Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Music and Words

WAM:  Madame Moreno, you promised me we would spend more time together.

MM:  I know.  I did.  And I’m sorry.  But I’m just way too busy today.

WAM:  Every Wednesday, you said.  From here on in, we would attend to our blogging every Wednesday.

MM:  I said that, yes, Amadé.  And I meant it at the time.  But that was last week, before I knew I had a final exam in music theory due tomorrow.

WAM:  Music theory, you say?  Now who could be more helpful to you than mois?  Who could enlighten you more?

MM:  Please don’t think me unkind Herr Mozart, but I’m afraid post-tonal music theory is beyond anything you’ve experienced.

WAM:  (SNORTS LOUDLY)  Madame?  To whom do you think you are speaking?

MM:  The musical genius of the 18th Century, of course.

WAM:  Musical genius of all time, my dear.  Excepting, of course, dear Mr. Bach.

MM:  Yes, Amadé, but there are those who have followed you and developed new techniques in the art of writing music. Berg.  Schoenberg.  Messaien. And too many more to mention here.

WAM:  Music is music, my dear.  Now allow me to help you with your examination questions.

MM:  Okay.  What is combinatoriality?

WAM:  Excuse me?

MM: Define invariant sectors.

WAM:  I beg your pardon.

MM:  Help me construct a 12-tone matrix.

WAM:  Are you making fun of me?

MM:  No, Amadé.  I’m just trying to illustrate how much 21st Century music differs from the music of the classical period.

WAM:  Evolved?  Indeed!  Are you saying it is superior to my music?

MM:  Of course not. But music reflects life the way it is today.  Contemporary composers don’t want to write like you, or Mr. Bach.  They can’t.  Their work would be poor imitations.  So they strive to create something completely different.

Come to think of it, it’s pretty much the same with writing fiction. Contemporary authors don’t try to imitate Jane Austen, or Agatha Christie, or Hemmingway.  We strive to write with original voices.

WAM:  Voices, yes.  Now that is something I can understand thoroughly.  When I composed my arias, I always took into consideration the unique properties of the voice of my soprano…

MM:  I don’t have time for this right now, Amadé, I really don’t.  I need to get back to my exam.


MM:  Please don’t be like that.  I promise we’ll get together next week and we’ll write something together.  Perhaps a new murder mystery.  Perhaps one that takes place in 18th C. Vienna.


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