Musicologica Olomucensia 3 (1997)
Marek G. Aranovskij
ONE SMALL TASK AND THREE BIG THEORETICAL PROBLEMS
The article “One Small Task and Three Big Theoretical Problems” by M. Aranovsky shows how it is possible to derive, from a single element of a piece of music, such fundamental categories as musical language, musical speech and musical style. The author suggests that all levels of structural organization of a certain piece of music must be reflected in some way in its elements in the same way as the features of an organism are reflected in its cells. Dominant chord with an added sixth (D76) taken from one of the sketches for Tchaikovsky´s Fifth Symphony is used in the course of musicological analysis meant to prove the author´s idea. This musical expression was very popular in the romantic music of the XIXth century starting with Chopin. The author looks at its history from J. S. Bach to D. Shostakovitch together with various ways of using it. Analytical discourse lets the reader discover in the chosen musical expression all three levels – musical language, musical speech and musical style (the latter is an analogue).
By means of analysis of musical structure it is possible to determine whether a balance exists within it between the strata of musical language, musical speech and style. In a sketch of the third movement of the Fifth Symphony by P. I. Tchaikovski, the theme is brought to a close with a cadence, which, from the point of view of style, is unacceptable (D76 – T). The composer was aware of this fact, and that is why he extracted the cadence from the theme. Using this compositional error as an example, it is possible to answer some important questions about the functioning of musical language and musical diction. This type of cadence was formed, through the course of history, on the level of grammatical joining of chords with elements of melodic figuration. The structure of the idiom is basically constant, but it can change, depending on the context. This composer has become, after Chopin, a main representative of certain pathetic, tragic emotions. He is an especially rhetorical figure of the Romantic era. This idiom has a very complicated structure in that it contains three strata. The first layer is formed by a simple D – T connection, which is, in homophonic style, a general rule. The second layer contains a peculiar D76 chord, which is a paradigmatic variant of the dominant. The third layer introduces this idiom into the context of individual works. That is why the basic relationship, D – T, is a law of syntax and composition and depends on textual elements, which are fulfilled by mutual effectiveness between musical texts, representing musical language. The D76 – T connection is an element of musical speech and is an individual implementation of musical language within a concrete text. This musical idiom is a musical language, in which are fulfilled, exactly as applicable, period norms or style, and which is defined as the sum total of all norms of implementation of musical language. The textual element D76 contains, therefore all three layers of music-musical language, speech and style.
Miroslav K. Černý
MUSICAL SEMIOTICS AND MUSICAL HISTORIOGRAPHY
The question of the relationship between musical historiography and semiotics is asked, in particular, in the most recent work of J. Jiránek. We are looking at a relationship which is significant and very close, mutually interchangeable to the point where it is easy to mistake one for the other; a relationship between primary and supporting disciplines. Even though semiotic analysis and even the practical semiosis of music is always valid only for a given moment, it is not completely arbitrary. Conditions for it are set not only by certain acoustic, physiological and even psychological givens (according to Jiránek “anthropological constants”), but, to an even greater extent, “sociological constants”. These are almost always created over the course of history, and are sublimated and crystallized through the experience of history, as such, it is necessary to connect them with and involve them in the process of semiosis. Without them, the reception of music would be impoverished, as if it were only “punctually direct”. The experience which history has given us, together with that which it has taught us, makes possible for a richer, more complex, more synthesizing semiotic interpretation of music, and that not only at the semantic level, but also at the syntactic and pragmatic (comprehension of function) levels, and in this process, the significance of the last two components is historically shifted, or even transformed.
