Bogusław Schaeffer - Introduction to Composition

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"Introduction to composition" (Wstep do kompozycji) by Bogusaw Schaffer; [edited by Ludomira Stawowy and Stefan Ehrenkreutz; translated from the Polish original by Jerzy Zawadzki].

Transcript

BOGUSLAW SCHAFFERintroduction to composition

1976 (PWMEDITION

Translated from the Polish original by JERZY ZAWADZKI

Edited by Ludomira Stawowy and Stefan Ehrenkreutz

1976 oy PWM Edition, Krakow, copyright assigned to ZAIKS, Warszawa. Printed in Poland.

Contents

From the Author 1. What is a composition? How does it come into being? What is a composition's basis? . . . 2. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. What attitude should a composer adopt towards these three time bearings? 3. What are "possibilities of music"? Where are they to be found and how are they to be treated? . 4. Is there a new method of teaching composition? If so, what is it like? . . . . . . . . 5. What are the methodological foundations of this manual? What does the composer's craft consist of today? 6. Who can be a truly creative composer? What should his attitude to creativity be? . . . . 7. What are the conditions for authentic creative work? When can we compose in fact but not just "write music"? . 8. What can be the impetus to creativity? Nothing but play in the imagination? . . . . . . 9. Is originality an important factor in creativity? May it be p u t forward as a programme, as the first item of the artist's programme? . . . . 10. To what extent does the problem of choice exist in today's music? 11. What attitude should a composer assume to tradition? 12. What constitutes the essence of new music, the essence of new composition being created today? 13. A marginal, but important question in this state of affairs: what is the contemporary composer? . 14. How has the social status of the composer changed and what is the nature of his social activity? . 15. What are the characteristics of contemporary composing craft?

5 7 20. 21. 22.

7 7 8

23. 24.

9 9

25. 26.

1 0 10

27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

10 11 11 12 12 12 13

in the method of employing the factor of change in music . , The consequences of the limitation of components to a few symbols Simple and complex values Is there a progression of rhythmic values from the simplest to the most complex ones and how is it expressed? The composer's work on rhythmic models . . The limitation of rhythmic values to a few a bar threatens us with a rapid exhaustion of movement; how do we prevent it? Possibilities of a new divergent way of treating music written in simple metres Possibilities arising from modern compositional usages of metre. Playing by means of metre, further development of metric techniques . . . Metre today Ametric music Are there any new time models and, if so, what do they look like? Complexity of rhythmic models Changes and superimposition of metres and rhythms within metres Rhythmic complications Metric complexity Concepts of pitch-rhythm relationships . . . Compositional consequences of the repetition of the same pitches Relationship between the idea of constant variation and the formation of rhythm Rhythmic-dynamic relationships Rhythmic "harmonies" appearing as a result of new co-situations The restriction of composition exclusively or primarily to the range of r h y t h m . "Articulation of time" .

15 15 16

16 17

17 18

19 19 20 20 21 21 22 23 24 25 25 26 27 2 7 2 8

16. What factor seems to be the most important in new music? . . . 17. Analogy and change the opposition of these notions to each other and the possibility of connections between them in a composition . . . . 18. Elementary study of the factor of change in music. On what does musical change actually depend? . 19. Further compositional expansion of our research

II 13 41. Linear motion. The attitude of the contemporary composer towards linear motion and its role in the structuring of music 42. Foreground and secondary status of linear motion 43. Range of possible change in linear motion . 44. Compositional reading of linear motion pitch collections .

