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The following program is produced at WG U.S. in cooperation with the national educational radio network. The down staff. Conversations on music with composer Scott Houston and Carolyn watts of the University of Cincinnati. Here are a listen to these few little examples please. It was one I'm sure. It was another proposition. You. Lie.
We are about to set sail for some new territory new that is in 1911 all the excerpts just heard used from 9 to 12 different tongues of the chromatic scale and included music written between 1740 and 1940. But one of those examples may have stood out in your ear for one of several reasons. It will not take long. So let's play some of them again. Realizing now that you are to pick out one of the quotes that will represent a new kind of thinking a new approach to composition that began more or less at the same time as
Steve Inskeep. Remember this public order. And continues this technique does more or less in vogue to the present day. Here are just a few of those early examples. Do you find it as if the words you left blank. Of course it's good. Of course here is the one. Better than any rhythms you can tell. That's the Vai Baron Rowe. What makes it different from the others not kind of road is
the only set of all 12 pitches which does not repeat any page until all 12 have been heard in the William Schumann example in the Third Symphony. But there is one there then the B-flat is heard three times the G is heard three times and of course only 11 of the 12 tones use a dozen used in the Bach example. It's a rhythm to not the phrasing and all over the lot as it were but even there are 12 tones but there are four of you NAACP's So you begin to have.
Three B which sort anchors to D which began to be minor to see sharps. And to see natural harbors like C. And the fugue subject begins in B minor. And ends in a sharp just up the way. You know intervals are so important. The composer realized that something must be done to organize the new approach the chromatic scale was Arnold Schoenberg born in 1874 and even his conception took several years of searching probing and experimentation. Early work might be described as super chromatic. That is so many altered tone simultaneously that most of the time there is no recognizable key center and it's difficult to tell if the chords are built on thirds or not. Let's listen to part of a
very early work of Arnold Schoenberg called transfigured night. Lose. It will. Lol. In the end. Don't the cards seem to shift and slide in and around the 12 tones. Seems like there's almost a time out and then it shifts until there isn't any in the Seemed like a NEW TO KNOW it's come about and then it seems like that is gone. It's
that is called super committee member the example we played from South Africa's trial you couldn't find a tonal center that you couldn't find the key. This is a slightly different way of organizing but all the results are similar. It's like a mushroom cloud. You think that's it and another one grows out of that and then one goes out of that and you're a good parallel. I never knew you was that you became obvious to Sherborne that music could go no farther in that direction. It was a waste of time to experiment with just 12 tone he figured he'd done all he could with that he in regard Strong's also and rigor and quite a few others. Because the sounds became garbled almost directionless or static in spite of all the activity as the experiment of the combinations of sets of the twelve tongs. He found a new vocabulary developing under his own hands and he became fascinated with a new harmonic and rhythmic possibilities. Let's hear part of another work
of Sharon bags composed a little later than transfigured night. A very dramatic and compelling composition for a solo Soprano an orchestra called expectation. These are 12 tone types of composition. But it is not serious in the cabinet or in his new right in the club don't you dare very little direct from Madison. Although it seems like clusters at that point. They're not placed well. Notice the leaps in the soprano voice. You know Pete was doing very lyric and one melodic line. Not a short excerpt of violin played six songs and the harmony was the other six.
You know we're always similar to some of the code Strauss's melodic lines nearly always the soprano will have 12 tones in some sort of every road. The half steps are you know sparingly. Only four or tri tone. Sometimes a minor major seventh. In contrast here is a mature work of Sharm banks written in 1038 which may be called serial that is the 12 tones are arranged in succession beginning on a.
And ending on at. Here is the row A. B flat flat. Natural. E. F sharp. Flat. You know the right of a flat. Start. On the last three spot in the mini stride. Each tone is heard only once justifying the word series or serial before it goes onto a variation of that first row. Let me show you how it works the violin begins playing the flat. Yorkshire then we'll have some arrangement of the next four tongues flat. So you can have a lot of leeway or you could give it to note chords like this. About.
