Wednesday, April 16, 2008



At April 17, 2008 3:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give us a break.
A hook is a motif is a theme is a subject.
Let us not confuse elaboration of thematic material for the theme itself.
Rarely does any composition consist of thematic material extending beyond two or four measures.
Take a gander at Barlow & Morgenstern's Dictionary of Musical Themes---The Music of more than 10,000 THEMES. Thumbing through my own well worn copy, it is clear that hardly any of the major works identified require more than two or three measures of notation to define their themes.
Nothing has really changed.
As BB King once described it late at night/early one morning at a 21 table in Reno, "You know, it's all the same."
The Beeb was right.
The music is still there for those with ears to hear.

At April 17, 2008 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crap will always have it's defenders.

At April 17, 2008 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A hook might qualify as a theme, but it is a theme that is not used or developed. It is simply repeated over and over, sometimes ad infinitum (can you say "My humps"?), without change. An important part of melody is varying the themes.

At April 17, 2008 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repeated sometimes ad infinitum?
Can you say "Bolero"?
What's your point?

At April 17, 2008 12:37 PM, Anonymous elaborating on the question said...

Allow me to introduce you to a word you may be unfamiliar with, 'ostinato'.
The Harvard Dictionary of Music defines it as: "A short musical pattern that is repeated persistently throughout a performance or composition or a section of one. Repetition of this type is found in musical cultures throughout the world and is especially characteristic of the music of Africa, whence its presence in much folk and popular music elsewhere (e.g., *rock) and in some 20th-century Western art music."

"...In the 20th-century, the ostinato emerges as a central element in both variation and nonvariation works. Nearly every major composer of the century, and especially of the first half, wrote a passacaglia, in which the ostinato may be treated either with unprecedented freedom or with literal repetition. And with Stravinsky, the melodic-rhythmic ostinato finds its most memorable formulations, as in Le sacre du printemps, Symphony of Psalms, and Symphony in Three Movements."

At April 17, 2008 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crap will always have its defenders.

At April 18, 2008 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I can say Boler0. It has a rhythm that repeats over and over throughout the piece, but that is neither a theme nor a hook. The melodic material that the orchestra plays over the rhythmic ostinato is varied dramatically over the course of the piece.

In other words, my point is that you don't seem to know much of anything about music.

At April 18, 2008 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The beauty part about admiration of the mediocre is that one doesn't have to know much about anything to admire it. In fact, knowledge can have a nasty tendency to get in the way of one's admiration. That's a major reason the mediocre has such a large and enthusiastic audience in this country of people who tend to know very little about much of anything, decent music emphatically included.

At April 23, 2008 2:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two eighteen bar sections that comprise the 'melody' of Ravel's Bolero constitute a thematic ostinato of which the two bar snare pattern is only a part. The combined thirty bars are repeated over and over for seventeen minutes (assuming one conducts using the recommended tempos of the composer).
There is no other variation of the theme until the final coda, some sixteen plus minutes on into the piece.
The 'dramatic variation' consists of changes dynamics and orchestration---revoicing the same 'melody' using different combinations of instrumentation.

At April 23, 2008 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the above should read 'the combined thirty six bars...'

At April 24, 2008 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is also worth noting that, although a popular success, Ravel's Bolero was not universally hailed with high regard from critics. There are even those who argue that the monotony of the piece was an early manifestation of the dementia that soon after compelled Ravel's early retirement from composition.
The point being musical tastes are subjective.
Appreciation is dependent upon many factors.
After many decades of devotion to the subject I have learned to recognize merit in all types and styles of music. That is not to say all appeal to my personal esthetic values. Nevertheless, I can acknowledge and respect the craft employed.


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