For musical historiography, semiotics becomes an essential supporting discipline which is used for source interpretations. This is so even in the case of a historiographic work which is conceptualized in such a way as to accent the artistic essence of musical works, and with this its “object character” transforms history into a kind of “museum” or “gallery of works of art” (Dalhaus), or reduces it to a mere process of discovery and a preparation of the works of the past for their practical introduction into active practice, which nearly liquidates the true character and the mission, function or role of historiography. Semiotics, however, has meaning in all its components, even in source interpretation. This even reaches into the theory of historical sources itself. That is to say that if a historical source is the only means which is capable of providing us with historical information (Adler and even the contemporary method), it first becomes a real object – even the musical work or its register – a source, upon reaching the hands of historians, where it acquires its symbolic character. It is possible, therefore, even by means of source interpretation and using the Ogden-Richards triangle, which accents the part of the interpreting historian, to model a reference. In the case of narrative sources, the question to be discussed is, in fact, the connecting of two of these triangles modelling the origin of the source, when the position of the first subject is occupied by the “reporter” with the result being the source in the form of a news-item and the position of the second subject in the process of “reading” is, then, the source being read by the historian. In the case of sources of a “relic” character, that is, subjects originating as a direct part of the goings-on being researched and which are taking part in these events, it is a matter, of course, of the only interpretation, which is, therefore, being modelled by only one triangle. This simple categorization of sources, however, is not enough. In musical historiography, we have something to do even with sources, which, as direct components of the process of the existence and evolution of music have a relic character, but which are also news-items. These are musical criticism and musical journalism in general, which influence the opinion and taste of the audience, and further, music theory publications and – although we are talking about “news-items” which are specific and nonverbal – even register entries of musical works and sections. Here and everywhere, it is a matter of two and, in the case of musical register entries and works, even several (in the chain of the processional existence of musical work – see Černý 1974) interpretations – “origin” and even “reading” – and here even a multiplication of the symbolic situation and the application of semiotic interpretation. The measure and quality of these symbolic situations and interpretations is, then, different in individual cases which can happen even by means of classification criteria of the classification and typology of music history sources and individual “subject phases” of the being of a musical work.
Hans Heinrich Eggebrecht
ABSOLUTE, AUTONOMOUS, FUNCTIONAL
After the year 1840 the term “absolute music” appears, which means pure music that is eliminated from everything extra-musical. While music for Hanslick is tonal art, that is, peculiar type of art which is created from tones and never from a text or programme, Wagner considers absolute music to be a result of a faulty post-antique division of music and other arts. The term absolute music has played a historically meaningful role from three points of view: it appropriately pointed out the tendency of Western European music towards instrumentation, demonstrated its opposition to emotionality or sentimentality, to incorporation of a topic or theme, and to programmatic music, and was connected to German idealism. All of this is losing its relevance in the twentieth century. As a reaction on extremely functionalistic music of the 1920´s, new interest has been awakened in the question of the specificity of music, one now speaks of the autonomy of music. The phrase, “autonomy of music” expresses the fact that music creates and determines the laws of its existence by and for itself. The terms absolute and autonomous music are in agreement in the principle “separable”, which is why autonomous music can exist as absolute and opposite. Absolute music is separable from all which is specifically musical (text, program, theater, activity) and is, therefore, an aesthetic category. “Autonomous music” is understood the reality which remains when music is separated from all function, especially social function, which is therefore a sociological category. From the contemporary point of view, the problem of the polarization of autonomous music and functional music is established, and at the same time, the possibility of usefulness of the terms absolute music and autonomous music for the systematics of aesthetics is established. Autonomous (self-determining) and functional (designed to fulfil a certain purpose) music are intentional expressions, they are various (accenting or repressed) moments of uniquely musical formation, moments of esthetic or functional quality. A polarizing watershed between them is not, therefore, possible. This pair of terms, autonomous and functional music, bring the components of extra-musical into confrontation with one another. At the very least, this factor, for composers representing the connection to music of subjectivity, life experiences and thinking, brings into doubt the existence of anything purely musical. Musical autonomy does not exist, because no constant, isolated musical being exists. In the course of thinking about music it is essential to treat the terms absolute, autonomous and functional music with caution and always have in mind their perspective, historical and intentional dimensions, in order that they do not become terms empty of meaning.
MUSIC THEORY AS A NORM AND REFLECTION OF MUSIC
The history and development of music theory begins in the 19th century as a modern scientific discipline. Nevertheless, it is one of the oldest musicological branches with antic traditions, continuing as a prescriptive theory for music composition in the Middle Ages. In the 17th century acoustic aspects change the concept of music theory; later H. v. Helmholtz enlarges its scope by physiological and psychophysiological methology. The most important development is closed with the synthetic history of music theory edited by F. Zaminer (1984–1989). Music theory has different aims as a propaedeutic discipline, one reflecting in an analytical way the structure, function, semantic and sound phenomenon and the influence of music on man. Twentieth century music theory especially became the crucial discipline of systematic and fundamental music research. The definition, aim and function of music theory is mirrored as it is expressed by Ernst Erhardt, Joseph Kerman, Uwe Seifert, Marc Leman, Constantin Floros, etc. Analytical procedures are discussed as they are quoted in the studies by Jonathan Dunsbey, and influenced by Heinrich Schenker, as a form of reduction of music structure. Cognitive aspects are the most important ones, with cognitive “sounding” models of decisive influence on music. Less influentially characterized are the graphical, symbolic and verbal principles often in contradiction with music reality. Computer aimed methods replace the older logical, mental and subjective interpretation of music structure. As an empiric and reconstructive music theory is described mainly the theory gained in folk music analysis, analysis of non-European music without a clear verbal theoretical framework. Music theory has to reconstruct the theoretical principles, e. g. in African and Asian music (as it was done by Gerhard Kubik, Simha Arom, Steven Feld, August Schmidhofer and others). Hans Oesch has ethno-music theory characterised in the “high”-music area of culture as the Indian, Chinese, Arabian, and Persian, expressed in an independent music theory. The foremost problem of music theory is always as in Europe- and so in non-European music, the written or oral “theory”, the terminological framework, the adequate concepts which serve for the characterization of the sound and logic structure of real music. Speculation and empiric aspects are always two interpretative procedures used in music theory throughout its entire history.