The song. This extends to the chords as well as on the island as next. And. The orchestra has combinations. And DNS. So. We play Louis cries and there is a recording of the fiendishly difficult Violin Concerto in the very beginning of the first movement. War
zone. With us to Syria have a strict Syria. None of those can be repeated until That's right. But they always be in that order. And when a student takes the P frequently writes You're too amusing and so what do I do now. I've explained that before we get through today. Well he was developing the Syrian time to composing sure and being formulated some rules which helped him and others get out of the key economic aid and yet organize a series. Some of these rules which are easily broken are no successive thirds you know. Oh you get it there for no major minor trying to diminish that if you're careful about it. No successive half steps. That's too chromatic.
Therefore no longer madness as I'm. Not too many tri tones. Suggests a diminished doesn't it. Besides it's dead because they're all like that and I didn't try that once I warned him against in the matter what he did to an inverted retrograded. Transposed transmogrified like little cup it sounded like. Not too many fourth or fifth in succession either. Nothing like. The music that results is often called atonal because it has no heat. But the better term his band hall are all keys together and put together so well that there is none. Listen to the next 30 seconds of Sherm Berg's violin concerto
and this time relax your inner ear. Don't even try to find a key since you know now that she doesn't exist in this kind of music. But substitute listen to the absorbing linear movement and the density are transparent to the texture. Whether that texture is low and deep or high and piercing or in-between then your enjoyment is heightened. There's always key to go back to. It's getting harder.
It's hard to love it. The point is just by the fact of your musical experience you will always have your own taste. But it's how people you know intel that understand linear movement and the density transparency it is this kind of takes your mind off it what you expected to hear and yours appears CNN-Time going to program depending on the period wrote it. You would have to get oriented that's all. Because by now we know what to expect of Brahms and Bach and Beethoven and Bruckner and so on. It's familiar to us in the future of germs are going to be featured familiar to your children my children perhaps as Bach and Beethoven are now and but they'll have to orient themselves first you have to say there is no here. Don't even try to find it. Then you listen to the more fascinating aspects of texture height depth and so on. Thing that bothers me a little bit as you were explaining it at the beginning it seems that if it isn't a difficult thing to write to devise there are many things
I have no right. You have to think of and I've wondered is it worth all that trouble if not enough people. Can you just try this on some really very very delicate very sensitive and I think you'd better go on before I answer you. That's the important thing. And I better save it to talk number 13. I'm with you though. You haven't lost me. That's good. Keep keep keep going. All right. One of Schoenberg's pupils album Begg had also been searching his way out of the paper bag supercar Madison is a paperback and quickly took to the 12 tone row and just as quickly broke as teachers wrote all of them. He has always been and always will be the US. Here is a row. From Barry string quartet the lyrics we would use as the first six of the seven white
keys. That leaves one left right. The first is that all five of the black. And here is the last white. That that was the little design he said himself. That's the design he said himself. Everything revolves around that. So it takes a tremendous amount of imagination manipulation. I'd say even intelligence that last 12 tone or seventh Y key may express that content in several simple ways by saying the pieces build on a cluster of white keys a cluster of black white teeth. But that's silly and relates neither to composing or theorizing. For example could I say again that this. Is the Brahms of number 2.
That was a good joke. The B major scale is not in itself a composition but only represents the materials of the composition just as this. That's the role of the berry and represent the materials of a 12 that after all is yellow. A painting of course. Now let's hear. The bare lyric suite. Now we're doing things with it. There's the rowing. I'm trying to. See don't orient yourself. Towards an oddity. It was just. That's all.
Beggs treatment of the so-called series is so plausible that one may easily analyze than imitate Beggs favorite trick is to conceive a melodic outline of six tones. And then harmonize it or counterpoint of the last six. So here's the last six. Counterpoint that is explain what you mean by counterpoint all while you write another melody against it and that's what we find ourselves here is the coroner see. Yet not what part of the row is that it's in the last part isn't it's all black keys as a G flat major chord G flat B flat. That's in the violins and you'll hear the cello. There an earlier part of the row. In other words six seven eight
nine 10 11 12. Harmonize one thing. And the next chord. Well an A minor chord you see which is the first part of the row again and then. In that one might you want to with. All there in that one measure. So one of the problems is to make the piece go and you make it go with rhythm. Now let's hear another part of the barrier. Lyrics to eat. Eat. The end. Of the.
