Rules for success:
1. Always, always, always, include the name of a piece of music that is being discussed or referenced, the name of a video being used, and its presenter or performing group, or no credit will be given for your answer.
2. Researching using outside sources and plagiarizing: Searching for answers from sources other than Mindtap, Simoncic lectures, videos, or assigned youtube videos will not be accepted. Outside sources are often dated or often only partially accurate. Plagiarizing using AI or another student’s work or an outside source will be handled according to the NU policy found in the Syllabus. With the new Artificial Intelligence available, cheating has become a more common practice. I will keep a close eye on the answers submitted by students. Use your mind not the mind of a machine.
Before you embark on the “Did You Know” section, please read this:
You may wonder why I include “classical music” in a world music course. First off, any music that includes harmony and phrase form is directly related to 17th and 18th-century Western European classical music.
Secondly, classical music doesn’t come from Mars. It is a member of this world’s music. It may not fit the narrative or agenda of our textbook but that doesn’t matter.
Classical composers have often been influenced by and incorporated folk, dance, and sacred music throughout the centuries. In today’s world of classical music, it is not unusual for composers to combine and fuse popular styles with 21st-century classical music styles.
The stereotyping of classical music is nonsense but it does allow for graduate-level research papers no matter how silly some of them tend to be.
Many fallacies surrounding classical music have been generated by academia. It started in the 20th century. Prior to the 20th century, composers were not bound,hogtied, or held hostage by the lesser creative minds in academic composition circles. Far too many music schools and departments have ruined many creative young composers forcing them to write in a style only accepted in academic circles. I have watched many young composers either fail or drop out of university programs. A prime example was Claude Debussy, the leading composer of Impressionism. He was booted out of the conservatory in France for not complying with the music-writing style of his professors. His music has lasted theirs, not.
The good news; many composers were and are self-taught, especially in the art of orchestration (writing for orchestra). Attending a university is a means to an end to receiving that coveted piece of paper that validates them but has nothing to do with their composing ability.
I’m sure that you are aware that many textbooks and research articles sanitize and gloss over historical events, often making them rather incomplete.
Did You Know section: How to address and answer each statement for Part I: Part II: and Part III: and Part IV: Divided by parts please use the provided numbering systemfor each part: Write a minimum of one or two sentences addressing your reaction to each numbered statement of information in each of the Four parts.
Did You Know?
1. In the majority of cases, students will compare the music that we briefly study to current American pop music. Many believe that pop is “modern music”. Students seldom if ever refer to America’s truly original music, jazz, or any 19thor 20th-21st-century American classical music. In the world of music as a profession, “modern” means that it does not rely on 18th-century European harmony and form.
2. If we apply what “modern” means to musicians studying a vast style of music, then pop, rock, country, blues, folk, and most jazz are based on the old style of 17th-18th-century harmony and form. Thankfully, you aren’t at that music level. But please do not refer to pop, rock etc. as “modern”. It would be similar to calling the horse-pulled buggy “modern”.
3. Most of my general education students refer to “modern music” based on pop culture music, or the stuff praised on mainstream media and or television shows. It is current music, but certainly not modern since the music continues to use old 17th and 18th -century harmonies and form. There is nothing “modern” about the music itself. New devices are used to generate the same old stuff.
4. The great industry of pop music and its control on the population: It all began during the advent of the radio in the early 19 hundreds (early 20th century).Until then many American households created their own music by family members or they may have attended a live show or music at the park. From the advent of radio to the present, the industry continues to control and support pop artists that will make money for the people in power.
5. People learn about things from their surroundings, things they have been conditioned by, or by personal experiences. They may not even be aware of what they don’t know. Children learn from their surroundings and experiences.
6. I don’t require a great deal from my music students except for effort and honesty. We don’t “dig deep” into music, but there are some things that a person must become aware of and familiar with so as to understand the very basics of any and all music. This is a task that requires far more than four weeks, but any little bit helps.
Part II: “Did You Know” the fallacies and ignorance of classical music elitism?
1. Many classical music composers, came from poor families, or poverty and if extremely fortunate, from the working class. Many were self-taught in composing and the art of writing for orchestra unless they were lucky.
2. In the USA most music students wait until college to “learn” orchestration; composing for orchestra or other large ensembles. By then it is usually far too little and too late to “learn” how to compose for the orchestra.
3. Did you know: Students often ask me why only “old white guys” compose classical music? My initial response is usually something such as this: Where on earth did you find that information? My next response would be something like this: Had the tradition of Western Classical music begun in Africa, then you might have asked, “Why did only old black guys” compose, or if the origins began in India, “Why did only “old Guys from India” compose classical music?
