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Topic ClosedGetting estranged from prog

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Trademark View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Getting estranged from prog
    Posted: January 21 2009 at 21:05
Come on, sexy dancing causing a problem in France?? They invented sexy dancing.LOL  Anyway Salome was much worse in that respect.  She does this long erotic striptease (the dance of the seven veils) and then plants a wet sloppy kiss on the severed head of John The Baptist.  That didn't even cause a ripple in Paris.  No, the dancing and the dissonance were not the main issues.

Edited by Trademark - January 21 2009 at 21:11
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 21 2009 at 22:01
I'm having a bit of trouble believing you. Could you tell me some specific compositions before the rite of spring that proves it wasn't the first of it's kind? I don't mean examples of primitivism, but something with the rhythms and harmonies that he used?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 08:39
I did give some examples, but I'll expand a bit here.  

The predominant harmony in The Rite of Spring is the octatonic scale (a pattern of alternating whole steps and half steps).  Both Alexander Scriabin and Mily Balikirev had explored the possibilities of the octatonic scales in years previous to Le Scare.  there are hints of it in much Russian folk song and Mussorgsky (a friend of balikirev) has hints of it in Pictures at an Exhibition.  

The other concept that drives the harmony of Le Sacre is tonal indeterminacy and again, Scriabin and Balikirev are excellent examples of this principle at work (Balikirev in the 1880s and Scriabin in the first decade of the 20th century.   There are entire books written on Wagner's "Tristan chord" and Scriabin's "Mystic chord".  The idea of this new type of tonal, yet undefined harmony were nothing new in 1913.

Stravinsky relied more heavily on the use of dissonance than the other two to accomplish the same goal, but interest in dissonance was also to be found everywhere in the first years of the century.  Schoenberg had created Perriot Lunaire a year before Le Scare and it was every bit as dissonant and jarring.  Schoenberg was exploring atonality (Perriot is NOT serialism, it is abstract atonality), as were many other composers at the time.  Stravinsky simply combined the dissonance of the time with the octatonic scales he knew from russian folk music.  He "created" nothing new, but used what was around him and was gaining popularity.  

The story with the rhythmic content of Le Scare is similar.  Additive meters were nothing particularly new at the time.  Bartok had made his collection of Hugarian folk music which used them extensively to mimic the slavic language speech patterns, and most of the russian composers had incorporated them into works after 1860 or so.  Polyrhythms were newer, but not unheard of.  Remember that part of the Primitivism movement involved exploring  "primitive" cultures.  So anyone interested in this as Stravnsky was had certainly seen and heard Gamelon orchestras, African drumming and other asian music (The Paris World's Fair in 1900 had all of these on display), all of which are heavily poyrhythmic.  Scriabin, again used polyrhythms in many of his piano sonatas.  Le Sacre is pretty primitive in its use of polyrhtyhm.  it is primarily an exercise in changing meters and shifting accent stresses and this was done to emphasize the primitive aspects of the story line), all of which had been done before,

Stravinsky had an uncanny knack for being able to sense what was going to be "the next big thing" and working with it in his own individual style.  That he was more successful than others shows his genius at working with existing material in a highly creative and individual way.  it does not show that he broke any new ground.  That's why he would be the guy who could make symphonic prog interesting and alive again, not by changing it, but by being better at working within the confines of the form.


Edited by Trademark - January 22 2009 at 08:43
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 08:45
Originally posted by Trademark

It certainly wasn't the first piece of its kind.  
 
Trademark, What you write is interesting and compelling. But I dont agree with you, even though I'm not as expert as you. The point is not if some elements and tecniks of 'The rite of spring'  has been done before or not. The point is how revolutionary this composition sound as a whole, back than, and still today. and it really does...
 
also I'm not so sure that the first theme sound to the audience so similar to the 'Paun' flute theme by Debussy. In fact its taken from a tradition russion song from the krapt hills or suchEmbarrassed (I dont remember exactly at this moment). I dont 'buy' that 'Paun' story. The aucience was shoked from everything, they didnt understand what they are hearing or seeing, but they react in a very strong way, because the composition was so strong and unique....
 
back to the proggy thing: Baldies, I just wanted to say that although according to my own taste, I, as you, prefere more natural and organic productions, I dont agree with your attitude as a whole. There are so much good new things I am willing to hear (and dont reach it, due to time and money problems...) so many good things around, whether 70's like sound, or more modern sound, you just have to keep tracing reviews and recommandation, thats all. If you like to, find yourself a reviewer with similar taste as you, and follow the recommandation.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 08:56
I'm not selling anything so you don't need to buy it.  I'm just laying out the facts of the times.  Do your own research and come to your own conclusions.  The fact that it could sound revolutionary without being revolutionary in any way was the whole point I was trying to make.  That, in a nutshell, was Stravinsky's genius.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 10:59
Okay, I understand that the elements stravinsky used in his composition had all been used before. I know the octatonic scale was used before, that while he did previously unknown chords, so did other composers, and that in itself isn't revolutionary, and that polyrhythms had existed as a whole forever, and additive rhythms were nothing new, but what I am looking for is some composition that preempted the song the rite of spring. It doesn't matter if the elements were there. Everyone builds off of established elements, you can't say that since the elements were there, that the song wasn't innovative. To use a prog example, the elements were there before In the court of the crimson king, but nobody in his right mind would claim it isn't an innovative album. That's what I meant when I asked for a specific example. Something that had put the elements together before stravinsky, something that proves the rite of spring wasn't revolutionary or innovative, but just sounded revolutionary and innovative without the context of other pieces that had the same or similar sound, something that encapsulates the ideas of the rite of spring as a whole, even if it lacked the quality.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 13:24
I've given plenty of examples, I suggest you check into some of them.

