Odds, Ends

I can’t believe it is December already! I’m so excited that break has started and there are so many things I want to do that being in school doesn’t allow: 1) get enough sleep 2) not get enough sleep 3) read not for class and cook, and take walks and go biking and running outside. Soon, I will be in Cleveland seeing people I love, going to my favorite hangs like algebra teahouse, cleveland orchestra, moca, cinemateque, guilford house, cedar lee theatre, cia, museum, Susan McClary’s classroom…it’s going to be amazing. I really need to find more places to hang out here in Houston that isn’t just other people’s rooms in RVA.

Just some odds and ends today making a shorter and possibly readable post.

-Not quite done with my obsession of the second movement of 127, it turns out. There’s a moment in the music I’ve been trying to understand because it makes me so happy- staggeringly so. Measure 87 to be exact. It’s kind of in the middle of the movement (haha there’s 127 measures in this movement of 127!) So not the middle okay- but a little after…the self-conscious figure of the quarter-eighth which I go on at length about in the previous entry is suddenly reversed, coupled with a surprising half-step rising motion. It sounds like this time around the theme has gained a kind of confidence- because the harmony is jarring and painful at first it feels desperate in a way…especially on the shorter value of the eighth. But it also feels at last free, stumbling and blurting and suddenly growing into this wonderfully warm consciousness. Okay, I tried…but I’m still nowhere close to really understanding how he’s doing this…I guess all I can do is describe how it makes me feel…the surprising harmony and blatant reversal of gesture reads to me as charmingly irreverent. I feel like a youth who has deliberately done something deliciously indulgent as the most sincere and genuine expression of myself. Haha there it is whether or not it makes sense to anyone else…

-finally reading again after not finishing a single book since the beginning of the semester. Since I’ve only been reading McClary “Desire and Pleasure in 17th Century Music”, her “Modal Subjectivities” and Amy Goodman’s “The Silenced Majority” it now feels very indulgent to think about reading fiction even though it is my first love. But it’s break right? Started my first Franzen- The Corrections.

-trills are such a weird animal to me. I can’t figure them out…I had this lesson where Mr. Kantor and I discussed trills and how they are used to intensify things. While I agree, I just think it is such a strange way to intensify something. You oscillate between pitches which obscures them. The rapidity of movement and sustaining of said trill intensify, but it still seems like a dichotomy that something that is in essence an obscuring is meant to bring something it out. And trills are also sometimes written to be hazy and vague. It’s like sunglasses and how they end up being for anonymity and/or recognition. Are trills the sunglasses of music?

-Some McClary that has been making me think recently…from her Modal Subjectivities. “Even as Monteverdi was delivering “ah, dolente partita” to the publisher, he and his colleagues were embarking on a style that brought music into the arena of dramatic spectacle we now call opera. The realistic performance of individual subjects afforded by the stile recitativo made opera the dominant genre of musical representation for the next three hundred years. But we often forget that recitative accomplished its coup at the cost of harnessing music to the linear imperatives of language: as music attaches itself to the exigencies of rhetorical declamation, it finds itself restricted to speeches limitations.”

This quote was an amazing find for me because I’ve been thinking about narrative and music and the connections between both. Reading it makes me feel sad though, I see this part of history like a Garcia Marquez novel. I just imagine the Florentine Camerata being all nooo nooooo! to the madrigals and pretending they knew what the music of ancient Greece was like and imposing that on the music of their times. Don’t get me wrong, I love opera…but I can’t help wondering what would have happened if music hadn’t been necessarily “harnessed to the linear imperatives of language.” Because now we have people in audiences who don’t necessarily understand classical music. (I know, I know…should all music be understood? does that have to be a purpose? that’s another discussion I guess) Because there are no words. Even though they really want to. Would everyone who hasn’t had classical music training understand music had music not been restricted to speeches limitations back in the day? I really have no idea…it is just interesting to think about. I also just love being all ugh Florentine Camerata! You thought you were awesome but you tragi-hilariously screwed us over.

It seems I’m doing well on the not getting enough sleep front. :D

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