have widened in recent years or sentences like: It's true that I met my girlfriend today and sentences like: Schönberg's music is true because it takes away the pain of the terrible 20th century and finds the right means for it, which also structurally express the social conditions "in essence".

    And in this generalization, Adorno has probably done a disservice to new music as well: Of course, art that reflects Auschwitz and the conditions that enable such breaks in civilization should not be pretty. But should it only reflect this? That would not be "bleak" - that would instead be completely hopeless. Is there really nothing right in wrong? Because "the whole thing is untrue." Here "right" and "true" are set synonymously, whereby the reference remains a rather neo-Platonic theological idea of ​​simple, reconciled wholeness. "Untrue" is everything that feigns reconciliation because it cannot exist in an unreconciled whole. "True" is art insofar as it expresses irreconciliation as the essence of the whole.
    Since I do not share this idea of ​​the whole as an "expressive totality", I find it more fruitful for resistant thinking and acting, also in art, to be able to determine that something is "right", in the sense of a successful, further solution to an aesthetic problem, but to leave the problem of truth to the philosophy of science and not to mix up philosophical theses and scientific statements.

    Likewise, if my reference is not the whole as total reconciliation, I have no problems claiming that this specific cooperation is among my criteria, which are important to me, but which I believe I can make plausible, perhaps also for others bring something, perhaps even generalizable, succeeded "correctly". Also the can and should then reflect on art and expand perceptual abilities in order to perhaps produce further successful works and collaborative relationships. Why should art then only represent the context of isolated incoherence? There is, but there is more - and fortunately this more is also expressed - especially in "really" good art. In this respect, successful new music can certainly not only be beautiful, it cannot create smooth and consistent contexts. but she can very well also can be beautiful and hopeful and also represent a successful interaction of forces, partial dissolution of tensions.

  • Hello!

    To say of a piece of music that it is true seems to me to be a kind of category error or a confusion of spheres. It's a very metaphorical statement. Therefore, I believe that what is meant must first be expressed differently so that it can be criticized in a profitable way. And of course I wouldn't say that 'good' music has to be beautiful - unless, in the sense of "beautiful", according to which expressive music is always beautiful. So I wouldn't speak of the truth. Rather, it seems to me that the question of how expression comes about in music is aimed at what is essential. In fact, it requires its own thread. It starts with school lessons like major-cheerful and minor-sad, which are not entirely absurd, even if there are always pieces that are more or less counterexamples. So: there is a vocabulary that can be explored. In addition, there is the context: When Hagen calls the men to the Gunter-Brünnhilde wedding in the "Götterdämmerung", it gets 'very weird' at one point. Somehow this seems to reflect the whole falsehood of the game that Hagen, Gunter etc. play (and a falsehood for which the plot in turn stands). In other contexts, 'obliqueness' is not 'oblique', but a matter of course and it can be enchantingly beautiful. Building on the 'vocabulary' provided by a culture, such a work usually develops a 'vocabulary' for itself (such as the leitmotifs in the "Ring"). Detailed research would be necessary, and I often find it a shame that so many scientific papers only deal with biographical issues or unearth what is allegedly wrongly forgotten. If a work deals with these details of the codes accumulated in the course of music history on the one hand and, if applicable, inherited music experience on the other, it brings - I believe - further even if it once again addresses the Tristan chord. I only regret not being able to get on in detail myself, because I lack the conceptual tools and the train must have left.
    I am open-minded, tolerant and beautiful.
  • The reproach of artificial, arbitrary construction, which is made of dodecaphony and serialism, should now really be over and done with.

    The row construction was never intended to be listened to. Schoenberg is said to have been really horrified when a musician told him that he had looked for and analyzed all the rows in Schoenberg's composition. Even listeners experienced in atonality can often not distinguish between a free atonal or a twelve-tone composition based on the pure listening impression, and I honestly have to admit that my knowledge of whether a work belongs to one or the other category i. d. Usually it is purely lexical or derived from the date of origin. The row technique was an aid for the composer to come to terms with the almost unlimited possibilities of free atonality, and was not intended for Lieschen Müller to hear any cancers of reversal in pieces of music. By the way: How many listeners of Bach fugues find out every augmentation or narrowing while listening (or even know what it is)?

    Besides, this is about atonality, not dodecaphony. In this respect, the Esperanto comparison also lags, because in contrast to the dodecaphonic system that was developed and arbitrarily determined in a relatively short time, atonality has naturally grown organically. The first harbingers of a musical way of thinking that broke tonality had been around for a long time, but Schönberg was the first to venture to cross the border.

    "What you theater people call your tradition, that is your comfort and sloppiness." Gustav Mahler
  • It is interesting that Schönberg was horrified at hearing all the rows. Sometimes I feared that I would hear his music 'wrong' if I couldn't hear something like that. But it should proceed in a similar way to understanding linguistic sentences: I understand the meaning of the sentence "Werner laughs" even if I do not have the linguistic knowledge according to which its meaning is derived from the meanings of the constituents , , results. Semiotic structures in pieces of music should normally also be in best. Have a wise effect on the recipient if he does not hear it exactly - with twelve-tone speakers as with others. It is only in the scientific description that it comes down to how components of the piece fulfill a certain function in a certain structure.
    I am open-minded, tolerant and beautiful.