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2012年1月27日 星期五

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part VI

引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


Part VI



    The work begins with an orchestral tutti playing an “out-of-key” scalic descending melody and is accompanied by a percussive “street beat” pattern.  This opening “mistaken” sound seems to inform the listeners that this piece is neither written for any concert nor amateur band, but is written as a record of the composer’s past listening experience of street performances.  Ives seems to capture such performances from a nebulous memory of childhood.  Although the form this work is not that of a March, the themes are designed in the style of March, portraying a high spirited but affectionate festive atmosphere.  The quoted tunes are always placed on the top of the sonic layers.  Fragment of London Bridge appears most, serving a role similar to that of the Countermelody to support other borrowed tunes.  For example, an altered fragment of The Girl I Left Behind Me follows immediately the first appearance of London Bridge in mm. 24-28, but the residue of London Bridge is still lingering in the sonic background. 

    As I have mentioned before, Country March Band consists of a hotchpotch of quotations in different styles, but they are molded into a framework of March-like piece.  By adding a collage of tunes related to the main tunes and to one another by melodic resemblance, genre, or extra-musical association, the thoughts of the listener, who may be reminded of other tunes that sound similar, or of pieces the band has played before, or of other musical pieces recently heard, or hear more and less extraneous music in his/her mind at different points, as he/her mind wanders and refocuses.[1]  In fact, it is not important whether a listener could identify all the quotations from the piece.  Just as a daily life event that we do not need to count how many apples, oranges and bananas are there in a basket in order to recognize that it is a basket of fruit.  Now, more important is the entirety, not the partial.  Ives’ uses of a hotchpotch of quotations in the Country Band March produces a similar effect to listeners.  Such a cluster of borrowings, mostly marches and patriotic tunes, and several popular songs surrounding the main tunes, therefore, could never fail to evoke a sense of festive experience in our daily life.  Certainly this is a boisterous and lively moment with procession music of March and Patriotic tunes pervaded.  As such, for listeners who are familiar with the American cultures or New England cultural milieu, the entire borrowed clusters, perhaps, may represent a high-spirit affectionate caricature, reflecting the heydays of Ives’ hometown.  To those listeners of non-native background, for instance, as Hong Kong Chinese, my listening experience could associate to the celebrative occasions related to the Disney Visiting. 

    The procession music is not difficult to recall a HongKongese’s experience of visiting and watching Disney’s Shows in the Park.  In fact Disney is a worldwide symbol of fantasies and dreams.  They significantly represent an illusive world of manufacturing happiness and laughter.  Celebrative music in March style is easily heard in every corner of the Disney world.  Parade music becomes one of the signs of worldwide Disney’s world.  As such, the collage quotations in Country Band March are really the “Disney experience” captured in some Hong Kong listeners’ memory.  The metaphor of “Disney Visiting” is no doubt created from one of the Hong Kong popular cultures.  Apart from seeing quotation in Ives’ music as photos in a photo-album or a painting contained many paintings, we can also understand quotation as a reflection of the past in terms of “flashback effect.”  This is the third metaphor conceptualize our minds on the understanding of quotation.


[1] Burkholder, All Made of Tunes, 386-87.

To Be Continued.....


David Leung (theorydavid)

2012-01-27 (published)

2012年1月16日 星期一

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part V

  引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


Part V:



Whether the borrowed tune and the last fading sound is an experience of mourning for the nostalgic loss, or acclaim of the past, a preserved value of the childhood or any other kind is no longer the matter.  What is most important is that the series of quotations juxtaposed in this song is a perception of the sonic world which denies interconnectedness, continuity, but which confers on each moment the character of a mystery, leaving a space for us to search what happened and what was there.  The Quotations in the form of song, therefore, is as evocative as the photo images in a private album.  They can always be capable of linking our distant past with that of the present, bringing us a sense of emotional responses in that particular moment.      
 

If the different quotations in The Things My Father Loved are like the “photos” collected in an private sonic album, Ives’ another piece, Country Band March, which comprises a hotchpotch of borrowed tunes of March, Folk and Pop, will somewhat resembles a “photo” or “painting” which contains many other sonic photos or paintings.  This comes to the discussion of the second metaphor of quotation. 



Quotation: “Paintings” inside a Sonic Painting
 

Paintings/photos often depict things.  Things depicted, albeit an image, often have values.  To have things painted and pout on a canvas or recorded down on a photo is unlike buying it and putting it in your house.  If you have a painting/photo, you obtain also the sense of the value of the “thing” it represents.”[1] An art lover is possible to possess all the paintings he liked by owning a painting painted with his all beloved, just like the following painting, Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in His Private Picture Gallery by David Teniers (1582-1649, see example 1).