4. I then continue to answer this student’s question: The earliest known composers were not men they were women.
Early women composers: Kassia, 810-865 Greek, Byzantine composer
Hildegard 1098-1179, was a writer, composer, poet, philosopher, mystic, writer of medical journals, a medic, and much more. She was quite feared by the church due to her genius and her gender.
Beatriz de Dia 1140-1212 Maria de Ventadorn 1222
Trobairitz, are the female version of Troubadours, 12-13th centuries, and includes only a list of early women composers that are well known. Jump to the 20th century and a substantial number of women composers and African American women composers will come to our attention in week #4.
5. The Age of a composer fallacy. The age when successful composers usually begin writing music is often somewhere between the ages of 3 to 10 “Late starting composers from ages 11 to 15. No matter their race gender or ethnicity, they did not wait to compose at an old age.
6. Young ages: Mozart was white, but he began composing at age 4, his sisterbriefly at age 6 years of age, but was forced to quit and take care of their ailing mother.
Saint-Saens began at age 3; Prokofiev at age 5, Chopin at age 7; Korngold at age 12; Bizet at age 8;
Beethoven at age 6, Mendelssohn and his sister by age 8 and 9;
Simoncic (your teacher) at age 8 only because between ages 0 to 6 I was locked up in a political socialist/communist prison camp with my mom and two older sisters;
American Black slave composer: Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins. Black composer born blind and autistic: A brilliant gift for improvising music. He began around age 3. Others wrote out the music that he improvised. He was taken advantage of by his white master and forced to perform concerts yet never received any of the profits. The link below offers some of his music: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/instruments/piano/thomas-blind-tom-wiggins-born-slavery/
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a black composer from England began composing at age 15.There are other composers that began writing at a very early age.
7. I have had the pleasure of offering weekend workshops in composition to children as young as age 5 to as old as age 15. They come from all walks of life, representing ethnic groups from my area.
Most come from extremely humble backgrounds. There is no charge to attend and no pay for me. It works out nicely. I encourage them to write and explore any style or genre they find most comfortable writing. If it’s their first time, then we explore their musical DNA and music preference and start there.
8. Did you know that most early classical music was written for voice or choir and that orchestral music did not enter into the picture until centuries later?
1. Composers did not and still do not make a living writing their masterpieces. In the past, if they were fortunate enough a patron would support a piece of music.
2. Patrons paying composers: Centuries ago the church or royalty normally paid a composer to write a piece of music: That may be where the fallacies have originated with the concept of elitists.
3. These composers were treated as and considered to be servants of the court or the church. They would adhere to and comply with the whims of their masters. One of the most prolific composers of the 18th century and the originator of the sonata/symphony music form and string quartet writing was Franz Joseph Haydn. His childhood was very difficult and as an adult, he was “blessed” to be the court composer for Prince Esterhazy. Haydn’s duties: Write instrumental works, write choir works, solo vocal works, church music, opera, concertos, string quartets, teach singers their parts, rehearse the orchestra in the morning, the choir and singers in the afternoon, fix any broken instruments, conduct all the concerts performances for Esterhazy, write music on a whim for any special occasion that Esterhazy might dream up and never talk to the aristocracy, He was a servant!! At one five-year stretch, Haydn and his performing groups did not have one day off. It was 7-week days of work for five straight years. Haydn was not allowed to speak to Esterhazy asking him for a few days off, so Haydn wrote an entire Symphony and at the end of the last movement pairs of performers would blow out their candles and walk off the stage until there were only two left. Esterhazy was smart enough to “get the message”. He proceeded to give Haydn and all the performers a week of well-deserved time off. One thing I had forgotten to mention: Haydn’s day was filled with duties and nights for performance and to entertain the rich, but after everyone departed for a night of sleep, that’s when Haydn composed his music. I don’t believe that he ever missed a night where he did not compose. After all, the musicians and singers needed to rehearse the music on a daily basis for daily performances. Haydn is just one example. And we think we have it bad!
4. Composers also wrote “hack” music or what we call “pop songs or dance tunes” for occasions outside of royalty or the church for a few extra coins$.
5. Opera: The first true “pop culture” music. It was all about visual entertainment with music. There were few public venues until the 17thcentury in Florence, Italy, and that was only for the new type of music that eventually developed into “Opera”. At first, it was a play with songs and instrumentals between scenes or as a slight break. The entire idea of “opera” was a “pop culture” concept of entertaining an audience, accommodating already written plays. Anyone could attend one of these performances and tickets were not that expensive. The performers were the “pop artists” of their time.