TIME IN THE MUSIC
Composers from the Baroque Era to present times have emphasized the importance of shaping time in music, in particular of determining the “right” tempo in the performance of any composition. But in practice conductors and performers choose very different tempos. This article discusses the liberty and the limits of the tempo option in musical performance. The important point is the distinction between the composed work of music, the “opus”, and the performance of music, the “execution”: The execution is an object unfolding in absolute time, while the opus indeed comprises time structure, but – if not being performed – exists outside the absolute time space. The opus is a structure defined by pitch and time relations, and these are transposable “gestalt qualities”. Elements of the relational pitch space are intervals rather than absolute frequencies. The same facts are essential in the time domain, called relational time space. The opus comprises different kinds of time relations, subdivided in micro-order, the metric/rhythmic system, and macro-order, the field of proportional tempo. If an opus should be performed, it must be translated into absolute values of pitch and time. The performer is entitled to free interpretation provided that every kind of relations in pitch space and temporal order are preserved.
Nors S. Josephson
DEBUSSYS SKIZZEN ZUR IBÉRIA
Die Skizzen zur Partitur der Ibéria von Debussy zeigen die Entwicklung des neuen musikalischen Stils dieses Komponisten, jenes Stils, der später einen so entscheidenden Einfluß auf Strawinsky, Berg und Bartók hatte. Seine einander durchdringenden Ganztonstrukturen und effektiven Juxtapositionen von naturalistischen und impressionistischen Tonwelten fanden sich wieder in solchen späteren Werken wie Petruschka und Wozzek.
Das schöpferische Genie von Debussy bildet hier zyklische Multireferenzstrukturen, die über vorherige Modelle des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts hinausgehen. Gleichzeitig hat dieser französische Komponist allmählich das komplizierte System von harmonischen Hierarchien entwickelt, und zwar so, wie sich seine primären modalen Skizzen schrittweise in ganztönige strukturelle Elemente und fließende chromatische Überleitungen vertieften, die die anfänglichen kontrapunktuellen Refrains verdrängt haben.
…IN THE MIST OF ANXIETY AND PAIN…
Bedřich Smetana´s String Quartet No. 2 (1882/83) is the dramatic finale of his autobiographical compositions. It starts where the String Quartet From my Life of 1876 ended and portrays the miserable condition of the composer suffering from deafness and progressive paralysis.
Following Smetana´s statement that “the form of each compostion is derived from its subject”, the author examines the first movement of the quartet in order to find out how the programmatic idea is expressed by the musical structures. This very unusual movement cannot be grasped by conventional models of interpretation. The several sections of the form, rich of contrast, can be assigned to two different musical spheres: one of them comparatively strongly marked by melody and tonality, the other one melodically more confused and tonally vague. The former sphere is characterized by double tonality, oscillating between the poles of F and D. The latter, tonally non-centred sphere is based on four-tone- structures derived from diminished seventh chords. The structures of these nontonal sections are exceptional and anticipate the technique of dodecaphonic composing, shown in comparison to the Lyric Suite by Alban Berg.
On a semantic level the tonal sections of the movement prove by their motivic relation to the quartet From my Life to be a nostalgic recollection on the composer´s unspoilt days in the past. On the other hand, the nontonal sections, which were extremely progressive in their time, can be easily be understood as a symbol for Smetana´s increasing isolation from his environment. The way Smetana integrates the two obviously vastly divergent spheres of his composition with the help of similar structural elements does not only give clear evidence for his innovative power and high artistic level but is furthermore a shattering document of the composer´s fight against the inevitable progress of the fatal disease.
