VOLUME IV | MARCH 2017 PRODUCTION TEAM Editor-in-Chief Shauna Donnelly Deputy Editor Ailbhe O’Connell Copy Editors Lara Gallagher, Aoife O’Shea, Daniel O’Dwyer Cover Art Original by Audrey Chew Ernern, Caitríona Sheil © 2016; reworked by Shauna Donnelly © 2017 Formatting Shauna Donnelly, Ailbhe O’Connell, Gary Swan With thanks to DU Music Society Central Societies Committee The TCD Association and Trust The Staff and Students of TCD Music Department Dr. Michael Lee and Dr. Barbara J. Dignam
The views expressed herein are the personal views of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Writings about Music. Design and Layout © 2017 Writings about Music. Content © the contributors except where otherwise stated
TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Introduction Articles In the Heights: A Musical Expression of the Immigrant Experience in New York City Ailbhe O’Connell “Distant Music”: Talking Politics around the Piano in Joyce’s Dublin Áine Palmer Johannes Kreidler and Jennifer Walshe: (Post-)Conceptual Music Darragh Kelly How Can We Use Prime Numbers & Costas Arrays to Create Pattern-less Music? Lara Gallagher To What Degree Does a Society’s Gender Ideology and Behaviour Affect Popular Music? Shauna Caffrey Mozart’s Fiordiligi: From Illusion to Truth Adam Cahill Pen to Print: Tracking the Move from Manuscript to Early Music Print Culture Shauna Donnelly
Scores Three Little Birds Róisín Hayes Slow Air and Three Tunes Eimear Gorey VII Luke Smyth
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EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION Shauna Donnelly I am proud to present the fourth volume of Writings About Music, Trinity College’s student-run musicology journal. This year we feature a diverse range of contributions, which can be broadly categorised into ‘new’ and popular musicological studies, ‘historical’ and analytical articles, interdisciplinary papers about music, and original compositions. Our composition section includes extracts from a collection of piano variations, a six-part choral score, and a number of graphic scores for traditional Irish musicians. Our ‘historical’ and analytical papers discuss post-conceptual contemporary music, Mozart’s operatic works, and the advent of the music printing press. Our interdisciplinary papers link to literature and mathematics, as Áine Palmer examines music in Joycean Dublin, making her literary exploration into an intriguing study of urban musicology. Meanwhile, Lara Gallagher uses prime numbers to great effect in examining patternless music. Our most current section of ‘new’ and popular musicological studies examines hip-hop, Latin American music, and gender constructs as ideological discourse in popular music. The contributions this year are intriguingly diverse, and I hope they will excite you as much as they excited our editorial team. I have many people to thank, all of whom have been indispensable during the production of this volume. Thanks to my formidable Deputy Editor Ailbhe, who was there every step of the way, from selecting, to editing, to getting through the painstaking formatting process. I could not have done this without you. To Aoife, Lara, and Daniel, our marvellous team of editors. To DU Music Society, for allowing us to keep making this journal. To the TCD Association and Trust for their generous financial support, and to the Central Societies Committee for their invaluable assistance. To Dr. Michael Lee, Dr. Barbara J. Dignam, and Dr. Jane
Alden for their support and guidance. To CaitrĂona Sheil and Adam Behan, for providing me with last yearâ€™s framework from which this journal was built. To Shauna Caffrey, Richard Duckworth, and all of the fantastic musicians who have lent their talent to performing the included compositions at our launch. To TCDâ€™s Global Room, for so kindly hosting us. To Gary and my family, for tolerating me when I was intolerable. Finally, thanks to our contributors, for writing and composing works that stimulate our thought and help us to appreciate the thing we prize above all, the thing that this journal seeks to serve: music.
IN THE HEIGHTS: A MUSICAL EXPRESSION OF THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN NEW YORK CITY Ailbhe O’Connell
In the Heights is a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes, which Miranda began working on during his time at Wesleyan University in the late 1990s. It premièred on Broadway in 2008. In the Heights focuses on a three-day period in the lives of a group of residents in Washington Heights, northern Manhattan. Most of the main characters are immigrants, the majority of them from the Dominican Republic, and this fact influences the musical and literary content of the play significantly. This essay aims to show how this music, and the storyline and themes it portrays, were inspired by the urban space of Washington Heights. Firstly, I will discuss the musical influences resulting from the play’s setting. These comprise two major genres: salsa, most especially the use of Afro-Caribbean percussion instruments and polyrhythms; and hip-hop, above all the prevalence of rap. Subsequently, the influence of the urban space on the major themes of the play will be explored, as the musical deals with issues pertaining to the struggle to survive as an immigrant in America, the idealisation of places outside of the barrio, and the concept of home. The way in which these two elements, the musical and the thematic, are fused in the songs of In the Heights will then be demonstrated by contrasting two tracks in particular, which appear back to back on the soundtrack: ‘96,000’ and ‘Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith)’. Finally, I will seek to highlight the importance of music in the community-based activities of Latino immigrants in New York City, specifically dance. Salsa is one of the two main genres whose influence can be heard in the music of In the Heights. This is evident from the first number of the musical, ‘In the Heights’, which introduces the setting and the main characters. This track begins with an ostinato rhythm on the claves, which are concussion idiophones of Cuban
Writings About Music origin.1 Following from this simple beginning, the musical texture gradually gets richer as more instruments are added to the mix, including expansions in the percussion section, such as the güiro, which result in a complex polyrhythmic backing for the vocal and instrumental lines: This buildup reflects the scene on stage, in which, as in the orchestration, new characters enter one by one, increasing the density of the visual texture. Altogether this adds up to the musical-dramatic believability of a neighbourhood waking up and coming to life.2 The instrumentation thus adds to the musical expression of the urban setting, while also demonstrating the Latin American influences behind the musical. The main features of salsa music stress many elements of Afro-Caribbean music, such as responsorial performing practice, polyrhythmic organization around various ostinatos […] and some improvisation, and combination of percussion (conga drums, bongos, timbal, cencerro or cowbell, clave and güiro) with double bass (or electric bass), guitar (tres) and brass instruments (trumpets and trombone).3 Percussion, bass, trumpets, and trombones all feature heavily in the orchestration of this number, and throughout the entire play. Miranda has specified salsa as one of the influences for this opening number in particular, and the show in general, and described how it was used in order to evoke the everyday sounds accompanying the morning routine of this neighbourhood: ‘[…] consisting of two cylindrical hardwood sticks measuring from 20 to 25 cm in length and from 2.5 to 3 cm in diameter.’ James Blades, ‘Claves’ in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell (eds.), vol. 6 (London: Macmillan, 2001), p. 4. 2 Joseph Church, Music Direction for the Stage: A View from the Podium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), p. 375. 3 Carolina Robertson and Gerard Béhague, ‘Latin America’ in New Grove, vol. 14, pp. 327–355 (p. 353). 1
[…] this our opening and […] we've got the hip hop section, but we also have […] the car blasting the salsa song whizzing by, and it’s that fusing of all the music in our opening number. And this is Usnavi opening his shop and introducing us to his day.4 Thus it is clear that the urban environment of the play was integral in the choice to include this kind of music, and that the music is intended to express the experiences of the people who live in this area. Hip-hop and rap function in much the same way throughout the musical. Latino immigrants, especially those from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, have been instrumental in the development of hip-hop in New York since the 1970s; Puerto Rican and other Caribbean practices and traditions are woven into the very fabric of [hip-hop].5 Therefore, the sound of northern Manhattan inevitably includes the sound of hip-hop. Indeed, Miranda, who grew up in Inwood, lists hip-hop as one of his main musical influences, along with traditional Broadway: Yeah, I was a musical theater nerd, and at the same time I was listening to hip hop albums.6 This manifests itself in the vocal style of much of the musical; Usnavi, Benny, and Sonny all primarily perform through rap. Hiphop also shares some of the characteristics of salsa and other Latin American forms of music, which are included in the play, such as a strong emphasis on the percussion section, and the use of repeated
Interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes on ‘Broadway Bullet’ (http://www.broadwaybullet.com/?p=272, accessed 15 January 2017). 5 Juan Flores, From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), p. 3. 6 Miranda and Hudes, ‘Broadway Bullet’. 4
Writings About Music riffs similar to the montuno, ‘a repeated, arpeggiated phrase typical of piano parts in Afro-Cuban music’.7 The thematic and literary content of the show is also based firmly in the lives of immigrants living in Washington Heights. One of the main recurring themes is the struggle to make ends meet: Nina has had to drop out of college because of the pressure of having two part-time jobs; Usnavi regularly refers to his financial trouble in keeping his bodega running; the neighbourhood salon is closing down and moving to the Bronx due to rent increases. These storylines relate to the reality of life in the Heights. Related to the theme of struggle, there is the idealisation of places other than the barrio. In the song ‘Breathe’, Nina describes herself as ‘the one who made it out’,8 and Vanessa is desperate to move downtown away from the neighbourhood; she sings about her desire to get out of Washington Heights in ‘It Won’t Be Long Now’: And one day, I’m hoppin’ that elevated train and I’m riding away! It won’t be long now.9 This song also brings up the concept of home, another major theme of In the Heights. After arranging a date with Vanessa, Usnavi sings the following lines: And my dearly beloved Dominican Republic I haven’t forgotten you! Gonna see this honey, make a little money, And one day I’ll hop Jet Blue! But until that fateful day, I’m grateful I got a destination I’m runnin’ to make it home And home’s what Vanessa’s running away from!10
Church, Music Direction, p. 375. Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘Breathe’, (https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-mirandabreathe-lyrics, accessed 15 January 2017). 9 Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘It Won’t Be Long Now’, (https://genius.com/Lin-manuelmiranda-it-wont-be-long-now-lyrics, accessed 15 January 2017). 10 Miranda, ‘It Won’t Be Long Now’. 7 8
Ailbhe O’Connell Here, Usnavi uses the word home to refer to two different locations: first, the native homeland of his parents, the Dominican Republic; and second, the place that he lives and grew up in, Washington Heights. Throughout the show, questions are raised about the meaning of home, questions which relate to the situation of any immigrant: does home refer to the place one’s ancestors lived, or to where one lives now? Two songs which exemplify the fusion of the musical and thematic influences of Washington Heights are ‘96,000’ and ‘Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith)’. The first of these involves the entire cast, as they discover that the winning ticket of the lottery, with a grand prize of $96,000, was sold in Usnavi’s bodega. The characters go on to describe how they would use the money to fulfil each of their life’s ambitions. Musically, the song expresses the diversity of the neighborhood. Benny responds in a rap style; Dani and Carla respond in a dancehall beat; Usnavi and Vanessa and the community use a reggaeton sound at one point; etc. Even though everyone in the community has a different style and different dreams, they all meld together as part of the same song.11 This song is almost devoid of the traditional Latin American techniques that we observed in the opening number. The percussion is limited to a simple backbeat for most of the track, and synthesisers feature more prominently than brass as melody instruments. This ties in with the themes explored in the track; several characters rap or sing about how they would use the money to get out of Washington Heights, while Sonny talks at length about how he would help to develop the neighbourhood, ensuring that each house had a computer with an internet connection, and educating young people on the threat of gentrification. Usnavi is the only character to mention the possibility of going back to the Dominican Republic, as the others fantasise about assimilating Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘96,000’ (https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-96000lyrics, accessed 15 January 2017). 11
Writings About Music further into American culture. Thus all three of the major themes discussed above come into play in this song, and the stylistic choices in the instrumentation reflect the almost purely American ideals which each character espouses. The following track, ‘Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith)’ stands in stark contrast to ‘96,000’. This song is sung by Abuela Claudia alone, and in it she reminisces about the life she led as a child in Cuba: It was hotter at home in La Vibora The Washington Heights of Havana! A crowded city of faces the same as mine! Back as a child in La Vibora I chased the birds in the plaza12 She goes on to talk about her experience of moving to New York so that she and her mother could find work, and the difficulties she faced in getting used to the new culture. These lyrics, as well as being interspersed with phrases in Spanish, are backed by an overtly Latin American-influenced accompaniment, replete with a full percussion section including maracas, claves, and güiro, as well as the guitar and brass ensemble associated with salsa music. Thus the theme of home is linked with the music of home, as Claudia remembers who she is in light of the dramatic news that she shares with the audience at the end of the song: that she is the owner of the winning lottery ticket. Finally, I would like to briefly address the importance of music in the communal activities of neighbourhoods such as Washington Heights, especially dance music. This importance can be seen in In the Heights: when Sonny tells Vanessa that Usnavi would like to take her out, Vanessa’s first question is ‘Does your cousin dance?’; at the dinner at Nina’s parents’ house, she and her mother dance to the music of the gramophone; and the 4th of July celebrations involve the community getting together to dance. This relates to the integral part that Latin American dance music plays in Lin-Manuel Miranda, ‘Paciencia y Fe (Patience and Faith)’, (https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-paciencia-y-fe-lyrics, accessed 15 January 2017). 12
