Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Prof: Okay, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning. I think things are going to work better today. I'm optimistic about the audio equipment and about our slide material and things such as that. All cell phones off and we will begin. Don't forget sections start tonight at seven o'clock and there's another set at eight o'clock and then Friday afternoon at one thirty and Monday morning. We've got that all online for you. And you do your work product and you bring it to sections and hand it in to your TA in section each time. So that's the way this works. I'll be sending you a global e-mail bringing you up to date with some other things later on this afternoon. Okay. So today we--Actually, before I get to that, any questions from you? Student: Yeah. Is there stuff to do-- Prof: Is there stuff to do for section tonight? Yes, but only the stuff that was assigned, the Listening Exercises that are assigned early on. It's just one, nine through 11, which you've probably had done for days now so you just bring that material and hand it in. Others will be assigned tonight. This is shopping period. We're started sifting through things and then we'll get rolling. Gentleman. Today we're going to come to what I would call the nitty-gritty of the course. We no longer have any introductory material but we're going to jump into musical notation and we're going to be dealing with things such as half notes, quarter notes, things like that, but before we do this I'd like to say a couple of words about musical notation because it affects how we deal with music, how we treat music. Musical notation is a particularly Western phenomenon, and when you stop and think about it only we in the West, and by West what I mean is the United States and Canada and Western Europe and Russia, parts of South America, only we use musical notation and we use it principally for our high art music. That's not to say that the Chinese don't have an esoteric form of musical notation, that the Indians do not have an esoteric form of musical notation. They do, but it doesn't intersect quite as intensely as musical notation does in Western cultures. Most cultures around the world, if you stop and think about it, don't use musical notation. But we do here with our art music and that has two advantages. Let's talk about the advantages first. One, it allows the composer to specify rather precisely what he or she wants, to sort of write things out in the form of musical details, so as the result the creator in this Western art form takes on greater importance than the creator in other cultures where the composer so to speak is more or less anonymous and perhaps synonymous with the group as a whole. So again the process of notation allows the composer to loom larger. And secondly there's another advantage of notation. It allows us to preserve the work of art. We can kind of freeze dry this thing and store it and then bring it back to life more or less exactly as the composer had intended. But this, if you stop and think about it, takes the traditional balance of things and throws it out of proportion. In our art music, our symphonies, concertos, genres of this sort, the performer is actually much less important. Let's think of this as architect and carpenter. The great architect, the thinker, is the composer and the performer, the violinist, gets this piece of--gets this blueprint or black print in the case of musical notation and is expected simply to replicate the black print. Well, that's very different than what happens in other kinds of music. Let's talk about pop music for a second: jazz, rock, hip-hop, blues, that kind of thing. You go over to Toad's Place and you see the band come out and the first thing they do is plunk this in front of them? No. That'd be ridiculous. How many of you--I was walking with a student over to my office after lecture the other day to get some material to him. How many of you play in a rock band or have ever played in a rock band? Okay, a number of you. Young lady out there, did you use musical notation? No. That would be kind of silly. Right? It's--Okay. So how is it done? Well, it's all done aurally and we'll talk a little bit more about that as we go along. So the composer in the West is very important, more important than the composer in other cultures. Other cultures don't use this type of prescriptive notation. Here's a thought for you. Musical notation was the first graph in Western culture. "How could that be?" you'd say. How could that be? Well, if you go back to the formation of musical notation from the ninth through the twelfth centuries, we see that very early on these two dimensions of music, the two axes of music that we talked about before, pitch vertically and duration horizontally, are in place and we have these spots in this grid. So musical notation: the first grid pattern in Western culture-- but it does lock us in in interesting ways that we may-- you perhaps have never considered--compared to how music is made in other cultures. Let's see how some music is made in other cultures. We're going to play here now as our first excerpt an Adhan, and what this is is