The Sin of Comparison

I’ve been on a hiatus recently. Hopefully I’ll be back posting blogs regularly from now on…

Yesterday a good friend of mines did something that many people dare to do, the sin of comparison.

https://twitter.com/macias22412/status/560701149678817281

This argument as shown is a statement that compares Frank Sinatra as being superior to Sergei Rachmaninoff. Committing the act of comparison is probably one of the most sinful things to do to music. Both musicians are at the top of their game, are renowned as legends who pioneered and influenced the music of today, and are just awesome. It is okay to be biased towards a certain genre of music, but when it goes to the point where it becomes impracticable in a qualitative cause, it becomes no fun.

To make this of better understanding let’s reflect on a quote from Mark Twain:

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug

It is imperative to see then that this is purely ambiguous to start committing the sin of comparison between two things or musicians in their own respected genres. Rachmaninoff hardly muddled into jazz (although much of his Fourth Piano Concerto has many jazz rhythms and accidentals but is considered Romanticism) and Sinatra hardly muddled into classical (although the theme of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto – Second Movement for one of his songs) but there is no basis of comparison.

Nobody cannot compare something that is qualitative. It simply cannot be done.

 

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Oldest Use of Counterpoint

So I am taking a class at the University, and it is explicitly about Classical Music in the West. This course goes through a thousand-year history of Classical Music throughout Europe. To the commoner it may seem arid but for me, its heaven. As all of my readers know, I absolutely love everything that has to do about classical music. It’s so compelling to be, I had to write about it!

In this class about a week ago, the professor was explaining about the oldest use of secular music ever. I am not familiar with any Medieval Music except the Gregorian Chant, which itself is very monotonous and bleak but what really caught my attention was a piece of music called “Sumen Is Icumen In”.


Lyrics in Middle English:

Svmer is icumen in.
Lhude sing cuccu.
Groweþ sed
and bloweþ med
and springþ the wde nu.
Sing cuccu.

Awe bleteþ after lomb,
lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ,
bucke uerteþ,

murie sing cuccu.
Cuccu cuccu.
Wel singes þu cuccu
ne swik þu naver nu.

Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu.


Lyrics in Modern English:

Spring has arrived,
Loudly sing, cuckoo!
The seed is growing
And the meadow is blooming,
And the wood is coming into leaf now,
Sing, cuckoo!

The ewe is bleating after her lamb,
The cow is lowing after her calf;
The bullock is prancing,
The billy-goat farting,

Sing merrily, cuckoo!
Cuckoo, cuckoo,
You sing well, cuckoo,
Never stop now.

Sing, cuckoo, now; sing, cuckoo;
Sing, cuckoo; sing, cuckoo, now!


“Sumer Is Icumen In” is an English rota composed between the years 1261 and 1264. For those who don’t know what rota is, rota is a round sung in Middle English between the 13th and the 14th centuries. “Sumer Is Icumen In” in Middle English means “Summer is Coming In”. It is also known by “Cuckoo Song”. What really makes this song interesting is that it is one of the most oldest examples of polyphony and counterpoint. The polyphony is reflected by piece by being sung in rota form. The layering of different voices in round form is what creates the various harmonies heard. I cannot make the type of harmonies, but in accordance with harmony used in the Medieval Period, 4ths and 5ths can be heard.

Even though this song is written in English, this song sounds like an Italian tarantella. Almost something you can listen to while on a gondola traveling the canals of Venice.

Ah music.

 

Contemporary vs. Classical

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree.”

Often as it happens, there are way more people existence that would rather listen to some other type of music than the music of my own. I have yet to meet anyone who shares my exact music preferences who also is my age. I know you are out there, I can almost feel it.

I am often in constant feuding with those who don’t share my musical liveliness, especially some of my younger family members. I grew up pretty much in the same predicament as they did; same type neighborhood, same economic situations, same everything. Regardless of this, there is always a “war of music” every time music is discussed:

Them: My music is way better than your boring classical.

(A direct attack!)

Me: You actually think that your music is better? When was the last time your songs actually focused on something positive for once?

(I am noting that most of contemporary music promotes bad treatment of women, drug abuse, and violence)

Them: You know nothing about my music, my music expresses all of our problems.

Me: We are all taught to respect all types of music, but when a song is so impressionable on our youth it actually starts to shape their lives into immorality, that’s when It goes too far. Listening to such music actually damages you. You really don’t understand such damage because that’s what you incorporate as “normal”.

The conversation often stops as “they” get too tired of what’s been said.

As well as you know here, I am not a big fan of today’s so-called music. I wouldn’t even call it music. I’m not saying that all of contemporary music is total and complete crap, people are still making great music and I applaud you for that. I don’t want to single any “artist” out and call him or her out, that’s not for me to do.

In general, most contemporary songs are products of the music industry that pay hefty amounts of money for the next best hit to ween the crowds to in turn pay for the song on platforms so that they get royalties. There is no “expressiveness nor feel” in any song today that makes it last. That is often why music never lasts. People forget about it and move onto the next piece of crap that comes flying their way. .

The Other 90%

According to the Daily Post, our brains only use up to 10% of our actual brain to do normal human functions. According to John Hopkins University, this is a mere myth. They say that we do use 100% of our brains, but we don’t use it to the full potential.