Ailbhe O’Connell the identity work of Latino immigrants in America. Juan Flores explicitly links this to the urban environment in his chapter on casitas in New York City: The worlds of the casita and the plena are thus symbiotically related as forms of performative expression of working-class Puerto Ricans, especially those of AfroCaribbean origins from the coastal areas of the Island. Both are rooted in the everyday life of the participants, and their improvisational quality make both optimally inclusive as to the terms of involvement.13 In this way both the use of urban space—in building traditional Puerto Rican-style casitas—and the use of music—in performing and dancing to the bombas and plenas of Puerto Rico—combine to help immigrants to express their heritage and sense of identity. In conclusion, In the Heights makes effective use of musical techniques and thematic motifs in order to express the experience of immigrants living in Washington Heights, New York. At the same time as representing the lives of a specific group of people, however: Miranda [casts] the Latino experience in northern Manhattan in universal terms. In the Heights [is] not just a musical representation of days and nights in an ethnic enclave; it [is] a dynamic meditation on the meaning of home.14
Flores, Bomba to Hip-Hop, p. 63. Robert W. Snyder, Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015), p. 221. 13 14
Writings About Music
“DISTANT MUSIC”: TALKING POLITICS AROUND THE PIANO IN JOYCE’S DUBLIN Áine Palmer
‘He wanted to say that literature was above politics’, yet throughout Joyce’s novella ‘The Dead’ the astute reader will realise that Gabriel Conroy’s aversion is far from true.1 As Conroy frets over his Yuletide toasting speech at the musical ‘Misses Morkan’s annual dance’, he (and, of course, the reader) is repeatedly confronted with some of the primary political concerns of the time, as they loudly play out on the outskirts of his own privileged, middle-class experience. 2 Yet Conroy’s blithe assumption is a popular one, and much the same can and has been said, and similarly denied, of music. Music dominates Joyce’s work and much has been written on Joyce’s use of musical and operatic forms, in addition to the textual references to opera, theatre, and popular song that litter his works. Joyce was famously precise in his depiction of Dublin in his writing, plotting the movement of his characters meticulously in a historically accurate literary facsimile of the city. Thus, although Dubliners remains a collection of fiction, it can additionally be considered to a large extent a useful documentation of everyday life in Dublin in 1903. Taking this assumption at its starting point, this essay will explore the overlaps between contemporary politics and domestic music-making in Dublin in 1903, based on textual evidence taken from ‘The Dead’, and focusing particularly on issues surrounding women. Firstly, the feminist politics of the musical salon and female music-making will be discussed. Secondly, I will address the politics of religion and the Catholic Church in the early twentieth
James Joyce, ‘The Dead’ in Dubliners, Jeri Johnson (ed.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 148. [Henceforth referred to as ‘The Dead’.] 2 ‘The Dead’, p. 138. 1
Áine Palmer century and their relation to and impact on music-making. Finally, the use of Irish song to evoke a sense of nationalism and the ways in which Ireland’s musical history and colonial past intersect will be discussed. In ‘The Dead’, Conroy attends his aunt’s annual Christmas party, a highly musical affair that is analogous to the tradition of the musical salon. Julia and Kate Morkan, as well as their niece, Mary Jane, are all accomplished musicians and every year they invite ‘members of the family, old friends of the family, the members of Julia’s choir, any of Kate’s pupils that were grown up enough and even some of Mary Jane’s pupils’ to gather at their home in Ussher’s Island to celebrate the season with food, dance, and music-making.1 This type of informal music gathering reflects the tradition of musical salons that began in the aristocratic households of the Old Regime in Paris; private, exclusive, but also informal in nature. 2 These salons seem to have originated with women, who similarly hosted literary and artistic gatherings. Salons featured a level of female participation larger than that found in the previous, standardised, and institutional context of church and court, and were a new outlet for women’s musical talent and expression.3 Salons and salon culture continued long after their original inception in Paris as domestic music-making became popular with the new middle class, and evidently were an existing institution in Dublin c. 1903. The parlour setting acted as an equaliser, where women and men could perform for each other. ‘Popular’ and ‘serious’ genres were often casually intermingled, as would have happened in the late eighteenth century, before such rigid constructions of high and low music had developed.4 The plurality of style of genre seen at Miss Morkans’ party, where music ranges from opera arias (such as ‘Arrayed for the Bridal’) to Irish songs (‘The Lass of Aughrim’), is typical both of the ‘The Dead’, p. 138. James H. Johnson, Listening in Paris: A Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), p. 73. 3 Marcia Citron, Gender and the Music Canon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 104–106. 4 Ibid., p. 107. 1 2
Writings About Music range of musical taste and references found in Joyce’s ouevre and the general musical tastes of Dublin at the time; Joyce and his characters will as easily reference a bawdy drinking song as Don Giovanni. Dublin at the turn of the century, and as envisioned by Joyce, is a musical culture, where ‘the dividing lines between folk song, popular song and serious music were shadowy’.5 Opera in Dublin was immensely popular and became a key part of the entertainment of the middle class, and it wasn’t unusual for people to have the sort of intimate and automatic knowledge of the latest singers, productions and arias as Joyce’s Dubliners do.6 In addition to acting as an arena for the politics of tastes, Miss Morkan’s salon similarly evokes the gendered politics of genre and music-making that stemmed from the salon, and the integration of women into the world of music. Women, who rarely studied composition due to limited opportunities, took on the role of performers and interpreters, challenging ideas of virtuosity in nineteenth century Paris.7 Mary Jane Morkan, who performs ‘her Academy piece, full of runs and difficult passages’,8 is emblematic of the female virtuoso who, in the century before, ‘provided a direct challenge to [. . .] behavioural codes by making a spectacle of herself’. 9 Gabriel is less than impressed at the showmanship of Mary Jane’s piece, which ‘had no melody for him and he doubted whether it had any melody for the other listeners’.10 Based on this judgement, Gabriel’s disdain has been taken at face value by some critics. For example, Margot Norris considers Mary Jane, and her apparent lack of spark and talent, as representative of a middleclass and conformist femininity. 11 Yet we can alternatively take
Matthew J.C. Hodgart and Mabel P. Worthington, Songs in the Work of James Joyce (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959), p. 6. 6 Seamus Reilly, ‘James Joyce and Dublin Opera, 1888–1904’ in Bronze by Gold: The Music of James Joyce, Sebastian D.G. Knowles (ed.) (London: Garland, 1999), p. 9. 7 Katharine Ellis, ‘Female Pianists and their Male Critics in Nineteenth-Century Paris’ in Journal of the American Musicological Society, 50/2-3 (Spring-Autumn, 1997), pp. 353–385 (p . 355). 8 ‘The Dead’, p. 146. 9 Ellis, ibid., p. 361. 10 ‘The Dead’, p. 146. 11 Margot Norris, ‘Not the Girl She Was at All: Women in “The Dead”’ in The Dead: Complete Authoritative Text with Biographical and Critical Contexts, Critical History, and 5
Áine Palmer Conroy’s impression as representative of a gendered reception, and as part of contemporary debates on the value of musical virtuosity. Women pianists were regularly derided either on the basis of gender or in terms coloured by gender in the nineteenth century. For example, Ellis points out that commentary on the finger technique of pianists, emphasising technical prowess or lack thereof over any sort of genuine creativity or musicianship, was something reserved nearly exclusively for female musicians. 12 In addition, virtuoso pianists such as Mary Jane were also caught in the middle of debates between critics on the value of ‘virtuoso’ versus ‘Beethovenian’ musical styles, and the value of musical progress.13 Set against this backdrop, Conroy’s blithe dismissal can be viewed as what it more likely is: a judgement based not merely on value alone, but also debates on aesthetics and the gender politics of the time. In ‘The Dead’ these gender politics are played out not just in domestic music-making, or even public performance, but also in the Church. At the beginning of the novella, we are informed that Julia Morkan is ‘still the leading soprano in Adam and Eve’s’ or, as it was officially known, the Catholic Church of St. Francis of Assisi on Merchant’s Quay.14 Yet later on, we discover that this is, in fact, no longer the case. Kate Morkan, in an impassioned outburst, indicates her sister’s recent dismissal; ‘I think it’s not at all honourable for the pope to turn out the women out of the choirs that have slaved there all their lives and put little whipper-snappers of boys over their heads.’15 Indeed, just six weeks previous to the events of ‘The Dead’, on November 22, 1903 (the appropriate day of the Feast of St. Cecilia), the recently appointed Pope Pius X had issued the Motu Proprio, the new Instruction on Sacred Music.16 This document laid out a variety of guidelines on the performance of Essays from Five Contemporary Critical Perspectives, Daniel R. Schwarz (ed.) (Boston: Bedford Books, 1994), p. 200. 12 Ellis, ‘Female Pianists and their Male Critics’, pp. 269–270. 13 Ellis, ibid., p. 362. 14 ‘The Dead’, p. 138. 15 Ibid., p. 153. 16 H.T. Henry, ‘Music-Reform in the Catholic Church’ in The Musical Quarterly, 1/1 (January 1915), pp. 102–117 (p. 103).
Writings About Music music in service of the Catholic liturgy. Most controversial, however, was its dictate that, as Kate Morkan complains, all female choristers be replaced with boy singers. In addition, secular musical influences were strictly prohibited, with a favouring of Gregorian chant as the purest form of church music. H.T. Henry, a commentator writing in 1915, at which point the reforms were evidently still a point of contention, justified the expulsion of women from the choir stalls by explaining that they were not sufficiently humble or holy in the performance of sacred texts: I think that ladies here are the greater offenders. I have seen them advance to the railing of the choir-loft with all the usual impressiveness of a prima-donna.17 The faults of boys, comparatively, were not only amendable in their youth, but also ‘“boyish” faults and are easily condoned even by an exactingly devout worshipper in church.’18 Ironically, at the end of his piece, Henry opines that even if permission to readmit women into the choir ‘were—by a virtually impossible hypothesis—to be granted by some future Pope’, most churches would retain their boy choirs in defence of the ‘previous liturgical and musical anarchy’ if anything. 19 He very likely would have been quite shocked to hear the music of today’s Catholic Church, post-Vatican II. Julia Morkan is a literary testament to the impact that this new religious guideline had on the lives of female musicians. Her dismissal can be understood as ‘a stunning historical instance of female exclusion from the practice of art on pure grounds of sexual discrimination’. 20 Other clues in the text deepen this impression based on what seems to be a prodigious talent. ‘Arrayed for a Bridal’ is the English translation of the aria ‘Son Vergin Vezzosa’, from Bellini’s opera I Puritani, and featuring an array of runs, trills
Henry, ‘Music-Reform in the Catholic Church’, p. 108. Ibid., p. 112. 19 Ibid., p. 117. 20 Norris, ‘Not the Girl She Was at All’, p. 198. 17 18
Áine Palmer and grace notes that would be an impressive feat for any singer, let alone one for someone of Julia Morkan’s implied advanced age.21 Of course, any discussion of politics in Joyce and ‘The Dead’ would be incomplete without a mention of the nationalist politics constantly rumbling in the background of his Dublin. Ireland was still fully under rule of the British Empire in 1903, yet the Irish Revival was underway and Home Rule was in sight. Miss Ivors, the woman who most discomfits bumbling Gabriel Conroy, does so by examining his allegiance to the British Crown during a dance, accusing him of being a ‘West Briton’.22 Later on in the story, Gretta Conroy’s memories from her youth in Galway will similarly disturb Conroy. The intersection here between women and nationalism is not a new one; women have often been seen as symbolic of nation in Ireland, viewed as someone ‘who could return to Irish men a sense of their own masculinity by standing as a passive ideal in need of their rescue’. 23 Joyce’s association of women with nationalism inverts this passivity however, as women confront and defy Conroy in subtle ways. In ‘The Dead’, nationalism is most clearly evoked by the song ‘The Lass of Aughrim’, sung in the parlour by Bartell D’Arcy, and evocative of memories of the West of Ireland to Gretta Conroy. As she listens to the song on the stairwell, Conroy thinks that his wife looks like a ‘symbol of something’, yet he cannot decide what. 24 Conroy’s failure to relate his wife to the West, and to Ireland as a nation, emphasises his disjunction from Irish culture, and what Cheryl Herr (and probably Miss Ivors) would describe as middle-class complicity in Irish oppression by acceding to British culture, economic rule, and ideologies. 25 ‘The Lass of Aughrim’ brings back memories of the West, and young Michael Furey to Gretta Conroy. Her memories decentre Gabriel, destabilising his ‘The Dead’, p. 152n. Ibid., p. 148. 23 Maria-Elena Doyle, ‘A Spindle for the Battle: Feminism, Myth and the WomanNation in Irish Revival Drama’ in Theatre Journal, 51/1 (March 1999), pp. 33–46 (pp. 33–34). 24 ‘The Dead’, p. 165. 25 Cheryl Herr, Joyce’s Anatomy of Culture (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1986), p. 23. 21 22
Writings About Music narrative hegemony, and moving the story (and indeed, all of Dubliners as a collection) outside of the urban centre of Dublin and to the romanticised West right at its denouement. From a narrative perspective this is all relatively straightforward, yet musical clues slyly indicate the further complexity of Ireland’s colonial status. ‘The Lass of Aughrim’, representative as it is here of the real, rural Ireland, is in fact an Irish variant of the English folk song, ‘The Lass of Roch Royal’.26 Like the music hall songs imported by English performers into Irish culture, the integration of English folk songs into the Irish tradition can be conceived of as a ‘symbiotic intertwining of British and Irish cultures’, furthering the oppression of Ireland. 27 However, this subtle doubling of cultural identity calls to mind what theorist Homi K. Bhabha would call the hybridity of colonial cultures, an imitation that undermines the concept cultural purity or authenticity central to nationalism. 28 Gretta’s nostalgic memories thus become a nexus of musical symbolism of colonialism, oppression, hybridity, and bourgeois collusion. In conclusion, it seems that neither literature nor music are above politics in ‘The Dead’. Behind the songs performed and dances enacted lie the stories of people and their real engagement with the world; namely, the stuff of politics. The evocation of the French salon, reference to Catholic musical practice, and shadow of nationalism that are all found in ‘The Dead’ are unmistakably wrapped up with musical history and practices, and the politics of life in Dublin c. 1903.
