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2011年7月29日 星期五

為何要學習音樂理論和分析

前言:

梁 sir 大半生都是以教導音樂理論和分析為生。如果可能,總會找個時間對學生解釋為何他們要學習音樂理論。當然,對大部份學生而言,他們學習的目的,就是考試。甚麼皇家音樂院考試,甚麼聖三一音樂考試,考完試,拿張文憑就算了。除了拿來 show qualification 之外,好像音樂理論是沒有用似的。查實,理論十分實用,是所有學生必需學習的。以下就是本人對音樂理論用途的看法。

正文:

但凡學音樂的,他們都有學習的重點。音樂學習的範圍其實很大,並不是一般外行人以為,學音樂就只是學玩樂器,如彈琴,唱歌,拉小提琴等。當然,學音樂,少不免要學樂器,但也有一些學生的學習目的是學習作曲。除此之外,學生也可以學習了解音樂,從而懂得欣賞音樂。不論你學習的重點是甚麼,你都需要懂得音樂理論。那麼,音樂理論拿來何用?


其實理論是拿來作分析之用。但凡要學習一個 object,我們都必須運用特定的 theory 去分析其特定的特質。就以結構理論來說,我們可以用用不同的角度去觀察,了解。從最小部份的自身結構,到與其他相關部份之關係,最後到連結全個整體結構的關係。

了解樂曲的結構,可以助彈奏者演譯樂曲。經分析後,樂曲的句子,樂段,大樂段等,就當然菱角分明。演奏者就可以清楚以不同方式演奏出來。雖然樂曲或會很長,觀眾也可以容易明白了。

學習作曲的朋友,當然也可以了解樂曲結構,從而學會寫作自己的作品。任何作品,也有形式,形式顯示,就當是結構了。Form and structure 是息息相關的。學生學作曲,不能沒有 form,就好像流動的水,是沒有form的,所以是沒有結構,我們也捉不住。但水注入了任何形狀的樽,就有了form,樽的結構,就是那樽的形狀,水在樽中,水也有了形態,我們了解樽的形狀,也就可以了解,明白水了。

例如,學生要寫一個 sonata,這種樂曲的form 有一些特定的 structure,如果從分析 sonata 作品的樂曲結構,學會了樂曲的每個相關部份和其相互關係,同學們就可以入手寫作自己的作品了。

對於了解音樂為學習重點的同學而言,可視音樂為一種語言,作為作品 (作曲家) 與聽眾溝通之用。我們看小說,難道我們可以了解其故事,卻不清楚其中的情節,伂局,結構等嗎? 一篇文章,讀者是要了解哪裡是引言,哪裡是呈示主題,哪裡是發展主題,有多少個次要點支持主題,最後哪裡是結論。這樣才算是明白這篇文章。


所以, music theory 是幫助我們清楚呈現音樂作品的某方面的特定面貌。結構理論,當然是幫助我們了解樂曲的結構。可是,不同的音樂理論,是可以幫助我們了解不同的角度和面貌。看同一個作品,也不會只是囿限運用某一種理論。可以是各種理論一起運用。當然,每種理論也有其點,有些適宜幫助了解樂曲作品的 performance ,但另一些是幫助我們了解 作品是如何 composing out 的,所以就對學作曲的朋友較有用處,有一些理論,卻對我們作為聽眾甚有用處。因為我們用它來觀察分析作品,可以使我們對作品定出一個全新的理解和詮釋。音樂作品,不單可以喚起我們的情緒反應,也可以引導我們理性上的沉思,使我們產生對藝術作品的美學反應。

話雖如此,學生們從來不以彈奏樂器同樣的態度去學習音樂理論。他們不介意用多年時間學樂器彈奏,卻嫌學幾個月的理論為多。最好越快越好,三兩個月就可以拿個 AMusTCL。我以過來人來說,我的各種精巧理論和分析音樂作品的能力,也培養了超過十年。就像一個從事演奏的朋友,也要起碼超過十年,才有像樣的東西 show 給人看。