But what if this was actually, fact?

Me being a musician and loving all things music, I would use this amazing ability to do what I try to do best – to write and compose music in a more intense fashion. I believe with strong intentions that everyone has the ability to create such amazing compositions. Look at the ones who have done so already eg. Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Mahler. Their creativity and amazing use of brain power turned their compositions into a masterful work of art, even redefining and shaping music for future composers.

To create a piece of music is by far one of my greatest abilities that I can be proud of. I’m not here to say that most of my compositions are the best, they’re really not. I like to listen to some of them and try to improve on my ability to create such music that would sound better, if I had enough time to do so. If the utilization of the brain were to be true, I would like to write a whole four piano concertos, a couple symphonies, piano sonatas, etudes, and waltzes in a way to challenge the limits of modern classical music, redefining it for the next generation but keeping the style of Romanticism (or Neo-Romanticism). I don’t seek the fame as such mediocre artists because there is no passion in egotism, nor is there any happiness that follows.

I simply do because I want, not because I am told to do.

Top Five Favorite Pieces of Music

It’s that time of the year, where I get to finally showcase in my opinion, the top five greatest pieces of music that have gotten attention over the past year. Now this little list here doesn’t reflect the music of 2014, it simply shows the top five pieces of music that I have grown to liking. All pieces of music on here are well over 100 years old, so this sounds very odd to make a list about my favorite pieces of music that were written over 100 years ago. This is the “Young Timer” music blog, so I (a young person) will be talking a lot about music from long ago. Read the about page if you still don’t understand.

Number 5

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Sergei Rachmaninoff

I picked this piece of music first of all I am a huge Rachmaninoff fan and secondly, the famous “Variation 18” is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. The melody embodies all things musical and amazing. It should deserve a higher ranking on this list, but there are other pieces that knock this out of the ball park.

This may be a little biased towards the piano, so be warned.

Number 4

Waltz in A Minor, Op. Posthumous – Fredrick Chopin

This piece grabbed my attention recently as I was searching sporadically for new music to learn and play. I went to the public library and checked out a book including all of Chopin’s Waltzes. This piece is one of my favorite Chopin pieces, but there are still more out there.

Number 3

La Campanella – Paganini/Liszt

Played by non other than Valentina Lisitsa, La Campanella is a hefty song to learn. I certainly do remember struggling when learning this piece. You are literally jumping left to right on one hand playing the tonic on the right while simultaneously playing a melody whilst the left hand plays accompaniment It sounds like a bell ergo, “La Campanella” “The little bell.”

Number 2

Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 13 “Pathetique” – Ludwig van Beethoven

I absolutely love this piece. I first got into this piece when a good friend of mines started to play this piece sporadically. That made me want to play it, and master it. Eventually I did so.

Number 1

Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 18 – Sergei Rachmaninoff

By far my most favorite piece and the greatest piece of music ever written in the history of history. I tried to attempt to play this piece, but it was very difficult. That won’t stop me of course 🙂 I literally listen to this piece maybe four times a day. It’s like some drug, and I am addicted to Rachmaninoff. (Hmm, that may be a title of a new post…)

Well, that wraps up the top five pieces of music for 2014. I hope these same songs won’t show up, but I have a feeling one of them or maybe two will show up.

Until next time!

Daily Post Writing Prompt: Connect the Dots – Degree Relationships

The Daily Post in a post today challenged many of us to find the nearest book, open it to page 82, and take the 3rd full sentence and somehow make it into a worthy post… Let me see what I can do.

The nearest book to me was Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Opened to the 82nd page, the third full sentence reads out:

Besides, Cyril Vladimirovich is my mother’s second cousin.

This has no apparent connection to music at all, but in my case, there is a slight connection to music. If you already don’t know, I come from a line of various musicians and composer/arrangers. In fact that is still true to the point today. My first cousins are very into music both listening and into learning an instrument. My uncles all knew something about playing an instrument, a various guitarist here and a saxophonist there. There is me, who is both a composer and arranger and is well known in my musical community as someone who puts music before other things, respectively.

What seems very remarkable is that in my family tree, a lot of my mother’s second cousins are in fact well known musicians. They all have renounding jobs in the musical field and probably famous. Let’s not stop there. I have spent more more than five years researching my family tree and have found many remarkable things, including distant connections to most famous virtuousos and composers of classical music:

Did you know that Franz Liszt is my 11th cousin; 6 times removed’s ex-partner, Frederic Chopin is my 11th cousin 6 times removed’s ex-partner, how Ludwig van Beethoven is my third cousin 8 times removed’s husband’s nephew’s wife’s uncle’s wife’s uncle’s wife’s nephew’s wife’s ex-partner, and how Edvard Grieg is my 17th cousin 6 times removed?

*actually I am only directly related to Edvard Grieg, Liszt, Chopin and Beethoven are related to me only by in-laws*

So how the hell did I calculate this?

Geni.com is a innovative genelogical website that encourages you to research your ancestors. You see, everyone is related to eachother and by everyone connection to this big family tree composed of over millions and millions of people, you are destined to have relation to almost anyone. You have to do your own researching though, no easy peesie!

Heck, you might even be related to me!