Hodgart and Worthington, Songs in the Work of James Joyce, p. 6. Herr, Joyce’s Anatomy of Culture, p. 190. 28 See Homi K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 2004). 26 27
JOHANNES KREIDLER AND JENNIFER WALSHE: (POST-) CONCEPTUAL MUSIC Darragh Kelly
This paper will analyse works by the two composers Johannes Kreidler and Jennifer Walshe, drawing comparisons and distinctions between them, in an attempt to illuminate the compositional praxis and philosophy of music found in each. Kreidler and Walshe are both recipients of the prestigious Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music’s Kranichstein Music Prize for Composition (in 2012 and 2000, respectively), and remain at the forefront of the conceptual music movement and the wider experimental music world. Conceptual art’s early development is inextricably bound to avant-garde music and composers; more so, perhaps, than any artistic movement in which the visual arts and music commingled. Analogies and shared philosophical import can be drawn between impressionism in the visual arts and music, and modernist painters and sculptors and their contemporaries of the Second Viennese School and Stravinsky in the early twentieth century, for example. However, in the works of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, the prominence of the question of what is art and why, over any tangible inheritance of and responsibility to the particular traditions, workings, and materials within their own field, represent a fundamental break. Kreidler has built upon one of conceptual art’s central texts, Sol LeWitt’s ‘Sentences on Conceptual Art’ of 1968, in his ‘Sentences on Musical Concept-Art’.1 It acts as a frequent foundation of his lectures and a way into his methodology. In one such lecture at Harvard, his piece Fremdarbeit (Outsourcing) of 2009 is used to exemplify the fourth and first of these aforementioned sentences: concerning the sole suitability of readymades or chance generators and the idea being a machine that produces the work of art.2 Johannes Kreidler, ‘Sentences on Musical Concept-Art’ (https://youtu.be/cUIzq52kuP4, April 2016). 2 The suitability of the word ‘piece’ is notable in conceptual art. ‘... and a piece need not be an aesthetic object, or even an object at all.’ Timothy Binkley, ‘Piece: Contra Aesthetics’, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 35 (1997), p. 265. 1
Writings About Music The piece involved Kreidler hiring a Chinese composer and an Indian audio programmer to produce a work which stylistically copies Kreidler’s previous output. Enacting another sentence on musical concept-art during its premiere—that the composer’s elucidation of the concept can often be integral to conceptual music—Kreidler outlines exactly the processes behind the work, including the vast difference between his fee for the piece and that received by the two men who actually wrote it.3 Kreidler is seeking, as J.G. Ballard claimed of his highly conceptual literary work of the late 1960s and early 1970s, to rub the globalised consumer’s face in its own vomit and force them to look in the mirror. When challenged by an audience member that he, Kreidler, is merely exploiting others and that the music is not his own, he of course agrees with the first point, but rhetorically claims that it is, indeed, his music as he paid for and legally owns it. Is this audience member’s outrage merited or key to conceptual music’s flaws? 4 His umbrage with the issue of authorship reveals that the Chinese composer and Indian audio programmer not being in on the conceptual joke (an intentionally unedifying detail) is not his sole concern. Kreidler’s work does not operate under the traditional model of compositional autonomy, however, believing it to be both outdated and irrelevant in the digital age. His Product Placements of 2008 also questions such notions of authorship, identity and their interaction with law and contemporary composition and consumption. A 33-second composition containing 70,200 samples of copyrighted material, each one requiring a separate GEMA (Germany’s national collection society) form, Kreidler delivered all 70,200 forms to GEMA’s head office as part of what he deemed a ‘multimedia theatre work.’5 By applying unabashed neoliberal exploitation of cheap foreign labour to composition in Fremdarbeit, Kreidler is not merely making an explicit political point about copyright and the division Johannes Kreidler, ‘Fremdarbeit’ (http://www.kreidlernet.de/english/works/fremdarbeit.htm, April 2016). 4 This is assuming the audience member is not working with Kreidler to further the polemic’s explication. 5 Johannes Kreidler, ‘Product Placements’ (http://kreidler-net.de/productplacementse.html, April 2016). 3
Darragh Kelly of labour, but unseating what he believes to be the illusory, ideological construct of the autonomous artist. The author may be long dead, but his labour continues and has been cost-effectively strategised. To further echo Barthes, perhaps the audience member’s reaction is akin to the effect he posited photography has upon its viewer: that of neither subject nor object, but a subject who feels he is becoming an object. This state, Kreidler may argue, has already been fully achieved under the present economic conditions in which exchange value reigns. Equally, the work, as Foucault put it, ‘possesses the right to kill, to be its author’s murderer.’6 Kreidler goes on, in the act of compositional outsourcing, to fulfill Foucault’s edict that it is not merely enough to emptily reiterate the fact of the author’s absence: one must locate the lacunae, and follow the gaps and breaches. Throughout Philosophy and Conceptual Art, the paradigm under which an analysis and appreciation of conceptual art is to take place is discussed. The relation of aesthetic and cognitive value is of central importance, with Elisabeth Schellekens questioning conceptual artists’ frequent assertion that an emphasis on the latter somehow requires a rejection of the former.7 In relation to Fremdarbeit, whilst Kreidler views the art object (inasmuch as it exists) to be of value, this value is necessarily trivial; an incidental curiosity in relation to the concept. Whatever kind of music could conceivably have resulted from the experiment, it is doubtful the piece’s overarching goal or impact would have been significantly altered or affected. We are, then, faced with an irreconcilable paradox: that of an a priori dematerialised conceptual art piece, seeking to attain both selfreflexive art and socio-political cognitive value, through attaching itself to a phenomenological vehicular medium that claims to be or produce work of importance. Kreidler himself, while talking about Product Placements, states that art’s essential function is to make
Michel Foucault, Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology, James D. Faubion (ed.), Robert Hurley and others (trans.) (New York: The New Press, 1998), p. 206. 7 Elisabeth Schellekens, ‘The Aesthetic Value of Ideas’, in Philosophy and Conceptual Art, Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens (eds.) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 6
Writings About Music ‘abstract concepts sensually perceptible’ and that he has created a ‘metaphor’.8 Jennifer Walshe’s work seems to have a different approach to conceptual music and its possibilities compared to Kreidler’s. They share basic themes and qualities common to much conceptual theory (the idea as the driving force of art, an indiscriminatory approach to the most suitable vehicular medium), but Walshe’s work immediately seems more ludic, less overtly polemical in nature, and draws on different traditions and praxes within the arts. On her piece The Total Mountain of 2014, Walshe says: The Total Mountain is to do with living, thinking, making music, reading in the world we live in now after the advent of the internet and its integration into our lives. I do a lot of physical movements during the piece, as well as stuff with my voice. The film part is very trashy. Lots of screen-grabs from Twitter, horrible pre-set menus from certain programs… Things like that.9 The piece takes in the monoliths of the internet and social media such as Twitter and Wikipedia, online memes, multiple personae assumed by Walshe, and is largely comprised of fragmentary, gnomic film and live performance elements. It is both disorienting and familiar; humorous and rapt. The post-conceptual, as theorised by Peter Osborne, rests upon its registering of the historical experience of conceptual art, and reflectively incorporating its fundamental truth: that art is both necessarily aesthetic and conceptual. Further, a process of debordering, both of the arts as mediums (with emergent transcategorical practices opening up a ‘generic’ art) and previously national social spaces of art, is central. 10 This offers a more convincing alternative to Schellekens aforementioned contention with conceptual art’s objection to aesthetic value and Johannes Kreidler, ‘Product Placements’. Jennifer Walshe, Interview with ATTN:Magazine (http://www.attnmagazine.co.uk/features/9159, April 2016). 10 Peter Osborne, ‘Art Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Criticism, Art History and Contemporary Art’, Art History, 27/4 (2004), pp. 651–70. 8 9
Darragh Kelly materialisation. Schellekens overcomes that position, which has its apotheosis in the high conceptual work of the 1960s of Joseph Kosuth and the Art & Language group, by retaining and transferring traditional notions of aesthetic value to the idea itself and the effect of a judicious choice of vehicular medium. Osborne tackles the failure of dematerialisation, the renewed aesthetic impulse, and awareness of its insufficiency as a result head-on, however. This ‘dialectical constellation of the aesthetic, conceptual and distributive aspects of art’ Osborne outlines may, I propose, be located in Walshe’s The Total Mountain.11 In Walshe’s The Total Mountain we are confronted with the fallout of the total destruction of the artwork’s ontology, and with it the significance of art-historical categories of medium, form, and style. Adjoining all this, one can perceive a decidedly Cageian inflection of total inclusion regarding the musical material, a concept which predates but foreshadows the post-conceptual debordering. That Walshe also sings, in manifold ways, much of her material throughout the piece supports this. The treatment of the work’s post-internet materials could be regarded as fundamentally situationist in methodology. 12 Without wishing to sideline the substantial body of literature and theory surrounding post-internet art (which Walshe is steeped in), The Total Mountain seems to fulfill many criteria set out by the radical art and political movement of Guy Debord and the Situationist International. The piece seeks to construct a ‘situation’, the declared central purpose of the SI: the concrete creation of temporary settings of life and their transformation into a higher, passionate nature. 13 This rearrangement of the environment that conditions us (in this case, the post-internet ‘unified field of electric
Peter Osborne, ‘Contemporary Art Is Post-Conceptual Art’ (http://ow.ly/4n1gkC, April 2016). 12 ‘... there can be no situationist painting or music, but only a situationist use of these means.’ Situationist International, ‘Definitions’, in Situationist International Anthology, Ken Knabb (ed., trans.) (Berkeley, CA: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2006), p. 45. 13 Guy Debord, ‘Report on the Construction of Situations and on the Terms of Organization and Action of the International Situationist Tendency’, in Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents (Massachussetts and London: MIT Press, 2002), p. 44. 11
Writings About Music all-at-onceness’)14 through a ‘dialectical organisation of partial and transitory realities’ is writ large in The Total Mountain.15 While the SI maintained that performance art or unilateral parodic spectacles are anathema to the situation (‘situations are conceived as the opposite of works of art’)16 on the basis of their alienated, non-interventionist nature, in a post-conceptual, postinternet age, this objection might be rendered redundant. For, if the construction of situations is meant to ‘infiltrate all of life’ and ‘not be a discrete activity limited in time and space’, the allencompassing medium of the internet and its centrality in The Total Mountain and Walshe’s oeuvre may surreptitiously circumvent such an impasse.17 Furthermore, Walshe’s manipulation of the internet’s material is tantamount to digital detournement, an SI tactic in which ‘objects, images, or words were ripped out of their original contexts and then juxtaposed—carefully and deliberately, not randomly—to create new meanings and effects’.18 Acting as a dérive19 through the digital landscape, a psychogeography of the internet, The Total Mountain is Walshe’s attempt to slowly find her way in—as Nan Shepherd also attempted in The Living Mountain. 20 However, ultimately ‘one never quite knows the mountain, nor oneself in relation to it.’21 Kreidler and Walshe’s works each reflect the belief that Harry Lehmann has detailed in relation to the conceptual music movement: the exhaustion and end of new material and thus Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy (New York: Mentor, 1962), p. 81. Osborne, ‘Contemporary Art Is Post-Conceptual Art’, p. 10. 16 Constant Nieuwenhuys, ‘Editorial Notes: The Meaning of Decay in Art’, in Guy Debord and the Situationist International: Texts and Documents (Massachussetts and London: MIT Press, 2002), p. 91. 17 Ibid., p. 91. 18 David Pinder, ‘Subverting Cartography: The Situationists and Maps of the City’, Environment and Planning A, 28/3 (March 1996), p. 419. 19 Situationist International, ‘Definitions’, p. 45. 20 ‘So there I lie on the plateau, under me the central core of fire from which was thrust this grumbling mass of plutonic rock, over me blue air, and between the fire of the rock and the fire of the sun, scree, soil and water, grass, flower and tree, insect, bird and beast, wind, rain, snow—the total mountain. Slowly I have found my way in.’ Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain: A Celebration of the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1977), p. 114. 21 Ibid., p. 1. 14 15
Darragh Kelly material progress in music.22 Their positions on this point are not identical—Kreidler is far more forthright, believing composers who ‘do nothing but write their little structures should be ashamed’,23 while Walshe has expressed a desire to create what is ‘rooted to the here and now’24—but tie with Lehmann’s proposition (also in line with Osborne’s theory of the post-conceptual) of the fundamental ontological shift in music and art. While Osborne discerns that the post-conceptual ‘provides new interpretative conditions for analyses of individual works’,25 have the paths followed in this paper and elsewhere sufficed? Indeed, if the aesthetic has been reconciled through its contingency on art’s anti-aesthetic use of aesthetic materials, and cognitive value gleaned from art can be said to have qualitatively different or superior qualities to that of other types of knowledge, how is conceptual music to be critically valued? In his review of Osborne’s Anywhere or Not at All, Jakub Stejskal states that Osborne falls short of outlining ‘in what respect contemporary art is a privileged epistemic means of gaining insight into the historical newness of the present.’26 In an age in which the concept of a great music—‘a transient category, bound up with the bourgeois era and fated to be forgotten’—is a distant relic, it is Walshe’s and Kreidler’s rejection of turning away from the contemporary by creating an art that is in critical contact with the historical present that validates them, according to Osborne (and Lehmann, and, one might presume, the two composers). Indeed, it seems fitting that this art’s connection with what Meiling Cheng has termed the ‘prosthetic present’ echoes Walter Benjamin. Benjamin saw modern reproductive technology as fundamentally altering the cultural landscape in socially progressive ways less by making mass art more or less
Harry Lehmann, ‘Digitization and Concept: A Thought Experiment Concerning New Music’, Journal for New Music and Culture, 7 (2010). 23 Kreidler, ‘Fremdarbeit’. 24 Walshe, Interview with ATTN:Magazine. 25 Peter Osborne, ‘Art Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Criticism, Art History and Contemporary Art’, Art History, 27/4 (2004): p. 677. 26 Jakub Stejskal, ‘Peter Osborne. Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art’, Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 51/1 (2014), p. 159. 22
Writings About Music democratically available and inexpensive, but more by the changed conditions of viewing engendered by the media. The ‘artwork has value only insofar as it is alive to reverberations of the future’, as Breton wrote and Benjamin underlined.27 Whether leaving the composer in a position akin to postmodern curator, as theorised by David Balzer, ultimately denies music a continued life and imminent progression is debateable. What is not helpful, one can be sure, is to greet this art with mere indignity or vitriol; the uncritical rage of Caliban seeing himself in the glass. As Adorno maintained, the crisis in musical composition is always equally one of musical analysis. If analysis can be raised to the level of contemporary musical consciousness found in postconceptual music, it will in turn be capable of reacting back on to and critically affecting composition itself.
Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Reproducibility’, in Selected Writings: 1938–40 (Massachusetts and London: Harvard University Press, 2003), p. 280. 27
HOW CAN WE USE PRIME NUMBERS AND COSTAS TO ARRANGE PATTERN-LESS MUSIC? Lara Gallagher
It is within human nature that the beauty of repetition is found. As a species we innately desire control and the certainty of comprehending what might come next. Our senses crave understanding through pattern and repetition. Between every particle there are never-ending sequences of dynamic systems and fractals which our brains perceive through sight and sound. Beauty for example, is perceived through the repetition of these patterns and systems. If we were to take music as an example of a series of patterns that provides our ears with stimulating sounds through its layers of melodic motifs and rhythmic ideas, what would music represent with an absence of pattern? If repetition is a key component of beauty, would this music be considered beautiful? In order to come to an accurate conclusion, this investigation will: • • • • •
Explore the idea of pattern-less sequences Use submarine sonar operation to discuss how pattern-less sound is essential Investigate and discuss the work of John Costas in creating the perfect sonar ping/series of pattern-less sounds Show how Costas Arrays can be used to create pattern-less music for the Piano Discuss and attempt to create a piece of music absent of pattern for an alto saxophone.
We as humans have natural tendencies to see patterns within random sets of data. When we come across large clusters of randomness we instinctively create patterns in our head. What we as a race find difficult to understand is that within a random
Writings About Music sequence you can have ‘clusters which are identical’.1 For example if one has a bag of balls, 10 green (G) and 10 red (R) and one decides to pick a ball out of the bag 10 times, replacing it after it is picked, we tend to assume that a result of R,G,R,R,R,R,R,R,R,R is less random than R,G,G,R,G,R,R,G,G,R even though the probability for each sequence is the same. The two possibilities (red and green) are independent events because one does not affect the chance of the other occurring. We may be able to find patterns within random sequences because they have the capability of repeating themselves but is it possible to use mathematics to write a melody with no repetition or pattern at all? Sonar, or sound navigation and ranging, is the easiest way in which submarines can detect obstacles under water, and is an example of where pattern-less sound is a necessity. The submarine emits waves of sound, which echo and bounce back towards the submarine. The information is recorded depending on the duration of time the sound took to travel back, thus one can determine the distance of the closest obstacle. Sonar is also used to tell crew how fast an object is moving. It does this using the Doppler effect (compression of sound waves as an object moves towards you, extension of sound waves as the object moves further away). The Doppler effect is among one of the most important discoveries made for submarines as it can help determine the exact speed of an object. If a known frequency is emitted and it bounces back at a different frequency, sonar is used to calculate how fast the object is moving and in which direction it moves. For example, a submarine (A) is 10 feet underwater in the Atlantic Ocean and is almost static. Another smaller submarine (B) is also 10 feet underwater. To find out details of this other object, Submarine A sends out a ping at an F pitch. The ping bounces back at a D pitch, 4 seconds later. We know that the speed of sound travels through the Atlantic ocean at a depth of ‘10 meters and average salt measure of 34.9parts per million, at roughly 1560 m/s’.2 This tells submarine A that submarine B is roughly 3120m ‘Helping Others’, (http://www.problemgambling.ca/en/resourcesforprofessionals/pages/whywesee patternsinsequencesofrandomevents.aspx, accessed 4 March 2017). 2 ‘UCSB Scienceline’ (http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=621, accessed 4 March 2017). 1
Lara Gallagher away. The change in pitch from low to high also tells them that submarine B is coming towards them. The last thing left to figure out is how fast submarine B is going. To do this, submarine A sends out another F pitched sonar ping 16 seconds after the first one. The ping bounces back 3.2 seconds later at a pitch of C. This tells submarine A that submarine B is 2496m away. There is just one problem with Sonar. The example above works only if there is one other submarine coming towards you. If there are numerous particles and moving objects, how can you tell which object your ping is returning from? How can one come up with the perfect pattern-less sonar ping/collection of sounds to tell all objects apart? Solomon Golomb, a renowned mathematician, explained that for a given prime number (e.g. 7) ‘an array could be generated by multiplying each successive result by a lessor prime (e.g. 3) and reducing the result to be less than the original prime by subtracting such number of times the original prime as required’.3 For example if we take the prime (p) 7 then an array of size (p-1) 6 can be created as follows:
30 = 1 31 = 3 31 x 3 – 7 = 2 2x3=6 6 x 3 – (2x7) = 4 4 x 3 – (7) = 5
The result is a 6 x 6 Costas Array.
Scott Rickard, ‘The Beautiful Math Behind the World’s Ugliest Music’, (https://www.ted.com/talks/scott_rickard_the_beautiful_math_behind_the_ugliest _music, accessed 4 March 2017). 3
Writings About Music 1 0 0 0 0 0
0 0 1 0 0 0
0 1 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 1
0 0 0 1 0 0
0 0 0 0 1 0
● ● ● ● ● ●
Figure 1: Costas Array 6 x 64
A Costas array is also known as a permutation array (one dot in every column) so that every vector (left-to-right) joining the dots is distinct. In sonar or sound terms this means the relationship between each ping or note over time is distinct.
Figure 2: Costas Array 6 x 6 showing distinct Vectors
Fascinatingly, Costas Arrays also have the property that a diagonal shift in the array contains at most one overlapping dot (or ping). This provides a powerful autocorrelation feature, which allows complex multilayered sonar patterns and sounds to be created.
Scott Rickard ‘Open Problems in Costas Arrays’, (http://www.ima.org.uk/_db/_documents/Rickard_2_20111213125449.pdf, accessed 4 March 2017). 4
Lara Gallagher ● ● ●
● ● ● ●
Figure 3: Overlay of two 6 x 6 Costas Arrays
Arnold Schoenberg, the 20th century-style Austrian composer, was the first recorded composer who thought of the idea of creating pattern-free pieces. In the 1930s, he began thinking of creating repetition-free, pattern-less music. His goal was ‘to free music from tonal structure’. The technique he used was called the emancipation of the dissonance. This was a way in which he ‘broadened the tonal spectrum, disregarded the historical terms consonance and dissonance, and freed the twelve pitches from a central tonal centre’.5 Scott Rickard, a professor at University College Dublin, took Schoenberg’s idea and decided to create the ‘first actual pattern free piece of music for piano’6 using the 88x88 Costas array for the melody and the Golomb ruler (a set of positive integers, containing zero, so that no two differences between any pair of these numbers are the same,7 hence using a time signature derived from this) for the rhythm. I will demonstrate, through the making of my own pattern-less piece of music, how Rickard created his piece. If we take the prime number 89, then using the same method as above, we can create a Costas Array of size 88 x 88. This is a significant number because a piano has 88 notes. The
Cynthia Peck, ‘A Century of Schoenberg: The Emancipation of Dissonance’, (http://www.viennareview.net/on-the-town/on-music/a-century-of-schoenbergthe-emancipation-of-dissonance, accessed 4 March 2017). 6 Rickard, ‘The Beautiful Math Behind the World’s Ugliest Music’. 7 Kris Coolsaet, ‘Golomb Rulers’, (http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/cds/part16.htm, accessed 4 March 2017). 5
Writings About Music calculations for making a series which is pattern-free using the prime number 89 works as follows: 1, 1x3=3, 3x3=9, 9x3=27, 27x3=81, 81x3=243, 243-2(89)=65…………………
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
1 3x1 3x3 9x3 27x3 81x3=243-2(89) 65x3=195-2(89) 17x3 51x3=153-89 64x3=192-2(89) 14x3 42x3=126-89 37x3=111-89 22x3 66x3=198-2(89) 20x3 60x3=180-2(89) 2x3 6x3 18x3 54x3=162-89 73x3=219-2(89) 41x3=123-89 34x3=102-89
1 3 9 27 81 65 17 51 64 14 42 37 22 66 20 60 2 6 18 54 73 41 34 13
Lara Gallagher 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56
13x3 39x3=117-89 28x3 84x3=252-2(89) 74x3=222-2(89) 44x3=132-89 43x3=129-89 40x3=120-89 31x3=93-89 4x3 12x3 36x3=108-89 19x3 57x3=171-89 82x3=246-2(89) 68x3=204-2(89) 26x3 78x3=234-2(89) 56x3=168-89 79x3=237-2(89) 59x3=177-89 88x3=264-2(89) 86x3=258-2(89) 80x3=240-2(89) 62x3=186-2(89) 8x3 24x3 72x3=216-2(89) 38x3=114-89 25x3 75x3=225-2(89) 47x3=141-89
39 28 84 74 44 43 40 31 4 12 36 19 57 82 68 26 78 56 79 59 88 86 80 62 8 24 72 38 25 75 47 52
Writings About Music 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88
52x3=156-89 67x3=201-2(89) 23x3 69x3=207-2(89) 29x3 87x3=261-2(89) 83x3=249-2(89) 71x3=213-2(89) 35x3=105-89 16x3 48x3=144-89 55x3=165-89 76x3=228-2(89) 50x3=150-89 61x3=183-2(89) 5x3 15x3 45x3=135-89 46x3=138-89 49x3=147-89 58x3=174-89 85x3=255-2(89) 77x3=231-2(89) 53x3=159-89 70x3=210-2(89) 32x3=96-89 7x3 21x3 63x3=189-2(89) 11x3 33x3=99-89 10x3
67 23 69 29 87 83 71 35 16 48 55 76 50 61 5 15 45 46 49 58 85 77 53 70 32 7 21 63 11 33 10 30
Figure 4: 88x88 Costas Array Calculations
A graph of the results is shown in Figure 5 below. The graph also includes a linear regression line which shows a slight incline due to the biased decision to begin with the number 30. In order to further extend the pattern-less nature of this piece of music, Scott Rickard took the notes and created a time measure based on the Golomb ruler. The result is a pure pattern-less piece of music for the piano.
