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  1. #1

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    If anyone's interested---we'll see.

    I'm talking mostly about classical pieces, but I won't limit it to that alone. Ex: I have the Gil Evans Collection---all in concert!

    I recently got scores to: The Rite of Spring and La Mer (and have had for years Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra; several Beethoven String Quartets; masses of piano music by Brahms; Chopin; Rachmaninoff; Bach; Debussy.

    I don't want to be all over the map myself (though, as stated, I won't rein in anyone else---unless it gets too unwieldy, or unfocused). So let's start with 2.---and I'll take one over the other by consensus: The Rite of Spring (Dover edition, which has a nice quickie analysis in the forward); or La Mer (Dover Miniature Scores).

    Study guides: I ordered, and am disappointed in Debussy in Proportion (Roy Howitt). I expect dryness in analysis, but this one uses 'proportion' literally: the physical dimensions and proportions of pieces. Ugh! Lost me from p. 1. Simplicity! Recommendations are welcome.

    (Leonard Bernstein's Harvard Lecture series is wonderfully simple and clear. I've seen the one on Afternoon of a Faun, and Stravinsky generally, but no dice on La Mer thus far).

    Here is a terrific breakdown and performance of The Rite of Spring by the San Francisco Symphony, under Michael Tilson-Thomas, who also does the 'splainin'----and magnificently:

    I will lay back and see if there's interest before posting again. (Remember: jazz scores are fair game)...


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2
    This came in the mail just now. Looks, at least at 1st glance, to be well-written and organized---not too stuffy:

    Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra by David Cooper

    Has: history of the piece, and its own place in history; 2 synopsis chapters; full analysis.

    This was always one of my favorite pieces, I owned for years a wonderful recording by Fritz Reiner and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (weirdly, on Columbia's 'Special Products' subset). Lost it, and mistakenly ordered Reiner with the Chicago---oh, well...

    I'll wait and see if there's any interest...

  4. #3
    The 1st thing to be approached in any study of Bartok's music is his love for, and active collection of (often with colleague Zoltan Kodaly) of peasant songs and their melodic materials. (He was careful to distinguish these from urban folk music---which he felt was 'artificial' and whose function was 'to furnish entertainment and...satisfy the needs of those whose sensibilities are of a low order'.

    Whatever. What this means to us, as composers and players, is that he collected and used some interesting scales---for one thing---that turned up in his own compositions.

    Ex: The 'acoustic' scale---that we would immediately recognize as our old friend, 'altered mixolydian', used routinely by jazzers in blues (throughout the changes in a common 12-bar blues) and V7 chords:

    C D E F# G A Bb C.

    I've seen this, and forms of diminished scales, turn up in both Bartok's orchestrations of peasant melodies, and his own Divertimento for Strings.

    Another interesting one: the 'gypsy' scale---which bears close resemblance to our harmonic minor (but for the F#):

    C D Eb F# G Ab B C

    Then there are scales containing more than 8 notes, like the 'arab' scale (and I find the name condescending, simplistic, and perhaps downright racist---as I do the name 'gypsy' scale. Well, I guess they had to call it something).

    C Db Eb F F# G# A Bb B C#

    More to come as I read on...

  5. #4
    It really comes into focus with the 'triumvirate': Cooper's book; the score (Boosey & Hawkes); and the above posted recording. I will post pages from the book and score, but I want to give my own thoughts 1st:

    1. Introduction

    That opening figure of ascending and descending 4ths in the cellos and basses is considered germinal material, as it is returned to; 'retrograded'; mined for pentatonic scales within. Remember, this is 1943. The 2nd Viennese school had come---with new rules. Schoenberg's Piano piece, Op 11 and his harmony treatise were already lingua franca among many newer composers. A darling pupil, Alban Berg, was using 4ths in his lieder in the early '00s. Debussy had explored whole-tone and pentatonic scales in his piano and orchestral oeuvre years before.

    Thus, a cornucopia of new materials were at hand, and though Concerto for Orchestra is tonal, it does not shy away from using any of these materials.

    More to come. Much more...

  6. #5

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    Yes, Bartok considered all his music tonal. symmetrical pitch arrangements were a favorite device of Bartok, while you can find a lot of octatonic(dim scale) and whole tone stuff, he would also take pieces of diatonic modes and make symmetric collections with them

    Also 016 was a favorite cell he would use (the numbers are half steps, so C - Db - Gb would be one realization)

    This is a great resource

    there is a whole chapter titled 'Symmetrical Transformations of the Folk Modes'

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by BWV View Post
    Yes, Bartok considered all his music tonal. symmetrical pitch arrangements were a favorite device of Bartok, while you can find a lot of octatonic(dim scale) and whole tone stuff, he would also take pieces of diatonic modes and make symmetric collections with them

    Also 016 was a favorite cell he would use (the numbers are half steps, so C - Db - Gb would be one realization)

    This is a great resource
    Sorry! Something went wrong!

    there is a whole chapter titled 'Symmetrical Transformations of the Folk Modes'
    Thank you so much for joining in!