CAN ART LIE?
The title of this essay follows from the question, whether an analysis of art with relation to truth and non-truth does not narrow down its sense to some other than artistic criterium: “reportage criterium” (art as a copy of reality), “psychological criterium” (art as the author´s self expression), “sociological criterium” (art as the satisfaction of the preferences of a particular period). And so on. That is why the essay briefly looks into the meanings of the terms “truth” and “lie”. It deals with the expressions “the truth of art” and “truth in art”, “artistic truth” (which in the past, rather only covered up some dogmas), and also with a formalistic thesis about the completely unproblematic compatibility of “objectively doubtful meaning” with “high aesthetic worth”. Art, the essay claims, can tell lies. Regarding the play of denotations and connotations, however, begs the question as to what degree the recipient can be deceived.
KLUSÁK´S WORLD OF THEATRE AND FILM
The author of this treatise is presently preparing a literary monograph about the Czech composer Jan Klusák. This treatise is a direct continuation of two of his publications about Klusák: a study called “The Inventions of Jan Klusák”, which was published in AUPO, Musicologica II (1995, pp. 85–109), and an interview published in the film quarterly Illuminace (“I like music which seems to play the role of another character in a movie…” a talk with composer Jan Klusák about (music for) theatre and film; 1996, No. 2, pp. 107–119). To start off with, the author observes the beginnings of Klusák´s interest in film and theatre and his years spent as a student at the Academy of Music in Prague, then more or less chronologically goes through Klusák´s production for film and television. Attention is also given to “a by-product” of Klusák´s interest in film and theatre, that is his remarkable activity as an actor in films connected with the so-called new wave of Czech film in the sixties, and in theatre with the intimate stage of the Jára Cimrman Theater in Prague. Klusák´s production of music for the stage is discussed and special attention is devoted to Klusák´s bigger musical theater works: the opera “Twelfth Night” and the singspiel, “Evil Stag”. The treatise ends with the statement that Klusák, in his autochthonous production, is considered to be rather an uncompromising composer in regards to style and, consequently, rather esoteric. When cooperating on complex or multimedia projects he is not only very inventive, but also adaptable and abundantly possessed of a copious palette of musical means. In the annotated appendix, there is a list of literature on the treatise´s theme and an attempt to briefly grasp Klusák´s life and work in “glossary” form.
MUSICALLY TECTONIC STRUCTURES AND TRADITIONAL MUSICAL FORMS
- Musical tectonics is concerned with the basic principles of the construction of musical compositions.
- Tectonic structures. By this term I understand a musical entity which is, at least in the area of a single musical element, hierarchically constituted on the foundation of basic tectonic principles; that is, its identity conforms with regular laws applying to musical periodicity (in some cases identifiable similarities) and contrast. Tectonic structures are temporally divided (horizontally). Their division simultaneously or concurrently is absolutely exceptional (vertical structures).
- I define the term “music” in the broadest sense as also an art, the material of which are sounds in the broadest sense, as long as they are without lexical meaning.
- System of tectonic structures. We divide tectonic structures first into (a) independent and (b) tectonic seeds, embryos (or, possibly, components). Both of these create a system which is comprised of a row of degrees. The fundamental openness of this system in both directions is, of course, assumed to have practical limits.
- The internal organization of individual tectonic degrees:
- Simple – can be of two or three parts, both then either of the type inauthentic (for example, AA) or authentic, and that either open (for example, AA) or closed (for example, ABA).
- Compound transient – a temporary stage between simple articulation and unambiguously composite. Can be four-part (relatively exceptionally) and five-part.
- Compound unambiguous – all types from six-part on up. Between individual degrees of independent and non-independent tectonic structures there are intermediate degrees. These are compound transient structures. Aside from this exist also contracted and broadened structures of specific degrees.
- Basic member elements. By this term I designate the parts of which the whole of a structure is directly composed. It is not desirable to be very many of them. The ideal number is two or three, maximally five, absolutely exceptionally four; there should never be more.
Conditions for the intersubjectively applicable connection of a greater amount of subordinate parts with a smaller amount of basic member elements must be objectively given in a tectonic structure:
- Contrasts and dividing lines between these must be more pregnant that between those which are within those basic parts.
- In most cases the time scope of the individual basic member parts should be mutually commensurable. Otherwise there threatens the danger of a collapse of the hierarchical tectonics of the entirety of the structure.