Costas array 88x88 100 80 60 40 20 0 0
Number of Notes
Figure 5: The 88x88 Costas Array
If Scott Rickard was capable of accumulating his knowledge of the perfect ping and the Golomb ruler to create a pattern-less piece of music for piano, then in theory so should I. As a saxophonist, I have decided to investigate the possibility of creating a pattern-free melodic composition using the 30 notes of the saxophone. Based on this, I will create a 30 x 30 Costas array using the prime number 31.
Number 1 2
Sum 1 3x1
Answer 1 3
Writings About Music 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
3x3 9x3 27x3=81-2(31) 19x3=57-31 26x3=78-2(31) 16x3=48-31 17x3=51-31 20x3=60-31 29x3=87-2(31) 25x3=75-2(31) 13x3=39-31 8x3 24x3=72-2(31) 10x3 30x3=90-2(31) 28x3=84-2(31) 22x3=66-2(31) 4x3 12x3=36-31 5x3 15x3=45-31 14x3=42-31 11x3=33-31 2x3 6x3 18x3=54-31 23x3=69-2(31) 7x3 Figure 6: 30x30 Costas array calculations
9 27 19 26 16 17 20 29 25 13 8 24 10 30 28 22 4 12 5 15 14 11 2 6 18 23 7 21
Lara Gallagher Using these calculations, the following table shows how the numbers can be linked to each note on the saxophone. A melodic composition can then be written according to the Costas Array.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
d’ flat d’ e’ flat e’ f’ f’ sharp g’ a’ flat a’ b’ flat b’ c’’ d’’ flat d’’ e’’ flat e’’ f’’ f’’ sharp g’’ a’’ flat a’’ b’’ flat b’’ c’’’ d’’’ flat d’’’ e’’’ flat e’’’ f’’’
1 25 2 19 21 26 29 13 3 15 24 20 12 23 22 7 8 27 5 9 30 18 28 14 11 6 4 17 10
Writings About Music 30
Figure 7: Linking 30 x 30 Costas Array to Notes on a Saxophone
Figure 8 shows the resulting melodic composition I came up with for the perfect melodic ping on the saxophone. For the purpose of this investigation, a time signature is used within this piece hence why it is only melodically pattern-less.
Figure 8: Pattern-free melodic composition for alto saxophone
To conclude, this exploration has proved the possibility of generating completely pattern-less sound through prime numbers and how essential that is to submarine sonar. But my interests lie in the application of these methods to music and the impact of this form of music as a whole. Gauging from the reactions I triggered having played my composition to colleagues, a pleased response is not one I received or was expecting to. Beauty is subjective, hence only through the analysis of our own subjective opinions can we determine whether or not pattern-free structures are ultimately beautiful. However, through our appreciation of the miracle that is mathematics and of unique pieces of music (melodic, rhythmic or both) consisting of singular exquisite sounds, one can determine that such music is beautiful.
TO WHAT DEGREE DOES A SOCIETY’S GENDER IDEOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR AFFECT POPULAR MUSIC? Shauna Caffrey
The ideologies and behavior of a society affect popular music and its production in a multitude of ways, so much so that to state the exact degree of their effect is almost impossible. The sale, production, and presentation of popular music and the artists who create it are all bound by a series of ideological codes, a large number of which reflect upon gender. In Frock Rock, Mavis Bayton states that traditionally, women have been positioned as consumers and fans, and in supportive roles (wife, mother, girlfriend), rather than as active producers of music.1 The following essay seeks to investigate this phenomenon within popular music, examining the methods of exclusion faced by female musicians and music producers in popular music, and the ideologies that they result from. The question of gender identity and the transformation of gender in relation to music technology will be discussed, as will the power attributed to genders. The position of women in technology in popular music will be briefly contrasted with that in experimental music, as will the factors that define women’s entry into both. A large number of references used in this paper adhere to a Marxist theory of ideological relations; founded on the principle that a society’s superstructure is pervaded by the ideologies established by the ruling class, transmitted through the workings of Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs).2 The ISAs, though seemingly neutral agencies or institutions, reinforce societal norms through religious, educational, legal and communications systems. John Fiske states that, although ‘they are all patriarchal’, Mavis Bayton, Frock Rock: Women Performing Popular Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 1. 2 Vincent B. Leitch, ‘Marxism’ in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Vincent B. Leitch (ed.) (London: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001), pp. 13–17 (p. 14). 1
Writings About Music the fact that the norms used to define equality and fairness are those derived from the interests of white, male, middle classes is more or less adequately disguised.3 If culture is, as Fiske states ‘a way of living within an industrial society that encompasses all the meanings of that society’, it is inevitable that some of those meanings are patriarchal, or at least coloured by patriarchal ideology. Music is by no means an exception to this, functioning as both a form of cultural capital and a vehicle for ideologies. Furthermore, the permeation of patriarchal ideals into all spheres of everyday life has consequences on the identity of the individual. Althusser believed that the ideological norms naturalized in their practices constitute not only the sense of the world for us, but also our sense of ourselves, our sense of identity, and our sense of our relations to other people and to society in general,4 which is of great importance when examining the formation—or transformation—of gender in the musical sphere. Although the world of music technology—one of wires, circuit boards, and waveforms—may seem, at first, to be a genderless playing field, it is in the interaction of technology and culture that the transmission of ideology—and the associated gender norms—occurs. In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler refers to Monique Wittig’s writings on language: Language is an instrument or tool that is in no way misogynist in its structures, but only in its applications.5 While there are distinct differences between the gendering of language and that of machinery, music technology and its devices, like language, can be seen as blank canvases onto which patriarchal John Fiske, ‘Culture, Ideology, Interpellation’ in Literary Theory: An Anthology, Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan (eds.) (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), pp. 1268–1273 (p. 1270). 4 Ibid. 5 Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, (New York: Routledge, 1999), p. 35. 3
Shauna Caffrey values have been projected. The exclusion, or at the very least, the discouragement of women from joining the field of music technology—and thereby engaging with music production—stems from a process by which the feminine is devalued, to the extent that it is seen as ‘not an attribute but a signification of lack’.6 This notion of feminine inferiority is intrinsically linked to the exclusion of women from technical fields—including those outside of the musical world—and is often justified through biologically reductionist theories. Mavis Bayton and Sherry B. Ortner both address the longstanding association of women with the body and nature which runs through our culture and contrasts with the image of men as controllers of nature via technology as a factor in the continued subordination of women and the feminine.7 Technology rests firmly in the masculine domain, and the structured exclusion of women from this field begins in childhood, as ‘boys get given technical toys and become confident about technical things’ while female children are confined to activities that groom them for their ‘natural’ roles as mothers and/or wives.8 The technical skills—beginning with basic repairs—which female children fail to receive present a stumbling block to later engagement with musical equipment, from instruments to mixing boards and digital interfaces. Boden Sandstrom, speaking of her experiences in the music production industry, detailed a ‘system of hazing [which] involved constant troubleshooting and being able to repair the gear’ which had to be overcome, and which aspiring female engineers were often poorly equipped to deal with.9 Bayton states that this exclusion ‘constitutes Luce Irigiray, ‘The Power of Discourse and Subordination of the Feminine’ in Literary Theory, pp. 795–798 (p. 796). 7 Bayton, Frock Rock, p. 13; Sherry B. Ortner, ‘Is female to male as nature is to culture?’ in Woman, Culture, and Society, Michelle Z. Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (eds.) (California: Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 68-87. 8 Mavis Bayton, ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’ in Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, Sheila Whiteley (ed.) (London: Routledge, 1997), pp. 37–49 (p. 42). 9 Pirkko Moisala and Beverly Diamond, ‘Technologies in Gendered Motion’ in Music and Gender, Pirkko Moisala and Beverley Diamond (eds.) (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), pp. 283–287 (p. 284); Boden Sandstrom, ‘Women Mix Engineers and the Power of Sound’ in Music and Gender, pp. 289–305 (p. 294). 6
Writings About Music an important aspect of the social construction of gender identities’, which will be explored in later paragraphs. In Analog Days, Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco state that Certainly electrical music technologies have traditionally been used for building masculine identities—the boys and their toys,10 with one of the most iconically ‘masculine’ musical images being that of the electric guitar. In ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’, Mavis Bayton investigates the relationship between young women and the instrument, the methods of exclusion they face from rock music subcultures, and the patriarchal ideologies that perpetuate these. Whilst women folk singer-songwriters have played the acoustic guitar, the electric guitar (surely the instrument which most epitomizes ‘rock’) has been left in the hands of the boys.11 As detailed above, the early exclusion of girls from technological pursuits retards their progress in engaging with the instrument, with technical jargon ‘often used as a power strategy in a mystifying way in order to exclude women’. 12 The question of gender and gender transformation also presents itself prominently in Bayton’s study: one of the greatest discouraging factors for young women’s engagement with the electric guitar seems to be the lack of female role models. Presented almost solely as a masculine pursuit in the media, the electric guitar has become synonymous with images of muscle bound men. The instrument has become so saturated with masculine connotations that Bayton goes so far as to brand the instrument ‘phallocentric’: played low on the hips of performers, it takes on a phallic visual property, the action of airguitar—a largely male pursuit—becoming a ‘masturbatory’ act.13 In order to engage with the instrument, and to be accepted within the Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer, (Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 138. 11 Bayton, ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’, p. 37. 12 Ibid., p. 42. 13 Bayton, ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’, pp. 42–45. 10
Shauna Caffrey masculine sphere rock music, girls must relinquish the feminine and—as the ideologies discussed in the introduction would have us believe—weak. Bayton’s first example of this is in the cutting of fingernails: The very first steps in learning the electric guitar force a young woman to break with one of the norms of traditional ‘femininity’; long, manicured polished fingernails must be cut down.14 While the act of the cutting of fingernails could be seen as a liberating process—the ‘long, manicured’ fingernails of Bayton’s example are themselves a facet of patriarchal gender norms—the break-down of female gender identity and any associated femininities in interaction with technology indicates that women cannot engage with the sphere of music production as women, and must instead enter it as gender-neutral figures. The question of gender identity, and the transformation of gender is one which is closely tied to the infiltration of the ‘masculine’ world of music technology by female performers. Sandstrom states that when one gender crosses over into the role of another, the construction of that gender sometimes disappears, and for the duration of the crossover there may be no gender, or else a new one is perceived.15 This process presents a veritable double-edged sword. On one hand, there are those women who find that their identities as such become obscured by their work. Leslie Ann Jones stated that ‘most of [her] clients see [her] as genderless as far as [her] work’, which adheres to the sentiment expressed above: women, in assuming the masculinities associated with technical work, cannot be viewed as women.16 If, as Althusser and Fiske purport, an individual’s sense of self, identity and place within society are the result of the Bayton, ‘Women and the Electric Guitar’, p. 39. Sandstrom, ‘Women Mix Engineers and the Power of Sound’, p. 301. 16 Ibid. 14 15
Writings About Music ideological norms with which they interact, the effective degendering of these women presents a number of issues. Caught between conflicting feminine and masculine identities—that assigned by society, and those attached to the technology with which they work—the female technician is forced to either persist with an obscured gender identity or create a new, genderless identity. The exact position of these new identities is uncertain. Sandstrom puts forward that in exploring sound engineering as a gendered field, it is important to say that the primary issue is power; all other issues are merely aspects of power.17 If, as discussed above, the feminine is assigned a position of inferiority by patriarchal power structures, what can be said of the power of these ambiguous identities? On the other hand, there are those for whom this gender cross-over can be a liberating process, allowing women to throw off imposed gender stereotypes and, by doing so, create their own identities. In Analog Days, Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco suggest that this may have been the case with Wendy Carlos and her relationship with the synthesizer: If, as Judith Butler argues, gender identities have to be performed, a key prop in the performance of these synthesists is the machine with which they spent most of their working hours interacting—the synthesizer. What we want to suggest with Wendy and her synthesizer is that it may have helped provide a means whereby she could escape the gender identity society had given her.18 Carlos, who began her transition just as platinum selling Switched on Bach gained critical acclaim, is one of a number of women to become well-established in the sphere of experimental music, which begs the question as to the differences of the genre—and its gender relations—with popular music.
Sandstrom, ‘Women Mix Engineers and the Power of Sound’, p. 290. Pinch and Trocco, Analog Days, p. 138.
