Quality not Quantity Becomes the Key Question for People. What does that mean? Let’s start by discussing a primary source of quantity: the periodic chart. It gives defining information of the elements of nature as well as some that are man made.
Above is an elementalal excerpt from a periodic chart. The quantity of particles determines the substance and properties.
Five protons in the nucleus makes an atom of boron.
Six, makes an atom of carbon.
Seven makes notrogen.
With people we have a paradox. The elements that make different people are basically the same for everyone. However, with people, quality makes the difference. How agreeable is your personality? Do you finish projects you’ve started? Do you show your family affection? How well do you do your job?
Quality versus Quantity in Music
With the arts: Does your oil painting move others? Did the audience love your piano rendition? Are you leading a happy and rewarding life? These qualities cannot be ascribed to ordinary elements. People have a higher calling than the physical. Some call it soul. Perhaps it’s self-motivation or personality? Perhaps quality is an inherited trait? Whatever it is, it is above the physical plane.
The picture to the right is of Maurice Ravel seated at the piano. His compositions are of exceptional quality. Had he written 10 times as many compositions as he did, but all terrible, no one would have listened to his music. Because of quality, he is a highly revered French Impressionistic composer. Below is a sample of my own piano playing with violinist Steven Greenman. The concert was just given in Ohio at the Circleville High School auditorium.
I personality love the piano music of Franz Schubert. In addition to great melodies, I find him to be a rare master of rests. He frames his phrases and motifs beautifully with rests. They have tremendous artistic impact- I think more so than any other composer. Hopefully I will soon be posting my own rendition soon of his Sonata Op 120 in A. Keep checking the site. Thanks.
Conclusion: We all have quantity. It’s our quality that makes us outstanding as individuals. Feel free to share the post.
Muskets With Music in Glory and Honor. Music and Military have a history of partnership. Tschaikovsky wrote the Overture of 1812 without muskets. But, canons added to the musical allure. Incidentally, it was written under the sponsorship of a Russian widow. A certain, Mme. von Meck who was a great patron of composers. She also helped Claude Debussy, sponosring his trip to the Orient to study musical styles, . Without sponsors, composers cannot function. But even worse, they are often derided for not getting a job. If that happens, the quality of music descends to the level of rhythm with a few tones here and there for a primitive type of incantation. What you get is a rough and brutish, sound.
Composers who love the music have to go through untold hardship. Schubert died an early death from hardships. Mozart suffered the same fate. But it is the culture of a country that dies when artists are not supported. The following has already happened:
Rhythmic attempts at writing songs have become the norm.
Even rhythmic novelty is lost in favor of a boring and repetitive beat to which people shake and shimmy.
Music like rap becomes as good as it gets. Melody is then replaced by monotonous motifs.
Punk rock and hard rock with repetition ad nauseum, played loudly, define the musical culture. Of course the populace complains.
Vulgarity joins rhythm. The rule is: The worse the music, the greater the vulgarity. Beautiful melodies are ridiculed.
My wife and I, as composers of opera, operetta, instrumental works and musicals have led challenging lives. But yet, we still sacrificed for music while raising our family. When times are difficult for many, then melody and beauty return in the culture. This is true for art, music and dance. That is the wave of the future! Sharon and I are happy to ride that wave. Some, who heard our music 5 years ago, are recontacting us, because they also believe the time for beautiful is right.
Enjoy Our Memorial Day 2014 Presentation Glory and Honor Under the Baton of Bill Barbanera and the Sarasota Concert band- Complete with the Muskets of Civil War Re-Enactors on This youtube presentation.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s search for Schubert’s Rosamunde: Good stories make good blogs. One of my favorites is about Gilbert and Sullivan’s discovery of the music for Schubert’s Rosamunde. Rosamunde, Fürstin von Zypern (Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus) is a play by Helmina von Chézy. It is mainly remembered for the incidental music by Franz Schubert. The play premiered in Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on 20 December 1823.
