Re: art music/pop music

Subject: Re: art music/pop music
Date: Tue May 18 2004 - 08:20:34 EDT

Indian Classical music and improvisation come to mind - both together and
as separate topics. As does listening to some tibetan music using natural
horns, which relies on slight variations in pitch to produce difference
tones - rather than diatonic melody.


>-- Original Message --
>Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 07:49:32 -0400
>From: Kevin Austin <>
>Subject: Re: art music/pop music
>If this is about western european art / popular music only, then it
>may be easier to follow for about 200 - 300 years. If what is seen in
>the art music tradition can be extended backwards, then it may be
>possible to make some hypotheses.
>Comparing popular and art musics, the popular music was simpler in
>terms of melodic structure (diatonic / chromatic, and notably phrase
>length in dance music), and harmony, one reason being that chromatic
>melody and harmony is more difficult to play on 'folk' instruments --
>an example being the diatonic button accordion, or seven hole flutes.
>Popular music pieces tended to be shorter.
>And popular music had two main roots: text and dance. Songs were
>clear and simple, and were therefore more memorable, since the
>listeners would have a lower level of literacy. Dance music would
>need to be (largely) picked up by ear.
>The influence (and impact) of notation cannot be underestimated. For
>singers to sing in four voices (eg Byrd Mass in Four Voices), the
>music would have to be notated, which requires literacy, which
>requires education, which requires long term support -- money.
>Art music, being notated could be more 'dense' as all of the
>performers wouldn't have to remember all of the parts for all of the
>pieces. Some popular music performers remember thousands of pieces,
>which they learned by ear, yet they play with people who don't know
>thousands of tunes. The tuba player in a Bavarian band may or may not
>need music after a couple of months of playing; the drummer may not
>need music after a couple of hours (!).
>Many art music composers have some (great) knowledge of popular
>musics -- it's all 'grist for the musical mill'. The question would
>arise as to what percentage of pop musicians know all of the Copland
>Third Symphony.
>The transfer from pop to art idioms might be quite fast -- 'jazz' in
>the 1920s turning up for a decade or so, occasional rock crossover
>pieces in the 60s and 70s, but the influence is not widely seen,
>heard or felt. Many art music composers feel there is not enough
>'depth' to pop music to integrate it fully into their style / idiom /
>I think the line to trance can be traced back through the minimalists
>via Hindemith and Bruckner to the first movement of the Beethoven
>Ninth Symphony. The line of Beethoven > Bruckner is clear. Bruckner
>added monumental and architectural to Beethoven's monumental and
>architectural. Hindemith's re-adaptation of the Bruckner-esque
>ostinato (derived from Beethoven) shows itself in the very early
>works of Philip Glass (whose early style was heavily influenced by
>And the other path to trance (and new age) pre-dates Gorecki's Third
>Symphony with the neo-modality path that wanders through the 20th
>century (via Satie > les Six, Copland, Roy Harris and in the fullness
>of time, Alan Hovhaness). The musical language had undergone a
>process of simplification.
> From time to time pop and art composers run into the same problem, as

>noted by both Copland and Bob Dylan ... the story goes that Copland
>had been wooed back to twelve-tone (serial?) composition by the
>mid-60s (Inscape, Connotations, Dance Panels) and when he met Dylan,
>they asked each other "Have you found any new chords?"
>For Dylan, the musical language was restricted to certain
>combinations of sounds -- those of a language which would have
>relatively direct accessibility, a kind of 'deceit of understanding',
>the feeling of a commonality of experience that could be "shared".
>Inscapes is not easily 'understood' by many people. Was Copland place
>importance on being understood?
>Pop music artists need to be understood (at least to an extent to the
>people who will put $400,000 into making the video), and they need to
>achieve this condition rather 'quickly', few of them have the 10 - 15
>years required to start to gain regular access to the art music world
>that art music composers must dedicate to starting a career.
>The apprenticeship of an art music composer is in most cases much
>longer than that of the pop music performer / composer. There are few
>art music composers who are 'high profile' in their teens and
>twenties. The languages of art music are (mostly) by their nature of
>a more difficult character. To develop the technique to sing the
>music of the Beijing Opera (along with the other aspects of
>performance) takes many many years of training and work. There
>probably aren't many garage bands preparing performances of the
>Butterfly Lovers. Consider also the music of Bollywood and its
>relationship to the South Indian (Carnatic) music tradition.
>At 1:58 AM -0400 5/18/04, wrote:
>>I happen to be reading a book that deals with much of that, it's a collection
>>of essays titled "Postmodern Music, Postmodern Thought" edited by Lochhead
>>Auner. I've read a few of the articles so far but that's a central theme
>>throughout, there's one article in particular where the author meticulously
>>traces influences of Gorecki's 3rd Symphony through artists like Test
>>Goldie, Lamb, Pale Saints, Faust, Tricky...and though she deals mostly
>>issues of gender, there's some articles by Susan McLary where she traces
>>influence of "art" music in the themes of specific contemporary artists
>>Madonna. hope this helps.
>> and ever...
>> - chris
>>> Anyone know of any articles or books that deal with musical style and
>>> relationship of "pop music" to "art music". (perhaps an artificial
>> > distinction which needs redefining) I'm interested in pre 20th
>>century music. Did musical style changes in art
>> > music find their way pop music?.. - chromaticism in beerhall tunes
>> > example. Any examples of pop culture finding their way into
>>art music? I
>>> suppose use of folk tunes is one of them.
>> > How did they interact on one another when the style differences weren't
>> > great as they are today?
>> >
>> > thanks
>> >
>> > mediadrome
>> > international audiochrome, inc.
>> >

Broadband from an unbeatable 15.99!

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:01 EST