Shauna Caffrey In ‘In Love with a Machine’, Linda Fisher relates that ‘the engineers and technicians were often more favourably disposed toward her than were her fellow musicians’.19 Although still subject to patriarchal ideologies and exclusion in certain areas—as exemplified in sound designer Suzanne Chaini’s testimonials in Analog Days—it would seem that the experimental spirit of the music itself functioned, in some ways, as a liberating force. 20 In abandoning traditional musical idioms, it seems that the gender ideologies that had previously been tied to them were also—in many cases—relinquished. With figures such as Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, Pauline Oliveros and Carlos herself being both deeply involved in the performance and engineering of new instruments and music, and being seen to do so through various media platforms—Derbyshire’s work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop is exemplified in the iconic Doctor Who Theme, Carlos’ Grammy winning Switched On Bach was the first classical record ever to go platinum (albeit under the name of Walter Carlos)—female performers and engineers were given a spotlight that remained absent from that given to the women fulfilling the same roles in popular music. As addressed throughout this essay, the lack of representation of women in the role of engineers, musicians and in roles engaging with technology is the result of patriarchal structures of exclusion. In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler states that without an agent, it is argued, there can be no agency and hence no potential to initiate a transformation of relations of domination within society.21 Thus, without visible female participants as agents, the field of technology within popular music cannot be free from the currently dominant patriarchal structures of control, and the ideologies and behaviours that they institute. In addition to the contrasting example of experimental music, Sandstrom illustrated the shift of
Pinch and Trocco, Analog Days, p. 158. Ibid. 21 Butler, Gender Trouble, p. 33. 19 20
Writings About Music power through the representation of female engineers at women’s music festivals in the 1970s: Women started to control the economic production of their new women’s culture. Within the cultural feminist movement, this translated to, among other things, being in charge of the entire production of a musical event: the sound, the lights, the management, and the production.22 Through the repeated presentation of women in roles previously thought of as the domain of men, the masculine connotation attached to those roles is lessened. As this process occurs, issues of gender ambiguity are resolved, as the solely masculine identity of technology ceases to exist. The women—as those experimental musicians listed above did—provide role models, and challenge ‘male notions of female ability’ and ‘the male-made image’ by which they were previously limited. 23 This process, is of course, one which must take place over time, necessitating a gradual but by no means insignificant shift in ideological patterns. Therefore, while the exact degree to which gender ideology and behavior affect popular music cannot be given, it can be stated to affect the genre to a degree that necessitates an ideological shift in order to allow equal representation in the field of music technology.
Sandstrom, ‘Women Mix Engineers and the Power of Sound’, p. 292. Angela McRobbie and Simon Frith, ‘Rock and Sexuality’ in Feminism and Youth Culture, 2nd edn, (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 137–158 (p. 140). 22 23
MOZART’S FIORDILIGI: FROM ILLUSION TO TRUTH Adam Cahill
In his critical study of Mozart’s opera, Edward J. Dent comments upon the artificiality of the four lovers in Così fan tutte, claiming ‘they are more like marionettes than human beings’.1 Dent goes on, however, to state that as the opera develops, we witness the characters expressing a wide range of emotions. In terms of character development, one should look no further than Fiordiligi, claimed to be the sentimental heroine of the opera.2 As the intrigue of the opera develops, we witness a change in Fiordiligi’s character, as she becomes more herself.3 When the women’s lovers disguised as Albanians arrive in Act I Scene 2, the sisters are alarmed by their presence. When the men inform Dorabella and Fiordiligi of their romantic interest, the sisters reject their offer and protest their faithfulness to their fiancés. It is Fiordiligi who takes centre stage at this moment, and with her noted Act I aria with accompanied recitative, ‘Come scoglio’ (‘Like a Rock’), she asks that the men leave, and pledges to remain faithful to Guglielmo, in an elaborate display of vocal acrobatics. Fiordiligi’s outburst presents her as the sentimental heroine of the opera with her headstrong nature. Despite the men’s attempts in subsequent Act I (numbers such as Guglielmo’s aria ‘Non siate ritrosi’ (‘Don’t be shy’), where he lists his manly attributes, and the Act I finale, the sextet in which the Albanians demand a kiss from the sisters), they do not succeed in their attempt to seduce the women. However, in the second act, Guglielmo succeeds in wooing the more light-hearted of the sisters, Dorabella, while Ferrando continues to struggle in breaking Fiordiligi’s vow of loyalty, although she has begun to see him in a different light. In her Act II rondò, ‘Per pietà, ben mio, perdona’ (‘Have pity on me, Edward J. Dent, Mozart’s Operas: A Critical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 192. 2 Julian Rushton, The New Grove Guide to Mozart and His Operas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 102. 3 Charles Rosen, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (New York City: Viking Press, 1971), p. 315. 1
Writings About Music my love’) and in its preceding obbligato recitative, Fiordiligi expresses her inner turmoil, wrestling with her conscience, and begging for forgiveness from the absent Guglielmo in a number more tender than her previous aria. This moment in the opera further solidifies her status as the most complex and sentimental character, as we witness her grappling with her own morality. Fiordiligi continues to attempt to suppress any feelings other than that of love for her fiancé, by deciding that she and Dorabella should join their lovers at the front, calling for Ferrando’s and Guglielmo’s uniforms to be brought to her so that they can disguise themselves as soldiers; subsequent events lead to her eventually failing to prove her fidelity (in her duet with Ferrando, ‘Fra gli amplessi’, where she gives in to his attempts at seducing her), but this does not detract from the profundity of her character. There are numerous commentaries on Fiordiligi’s psychological development, which is signposted by her arias in Acts I and II, such as that of Charles Rosen, where he comments on the contrast between the comic nature of ‘Come scoglio’ and the fragility and emotion of ‘Per pietà’, which highlights her loss of pretence over the course of the opera as she becomes more herself. Whereas her Act I aria highlights her as being assertive and wilful, Fiordiligi’s exaggerated response to the Albanians hints at an underlying affectedness in her character; her Act II rondò, however, is considered to show her in a more natural and vulnerable light, underlining a change in her overall temperament. General perceptions of Mozart’s musical settings of the two arias differ; with ‘Come scoglio’ noted for its comic elements, and ‘Per pietà’ is generally considered a serious piece. It can be stated that as the plot develops we see a progression from satire to seriousness through the character of Fiordiligi, as is documented by her two arias. With reference to these arias, we can observe a transition from illusion to truth in Così fan tutte. Fiordiligi’s first aria, No. 14, ‘Come scoglio’, in Bb major, comes in Act I Scene II, as a defiant response to the Albanians’ advances made at the sisters. Protecting her sister, who has expressed her distress at her lover’s departure only moments earlier in her own outburst, No. 11, ‘Smanie implacabili’, Fiordiligi articulates her constancy by likening it to the firmness of a rock withstanding the tempestuous seas, accompanied by a dotted trumpet fanfare:
Adam Cahill Come scoglio immoto resta Contra i venti e la tempest Così ognor quest’alma è forte Nelle fede, e nell’amor.
Like a rock standing unmoved amid winds and tempest, so stands my heart ever strong in faith and in love.
Though Fiordiligi’s words are meant sincerely, Mozart’s musical setting of Da Ponte’s verse creates ambiguity surrounding her integrity. In the opening bars of her aria, the most harmonically and rhythmically ambiguous section of the opera, 4 Fiordiligi leaps between registers, seen particularly in b.10–11 on ‘[…] venti, e la tempesta’) with an upwards leap of a tenth from Eb’ to g’’, a downwards leap from g’’ to Bb, and an upwards leap of diminished twelfth from an A to Eb’’. Following this display of jagged interval leaps, Fiordiligi lands on a premature climax of a high Bb in b.13:
Example 1: Mozart, ‘Come Scoglio’ in Così fan tutte, K. 588, bb. 9–14
The melody in the opening A section of the aria, with its multiple leaps and uncertain tonality, is a contradiction of the immobility of which Fiordiligi sings. However, the irony of ‘Come scoglio’ does not end here, with the change of tempo from Andante maestoso to Allegro in the A section, beginning in b.15, immediately after Fiordiligi’s declaration of remaining unmoved by natural forces. The new Allegro tempo adds further stability to the progression of the aria to the lyrical B section—E potrà la morte sola far che affetto il cor (‘And only death can change the affectations of the heart’)—where she continues to protest her constancy with the aid of a florid vocal line. The final A section, which acts as both a recapitulation and a development, sees a return to the histrionics of the aria’s introductory section, with the opening text reset as a Charles Ford, Così?: Sexual Politics in Mozart’s Operas (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1991), p. 1. 4
Writings About Music transition to the final Più Allegro segment of the aria. In this final segment, Fiordiligi pleads for the men to respect her (Rispettate, anime ingrate […]); however, the men’s blatant ignoring of her plea is conveyed through a repeated note violin figure which jumps in at the end of her phrases, in imitative triplets.5
Example 2: ‘Come Scoglio’, bb. 89–91
This violin figure, representing the Albanians’ advances, leads Fiordiligi into a series of triplet coloratura passages, spanning from the bottom to the top of her register. However, in keeping with the underlying irony of Fiordiligi’s protest itself, Mozart causes her two affronts in the conclusion of her showpiece aria, the first being the denial of the expected tonic harmony under her final high Bb as she tells the men to stay away from her and Dorabella (E una barbara speranza non vi renda audaci ancor!), and the second being Fiordiligi’s denial of an exit from the scene by the suitors—a right surely earned by the soprano after such a virtuosic display of defiance as this.6 There are multiple published theories on why ‘Come scoglio’ should be considered as a parodic aria. Although from Fiordiligi’s perspective, this is a truly serious situation in which she must prove her own fidelity, there is potential for the dramatic irony of the circumstances to overtake the serious aspect of the moment. Furthermore, these multiple contradictions and dramatic Bruce Alan Brown, W.A. Mozart: Così fan tutte (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 130. 6 Brown, Così fan tutte, p. 130. 5
Adam Cahill devices used in the aria to create irony can be used as justification as to why Fiordiligi’s aria is in fact a parody of a seria-style aria. Referring to the aria’s text shows reasons as to why ‘Come scoglio’ has earned its reputation as a parody of a seria aria. Da Ponte’s text, with its natural imagery of water and the air, has drawn comparisons to Metastasian verse, commonplace in opera seria; expressing a single emotion by means of a metaphor, as well as keeping the common eight-line form, with its syllables organised into the Metastasian 8–8–8–7 metre. 7 Rodney Farnsworth notes Metastasio’s influence in the libretto of Così, with the use of the heroic code and amorous language; however, he notes that Da Ponte channels this seria convention to create parody and burlesque, and to convey the artificiality of the form.8 Andrew Steptoe states that Fiordiligi’s aria is designed as a parody of the archetypal exit aria; the first aria sung by a leading character, after which they would leave the stage. The combination of highly dramatic musical phrases (such as the setting of the first two lines of the verse, with its wide vocal leaps, along with the accompanying dotted trumpet fanfare) with more sympathetic textures (such as the following two lines of the verse, in the B section of the aria, in which Fiordiligi’s expression of faith is given a sympathetic treatment, with clarinets and bassoons playing in sixths and thirds) is thought to exemplify Mozart’s parodic treatment of the seria exit aria.9 In a literal sense, ‘Come scoglio’ is a parody of the seria exit aria simply because upon completing her stately aria, Fiordiligi is prevented from exiting the stage by the Albanian suitors, which is in itself a contradiction of the convention. ‘Come scoglio’, with its exaggerated vocal leaps in the opening Andante maestoso, and its rapid passages in the Più Allegro section, conveys a wide breadth of emotions, showcasing Fiordiligi’s nature as being both headstrong and vulnerable. Steptoe comments on how Mozart’s setting of the aria ‘apes seria conventions by the use of grandiose vehicles for fragile, transient Andrew Steptoe, The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 223. [See P.J. Smith, The Tenth Muse (London, 1971)]. 8 Rodney Farnsworth, ‘Così fan tutte as Parody and Burlesque’, The Opera Quarterly, 6/2 (December 1988), p. 55. 9 Steptoe, The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas, p. 225. 7
Writings About Music feelings’.10 Fiordiligi’s response to the Albanians can be perceived as a gross overreaction on her part, which renders it parodic. In contrast to her exaggerated display of emotion in her Act I aria, we are presented with a different woman when Fiordiligi is left alone to ponder upon her battle with morality in Act II, when she sings her second aria, ‘Per pietà’. In Act II Scene 2, it is early evening, and the couples meet to tour a furnished garden. They separate, and once more the Albanians attempt to entice the sisters. We see Guglielmo succeed in seducing Dorabella in the duet ‘Il core vi dono’ (‘I give you this heart’). In the following sequence, we see Ferrando attempt once more to woo Fiordiligi, in the recitative ‘Ah lo veggio quell’anima bella’, where he sings about how she won’t long resist his pleas. Following his protest, Ferrando exits the scene and Fiordiligi is left alone, where she struggles with her conscience in her recitativo obbligato, ‘Ei parte’, as deep down, she knows that Ferrando’s advances have made an impression on her. This leads on to her two-tempo rondò, ‘Per pietà’, in which she begs Guglielmo for forgiveness, accompanied by elaborate wind parts, notably the horns. The rondò in E major begins in Adagio, with the opening slow section also demonstrating wide vocal leaps, previously seen in ‘Come scoglio’. However, unlike their previous comic affect, here they are applied appropriately: low notes for the ‘shame’ (vergogna), and high for the ‘horror’ felt by the Fiordiligi for the attraction she feels deep down for a stranger.11
Example 3: Mozart, ‘Per pièta’ in Così fan tutte, K. 588, bb. 17–19
With an exposed beginning, strings alone accompany her in the opening bars of the aria, until the arrival of horns (doubled by flutes) in b.8–9. The horns play an important role in the rondò, 10 11
Steptoe, The Mozart-Da Ponte Operas, p. 229. Brown, Così fan tutte, p. 133.
