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Music and Mind V The Making of Music I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. —Igor Stravinsky Beethoven:

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Presentation on theme: "Music and Mind V The Making of Music I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. —Igor Stravinsky Beethoven:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Music and Mind V The Making of Music I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. —Igor Stravinsky Beethoven: Quartet from Fidelio 4:57 ♫

2 Where we are.. I.The Appeal of Music March 23 II.The Sound of MusicMarch 30 III.The Hearing of Music April 6 IV. The Structure of Music April 13 IV.The Making of MusicApril 27 V.The Power of MusicMay 4 2

3 Topics for today (but not entirely in this order) Making Music – Composing – Performing – Improvising Operations of the brain in making music 3

4 Conducting An aspect of performing What does a conductor do? Does the conductor make a difference? Variation among conductors – Example: Toscanini His recordings of Mozart seem to hurry by Yet the actual beat is slower than other renditions that seem slower How to explain? “Toscanini elicited a clean, highly articulated sound from orchestras, showering attention-drawing detail upon the listener…” (Jourdain 142) Consequence: the mind of the listener is made more busy 4

5 The minds of great composers: Intuition and Theory Composition vis-a-vis music theory – Great composers do not necessarily make conscious use of music theory – Stravinsky Studied rules of harmony etc. only after using them intuitively – Rimsky-Korsakov Knew nothing of music theory when appointed to U of St. Petersburg – Compare linguistic fluency and rules of grammar 5

6 The minds of great composers: Imagery and Memory Exceptional auditory imagery – Example: Beethoven Ninth symphony Written when he was stone-deaf But his auditory cortex was at its peak of ability – Just not receiving any input from ears Memory – The role of memory in auditory imagery – Some great composers had prodigious memories Mendelssohn – Left the only available copy of Midsummer Night’s Dream music in a London cab – Went home and wrote out the entire score from memory 6

7 The minds of great composers: Inspiration Great composition flows freely.. – from where? – Arrives in composer’s mind fully formed Wagner – It’s like a cow producing milk Saint-Saens – Like an apple tree producing fruit Mozart – Like a sow pissing (Jourdain 170) 7

8 The minds of great composers: Inspiration (cont’d) Inspiration cannot be willed, just happens What various composers have said about how it comes – Mozart: “…say, traveling in a carriage…or during the night when I cannot sleep” – More Mozart: “Whence and how they come I know not; nor can I force them” – Beethoven: “They come unbidden” – Handel (while writing the entire Messiah during a 24-day mania): “I thought I saw all of heaven before me, and the Great God himself” – Puccini: “The music of this opera was dictated to me by God” – Brahms: “I felt that I was in tune with the Infinite, and there is no thrill like it” (Jourdain 170) 8

9 Prodigies Mozart – Started playing harpsichord at age 3 – Began composing at age 5 – Toured Europe at 6, playing at sight & improvising in requested styles – First symphony at age 9 Camille Saint-Saens – As a prodigy, even greater than Mozart Started composing at 3, played Beethoven sonatas at age 5 – Only two or three of his compositions are now widely played Mendelssohn – Midsummer Night’s Dream music at age 17 – But later compositions not as good, even in his own assessment 9

10 The rarity of great composing talent How many classical composers are heard in concert today? – About 250 20% of the compositions most played are by 3 composers – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven 50% by 16 composers 75% by 36 composers (Jourdain 194) What’s going on in recent decades? – Jourdain 194U;LB;195TU – A possible factor: the phonograph (Jourdain 235) The law of concomitant decline 10

11 Chord sequences Some chord transitions flow smoothly—consonance – Typically, to neighbors in the circle of fifths Others grate on the mind—dissonance “If a composer can find a new way of structuring chord progressions, one chord may resolve to another in what is blissful consonance for that system, although the same progression is deemed dissonant in traditional harmony” — Jourdain 1997:104 11

12 Wagner and Tannhäuser Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born in Leipzig on May 22, 1813, and died in Venice on February 13, 1883. He composed Tannhäuser between July 1843 and January 1845, completed the scoring on April 13, 1845, and conducted the first performance on October 19 that year in Dresden. —Howard Hersh San Francisco Symphony program notes 12

13 Tannhäuser Overture (transcription for piano) p. 1 13

14 Tannhäuser Overture (transcription for piano) (7-20) 14 B B F B Gm D Em D♯7D♯7

15 Tannhäuser Overture (transcription for piano) (21-31) 15 B♭mB♭m F ♯ dim EAm C B E DGmF B♭mB♭m dim E Dm +E

16 Tannhäuser Overture (transcription for piano) (32-37) 16 B7++ E B G♯mG♯m F♯F♯ dim B7 0:50

17 Wagner’s tour through the circle of fifths (shown only in part) 17 1 2 5 4 3 6

18 Opening (and closing) chords, New World Symphony 2 nd movement 18

19 Dvořák, from 2 nd movement, New Word Symphony Dvořák, New World Symphony, 2 nd movement 10:40. 22:10New World Symphony, 2 nd movement 19

20 Dvořák’s opening chords 20 3 4 1 7 6 5 2

21 Rhythm and Harmony in Composing Composers tend to use – simple rhythmic patterns when producing complex harmonic progressions Why? – Tonal centers are reinforced by emphasizing certain notes – Best accomplished by making these notes coincide with strong rhythmic beats – Complex rhythmic devices (like syncopation) make those beats less predictable and thus less forceful (Jourdain 152) 21

22 Playing a musical instrument A formidable skill (Jourdain 201Bf) The motor cortex in performers – E.g. violinists The premotor cortex – Planning movements – Higher-level organization of movements 22

23 Right side of head, showing lobes of cortex 23

24 Playing a musical instrument A formidable skill (Jourdain 201Bf) Also involved in playing an instrument – Basal ganglia – Cerebellum (Has more neurons than the cortex) – Somatosensory cortex (in parietal lobe) Feedback of elementary movements – Other parts of parietal lobe Higher-level feedback 24

25 Reading music Uses still other parts of the brain Mainly visual cortex – Occipital lobe – Parietal lobe – Temporal lobe 25

26 Virtuosity Franz Liszt – the greatest ever (Jourdain 223UM) What makes a virtuoso a virtuoso? – Body – e.g., hands – Brain, including Connectivity to emotional centers Excellent auditory imagery – Training and experience Almost all virtuosos started training by age 6 or 7 By 6 for violinists Experience and the brain – In those who started piano by age 8, corpus callosum is 15% larger than in those who started later 15% larger than in those who don’t play at all – Practicing without touching the instrument E.g., Glen Gould (Jourdain 229Bf) 26

27 Improvisation Performing plus on-the-spot composition Even more of the brain is active A frequent feature of 18 th -19 th century perfomances – Mozart – Beethoven – Liszt – Et Al. Often in cadenzas – Perhaps more often in the past – Compare two renditions of the cadenza in Haydn’s trumpet concerto Maurice Andre in Heidelberg (D) Muncher Philharmoniker ♫ 5:04-5:56 ♫ Wynton Marsalis with English Chamber Orchestra ♫ 5:22-6:36 ♫ 27

28 Bach, Well- Tempered Clavier #1, first 4 bars 28

29 Bach, Well- Tempered Clavier #1, next 4 bars 29

30 30 T h a t ‘ s i t f o r t o d a y !

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