Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • 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.

  • We've replaced the ear and the heart, the ear and the body,

  • with the eye and the mind.

  • Ours a much more visual--it's a much more analytical--type of

  • approach to music and it has its pros and cons.

  • We get great Mahler symphonies yet we have everybody sitting

  • there rock-still at these concerts.

  • Okay.

  • Having said that and pointing out the advantages and

  • disadvantages of notation, let's plunge in then to a