Women were not allowed to sing in early opera therefore female solos were performed by castrated men, “castrati’s”. That’s an entirely different subject of horrific cruelty, botched surgeries, and many deaths from infections. The castration took place if a boy had an exceptional voice and before it began to change. Now we simply use “falsetto singing”. There weren’t many Castrati’s that made it into the opera compared to the guys that did not make it, but of those that did, they became the rage and the “rock stars” of their time.
6. Composers that were owned were considered and treated as servants.
7. Whether for the church or royalty composers were given specific instructions as to what type of music to compose. For royalty, it was music for entertainment and dance. Every once in a while a patron would wish to go deeper into thought and ask for music that wasn’t a superficial entertainment piece. That practice continues to be the case today when organizations or governments financially pay for a specific piece of music. They have control over what the composer can or can’t write.
8. To make a living, composers were and are required to teach, perform, conducted, or have a non-music profession.
1. Payment to the living composer for a newly written work. When a living composer is asked to write a new work, they are often not offered any money, but if offered money it may range from no money at all to as little as $50 dollars and up to a whopping $4,000 depending on the duration of the piece. If the piece is to be five minutes long and written for a large orchestra with a full complement of instruments, it may take 6 to 8 months to write the piece. If the piece is 10 minutes in duration it may take a year or more to compose. When broken down by hourly wage, it comes to less than a few pennies to a dollar an hour before paying tax. Personally, I refuse payment if it isn’t at least $2 thousand dollars: The IRS likes to audit composers if the composer claims that they made only $50 to $1,000 for the work. It seems that most auditors think the composers are not being honest. Auditors seem quite ignorant about classical music commissions. In 1980 one of my piano concertos premiered. It was a 25-minute composition. The pianist, then, world-renowned, was paid $5,000 for three rehearsals and two performances. He also played a Rachmaninoff composition. The symphony organization paid me a sum of $180 for two years of work and Rachmaninoff who is constantly plagiarized by pop musicians was dead, so he received nothing.
2. You are now a composer that has been asked to write an orchestral work for 120 member orchestra.
Stipulations in the contract: The piece must be five to seven minutes in length:
It may take you between 8 months to 14 months to compose assuming that you have 2 hours daily set aside to compose and that you are prolific. The biggest payment might be Two to four thousand dollars. Breaking it down per hour, it might come to$1.70 per hour before taxes. Flipping burgers is far more profitable. That’s why composers have full-time jobs. Here is the irony: I have written many works, but I am paid much better to write a “song” (something for a singer) than an orchestral work. It might take me as little as 5 to ten 10 minutes to write a “song”; But if I’m distracted perhaps an hour. Compare that to over 700 hours to compose a symphonic work.
3. JS Bach, the master of all music during his lifetime was known as a builder of church organs and fixing organs and giving private music lessons. He made most of his money performing and conducting. His compositions did not bring him much cash. It was difficult for a man with 22 children.
Mozart made more money playing the piano part to his piano concerto than writing the entire score that he composed. For some of his commissioned works the patron wouldn’t pay because he didn’t like the work.
A 19th-century composer from Vienna, Schubert, almost starved to death: His most famous piece for the masses is his Ave Maria but he also wrote very large works and hundreds of songs.
Handel composed Messiah in hopes that it would be financially rewarding so that he would avoid ending up in debtors prison.
Today: Composers are normally not paid for their work.
4. Living composers pay to have their pieces played. Normally the music is for solo piano, solo guitar, or a duet or trio, but not for an orchestra unless you have thousands of dollars to spare.
5. Some composers are quite fortunate and have had their music performed at symphony concerts. I will explain why that is so unusual in lecture week 4.
6. My recording studio work: Songwriting and studio arranging: Reasons why it is not a difficult task:
Working for a recording studio arranging music behind so many pop, rap, country, etc groups for the past 53 years, it’s easy for me to quickly identify the sameness and predictability in most pop culture music. The same may be said of secular Renaissance music, many secular Baroque pieces, and certainly even the music of Haydn and Mozart.
Studio work can become assembly line work. The arranger must be careful to try doing something a bit unique for each arrangement to a song that sounds essentially the same as all the other songs coming through the studio. The job can quickly become boring or monotonous. People work at an assembly line 10 and 12 hours a day in a cannery and begin to mentally fade away from monotony and boredom. The same may happen to a recording studio arranger. That’s why it’s important for my part not to become just formula arranging.
7. Did you know: Tools for Composing: Not many professional composers sit at the piano composing music. It’s pretty hard to write a symphony score at the piano, I use the dining room table to write my larger works of music. It allows me to spread out several different works that I am working on at the same time.
8. Write any final comment or conclusion on any of the above material.
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