- The relationship of tectonic structures to traditional musical forms: Traditional formal schemata (f. sonata, rondo, and the like) ensure a hierarchical construction of a composition only in the case that there is, at the same time, an implementation of some type of tectonic structure. A tectonic structure provides this surety, on the other hand, even when no traditional type of formal scheme is implemented. We can define “traditional musical form” as a crystallization of come tectonic principle within a certain area and period. In this direction, therefore, tectonic structures are superior to traditional musical forms.
As for universality, the relationship is dual:
- Tectonic structure is a relatively general term, for example:
A closed three-part structure of the fourth degree could correspond to the form of a sonata, a more complex rondo, or various combinations of the two.
- Musical form is a relatively general term, for example, a sonata form could correspond to various types of structure of the fourth, or even fifth degree; for example a sonata form with exposition, development, recapitulation, a second development, corresponding to a four-part structure of the fourth degree, or also a two-part structure of the fifth degree of the inauthentic type.
Diese Studie hat zum Ziel, nach der Krise der klassisch-romantischen Harmonik um die Wende vom 19. Zum 20. Jahrhundert, einen Schlüssel zur harmonischen Analyse der Musiksprache zu finden, also zur Analyse der Musik, die auf anderen Prinzipien aufgebaut ist als auf den Prinzipien einer tonalen funktionellen Harmonik, die bis zu dieser Zeit gültig waren. Beim Versuch, das Phänomen der Tonalität zu definieren, stellen wir fest, daß im Verlaufe der letzten 160 Jahren eine erhebliche Entwicklung durchlaufen wurde. Der Begriff der Tonalität wurde ursprünglich im Grunde als Synonym der Tonart (F. Fétis) verstanden, später als Relation aller Tonarten zu einer einzigen Haupttonart (H. Riemann, O. Šín). Die moderne Theorie verbindet die Tonalität mit der harmonischen Funktionalität (K. Janeček) und mit der zentrischen Hierarchie im Arbeitsbereich mit dem Tonmaterial (K. Risinger). Manche Komponisten nehmen an, daß die Bildung der tonalen Strukturen durch denselben Charakter der Bereinigung des Tonmaterials der europäischen Musik (A. Schönberg, I. Strawinsky) gegeben ist. Wir möchten also eine Musiksprache untersuchen, die sich im Material einer temperierten Chromatik entwickelt und bei der die Anwesenheit von der Kadenz zur Erreichung eines tonalen Charakters eines harmonischen Satzes nicht unbedingt notwendig ist. Als Benennung dafür, was wir hier erfassen möchten, schlagen wir den Terminus „Harmonienfeld“ vor. Alle zu jedem beliebigen Zeitpunkt eines Zeitverlaufs einer Musikstruktur angeschlagenen Töne traten in das Harmoniefeld ein, das von den vorherigen Tönen gebildet wurde, und beteiligen sich gleichzeitig an der Bildung des Harmoniefeldes, in welches die nachfolgenden Töne eintreten. Der Analytiker hat zu ermessen, auf welchem Hierarchieniveau sich ein konkreter Ton, der in das Harmoniefeld eintritt, funktionell durchsetzen und bemerkbar machen wird. Die Ergebnisse einer solchen Analyse können bei der Erklärung vom Anzeichenhören der Tonalität auch in der Harmonie, die gewöhnlich als atonal bezeichnet wird, behilflich sein.
„UNBEKANNTE“ TSCHECHISCHE MUSIK NACH 1945
Das Schaffen tschechischer Komponisten besonders jener aus dem 19. Jahrhundert ist eine weltweit anerkannte Erscheinung, was auch daraus ersichtlich ist, daß The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (6. Ausgabe, 1980) der tschechischen Musik mehrere Hundert Schlagwörter gewidmet hat. Tschechische Komponisten, die nach 1945 gewirkt haben, bleiben aber für die ausländische musikalische Öffentlichkeit unbekannt, obwohl ihr Schaffen dem höchsten internationalen Standard entspricht. Miloslav Kabeláč ist zum Beispiel mit den bedeutendsten Komponisten der vergangenen Jahrzehnte vergleichbar. Der Autor der Studie befaßt sich mit politischen, kulturellen und musikalisch-stilistischen Ursachen des Verkennens oder der Unterschätzung des gegenwärtigen tschechischen Komponistenschaffens als Ganzes und führt Beispiele von einigen bemerkswerten Werken verschiedener Genres und Stile an.