    Thought I was gonna be here by my quasi-egghead lonesome. I'll go right to your link, and have also found a very helpful youtube page with a piano reduction unfolding as we hear Fritz Reiner conduct the Pittsburgh.

    Thanks again...

  8. #7
    The Cooper book has been very helpful (and amusing when he cites the 'dueling theorists---one, a Leibowitz, who wants to drum Bartok out of the Serialists for the sin of 'selling out'! with the Concerto by using more tonality, thereby 'abandoning' the advances of String Quartet #4). GET A LIFE, LEIBOWITZ!

    OK, mood swing over---LOL. But Cooper's breakdown of the materials, while sometimes mathematical in nature (I suck at math---some musician!) is very easy to follow. It's a great companion, and I've been marking the score per his observations.

    (BTW, I also ordered a book I once owned---and cherished: Bartok's own essays and letters.

    But ultimately I want to put down the books, sit there at piano with the reduction----and see what I can see...

  9. #8
    I wanted to put up this sound file, and at least a few pages of the score.

    It's a good bridge to the classical composers, b/c though it's based on 2 cells (indicated on p. 1 of the score) it's def swinging jazz, with a solo and canonic movement.

    The composer is one I highly respect, and study with on and off. He knows his onions, as you'll hear: Trombonist-composer Glenn Mills. The piece, Broad Daylight, is performed here by the Manhattan School Jazz Orchestra:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Attached Files Attached Files

  10. #9
    Schoenberg's opus 11 piano pieces with score:

    And nice analysis:

    Notice, particularly in the 2nd piece, how the harmony---unmoored to tonal centers---'floats', creating a twilight, even surreal sound-world. One thinks of Debussy, in the sense of a feeling of floating or stasis, and the analysis isolates a whole-tone scale among the pitch sets. But this is a different animal entirely: not rooted in traditional scales, but the beginning of cell use, and the 'chords' (astonishingly sometimes sounding like post-bop jazz chords) may be accidental b/c the man definitely was not thinking chords in the sense we normally hear them.

    I find beauty here, and see how jazz writers and players later mined this gold, as well as that of Debussy; Ravel; Stravinsky; Bartok; Kodaly; Scriabin---and others. Even in the '40s Bud Powell was using pretty advanced materials, compared to his bebop contemporaries, in Glass Enclosure. George Russell was ahead of the pack, too. Jump ahead to the '60s and Tyner; Hancock; Trane; Woody Shaw---etc., etc.

    Jazz gave many things to the world of music---swing rhythm (African-derived but developed here) at the top of the list. But we can't forget that the Europeans were way ahead in Western harmony (though we must acknowledge African and other World harmony systems barely acknowledged in Western academia).

    And, lest we forget, many, if not most of the major composers were improvisers---they improvised cadenzas at keyboard, for one thing. Liszt was famous for it. The cadenzas were later written down, to mollify publishers and students...

  11. #10
    Just noticed the frequent meter changes---a la Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Great minds thinking alike?

  12. #11
    Wanted to mention that I've been reading Bartok's Essays---which, among other interesting things like discussing his and Kolday's work as folk melody archivists) has not a little self-analysis of his works. Great to hear it from the composer's mouth. Enough critics, you know?

    I read through some examples from the 2nd Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. There's one passage (p. 422) mostly in 5ths, that bear remarkable resemblance to voicings I've heard Kenny Barron and other modern jazzers use. And this was 1939!

    Also ordered the piano reduction of Concerto for Orchestra.

    I fell in love with Schoenberg's Opus 11 piano pieces, and ordered those too. Again, a remarkable resemblance in the 'chords', which are really temporary moorings for his pitch sets, and post-bebop jazz chords. (Refer to the above performance and analysis)

    More to come...

  13. #12

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    ^ nice fass...i just happen to be listening to bartok right now...the actual recording that turned bird on...sublime! ...been in my steady rotation for years

    BARTOK: Music for String Instruments Percussion and Celesta

    Los Angeles Chamber Symphony
    Harold Byrns, conductor

    I. Andante tranquillo
    II. Allegro
    III. Adagio
    IV. Allegro molto

    Capitol L8048
    Recorded in 1949
    First Recording


  14. #13
    I'm still stuck on the Concerto for Orchestra and the quartets. Listened to the 2nd Piano/Orch. Concerto yesterday after playing through those passages. Didn't grab me---yet. Another fave: Divertimento for Strings...