Adam Cahill providing an obbligato commentary. The role of the horns becomes more prominent as the first section is reprised, echoing the end of Fiordiligi’s phrases, and furthermore in the Allegro moderato section, suggesting by the end of the piece that their presence is symbolic of heralds of cuckoldry.12 Michel Noiray notes a tradition (at least in, but not confined to, French opera) where the horn is used to represent an absent lover.13 This theory could apply to the rondò, due to the horns entering as Fiordiligi sings of keeping her new flame a secret; all the while, her lover is aware of Ferrando’s pursuit. Vocal writing in ‘Per pietà’, beyond the wide vocal leaps, bears similarities to the pugnacity seen in ‘Come Scoglio’, yet now it all seems contextual and appropriate. With trills, mezze di voce, and fioratura passages, it now appears to suitably express Fiordiligi’s despair. Large leaps (cantar di sbalzo,) like those previously mentioned, still appear as appropriate (such as in b.111– 112, Ex. 4b), since it has been set up by events earlier in the piece (see b.51–8 and 88–94, Ex. 4a & 4c).
Example 4a: ‘Per pietà’, bb. 51–58
Example 4b: ‘Per pietà’, bb. 111–112
Brown, Così fan tutte, p. 134. Michel Noiray, ‘Commentaire musical et littéraire’, L’avant-scène Opéra : Così fan tutte, 131–2 (May-June 1990), pp. 39–144 (p. 113). 12 13
Writings About Music
Example 4c: ‘Per pietà’, bb. 88–94
The text is set in a standard ottonario metre, but the regularity is disrupted by shifting accents, which enhances the sense of ‘extemporaneous narration’ and internal text repetition—such as in the fourth line of the verse, ‘sempre ascoso, ascoso, oh Dio, sarà’—and this contributes to the sense of involuntary contribution of an inner monologue. 14 Patricia Lewy Gidwitz writes of how Mozart’s composition, despite its excesses of beauty, succeeds in moving us: Even though Mozart conceived “Per pietà” as an aria in the serious style, as an occasion for gran canto, he conceived an internal struggle with music that is direct and expressive.15 Unlike ‘Come scoglio’ where Fiordiligi’s response to her first encounters with the Albanians was bombastic and exaggerated in Mozart’s vocal writing, the use of similar devices now seems justified; now these devices express a situation which truly is serious, as Fiordiligi establishes her status as the moral protagonist of the drama through her questioning of her own constancy. This is a moment of inner discovery for Fiordiligi, who learns that being inconstant may occur without even being unfaithful. It is truly just to feel sympathy for Mozart’s heroine at this moment, as the one belief which she holds dear is Guglielmo’s love for her—the very moment at which he is seducing her sister.16 General commentary on ‘Per pietà’ hails it as a serious piece, in a similar vein to noted arias of other Mozartian heroines, such as the Countess in Le Nozze
Patricia Lewy Gidwitz, ‘Mozart’s Fiordiligi: Adriana Ferrarese del Bene’, Cambridge Opera Journal, 8/3 (November 1996), pp. 199 –214 (p. 213) 15 Ibid., p. 214. 16 Nicholas Till, Mozart and the Enlightenment (London: Faber & Faber Ltd, 1993), p. 251. 14
Adam Cahill di Figaro, and Ilia in Idomeneo, who experience similar moments of despair.17 A change in character can be observed in Fiordiligi if we compare her Act I aria and her Act II rondò. Returning once more to Charles Rosen’s commentary on Mozart’s account of the psychological progression within the drama, he refers to her two arias reflecting two individual emotional moments. The first, reflected by ‘Come scoglio’, is ‘magnificently comic’.18 Fiordiligi’s pride is mocked by the gaiety of the music (such as the wide vocal leaps, the ludicrousness of the words, and the accompanying trumpet fanfare), which forces the singer into a thankless vocal register:
Example 5: ‘Come scoglio’, bb. 87–89
‘Per pietà’, in comparison, shows Fiordiligi in a completely human light, where she realises the fragility of her own fidelity. The two trumpets have been replaced with two horns, and the wide vocal leaps and phrasing is no longer comedic, but expressive and complex. Rosen notes this transition from the ‘mock grandeur’ of her first aria, to the ‘real grandeur’ of her second. 19 Fiordiligi’s transformation from satirical to sincere is completed in the seduction duet with Ferrando, ‘Fra gli amplessi’, where the music is correspondingly more human, and where she expresses real anguish; seen particularly as the tonality shifts from C major to A minor, and with a return to the tonic key of A major, where she gives in to Ferrando’s persistent pleas (‘Ah, I am not strong enough’)—realised by an ‘exquisite’ cadence, as per the Classical style:20
Myer Fredman, From Idomeneo to Die Zauberflöte (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, 2014), p. 140. 18 Rosen, The Classical Style, p. 315. 19 Rosen, The Classical Style, p. 315. 20 Ibid., p. 316. 17
Writings About Music
Example 6: Mozart, ‘Fra gli amplessi’ in Così fan tutte, K. 588, bb. 65–67
Often regarded as the emotional crux of the opera, this duet represents amorous feeling as its most real in the entirety of the work, with Joseph Kerman commenting that at this moment, ‘Fiordiligi is closer to emotional truth than anyone else in the play’.21 Fiordiligi’s transition from illusion to truth is exemplified in this duet due to her decision to abandon virtue and constancy in the face of the immediacy of feeling. Although an ‘emotionally motivated mistake’, this is Fiordiligi as herself, not as the protesting prima donna encountered in Act I.22 The transition from illusion to truth evident in Così fan tutte can be seen through this case study of Fiordiligi, ‘a proud and chaste woman [who] descends to the level of mortals’, using her two arias to signpost her conversion.23 With her subsequent Act II duet with Ferrando completing her transition from a woman who expressed simulated emotions to a woman who surrenders to her own emotional instinct, we observe an increase in sincerity.
Joseph Kerman, Opera as Drama (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956), p. 97. Jessica Waldoff, Recognition in Mozart’s Operas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 263. 23 Gidwitz, ‘Mozart’s Fiordiligi’, p. 212. 21 22
PEN TO PRINT: TRACKING THE MOVE FROM MANUSCRIPT TO EARLY MUSIC PRINT CULTURE Shauna Donnelly Manuscript culture was a long-established institution of practices which had served as a means of preservation and distribution for centuries. As the sixteenth century gave birth to the age of the Renaissance, so it gave way to a time of change, during which life was transformed and reformed societally and technologically through various advances. The printing press, and indeed music printing, was just one advanced development which served to benefit musical culture throughout the Western world. Its emergence ‘seems almost explosive in nature’.1 In order to appreciate these advances and understand the tradition from which they derived, an understanding of the practices of manuscript culture is required. Fascicle manuscripts were a common type of collection, in which pages were pre-ruled by scribes with margins and staves for the copying of music. They were ‘at first almost certainly left unbound’,2and could contain one extended work such as a Mass, or a series of shorter collected works. These manuscripts were often also known as cahiers, and were a useful tool for both composers who wanted to make a quick copy of a newly composed work of theirs, and for performers learning new repertory.3 Cahiers were very portable, and inexpensive to produce as they were both unadorned and unbound. They were widely discarded after use due to wear and tear, but collections of them were also bound together when their use in cathedral choirs and court chapels was finished. These collections can be identified by their composite nature, as they contain a variety of paper types and/or scribal hands. For ‘practical utility’, repertories within court and chapel were collected by genre and compositional type within Leeman L. Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999), p. 200. 2 Ibid., p. 177. 3 Ibid. 1
Writings About Music manuscripts and fascicles. These groupings included cyclical Mass settings, motets, hymns, and Magnificats. These became known as choir books, and were formatted in such a way that the higher voices (superius and tenor) were printed on the left hand side of the page, and the lower voices (altus and bassus) were printed on the adjoining right hand page. These manuscripts had to be large as more than one performer gathered around a single lectern to use them. Printers differed in their method of selecting content for their published collections, departing from such functional utility. As Perkins notes: Printers everywhere tended to respond first of all to demand, publishing familiar genres and composers known and loved in the immediate area. Most of them then attempted to reach a wider, more international market with works in all of the current genres by composers whose stature could be counted upon to generate interest and sales.4 This is a way in which print culture differed from its predecessors in manuscript collections, as content was selected to drive sales and appeal to popular demand. In manuscript culture, secular chansonniers were also copied using choir book formatting as they made part singing easier when sharing copies. The pages in these manuscripts were much smaller, however. More costly manuscripts featured handsome illuminations and were written on vellum. They served as source texts from which individual parts could be copied for practical use. Individual partbooks were developed later, during the sixteenth century, and were frequently adopted for secular repertory to increase ease of use for performers. These part books were also easier for printers to produce later, as the arrangement of the pages was simpler and they made more economical use of paper.5 Full score formatting of a completed work did not exist in either print or manuscript until very late in the sixteenth century, 4 5
Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 200. Ibid., p. 179.
Shauna Donnelly and they were used primarily for study purposes when first developed.6 There are many ways in which early music printing sought to replicate manuscript culture, but there are many others by which it made its departure into more modern forms. Its original function as a mode of record and distribution was derived from manuscript culture. Aesthetically, through the use of illuminations and elaborate frontispieces which were achieved through intricate engravings, printers sought to emulate the artistic aspects of manuscripts. Bernstein notes that these emulations had a practical value beyond their aesthetic appeal, as ‘papers, formats, title pages, printer’s marks, decorative initials, and typefaces—help us to identify what books came from the various presses. They also assume a greater significance in reflecting the changes in cultural taste and consequently the marketing strategies’ of printers.7 This use of identifiable design elements such as printers’ marks is a divergence from manuscript culture, as scribes did not prescribe themselves with logos to differentiate their work. Variance in scribal hands contained in manuscripts can be identified, however, and this allows for differentiation and identification in a similar manner. Materialistically, printing used a more affordable medium, replacing vellum skins with paper pages. The reduction of labour costs associated with mass production also aided this new affordability. 8 The meticulous uniformity afforded by printing mechanisms also removed the possibility for human error which was present with the use of scribes. Production roles also changed. Though the scribe and printer can both be classified as speciality tradesmen, their motivations often differed. Scribes usually produced work to meet the demands of an individual institution or patron, whereas the printer was aware of the growing enterprise in which they found themselves—‘the manufacturing, financing, distributing, and
Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, pp. 180–181. Jane A. Bernstein, Print Culture and Music in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 30. 8 Allan W. Atlas, Renaissance Music: Music in Western Europe, 1400–1600 (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998), p. 261. 6 7
Writings About Music promoting of books were all major concerns’ in this new industry.9 While mass production and sales aided widespread continental distribution, it served to highlight one major loss in departing from manuscript culture—uniqueness. Individual manuscripts were models of originality shaped by the style of the scribes, illuminators, and binders who produced them. They were more varied in character than prints, ranging from ‘the decidedly homely and utilitarian to the most elaborate and luxurious’.10 Mass printing had an advantage that made up for this loss of originality, however, as speed, reproducibility, and affordability were more highly coveted in a society which was becoming upwardly literate, and as a result the high demand for books could only be met with the efficiency and economy of the printing press. The nobility and rising bourgeoisie sought to indulge in private consumption of the arts, and had the money to do so.11 Music print culture helped to facilitate this. Print culture was also beneficial in facilitating the broadening of the composer’s market, as it provided the outreach and wide distribution prospects necessary for individuals to attract status, acknowledgement, and patronage.12 Tim Carter comments on the need for music professionals in Renaissance culture: The key to… career opportunities for musicians lay in demand for music in the period. Churches needed choirmasters, organists, and singers in order to celebrate the liturgy; courts needed musicians for the necessary public pomp and circumstance and for private entertainment; the bourgeoise needed music because of its value both as social accomplishment and as pastime. The place of music in Renaissance life and thought also guaranteed a new status for the composer and skilled performer.13
Bernstein, Print Culture and Music in Sixteenth-Century Venice, p. 29. Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 177. 11 Tim Carter, Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy (London: B.T. Batsford Limited), p. 33. 12 Ibid. 13 Carter, Music in Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Italy, p. 33. 9
Shauna Donnelly The music printer now had to fulfil the demands of this market, supplying performers, pedagogues, and scholars; and also representing composers and their works with their printed music in the same way the musician-scribe had before. The roles of editor, printer, and composer were all created and accredited as standalone positions within the production process, causing an expansion of personnel and control, with each role holding its own contribution and merit. These printing teams replaced the scribe, illuminator, and binder of manuscript culture. The individual styles of scribes and illuminators is somewhat replicated in the different styles of printing housesâ€™ typography, and in their logos and frontispieces. Further difference can be seen in the methods of printing employed, which varied from the use of wood cuts, to moveable metal typefaces; to the use of one, two, or three impressions per print. This variance can be seen both in terms of the historical development of printing technology, and in regions of production, as well as the preferences of individual printers. Privileges were essential for printers in order to facilitate monopoly and copyright.14 The press itself was the most essential but also most expensive component of the printing process, and both the press itself and other typographical equipment demanded an â€˜enormous outlay of capitalâ€™ at the outset.15 When a privilege was held, printers then had the opportunity to make a return on this initial investment, which was vital for business. This focus on financial planning was much more intense than that found in manuscript culture, in which the scribe only had to deal with an institution or patron to gain commission. Such financial planning in the printing industry was beneficial, however, as though the initial outlay was substantial, this investment resulted in the capability for the industry to provide products which were far more affordable than manuscripts, and this was of great benefit to the consumer. The business-driven nature of printing thus diverged from manuscript culture in being capital rather than labour intensive. The technology involved in printing also meant that reproducibility was simplified, meaning that second and later editions of printed texts were usually copied from earlier editions 14 15
Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 190. Bernstein, Print Culture and Music in Sixteenth-Century Venice, p. 30.