現在彈琴學生們最流行考的八級音樂理論,只是小學程度的理論。雖然學過了,也不夠用來分析一個 Master 的作品。同學們常說理論沒有用處,真的是小覷了音樂理論了。

梁 sir 即將開辦的 Schenkerian Analysis 分析理論,就是專為幫助 performer 演譯作品的一個理論。其程度就超越了所謂的 LMusTCL 高級理論的程度。就連 Undergraduate 畢業的同學,也只簡略知道有這樣一個理論,根本就未能懂得運用在作品身上。

因此,香港學習音樂的怪現象,真是越講越有。幸好,這半年來,看這個網誌的讀者也有一點。他們間中留言鼓勵,以示支持,本人也十分感激。我也不害怕,多談我對音樂分析,音樂理論的看法,也發表一些學術文章,讓不同程度的讀者,從歷史更風格,從樂曲和聲到結構等,從美學到社會文化等去了解音樂作品。



全文完



David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-07-29 (published)

2011年7月24日 星期日

音樂專題討論: Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis

Dear students,

It is a good new that Leung Sir Music Center is going to offer a new course on advance music analysis.

Please leave down your contact email or phone if you are interested in. Further information about this course, please don't hesitate to email Leung Sir (theorydavid@yahoo.com.hk)

Have you ever heard of Schenkerian Analysis? This is a very useful analytical theory to help us to understand the tonal structure as well as the way of composing out of tonal musical works. Such theory is so famous that performers, as well as composers and piano teachers are eager to learn. LeungSir believes that no private music sectors will offer such course.

Leung Sir will tailor this theory to suitable students of different levels so that they can understand and make use of it according to their needs.

The whole course will include the following topics:

1. Brief introduction to Schenkerian Analysis

2. Melody and Counterpoint

3. Bass Linge and Harmonic Structure

4. Linear techniques

5. Tonal Strucutre

6. Techniques of Melodic Prolongation

7. Some Basic of Fundamental Structures

8. Some Common Tonal Patterns

9. Introduction to Graphic Notation

10. Set Pieces Discussion

Students should possess qualified Harmony knowledge in order to fully assimilate the concept of this theory.

Number of lessons: 10

Date : August 10 2011 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:45pm to 10:00pm

Students : 6-8

(All materials will be provided)

David Leung

2011年7月14日 星期四

Analysis, Descriptive, and What Really Happens (Dubiel Joseph) - Reviews

Preface:

When doing music anaysis, we tend to label the chords in terms of Roman numerals figure bass symbols on the score. This kind of analysis is often termed tonal structure analysis. we rarely explain how these chords mean in terms of audience perceptions. Recent scholarship on the similar topics seems change. In stead of understanding what tonal elements have been used  and how they relates to the tonal structure, we tend to seek the audiable phenomenon in relationship with audience. Simply put, how musical elements, including harmonic features, are used to enhance an effect on aural perception, which engender expressive meaning to listeners. Below is an article discussing about this issue.


Analysis, Descriptive, and What Really Happens – Dubiel Joseph



Although there is a clear distinction between musical analysis and musical description in the present theoretical discourses, Dubiel’s talk seems to narrow this distinction, and make an alternative, or to extend the scope, of musical analysis. Dubiel uses two examples to demonstrate that a new conception of the piece can change the evaluation and the way of listening to and understanding of the piece. Different in sound is the result of a different in conception. This is why Dubiel suggests that a new conception of what the music is doing is to some degree a new conception of what music can do. The power of thought about music can determine what music is. For Dubiel, to analyze a piece of music means “to explain how it should be heard, and to explain how a given musical event should be heard on must show why it occurs: what preceding events have made it necessary or appropriate, toward what later events its function is to lead”. This explanation has to be teleological, empirical, and audible. Any meta-analytical framework should be avoided in musical analysis.



