Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Aaron Copland on Electronic Music

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Aaron Copland on Electronic Music

    "Thus far I have tried to suggest the musician's concern wth the sonorous image; the endless variety of possible sound combinations; the changing situation with regard to sound media; and the limited use by composers of different sononorous potentials, either through lack of imagination or through inherited conceptions of desirable sound.

    Now let us look a little more closely at the sonorous means at the disposal of the composer in terms of the single instrument. Here again the composer is far from being a free agent; he is hedged about with limitations -- limiations in the manufacture of the performing machine (for that is what an instrument is), and limitations in the technical proficiency of the performer who uses the machine.

    Sometimes in moments of impatience such as every creator must have, I have imagined the sweeping away overnight of all our known instruments through the invention of new electronic devices that would end the constraints within which we work by providing us with instruments that would represent no problem of pitch, duration, intensity or speed.

    As it is, we must always keep in mind that every string, every wood wind and brass can plan only so high and so low, only so fast and so so slow, only so loud and so soft; not forgetting the famous matter of "breath control" for the wind players that is defied at one's peril.

    No wonder Beethoven is reported to have said, when he hears that his violinist friend Schuppanzigh was complaining about the unplayablity of his part: 'That he should think of his miserable fiddle, when the spirit is speaking in me!'"

    From "Music and Imagination" by Aaron Copland, 1952

  • #2
    i'll have to check that out... "what to listen for in music" was very enjoyable.
    Give me my moog, but **** off you american techno rockstar! people in countries I've never been to do it better than you!

    Computer Music Guide

    Comment


    • #3
      One observation Copland made which seemed irrefutible was: the elements of composition are melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, form AND context. Such a comment imprinted deeply in my ethos. Where and when first heard has just as important an impact as other aspects of musical expression.

      Comment


      • #4
        Here's another passage related to electronic music ...

        "The sonorous image-ideal of the future -- even the immediate future -- seems highly conjectural. In a supersonic age the material of sound itself is likely to become less ethereal and ephermeral, more solidly tangible.

        "Carlos Chavez once invisioned a collaboration of musicians and engineers that would produce, as he put it, "a material appropriate and practical for huge electronic musical performances." He goes on to imagine a perfect gradation of coloring through an incredible variety of timbres; and increased perspective of sound through more subtle intensities. The possibilities are endless; the probabilities are that something radical is in the making.

        "The sound-wave instruments of Theremin and Martenot, the electronic organ, the ability to write music directly on film, the experimentations with noise as a musical ingredient in sound films and in the scores of the French composers of the new musique concr

        Comment


        • #5
          The composer's input in films is still trumped by the film director and editor Film is a collaborative medium and some have a hard time accepting that arrangement. I think Copland was not happy working in film. Ballet probably meant fewer compromises and more clout

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice, Thanks for this thread.
            Kenny A. Chaffin
            Art Gallery - Photo Gallery- Print Gallery - Poetry
            "Strive on with Awareness" - Siddhartha Gautama

            Comment


            • #7
              The composer's input in films is still trumped by the film director and editor Film is a collaborative medium and some have a hard time accepting that arrangement. I think Copland was not happy working in film. Ballet probably meant fewer compromises and more clout


              "the ability to write music directly on film"
              I think here he means directly on the celulloid, not scoring.
              All the scratches on the "sound side" of the material will be reproduced during the projection. It was a very avantgarde technique of animators.
              "It's all sratched up, Zuzu"Your wattage may vary

              Comment


              • #8
                I think Copland was not happy working in film.


                He did 5 of them, won an Academy Award and made boatloads of money. Maybe he wasn't happy, but I doubt he was sad. He did 4 ballets, 2 of them huge hits.

                Copland made very little money before the films and mainly lived off of grants. He wasn't famous before he started doing the films, but he acheived fame during that period and was making serious dough for the films, like 15-20 grand (In the early 40s). After doing "Of Mice and Men", Copland wrote all of his "hits" between 42-46. In 1960, he went back and did his last score, and he didnt need the $$ at the time, so he must have thought film scoring was a viable artform in addition to a money maker.
                TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz

                Comment


                • #9
                  I thought I once read a piece where Copland was asked to comment on ELP's version of Fanfare, and he said something like, "Well, the beginning is Fanfare, and the end is Fanfare, but I'm not sure what happens in between." Always tickled me. Don't recall as to whether he further commented on the use of synthesizers in music.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    He sure does like to use the word "sonorous". I stopped counting after 4 occurrences. I'm a simple man, I just say "BIG SOUND BABY"!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Copeland is my favorite American composer. I've read these comments of his before, in a book or perhaps on the internet, and find them insightful and prophetic.
                      Gear: buncha stuff and a couple bazilion cables

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Had the pleasure of meeting him in Banff back in the 70's, we played a "Glitter Dance" at the Banff School of Fine Arts where Copeland and a friend of my father's, Zoltan Szekely http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zolt%C3%A1n_Sz%C3%A9kely ) were in residence -- It was a real pleasure to speak with him albeit breifly having listened to his music growing up --
                        Steinway (model K, 1917), Korg Triton ProX, Korg T3, Motion-Sound KP200s with SL-200S slave and SW-15 powered subwoofer, Barbetta Sona 41, Hammond Porta B w/Leslie 147, Doric organ, Wurly 200, Fender Twin Reverb (1974), Violin (1921) with LR Baggs pickup, 1964 Guild "parlor guitar"
                        "When facism comes to America it will be draped in a flag and carrying a cross" Sinclair Lewis 1885-1951

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I thought I once read a piece where Copland was asked to comment on ELP's version of Fanfare...


                          According the his biography, Copeland wrote a one paragraph article in the 1977 issue of Contemporary Keyboard justifying his decision to allow ELP, "a gifted group" to record thier own version of Fanfare. As Copeland points out, since he held the copyright, there was "something that attracted [him] to thier version", or else he would not have granted his permission.
                          Buy my book!
                          http://www.facebook.com/UnderMKE

                          I make noise.
                          http://www.facebook.com/allerian
                          Listening Device on CDBaby

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            to thier version", or else he would not have granted his permission.


                            I'm sure he was also attracted to the $$, no matter what he thought of ELP. The legends of him being being a tightwad reach an almost mythical status, whether they are true or not. He was the richest classical composer ever, unless one classifies John Williams as a (strictly) classical composer.

                            I doubt Copland could have stopped ELP. The Holst Estate had the Tomita "Planets" album removed from stores for a bit because they didnt like it, but RCA won and they were allowed.

                            Copland's music is rental only, through the publisher Boosey and Hawkes, the bigboy in classical. The "Hoedown" from Rodeo must bring in gazillions of dollars, I cannot guess how many times I've played it. There is probably an orchestra (including high school ones) playing it every second of every day around the world. "Appalachian Spring" is much more difficult to play, but it's also programmed all the time.
                            TAAKADO= The Artist Also Known As Dutch Ovenz

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I tend to think that it was pay that kept Copland accepting film score gigs. I can't think of a theme or cue that came from his scores that might still be programmed for pops orchestras. Jerome Moross's BIG COUNTRY work is probably being heard regularly today in the hinterlands.

                              Comment













                              Working...
                              X