If you're asking if any other composer ever wrote a ballet score about a virgin who dances herself to death to appease the gods which featured flat-footed dancing, vigorous rhythms and dissonant octatonic harmonies?  The answer would be probably not.  If that equates to innovation for you, that's fine, but virtually all those separate elements had been used before to one extent or another by previous composers.

By your definition the song Firehouse by Kiss is wildly innovative and revolutionary.  That guitar riff had never been heard before, no one had sung "whoo hoo yeah" quite like that, and that siren at the end, truly cutting edge stuff.  None of those very specific things had ever been put together before but does that make it revolutionary or innovative?  Not really.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 14:56
I can't find the examples you gave. All I can find is you mentioned a few composers, perriot lunaire and Pictures at an exhibition. Did you accidentally post examples and delete it?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 15:08
Guys, if you don't mind this conversation has gone way off-topic.  If you want to continue this discussion about Stravinsky, please make a separate thread in the General Music forum.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 15:30
Originally posted by Trademark


If you're asking if any other composer ever wrote a ballet score about a virgin who dances herself to death to appease the gods which featured flat-footed dancing, vigorous rhythms and dissonant octatonic harmonies?  The answer would be probably not.  If that equates to innovation for you, that's fine, but virtually all those separate elements had been used before to one extent or another by previous composers.

 
You mean the Rite Of Spring? Masterliness.Approve
>:(
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 15:35
^ but how do you filter all the information?
 
You know there is a saying out there ... when you know it ... it's easy ... when you don't ... it's hard.
 
It's the same if you play an instrument or want to learn something about anything in life, be it about the lady, the man, the kids, the car ... you name it ...
 
My context (and ideas) come from a house that has 3k worth of classical music from the earliest to the likes of Stockhausen, LIgetti and Heinemman. And then, this fool started compiling his own collection ... and since I was european and had already heard a lot of fine music ... much pop stuff did not feel "authentic" or "exciting" ... at all ... I much preferred to hear Renata Tebaldi pop over her Turandot solos and arias than hear Mariah Carey with her (very nice) pipes .... but the music and the feeling behind it is ... empty to me ... does not have enough color behind my inner sight of music ... doesn't mean she is not a good singer or that Pavarotti was not good ... just means .... they do not resonate with me spirit.
 
Peter Michael Hamel wrote a book ... "From Music to the Self" ... and it is ... very good, once you get past his severe criticisms and occasional put downs of his own neighbors and artists around him ...  but he has a couple of bits that are special ... one is about the musician that is playing a 1 string instrument and he is saying "I got it ... I got it" ... and no one else around him gets it, or can figure out "what" he is getting.
 
You should get the ZEN meaning behind that one ... the message might also be ... there isn't one!
 
But it also tells you something very important that Peter does not mention ... and that is ... the "people" around this guy that is seeing things have a "concensus" (idea/opinion) and they are all basically agreeing that the old foggie playing one string is crazy ... AND .. if you ask me ... that is what happens here.
 
That said ... I can not, and WILL NOT tell you something is not good ... it's not fair to the artist ... I will tell you that Chuck Berry is boring ... period. I will tell you that one of the best concerts I ever saw was YES doing Topographic Oceans at the Long Beach Arena ... but people were there to smoke dope and hear 3 other songs! I was not happy ... and I can tell you that neither were many others .... and hearing some KMET and KLOS idiots say that the new YES album was horrible ... and not "rock'n'roll" ...
 
YOu know what ... I don't give a cahoot if it is rock'n'roll or not ... is it good music ... is it kicking your butt ... or mine ...
 
End of the story ...
 
Now this brings up the term "progressive" ... again .. based on the history of the long cut in radio in the past 40 years, I can tell you that there are ... maybe ... 10 bands that fit the term ... and I say that because they are so far out and bizarre and different ... that there are not enough labels to even call them ... the rest? ... just very good and expressive music ... get rid of the labels plz ...
 
You will learn, feel and appreciate a heck of a lot more ... do not EVER listen to something just because someone said it was progressive.
 
See yahh .. enjoy the music
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 22 2009 at 15:37
As this thread appears to have become somewhat estranged from prog, it will sit better in the general music discussions.
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