In most cases, I believe that what Dubiel suggests is the true musical experience in many listeners. However, to me, the so-called “conception” that Dubiel suggests is a “perspective” of listening. It works something like lenses. All theories just works similar to various lenses – anthropological, philosophical, linguistic, ethical, social, queer, aesthetical, political, formal, and so forth – through which a musical work may appropriately be listened, and by appropriately I mean to limit the range of lenses to those for which some good justification based in the work itself may be found. Applying various lenses to musical work is for analyzing purpose, in order to uncover the values of that analyzed piece.



Therefore, Dubiel’s teleological theory of music is a kind of reception theory. Since music theory covers a large variety of different kinds, what is a successful theory will very depend on how far this theory can successfully offer listeners a new perspective and understanding of the musical work. If the theory can lead us go “beyond” our understanding of the work, no matter it helps in audible aspect, or compositional aspect, or even the structural aspect, I believe, this is a good and successful music theory, since it uncover the intrinsic and hidden values of that musical art-work.



David Leung (theorydavid)



2011-07-14 (pubished)

2011年7月2日 星期六

The Reading Report of Glenn Gould's The Prospects of Recording

Foreword:

I am quite busy recently since I have rented a flat to start private music theory teaching. However, publishing music topic articles is still my habit. This time I would like to give a reading report of an article by Glenn Gould. Glenn Gould was an usual pianist and artist. His almost perfect interpretation of Bach's polyphonic keyboard music, together with his strange, yet eriee, body actions during performance, never fail to leave behind a deep impression to audience. Below is some interesting points declared by Gould about his views on recording technology.


The Reading Report of Glenn Gould Prospects of Recording 



Gould believes that the manifold influences of the music by electronic medium are overwhelming and unaccountable.  Public concert, undoubtedly, is in a predicament that is going to be replaced by the musical recording as approaching to 21st Century.  The impact of recording is not only exerted upon the commercial world, but also onto the performer, audience, composer, concert impresario, technical engineer, critic, historian, musicologist and scholar.  Electronic technology enhances high acoustic performance and thus it raises the standard of demanding for ‘foremost’ musical sonorities.  Recording also fosters the exploitation of untapped, undiscovered musical repertoire.  Professional musicologists, as well as the performers, have been forced to put a great effort on exploring, manipulating, analyzing, realizing and performing them.  Gould, furthermore, asserts that many of those appreciable, nearly forgotten Renaissance and Baroque music can reappear to the listeners, changing their listening selections and helping them to escape from the bombarding, furious and unsavory musical sound of the 20th Century contemporary music.  Moreover, recording changes the position of the standard repertoire, which is based largely on the ‘mastery’ pieces.  Even some of the neglected superb and full of accomplishments compositions, because of the recording, are revalued and preserved. 

High technique of tape splice in musical recording also changes the performance style and way of interpretation.  It avails to overcome the limitation of the external performing environment and also the technicality of the performer.  This monumental impact satisfies the so-called pursuing ‘perfection’ in music, which is an inherent attribute of a composer, performer, audience, as well as the human.  Hence the live recording that is full of discontented and unexpected misktakes, therefore, is insufferable.  The role of a performer, because of the high-tech editing process, becomes shifting from a mere performer to a demandable audience, and even a creative composer.  Recording also alters the role of audience, from passive to active.  Listener can utilize the tape-editing option freely to ‘create’ his/her own ‘ideal’ musical sound, performance and style.  The conventional ‘musical hierarchy, that is the broader-line between composer-performer-audience, is then blurred. 

Conclusively, as the increasing popularity of the electronic medium and everlasting stride of the

technology itself, Gould believes that, the dominance of Western musical culture will be diminished. 

The world will be permeated with diversity of musical cultures, from every corner of the world.  All

musical styles are mixed up.  A new epoch of electronic age of music is inaugurated.  In the

foreseeable future, in this fascinating new time, audience would be the artist, and their life would be

art.

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-07-01 (published)