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Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers? (Read 1317 times)

Offline maestrowoojulee

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Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
« on: February 21, 2020, 08:42:22 PM »
I know it's important to keep learning Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, etc.
And I respect their contributions, influence, greatness, whatever.. I've learned a decent amount of them... analyzed the hack out of them in Theory, History, and piano literature classes.
But man.. I just don't want to learn any more pre-romantic stuff in expense of all the fun things I can do like Liszt, Ravel, Prokofiev, Kapustin, etc...
Sadly, there's too much emphasis on early composers in our music education.
Any thoughts? Should we have the freedom to omit them completely after a certain point in our studies? Like, have the option to not play those for school auditions, competitions, juries, and such...
 
   

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #1 on: February 21, 2020, 10:28:22 PM »
Of course I love the music of those composers but I think I agree with you. I think one of the reasons educators like to focus on that music simply out of tradition. Teachers tend to teach the way they were taught and since they know the music of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, etc. it's just easier for them the stick to that for teaching purposes.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 02:36:34 AM »
I think you're mistaken about what exactly you're talking about, but you seem sincere, so here's an in nuce history of music.
ic his
No. 

No, but yes.  Do the scale passages in the Bb maj WTC preludeI in thirds.

I mean, it just keeps going on.

Music history, more or less, parallels normal history, so, if you have to look at Mallarmé for the, in some cases literal, texts. then I'd think that's a job well done.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 03:54:34 AM »
I think you're mistaken about what exactly you're talking about, but you seem sincere, so here's an in nuce history of music.
ic his
No. 

No, but yes.  Do the scale passages in the Bb maj WTC preludeI in thirds.

I mean, it just keeps going on.

Music history, more or less, parallels normal history, so, if you have to look at Mallarmé for the, in some cases literal, texts. then I'd think that's a job well done.

??…

Did you mean to post this somewhere else?

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 05:37:25 AM »
Not really:  the main point is that there is not a separate timeline for music history and regular history or general knowledge about.

So, all of the fancy virtuoso XIX pianism didn't just come from nowhere. 

I'm still trying to figure out from where Chopin got his stuff, but from Bach-->CPE|Moz|Hayd-->Beeth.  Well, that's already a large leap.

And then for me there's a large gap between Bach to Debussy, and while I revere and study and play Beethoven, and understand theoretically how to describe chromaticism and so forth, up to, say, integral serialism, it's not a transition I fully understand.

In short, I do find it helpful to keep in mind concurrent trends in the "competing" arts of the time, as well as the political problems of the time.

ETA Oh, ad supra, yes, I probably did not do that good.  I have some problems with this computer keyboard.  Eh, whatever, I leave it for future archaeologists of the web to decipher. 
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 07:35:45 AM »
Not really:  the main point is that there is not a separate timeline for music history and regular history or general knowledge about.

So, all of the fancy virtuoso XIX pianism didn't just come from nowhere. 

I'm still trying to figure out from where Chopin got his stuff, but from Bach-->CPE|Moz|Hayd-->Beeth.  Well, that's already a large leap.

And then for me there's a large gap between Bach to Debussy, and while I revere and study and play Beethoven, and understand theoretically how to describe chromaticism and so forth, up to, say, integral serialism, it's not a transition I fully understand.

In short, I do find it helpful to keep in mind concurrent trends in the "competing" arts of the time, as well as the political problems of the time.

ETA Oh, ad supra, yes, I probably did not do that good.  I have some problems with this computer keyboard.  Eh, whatever, I leave it for future archaeologists of the web to decipher. 

I'm sorry, you've lost me there. The original post was about why there is such a strong emphasis on German Classical (or Baroque in the case of Bach) composers in music education/recitals/competitions etc. and whether people here thought students should be allowed to focus more on later composers. This has nothing to do with history. It's about how pianists spend their practise time today. (Or perhaps I'm missing something?)

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #6 on: February 22, 2020, 04:36:02 PM »
This has nothing to do with history. It's about how pianists spend their practise time today. (Or perhaps I'm missing something?)

Well, it gets to be a tautology, but the reason is that it's traditional.  A form of recognizing historical precedent, and coming to terms with it through one's repertoire.

