Tag Archives: classical

Mapping My Musical Twitterverse

To be clear, I don’t know feel like people who use Twitter are supposed to use it in any specific way, but I am aware of scholarship that suggests online networks do not reliably lead to exploration and communication between groups that do not normally interact with each other offline. To this end, I’ve seen the following question posed a number of times in my feed, “how often to you actually listen to the music made by the people you follow?”

My self-consciousness on this subject made me ripe for the influence of another source, which contributed enormously to my decision: Howard S. Becker’s tremendous book Art Worlds. Becker, a sociologist and jazz pianist, investigates the networks of intra-group activity that contribute to the production, distribution and evaluation of works of art. Becker proposes an understanding of aesthetics, which was very new to me and the way my education has portrayed this concept: aesthetics result from collective activity. Intrigued by the idea that aesthetics happen instead of disseminate from the persuasively communicated ideals, I began to wonder how I could put Becker’s view to the test with myself and my peer composers…..

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Dots and Strokes in Mozart

Early Music, xxi

I mentioned when tweeting this post that:

This is not to say that I have all the answers, just that often don’t care for the answers I often receive from others, even those whom I generally respect. I don’t care for the ways people tend to approach rhythmic notation, ornaments, tempo markings, bowings, and articulations, to name only a few. Let’s just remember that he’s perhaps the most composer in history. Taking just the issue of staccato notation, we have great data on this, about which Neumann concludes in 1993:

“there seems to be little doubt that Mozart distinguished dots and strokes, and… distinguished the signs with deliber-ation where it did matter. By so doing he gave us price- less clues for a richer, more colourful, and sometimes more dramatic, range of expression than the score could suggest without the eloquence of the two signs.”

Mozart Quartet in D
Mozart Quartet in D

It’s unfortunate that not even the headline of these articles seems to get remembered, let alone Neumann’s 6 categories of differentiation. In short, I hope we can all get more serious about reading up on the composers we study and love instead of letting our 21st century sensibilities do all the decision-making for us.

Read more in Early Music:

Retrieved from JSTOR: Early Music, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Aug., 1993), pp. 429-435

Original: http://www.jstor.org/stable/info/3128294
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