Mechanics and Beauty

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Rich

Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Rich » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:28 pm

I working on my polyphonic skills. I am using Percy Goetschius's Counter Point Applied, In the Invention, Fugue, Cannon and Other Polyphonic Forms. I am getting the mechanics down and can take a subject and set it to counterpoint. But it is just that, mechanics. I haven't crossed that boundary between rudiments, or mechanics, and art. I am just wondering out loud if others have a sense of that boundary and what it means to cross it.

Gene

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Gene » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:23 pm

One meaning is how it plays. A boundary is the threshold perhaps so when you are done writing and play it back were it is dis, alter or change the key. That is a line drawn but the subject is the art! Also any invention in the development ,many of the rules are not strictly followed by Mozart or Hayden.

michael karmon

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by michael karmon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:56 pm

Good topic! I've taken a lot of music theory classes, and I find that none of that stuff has a *direct* correlation to the music I write. But I do think the study of counterpoint (and other musical topics,) makes you a better and more preceptive musician. It influences you in unexpected, indirect ways. I think the cliche of immersing yourself in music theory, and then forgetting about it and just writing what comes naturally is a good way to go.

Rich

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Rich » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:26 am

michael karmon wrote: I think the cliche of immersing yourself in music theory, and then forgetting about it and just writing what comes naturally is a good way to go.
I expect you are right but I just feel like I have to pay my dues first. I am trying to write a fugue for Guitar, really trying to get a handle on the contrapuntal process. It is a challenge and I don't know if the final result will be an artful piece of music or not but I think it is an exercise that is necessary in my development as a composer for classical guitar. My goal is to write something in all of the classical forms before taking the step to which you refer.

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Sat Aug 24, 2013 2:01 pm

Music theory is, without doubt, indispensable to the serious composer. But, it is well worth bearing in mind that all music theory is simply a 'codification' or rationalisation of the actual music that precedes it. In other words, theory comes after composition. Learning music theory means learning what has been done, it doesn't necessarily mean what will come in the future.

michael karmon

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by michael karmon » Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:37 pm

Rich wrote:I expect you are right but I just feel like I have to pay my dues first. I am trying to write a fugue for Guitar, really trying to get a handle on the contrapuntal process. It is a challenge and I don't know if the final result will be an artful piece of music or not but I think it is an exercise that is necessary in my development as a composer for classical guitar. My goal is to write something in all of the classical forms before taking the step to which you refer.
Yes, absolutely, you have to pay your dues first. Nd you're definitely going about it the right way. But I think expecting the result to be artful might be putting too much pressure on yourself. I'm not saying you should lower your standards, but rather immerse yourself in the details and mechanics of the task, and I think that will give you the most benefit for your investment of time and effort. Good luck with it!!

Max Karios

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Max Karios » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:34 pm

Rich wrote:I haven't crossed that boundary between rudiments, or mechanics, and art. I am just wondering out loud if others have a sense of that boundary and what it means to cross it.
Composition is a craft, and as such it needs practice. I tried to write pieces with imitating counterpoint and failed, because I wanted too much too soon. If you were to learn carpentry, you probably would not be so bold as to manufacture a replica of an 18th century Chippendale cabinet as your first venture. It just cannot be done.

The only way to go seems to be to just write something and not to care about whether it is art or junk. Then write another piece and just try to be better than before. Do not set a goal to write exactly one fugue but a hundred - one each day. I think you cannot get it cheaper than that. If we see the works of the big guys we do not see what amount of work was necessary to get them to the point where you can just pull something off your sleeve. That is the same mistake that anyone makes who hears you play an instrument, thinking that you must be a genius to do this, but not realizing that you put in thousands of practice hours to develop proficiency.

I am convinced that almost anyone can produce beautiful counterpoint compositions who is willing to put in a few thousand hours of training. If you learn to play an instrument you will surely develop your articulation and tone control beyond your initial expectations. Why should it be different with composition?

Rich

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Rich » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Thank you Max. I think you nailed it for me. I believe it is just as you said:
The only way to go seems to be to just write something and not to care about whether it is art or junk.
I just have to keep doing it. It's seems as though it is not unlike learning a new piece or passage. I move the fingers slowly in difficult spots to build that muscle memory. I go from trying to gain control to a more reflexive position. With polyphony I am at that stage of slow movement with a view toward just gaining control. It will be some time before it is a more reflexive process.

Gene

Re: Mechanics and Beauty

Post by Gene » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:08 pm

Also you can expand your research, the book you have may not be complete nor meant for self study.

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