Example 1: Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in His Private Picture Gallery by David Teniers


Numbers of paintings inside a painting can show Archduke Leopold Wilhelm’s sights: sights of what he may possess and want to possess.  This painting of private picture gallery could be a symbol of his wealth, fame, taste, and contribution.  But these quotes might have more values that they actually acquired.  When we appreciate such painting, we also appreciate the value of the entire collection bestowed upon it.  It is not necessary for a viewer to identify all paintings, but more important is the emotional responses aroused from such perceptive experiences.


Similarly, all quotations collected in Ives’ private sonic album, the piece Country Band March, are “things,” and thus possess values.  Country Band March, in fact, is a vivid sonic picture of an amateur band playing with beats dropped and added, parts of step, miscues, mistranspositions, spontaneous solos and general high spirits.  Interestingly, Wiley Hitchcock calls it “an American equivalent of Mozart’s Musical Joke.”[1]  The borrowed fragments consist of various styles of tune: London Bridge, The Girl Left Behind Me, The Battle Cry of Freedom, Arkansas Traveler, Semper Fideles March, Yankee Doodle, British Grenadiers and at least two popular songs, Violets and My Old Kentucky Home.[2]  Some of the quotes are patriotic and celebrative, while others are nostalgic, folk and popular.  To Ives, capturing all sonic elements of the past in this piece could be a way of preserving the most valued “things.”  These sonic “things” belong to the past, for example, a sense of remembrance and love, or nostalgia of a beloved person, and place, or an experience of past life.  By appearing in form of quotations, these “past” things become present, become values.  When listeners are invited to search what were there inside this collection of sonic photos, what values could we find? 


To Be Continued.........
David Leung (theorudavid0
2012-01-11 (published)




[1] Hitchcock, Ives, 73.
[2] James Sinclair lists all borrowed tunes in the program notes of the full score of Country Band March (Bryn Mawr,   Pennsylvania: Merion Music Inc, 1976).





[1] John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: Biritish Broadcast Corporation and Penguin Books, 1972), 83.

2012年1月7日 星期六

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part IV

  引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


Part IV:




Not only does the first quotation in the song The Things Our Father Loved work like a sonic photo that invites us to share the experience with Ives, all the rest of the quoted tunes function similarly.  After the “Kentukcy” tune of “long ago” brings us to Ives’ imagined “home,” the borrowed old folk song of On the Banks of the Wabash comes next.  The piano sonority becomes more and more dissonant.  Perhaps, it is a kind of appassionate dissonance.  The music of “aunt Sarah’s humming from the organ on the main street”[1] is another sonic photo that we can experience.  While the sense of religious faith emanated from the borrowed Gospel of Nettleton is still haunting us, the patriotic song of The Battle Cry of Freedom suddenly intrudes into our muse of devout.  The block chord accompaniment in the right hand and the swing-like skipping bass in the left hand seem to raise listener’s spirit courageously higher and higher.  The effect of the quoted songs now is no longer the halcyon remembrance or pious meditation, but is changed to a kind of patriotic bravey.  But how does this effect influence our sensation and experience?



To listeners, the march-like music stepping restlessly forward until reaching the climax is particularly a high spirited moment.  We can hear the highest sounding of the piano chords, contrasting with the inexorable descending low bass, to reinforce the voice singing, “all red, white and blue, now!”  This is a moment that Ives attains his “liberty,” or more directly, Ives’s “liberty” in terms of ours, that is, a moment of all made of memorable tunes!  Not for a second, a sweet quoted family folk, In the Sweet Bye and Bye, furtively emerges from the biosterious climatic reverberation.  When the running semiquaver arpeggios are still keeping their rapid chromatic motion, listeners’ sensations are caught up again in this conclusive time.  What are the “things” our father loved?  It is an out-of-key, even distorted, nearly unrecognized fragmental tune from the Sweet Bye and Bye, singing, “in my soul of the things our Fathers loved.”  The unresolved G# dominant ninth chord in the piano suspends softly in the open air, seeming to call listeners to search what was there once again.  It is the final sonic photo in Ives’ private collection.


To be Continued.....


David Leung (theorydavid)

2012/01/07 (published)






[1] The text of the second phrase of this song is, “I hear the organ on the Main Street corner, Aunt Sarah humming Gospels.”