14 14

29 30 30 3 1

45. The dependence of the structure of chords upon the contents of vertical arrangements of linear motion 46. Compositional application of chords . . . . 47. Microstructural organization 48. Intervals and their role in contemporary music . 49. Intervallic notation . . 50. Intervallic analysis of linear motion . . . . 51. Selection of intervals and its consequences . . 52. Five-note models enclosed within the major third 53. Work on six-note models enclosed within the fourth 54. Contents analysis of the variants of the chromatic six-note universe . 55. Harmonic models 56. Intervallic studies . . 57. Study in diagram the idea 58. Study in diagram the realization . . . . 59. Codes 60. Approximate linear motion III 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. IV 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. Series problem of variability Forms of the series Series that determine the sound language . . . . Multi-intervallic series Further models of series Serialization of rhythm and dynamics . . . . Serial articulation . . . Serialization and pointillism "Oscillatory" and "modulating" serialism . . . Modal serialization . . . . . . . - . Total serialization interchangeability of serialized elements . . 83. Problems concerning total serialism . . . . A new way of treating the orchestra . . . . Selection and particularization of tone colour Preparation of instruments Preparation in vocal and instrumental ensembles Changing pitch The transformed note . . . . ' . . . The gliding note . . Composition with one note Timbral intervals Deformations . . " . Denaturalization of sound . . . . .

31 32 32 33 34 34 34 35 35 3 6 36 36 37 37 38 38

84. Technique of deschematization . . . . . . . . 85. Technique of the reduction of elements inducing monotony in serialism

51 51

. .

39 39 40 40 4 1 42 42 43 43 4 4 44

86. Transformation of structures into textural formations .87. Study of textures 88. Series and their textural break-up . . . ' . . 89. Series and their rhythmicization (horizontally-conceived texture) 90. Possibilities of textural melodization of series or horizontal pitch combinations 91. Examples of four-part textures (string quartet) . 92. P i a n o ^ e x t u r e 93. Possibilities in the handling of textures in music for larger ensembles 94. Texture and density . 95. Possibilities of thickening vertical structures through an increase in the quantity of material employed 96. Dispersal of material . . . . . , . . 97. Influence of mechanical composing on texture . 98. Combined constructions .' .99. Textural results of the application of group technique 100. Texture of large forms VI 101. 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109. 110. 111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. True composition of music Precomposition Composition of time . . . . Abstract and concrete Aesthetic problems . . . . Canons of composing Counterindications and prohibitions Choice of techniques, antinomies Discontinuous composition Automization of composition Aleatorism Composing of co-situations Multimotivic work . . . . Break-up of the model Multidimensional composition Ambiguous music . . . . Multitechnical canons as models Polyversional music . . Composing musical actions Final remarks . . . . . . .

51 52 52 53 53 54 54 55 55 56 56 57 5758 58

59 60 60 61 62 63 63 65 65 67 67 68

45 45 46 46 47 48 48 49 49 50 50 50

70 70 70 71

Alphabetical index of examples

72

4

from the Author

In the didactic work which is herewith placed at the disposal of the curious reader, the author set himself three essential goals: 1. to show methods of composition from the still difficult and not readily accessible technical aspect, 2. to acquaint the reader with individual solutions in the various parameters of music, by means of examples drawn (primarily) from the author's own compositions and the works of those composers who most extensively influenced the metamorphoses of contemporary musical language, 3. to awaken and encourage the creative imagination and the capacity for formulating ideas of the apprentice composer. Someone with no talent for composition cannot learn to compose. Not much can be attained by someone who has inherent or acquired prejudices against new music. Neither can there anything be gained by someone who will treat the entrusted didactic material in a superficial, cursory fashion. Nevertheless, compositional talents in themselves do not today suffice: contemporary composition is a difficult craft, but control of it must and ought to be gained if we deem musical language a language in which we wish to express something. The Introduction to Composition is a manual from which it is possible to study contemporary. composition. It should be studied slowly, in stages, with exceptional care being given to the achievement of results which make artistic sense. In this handbook the author has made an effort not to repeat elementary information dealing with the notation of music, or the capacities of instruments and the human voice, since the reader can find these for himself in relatively numerous publications. The author commences here without preliminaries at a level which to many readers may seem rather high but which, after all at least taking into

account musical training in the author's own country is essentially not excessive. Perhaps a certain amount of information pertaining to new music ought to have been recapitulated, although a totally different prescription emerges on the basis of the author's teaching experience. Composition should begin from the very first exercises and assignments t h i s cannot be left till later. The Introduction to Composition consists of a concise text and of a very extensive set of musical examples (in progress, the work even went under the working title of an "Atlas"). The textual part contains 120 short chapter-