SC MUSC 110 - 32 Postmodernism (9 pages)

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32 Postmodernism



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32 Postmodernism

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Pages:
9
School:
University Of South Carolina-Columbia
Course:
Musc 110 - Introduction to Music
Introduction to Music Documents
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INSTRUCTOR S MANUAL CHAPTER 32 POSTMODERNISM COMPOSERS AND COMPOSITIONS VAR SE The story behind the creation of Po me lectronique with all the maneuvering between artists and recalcitrant business executives is well documented see Ouellette 196 203 MacDonald 396 380 A couple of interesting observations stand out First regarding the space the architect intended the tent like design to suggest the stomach of a cow the audience estimated at 15 000 16 000 per day for a total of around 2 000 000 would serve as the nutrients to by digested by the effects of sound and vision MacDonald 370 372 The structure was destroyed after the completion of the 1958 Brussels World s Fair Second the composition was one component of what we would today call a multimedia experience The light show consisted of different patterns of colored lights and photographs of birds reptiles and other animals masks skeletons women clothed and not cityscapes and mushroom clouds These images were distorted by the curving walls of the structure The sound system consisted of around 400 speakers that were all interconnected so that the sound swirled around the observers Third Var se had available to him the most technologically advanced electronic studio available in 1957 It was located in the Netherlands and he worked there between September 1957 and April 1958 with a team of American French and Dutch electrical engineers Var se composed the work on a three channel tape system The composition lasts a total of 480 seconds eight minutes and Var se worked on each second individually altering the pitch decay and reverberation of the sounds captured on tape Ouellette 196 203 MacDonald 396380 A reporter from the New York Times Howard Taubman described his experience of the music in the Philips Pavilion the sounds that accompany the images are as bizarre as the building One hears rattles whistles thunders and murmurs At one point there is a sound that seems to emerge from a human throat The score is not compounded of recognizable instruments It is the work of a man who has been seeking for several decades Var se was 74 at the time of the composition to return music to a purity of sound that he does not believe possible in conventional music making quoted in Ouellette 201 Decades after its composition the music of Var se is still striking The controversial author Henry Miller 1891 1980 described listening to the music of Var se although the following was written in 1945 so precedes the composition of Po me lectronique What is intriguing about Miller s recollection is the primal emotion he experienced one with all the severe force of a blow to the head that results in loss of consciousness There is certainly nothing passive I remember vividly the first time I heard Var se s music on a magnificent recording machine I was stunned It was as if I had been given a knock out blow When I recovered I listened again This time I recognized emotions which I had experienced in the first instance but which because of the novelty because of the continuous uninterrupted succession of novelties I had been unable to identify My emotions had piled up to a crescendo whose impact came as a self delivered sock in the jaw Miller 172 CAGE The idea for this composition emerged in the composer s mind in 1948 when irritated by the omnipresence of Muzak he thought of submitting a composition to that company It would be four and one half minutes in duration the typical length of a canned composition and was to be entitled Silent Prayer That did not come about but a few years later in 1952 he felt he had come to the place in his mind where silence was not the absence of sound but the aggregate of sound in our environment Cage claimed that the duration of four minutes and thirty three seconds was not arbitrary but the result of chance combinations of many short passages of silence He noted that while the process of determining the duration of each movement was quite involved he might have made mistakes in simple addition It was Cage s intention to create a work that was completely free from the composer s personal taste We can be grateful that Cage was not an influential chef The composition received its first performance on August 29 1952 in Woodstock New York De Visscher 118 125 126 The composer recalled the night many years later People began whispering to one another and some people began to walk out They didn t laugh they were irritated when they realized nothing was going to happen and they haven t forgotten it 30 years later they re still angry I had friends whose friendship I valued and whose friendship I lost because of that They thought that calling something you hadn t done so to speak music was a form of pulling the wool over their eyes I guess Kostelanetz 65 66 ADAMS Ask students to consider the following questions How does the tempo marking delirando meaning with exhilaration or delirious apply to the composition How does this composition illustrate the minimalist aesthetic as described in the text What elements besides those cited in the Listening Guide give each lap its individual characteristic TAN MARCO POLO Discussion questions How does Tan s treatment of the orchestra sound similar as well as different from what we are familiar with Marco Polo lived during the medieval period How does the music suggest this time frame TEST BANK INDENTIFICATION Select the term that fits the description Terms may be used more than once chance music musique concr te computer music prepared piano electronic music sampling globalization scratching Minimalism synthesizer 1 Music in which sound are selected by such unpredictable patterns as throwing dice or tossing coins ANSWER chance music 2 A machine that produces transforms and combines electronic sounds ANSWER synthesizer 3 Type of music resulting from the technological advances occurring shortly after the Second World War Magnetic tape machines synthesizers and or computers replace sound generated by traditional acoustical instruments ANSWER electronic music 4 This instrument features percussive sounds by placing screws erasers bits of plastic and other objects on the strings to alter the tone ANSWER prepared piano 5 A purposeless undirected style of music that is the ultimate expression of musical experimentation It attempts to elevate random noise to the level of art ANSWER chance music 6 Another term for cutting and spinning this process consists of manipulating a needle on a vinyl record while other


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