U.S. last four notes of the chord were. Well remember. When the analysis comes out. If you look at the violin part let's say first bite and bark and you were relating it to a row and you say 11 7 8 12 4 2 6 9 3 1 5 10 forget it. Then do you notice when Berg counterpoints he avoids the octave. Because the octave produces a feeling of Peyton's or Denali. And since one of the principal reasons for writing involved on is to conceal them out of the presence of the octave would reveal it even for a moment and thus cause uncertainty sometimes Durga so chromatic just plain chromatic where you get that kind of analysis 11 7 8 12 4 and so on. And you could quote
directly from Wagner's Trieste on so unobtrusively. And if you're not informed as to the purpose of the score you're unaware of it. Listen. Did you hear it. You couldn't miss it. You couldn't miss it.
He didn't have a good time then. That goes way back to the 14th and 13th century some time where a composer would borrow somebody else's tune put it in the tenor in them but say the trombone and then cover it up so nobody knew it was beautiful and there it's stood out all by itself. He made it deliberate so that anybody would recognize it and get a sense of a relationship and enjoyment from it. It sure helped. I just finished a piece for four trombones and incorporated in the third trombone parts of a well-known tune that my friends would know my age famous thing called Stardust but the trombone disease only 22 never heard the tune. Didn't know what the riddle meant well I had to explain that the relationship between Barragan is teacher sure and back was an affectionate one. Now I'm back refused to follow Arnold Sherman Beggs dictum of no consecutive thirds.
His teacher more of a colleague and fellow conspirator gave his blessings. Here's the roll from Beggs violin concerto. Notice the Thirds. Nothing but music is still romantic. The last four tones of the row. Are used later in the Violin Concerto under a direct reference to the Lutheran proper all melody. It is enough in the original he. Has bought harmonization. Which was dirty enough in those. Let's hear part of the Violin Concerto of the album. There are. I am sure the retrograde would go back down
right that inversion rather better going. And so on. My time is growing a little short. Karen we better come to some sort of conclusion. Let's try an experiment. Ladies and Gentlemen this is unrehearsed and if I am lucky and my analysis is correct I will take the violin concerto of Barack and Mrs. Watts will open it and point to a vertical sound anywhere anywhere. I may have to move a little bit to the right a bit to the left. But we will find a whole tone sound some kind of dominant with altered tone or a major or minor triad. But in other words something of an ancient language compared to theirs. Let's try it here. Remember these sounds will not connect to the next and though I have my eyes closed I don't know where you don't need me to score so it's a little difficult to see.
How about right here am I want an agent right there. All right here is the clarinet. And the bassoon. And the heart that's a plane. Now the next course is not. Me but try another one right here. Look it looks complex on a fortune of scores and see. Well this is odd because the horns haven't a flatmate. And the trumpets and trombones have a. B minor car. So here's. Your. Very familiar Let's go to the next chord and see. The trumpets and trombones have.
Meanwhile the trumpets the horns has done the name and then there is the sound of the next one and here is an I. Told you we'd find trads almost anywhere. Just as the serial method of composition is that many be boaties since the 1920s but has rapidly passed out of favor since the 1950s because it is sometimes too predictable and too easy for a beginning a poser to use. It's the amateur who has written 12 tone music from the head only that is given modern music. It's tainted odor and inaccessibility. You've been listening to up the down staff conversations on music with composer Scott Houston and Carl and watch our technical director is Bob Stevenson. This program was produced in cooperation with the national educational radio network in the studios of WG U.S. on the campus of the University of Cincinnati.
This is the national educational radio network.
Up the down staff
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Serious or Serial?
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Up the down staff; 111; Serious or Serial?,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “Up the down staff; 111; Serious or Serial?.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: Up the down staff; 111; Serious or Serial?. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from