THE CLIFF HANGER QUEST OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN
Gilbert and Sullivan had many quests. They had heard of Schubert’s Rosamunde which was lost. They traveled to Germany to find the music. There, they caught wind of a certain Doctor Snyder who may have been in possession of the score. The rest of the story reads like a cliff hanger. When they arrived at his home, Dr. Snyder told them he had had a number of Schubert’s manuscripts in his attic. Unfortunately, he placed them in the trash bin. The operetta duo ran to the trash. There, they not only discovered the score to Rosamunde, but numerous other symphonic works by Schubert. The rest of the story goes, they were so excited at the find, that they immediately played leap frog with each other.
Creators Come First, Not Concert Halls
I find this story quite significant to blog about. So many composers had had to have patrons or backers. It the baroque era, it was the Church. In the classical era, it was the nobility. In the romantic era, donors and backers were rich patrons. They helped composers to live and thrive not only for a day, but for decades. This is leading up to another upcoming blog: It will present the premise that without the support of musical creators by patrons, our concert halls will be without quality, vision or direction. The old names only serve us for so long. Only God is eternal. I personally have heard nothing but belittling comments and disapproval on my being a composer. “When are you going to make a living?” “Composing is fun. Life is hard work.” My question in return has always been. “Where does quality in life come from?”. Without the arts, life is short and brutish. I ask my public to please take an interest in something more than buildings. First, we must support the creators who give the musicians in the concert hall new music. After all, there might not be a Gilbert and Sullivan around at the right moment to save another poor Schubert-like composer.
Melody and 3/4 time are returning. Music that is heavy on square, off beat rhythm and simple chant but lacks beauty of melody and rhythmic variety has overstayed its welcome. They have been like guests that just won’t leave. These guests, by the way, have names. I call them the three “R’s”: Rock and Roll and Rap. Most of their rhythms are square . They dominate through 4/4 or 2/4 time meters. Two of the guests, Rock and Roll, insist and the constant hypnotic repetition of the “upbeat,” beats two and four. These three guests tend to avoid triple meter like the plague. To them, the words and melody of the 1936 song “By Strauss” music by George and lyrics by Ira Gershwin represent a worst case scenario: Ira Gershwin writes about how a melody in 3/4 time literally goes lilting through the house. By the way, you can enjoy By Strauss in the classic movie, the 1951 production of :An American in Paris. It is a showstopper It is danced with comedy and verve as only Gene Kelly can. The movie was inspired by the 1928 orchestral work with the same title by George Gershwin. It also features some of Gershwin’s most loved songs. The climax is a 16 minute ballet on the 1928 orchestral work. By the way, the movie won 8 academy awards.
Detail from frontispiece to Thomas Wilson’s Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816), showing nine positions of the Waltz, clockwise from the left- where the musicians are seated (from Wikopedia)
THE EFFECT OF TIME METERS ON THE PUBLIC
Duple (2/4 and 4/4) meters have sharp angles. Just watch a conductor outlining the angular motions with his baton. Triple meter can be conducted with a baton going in circles. When understanding time meters and their effects, the alchemical “squaring of the circle” takes on new meaning: Duple meters are earthbound. The square is associated with the alchemical element of of earth. The circle represents heaven. Squaring the circle means bringing heaven to earth. The circle represents spiritual qualities- Qualities that are beautiful but you cannot touch. We need to paraphrase “squaring the circle.” Since the angular rhythms have been so prominent for the last 60 years, we need to “circle the square” with 3/4 time and melody.
OUR RICH WALTZ TRADITION
I recommend this needed return to melody written in three-four time meter. It will help with our spiritual survival which ultimately helps our physical survival. This task is up to the composers. One such popular waltz number is by Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken. Norwegian Wood by the Beatles is another. You Light Up My life by Joe Brooks is a third example. Schubert wrote a collection of waltzes. Brahms has a book of waltzes. Chopin, of course loved waltzes and gave the Viennese waltz a Polish twist. Remember Strauss, the waltz king, which the Gershwins championed as I just wrote about above. The old minuet is in 3/4 time. Let’s look to these rich traditions of the past. Then we can turn around to face the future, knowing that our lives will be happier as a result. Incidentally, the ancient Greeks had the same thoughts about music – that music affects character. They called this musical property by the name of “ethos”.