[r-t] New Alan Reading Composition
mark at snowtiger.net
Fri Dec 14 13:18:24 UTC 2012
Ian F writes,
> Moving towards some "unquantifiable music" discussion here.......
"Unquantifiable" is the wrong word, I think. But ringing music does sit
in an interesting place, halfway between a purely subjective and an
objective, measurable position.
In every generation there is some metric, be it CRUs or 4-runs, which is
seized upon by a majority of composers and conductors, and this is I
think no bad thing, since it provides useful targets, and encourages
innovation in composition within a fixed framework - something at which
Perhaps computerization had taken us a little too far down this route,
though. The machine drives us towards simple, measurable scoring systems
to judge the quality of compositions by; quicker sharing of ideas then
exerts a pressure to standardise such measures. Hence the rise of
metrics such as 4-runs. But occasionally I think we ought to step back
and take a wider look at the music we're really trying to achieve.
This particular discussion has, to me, highlighted the kind of
discrepancy you get when the focus is too narrow: we have a composition
on a cyclic plan, where the chosen method of measuring music content
actually disadvantages cyclic music. Something is not right, and to my
mind it's easy to see what: the 4-run count is not enough on its own.
Attractive though it is, you can't simply compare the quality of
compositions based on a single number.
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