Sunday, September 11, 2016

Composer offers sound advice


The Last Night of the Proms shenanigans presided over by Sakari - "the Proms should not be dumbed down" - Oramo brought to mind the following declaration by Gérard Grisey:
'We are musicians and our model is sound not literature, sound not mathematics, sound not theatre, visual arts, quantum physics, geology, astrology or acupuncture'
That is Gérard Grisey (1946-98) in the photo above. Together with Tristan Murail he was a pioneer of the spectralist movement which used as its raw material the DNA of music - sound. Spectralism creates sound colours by exploiting the harmonics produced by combination of tones - sample via this link. Art music has evolved over the centuries through the combination of tones, starting in the East with the Vedic belief in the sacred power of the harmonically complex chanted OM, and in the West with the move from the monody of plainsong to the harmonic complexity of polyphony. Because spectralism has been central to the development of music its exact definition is a movable feast. But evidence of it can be found in the music of, inter alia, Debussy, Varèse, Messiaen, Claude Vivier, and Jonathan Harvey.

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1 comment:

John Blackburn said...

Sound, yes. But sound alone? No. Also essential are time, human perception, and human pattern recognition. Ignore any of these and all you have is sound—not music.