the Islamic call to worship which is sung across the world thousands of times every day, and as we listen to this I want you to think about the vocal production here. What's interesting are all of the vocal nuances, so let's listen to just a bit of this please. > Let's stop there. Fascinating. What a wonderful sound, but the beauty of it is all between what we would call the notes. We would specify a precise frequency here, another one up here, but what that gentleman was singing was all the stuff in between. That made it very beautiful, and there's no way in God's earth that we could replicate that to the Western system of musical notation. Let's take another example. We're going to go to the realm of Western jazz here and I'm going to pick on Chuck Mangione. Anybody ever heard of Chuck Mangione? Yeah. Okay. Brian, our tech guy, has. He's an older fellow. He's sort of my age, and the reason I mention Chuck Mangione is that years ago I went to school with him. He was a couple of classes ahead of me at the Eastman School of Music. I was a fledgling pianist. He was a very good trumpeter. Indeed, he was winning Grammys when he was in his twenties and has been recording sort of esoteric jazz and sometimes more pop jazz thereafter. Now you can go to a Mangione concert. He will sometimes play the Shubert Theater there and they'll have two hours of spectacular jazz, but what you won't see, again, is any sort of music in front of them. So how do these musicians generate two hours of music with no music in front of them? Does this mean he doesn't read music? Of course not. You can't get through these conservatories like Eastman or Juilliard or Curtis without being introduced to an intense regimen of musical notation, but it would get in the way of the music. So let's listen to a track here, a sax solo, and I am going to try to keep--make some sense out of this-- because it gets more and more complex-- by following the electric bass underneath so let's listen to an old tape. I used to go to bars in Rochester and listen to this guy and tape his stuff. So here's Chuck Mangione with his saxophonist and a saxophone cadenza. It's a wild riff for saxophone. > That's probably enough. It gives you an idea. Now how in the world would you ever notate that? To produce this as a pre-scripted document that anybody else could follow? It was all improvisatory. If they tried to notate it, again, it would take all the spirit out, all the heart out of the music. Well, how do they do that? How do these performers play such long spans of music without any notation? Is it all memorized? Well, it's not memorized as we think of it, and you may have had music lessons along the way and your teacher and your mother said, "Go memorize your piece." It's not memorized like that. There are certain basic patterns that they have. They might say for that sort of music:, "All right. We're now going to have a thirty-two-bar solo. We'll be in the key of E-flat. We're going to work through a one, six, four, five, one chord progression as--We'll come back to that. We'll sit on the dominant chord for eight beats and I (Chuck) will look over and everybody else will come back in at the end of Chris's solo." It would be that kind of thing, kind of head charts, general plans, and within that general plan a lot of freedom of expression. So having said that about musical notation-- something about a cautionary tale about musical notation-- we should think about how it affects the way we compose music in the West and how we perform music in the West. When you go to a concert of classical music and the music is played and you start to talk, what happens? Somebody will go, "Shh." Right? We go to these concerts and we have to be so quiet. Why do we have to be quiet? That doesn't sound like much fun. Why do we have to be so quiet? It's because we have these performers up there that are reading this blueprint and everyone is listening, basically, to see how accurately they can reproduce, revivify, this artistic artifact. So that's sort of what's going on, but it really does affect how we behave, even, in a concert. Now if you go to concerts of other cultures and they are engaged in their own classical, not just popular, but classical music, Indonesian gamelan music for example, the audience will be there swaying back and forth, clapping, applauding with the performance with particularly good solo, the same thing with Indian sitar music, that classical tradition. Oddly, it's much more like going to a jazz concert where the audience is sitting maybe around tables or something like that and encouraging and interacting with the performers, but again in those cultures no notation. , everybody sits there sort of mummified, waiting for this great work of art to come back to life. It's an interesting thing. And isn't it typical of us in the West to take something, music, which is expression and feeling and motion and movement, a response to sound, and turn it into complex patterns, complex patterns that can be visualized and rearranged and analyzed, and nowadays even digitalized. What we've done is take this spontaneous response to the creation of sound, and bodily movement with sound and replaced it.