That's my only point:  it's done this way because that's indeed how it happened, on an historical timeline.

There are odd variants and methods that come up from time to time, like speaking Esperanto or inventing new notations, but aside from legitimate frolics such as using set builder notation or various "listening scores," there's not much to add.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #7 on: February 22, 2020, 09:16:53 PM »
Well, it gets to be a tautology, but the reason is that it's traditional.  A form of recognizing historical precedent, and coming to terms with it through one's repertoire.

That's my only point:  it's done this way because that's indeed how it happened, on an historical timeline.

There are odd variants and methods that come up from time to time, like speaking Esperanto or inventing new notations, but aside from legitimate frolics such as using set builder notation or various "listening scores," there's not much to add.

Yes, that's what I said too. It's a matter of tradition.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #8 on: February 23, 2020, 04:55:10 AM »
Yes, that's what I said too. It's a matter of tradition.

Well, good.  I think that's the correct answer.

But what about the OP?

What I was supposing was that he or she had some radical idea, about excising large swaths of history, and somehow getting to the "really good stuff."

And my initial answer was probably directed to such a deranged ideal  A simple:  "No."  We don't think about history in such a way, and, so, music history is not written in that way.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline maestrowoojulee

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #9 on: February 23, 2020, 07:23:38 AM »
Well, good.  I think that's the correct answer.

But what about the OP?

What I was supposing was that he or she had some radical idea, about excising large swaths of history, and somehow getting to the "really good stuff."

And my initial answer was probably directed to such a deranged ideal  A simple:  "No."  We don't think about history in such a way, and, so, music history is not written in that way.

Well I wasn't trying to claim newer compositions are 'better' than the older ones, or that we should remove a chunk of pre 1800s composers from our education curriculum because they are somehow less 'advanced' than what comes after.
As I mentioned in the OP, I think studying and understanding traditions is important, and I couldn't agree more that composers built upon what they learned from others and added their own distinct flavors. In order to have a holistic understanding of a piece, we obviously need to identify its roots, and as we discover more connections our interpretations would change accordingly. That's all good.

Why I'm frustrated is that so much emphasis is put on those 'traditional' composers
that we have very little time to explore other things. If we want to specialize in a certain  contemporary composer for a semester, we should have the freedom to do that. Instead, the curriculum forces you to learn Bach, Beethoven, etc. relentlessly. Even worse, they are consequently what our teachers know the best and feel the most comfortable teaching.
Every time I perform an obscure piece for juries, competition, etc, when I see the comment sheet I see very little constructive criticism: 1-2 liner like "Exciting performance! Maybe you can occasionally have more dynamic contrasts." When I play a Beethoven sonata??? Fking dissertations. Meausre x-x must keep the same pulse, LH needs to be even, staccato has to be crisp, need to shift characters, smoother phrasing, etc...
Just yikes man!         
 
   

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #10 on: February 23, 2020, 03:45:31 PM »
Every time I perform an obscure piece for juries, competition, etc, when I see the comment sheet I see very little constructive criticism: 1-2 liner like "Exciting performance! Maybe you can occasionally have more dynamic contrasts." When I play a Beethoven sonata??? Fking dissertations. Meausre x-x must keep the same pulse, LH needs to be even, staccato has to be crisp, need to shift characters, smoother phrasing, etc...
Just yikes man!         

OK.  I understand you now.  I do apologize for being a bit cryptic earlier:  it wasn't intentional, or intended to criticize you in particular.

Well, what can I say?  I think perhaps these people who are setting up such an environment aren't using all of their faculties, at least when addressing performances by students.

Doesn't have to be that way, but I do sympathize with you.  I think probably most people have shared that experience. 

It's regrettable, but, hey, what can be done? 

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline mrcreosote

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Re: Thoughts on 'mandatory' German Composers?
«Reply #11 on: April 13, 2020, 07:20:20 AM »
I think it is related to the fact that musical complexity has been increasing exponentially.

When you are learning, you start with the easy stuff first, Bach, Beethoven, ...  and then slowly progress to the more complex musics.