Re: Playing your own music... Just a though

Subject: Re: Playing your own music... Just a though
From: Adrian Moore (
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 08:22:01 EDT


>But where I feel irritated, is when I hear everybody talking about
>analysis in compositional tutorials. And about the 'formative'
>studies concept. Imitation is a dangerous game, where the fragile
>personality inherent to anybody could be lost under the heavy burden
>of tradition.

Couldn't agree more. Imitation _is_ a dangerous game but not as
dangerous as imagination without limits, and definitely not as
dangerous as limits without imagination. The latter forces me to
consider *some* students as well, students engaged in experiential
learning with a view to considering themselves a composer.

>Of course, that involved from my teachers a total generous
>dedication, completely forgetting themselves and trying to find
>solutions to issues that were not theirs, but today I thank them
>very much, and I will try to do the same with my students. I will
>consider my pupils as full composer with less experience... and I
>will surely grow from their questions!

>To quote someone eveybody should know here:

Why should everybody know Varèse? How are they to get to know him?

>'L'analyse est stérile par définition. S'en servir pour expliquer
>revient à décomposer, à mutiler l'esprit d'une ¦uvre. La critique
>est inutile. Une ¦uvre n'est jamais objectivement belle pour tous ;
>elle ne l'est que subjectivement pour chacun.'
> VARÈSE, Edgard. 1983. Écrits. C. Bourgeois, Paris, p. 37

Varèse is, IMV wrong in this instance. How do we listen and
interpret what we hear without analysis and critique? Subjective
critique that leads to an objective understanding (maybe a rule,
maybe a tip, maybe a method, maybe a suggestion) is what shapes a
style, whether it be individual or collective.
It is important to play ones own work, important to play traditional
masterpieces and talk / write about them - equally important to
discuss passages from works that you consider (as a teacher) are
examples of what not to do. They might actually be more informative
and provoke more discussion than those passages you consider
'excellent'. After all, in most walks of life, it is 'error' that is
a) more visible and b) more di-visible thus lending itself more
closely to objectification [though I am not arguing for judgements of
value by virtue of consensus.]

ps. Pierre : looks like we have a topic for some interesting
Yorkshire based composers meetings....
pps. I'm sorry if I sound dogmatic: I hope this isn't old age setting in.

Dr. Adrian Moore, Sheffield University, Music Department, 38 Taptonville Road
Sheffield. S10 5BR. UK - [tel] 44 (0)114 2220486  [fax]  44 (0) 114 222 0469 // Personal // Sonic Arts Network // Bio and CD // Music Department // University of Sheffield Sound Studios

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