Writings About Music rather than copying from an original manuscript text, as would have been the process undertaken in producing the first edition.16 This process borrows from manuscript tradition, in that individual part books or copies would have been made from an original larger manuscript which served as a more authoritative text. The most important and prominent printers in urban centres throughout the continent succeeded in obtaining privileges of some description to aid their start up process. These could be granted by church or state. Majorly significant cities of music print production included Venice, Rome, Paris, and Nuremberg; whilst London, Antwerp, Frankfurt, Florence, Naples, Lyons, Madrid, and Strasbourg also held significance as sites of production, albeit on a more modest scale. Urban commercial and religious centres such as these became hubs for the printing business due to their containing the growing populations which demanded printed books.17 In Venice Ottavanio dei Petrucci of Fossombrone held a high status, as through his work moveable metal type was first adapted to print mensural notation. He gained his privilege from the Venetian states in 1498, thus gaining a twenty-year monopoly on the sale and printing of both tablature for lute and keyboard instruments, and polyphonic music. He released his first publication (Harmonice musicaes odhecaton A) three years later, and over the course of his career he published extensively in various genres, spanning sacred and secular, including substantial collections of polyphonic instrumental and vocal music, French chansons, Italian frottole, motets, lute music, and single-composer volumes which included three volumes of Josquin Masses.18 Petrucci was praised in particular for his typography, which was â€˜characterized by the slender elegance of note heads and stems, the accuracy of his registrations, the careful spacing of the characters (both musical and textual), and the graceful design of capitals and other decorative elementsâ€™, 19 through which he managed to recreate the aesthetic appeal of handcrafted manuscripts. His original printing process entailed using three Stanley Boorman, Studies in the Printing, Publishing and Performance of Music in the 16th Century (Aldershot: Ashgate Variorum, 2005), p. 245. 17 Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 190. 18 Atlas, Renaissance Music, p. 260. 19 Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 192. 16
Shauna Donnelly separate impressions—one for the stave, one for the notational symbols, and one for text. 20 He managed to modify this later, reducing the number of impressions from three to two, but regardless of this improvement the process remained difficult.21 Petrucci’s contribution to early music printing was thus significant due to his technological developments and aesthetic meticulousness, both of which he harnessed to produce a significant output. His technology would be modified and used for generations, with both Andrea Antico, who operated from both Rome and Venice, and Parisian printer Pierre Attaingnant benefitting from Petrucci’s advances. Petrucci’s technology helped Antico to depart from his initial use of wood carving impressions in his printing process, while Attaingnant modified his moveable metal type face to develop the technology which succeeded in producing the first printed examples of mensural polyphony.22 In Germany, Hieronymus Formschneider of Nuremberg produced a substantial collection of prints. He made use of single impression printing. His first musical publication was released in 1532, containing Lieder arranged for bowed string instruments, and for lute tablature by Hans Gerle, by German composers such as Thomas Stoltzer, Ludwig Senfl, Paul Hofhaimer, and Johann Walter; alongside Psalm settings. Formschneider later published ‘two further books of lute music by Gerle’ containing both secular and sacred music.23 Formschneider also published widely in other genres – chansons, motets, Magnificats, and Lieder. 24 There were other prominent music publishers in Nuremburg during the period, including Johann Petreius, and Montanus and Neuber. These German publishers, however, were not ‘particularly distinguished in technical or typographical terms’. 25 Contrasting German and Italian printing and their aesthetic differences is informative, as through this examination the varying of the prioritisation of artistic elements which emulated manuscripts can be seen. Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 192. Ibid. 22 Ibid., pp. 192–193. 23 Ibid., p. 199. 24 Atlas, Renaissance Music, p. 199. 25 Perkins, Music in the Age of the Renaissance, p. 200. 20 21
Writings About Music Music printing was successful in its departure from manuscript culture in changing â€˜both the artistic and social nature of musical lifeâ€™. 26 Establishments, professional and amateur musicians, and music pedagogues and academics now all had widespread access to a variety of both sacred and secular, and instrumental and vocal music; as well as theoretical treatises. This availability was much broader and more accessible than the output produced by manuscript traditions, as all levels of society could now access printed music en masse. All of this contributed greatly to the growth of musical culture, and education and literacy within it.27
Atlas, Renaissance Music, p. 457. Perkins, ibid., p. 200.
THREE LITTLE BIRDS Róisín Hayes
Róisín Hayes (b. 1996) is a Dublin-based composer currently studying for an undergraduate Music Degree in Trinity College Dublin. She has worked alongside many accomplished composers and performers, including Kevin O’Connell, Nicola Le Fanu, Sadie Harrison, soprano Sylvia O’Brien, pianist David Adams, and mezzo-soprano Michelle O’Rourke. Róisín has also had an international premiere by the Pittsburgh Performance Innovation Ensemble in Carnegie Mellon University of Fine Art, Pennsylvania in November 2015. The piece being performed at the Writings About Music launch is entitled ‘Three Little Birds’. This is a six-part choral piece which was written for a large collaborative concert called ICC Speak in November 2016. This piece was premiered by Tonnta vocal ensemble who are based in Dublin and specialise in the performance of contemporary repertoire. As a member of the Irish Composers Collective (ICC), Róisín received an opportunity to compose a piece of music using Afric McGlinchey’s poem ‘Three Little Birds’ as inspiration or as text. This piece received a glowing review on Goldenplec.com following the premiere. This poem depicts a young expecting mother encountering new challenges as she waits for the arrival of her first born. The main character engages in dialogue with her unborn child as she sits and watches a child playing at a fountain while three birds fly overhead. The father of the child sits and composes music in the park, after being told about the expected arrival of his child. He begins to understand the task that is ahead of him and engages in his own musical dialogue with the unborn child by lightly drumming the rhythm of Bob Marley’s song ‘Don’t Worry About A Thing’. This piece incorporates anxiety felt toward pregnancy, humour while looking towards the future, and love felt towards a partner, with the regular use of pieces of bird song to tie it all together.
Writings About Music Three Little Birds Far above the Triskel, three little birds are navigating the blue spectrum, wings as delicate as your fluttering. A kid, a handful of years ahead of you, is launching a pink and yellow ball into the fountain. I’m expecting a kick any minute..or a series, like the scudding cirrus clouds that have just appeared. There’s your dad by the oak tree, a bass clef, scribbling notes in him moleskin, looking skyward now and then, to give ideas space. For the moment, you and I are keeping a safe, cross-leggéd distance. It was the morning after, right in this very peace park, that I told him. Now he’s tuning in. He’s coming over, abandoning his task of reconstructing the universe. You feel that, Smidge? You Listening? He’s Drumming every little thing, with inky fingers. – Afric McGlinchey
Writings About Music
Writings About Music
SLOW AIR AND THREE TUNES Eimear Gorey
Slow Air and Three Tunes is a set of four graphic scores inspired by Celtic design throughout the ages. Drawing inspiration from composers like Cardew, Penderecki and Stockhausen, the pieces are tied together through the use of staves. The designs are inspired by illustrations from the megalithic, bronze, iron, Christian and golden ages in Ireland, spanning from 7000BC to 900AD. After studying Notations and Notations 21, the form of graphic score seemed like a perfect way to challenge my compositional boundaries. The scores are purposefully plain with no instructions on how to improvise. My only instruction is that they should be played by traditional Irish musicians. It is clear from appearance, that the first tune is different to the others, it is my hope that players will interpret it as a slow air and its successors could be interpreted as many different kinds of Irish tunes. The first tune is inspired by famous Irish Manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells, the Book of Durrow and the Cathach.1 The decoration is very detailed to show heavy ornamentation. The main figure is inspired by the Chi-Rho page of the Book of Kells but has been adapted to have staves running through it. 2 The second figure, a cross, is wholly original and symbolises the reminiscent nature of slow airs, which are often laments. The staves, along with the borders appear in every piece,3 bringing the set together. The first tune is the only one that does not attempt to be symmetrical as it is more emotional and thus, has less structure. The second tune incorporates staves in its structure by making up a large cross with a decorated circular background.4 It is a calm and measured tune, with simple ornamentation, it is more about rhythm than decorated melodies. On old Irish manuscripts see Bernard Meehan, The Book of Kells: An Illustrated Introduction to the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1994); Bernard Meehan, The Book of Durrow: A Medieval Masterpiece at Trinity College Dublin (Dublin: Town House and Country House, 1996); Appendix, p. 50. 2 Meehan, ibid., p. 27. 3 Appendix, pp. 58â€“68. 4 Catherine Marshall, Irish Art Masterpieces (China: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates Inc., 1994), p. 39. 1
Eimear Gorey The third tune is based on a triskele decoration.5 As the third tune, the circular motion indicates a lull in the set, with a break from the regular pace. The circular, spiralling figures signal to players to glide through the tune, not giving it too much thought. Stave segments are incorporated in the three smaller circles, 6 forming triskele-like designs. Both the decoration and the tune itself are clear and precise. The fourth tune is more detailed than tunes two and three, and is inspired by the shape of the Petrie Crown.7 The decoration of the score heralds back to the early bronze age, with zig-zags and dots. The interlacing staves add energy to the design, encouraging players to speed up and become more lively as they come to the end of the set.8
Peter Harbison, Homan Potterton and Jeanne Sheehy, Irish Art and Architecture: from Prehistory to the Present (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1978), p. 15. 6 Appendix, p. 82. 7 Peter Harbison, Irelandâ€™s Treasures: 5000 Years of Artistic Expression (Hong Kong: Beaux Arts Editions, 2004), p. 52. 8 Appendix, pp. 78â€“81. 5
Writings About Music
Writings About Music
Writings About Music
VIII (FROM VARIATIONS) Luke Smyth
This variation is the penultimate in the set and it comes after a quite chaotic and heavily imitative allegro. Thus it is of much structural significance in the context of the work as whole. This significance is reflected in how the exact contour of the theme is presented in the left hand in bars 1–2 and bar 16, the beginning and end of the variation. Furthermore the half-diminished seventh chord (more commonly known as the Tristan chord), which is so crucial to the theme’s character, is the most regularly recurring and emphasised sonority throughout the variation. This direct evocation of the theme both in terms of contour and harmony serves to draw the character of the theme back into the mind of the listener in preparation for the final variation which is a simple two-part adagio very reminiscent of the theme. The variation’s structural significance is also highlighted by its rhythm’s and textures. Coming after the complexity of a three-part quasi-fugal variation which is cast in a strict and relentless 4/4, this variation’s thick chords in the low register and unstable, meter-less rhythms serve to halt the momentum established by the flowing counterpoint. This variation is heavily influenced by two of my favourite composers, Debussy and Beethoven. Two specific works were particularly formative in my original conception of this variation; Debussy’s La cathédrale engloutie from Book I of the Préludes, and the twentieth variation from Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Chordal melodies are a hugely important stylistic feature in Debussy’s music and one which is clearly emulated in this variation, the first and second-last bars being particularly reminiscent of the central ‘tolling bells’ section of La cathédrale. The influence of the Beethoven may be less obvious at first, particularly with the disparity in the languages, however, it was not the style which I was attempting to emulate but rather the affect of the music both as an isolated piece and in the context of the whole work. The twentieth variation of Beethoven’s Opus 120 is a very famous and highly acclaimed piece of writing with many commentators noting its mysteriousness and awesome character. Two elements of this variation were particularly inspirational for me: the wandering harmony which strays far from the ostensible tonality of C major without
Luke Smyth convincingly establishing any other key except for a brief pause on the dominant; and the insistent setting of the music in the lowest register of the piano which creates a ominously rumbly and enormously mysterious sonority which is quite at odds with the bombast which pervades much of the other variations. The contextual significance of this change in sonority is emulated by my piece in that it is slow, ponderous and quite disparate in character from the variations which precede it.
Writings About Music
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Published on Mar 31, 2017
The fourth annual volume of Writings About Music, a student-run musicology journal. Edited by Shauna Donnelly, and produced in association...