A Composer's World: Horizons and Limitations (Schott) by Paul Hindemith

By Paul Hindemith

The e-book goals to be a consultant during the little universe that's the operating position of the guy who writes song. As such it talks predominantly to the layman,although the specialist composer can also locate a few stimulation in it... From the heart of simple idea the dialogue will unfolded into the entire nation-states of adventure which border the technical features of composing, similar to aesthetics, sociology, philosophy, etc.

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There must be some factor common to both which serves as the Connecting link between the outward world of sound and the cerebral activity of sound interpretation. The basis on which they can be brought together may be expressed by the equation: actual motion on the one side equals feeling of motion on the other side. This is on an infinitely higher mental level the same equation the baby drew when for the first time in his life he absorbed a musical impression, and in spite of the tremendous mental burden of memories and transformations we are adding to this equation, it still preserves its original primitivity.

Thus he bursts out spontaneously, without models, into simplest songlike utterances, and with his growing experiences and a desire to self-expression develops them into audible forms of a slightly higher degree of musical significance. From here on it is a question of further experience and education, how — and how soon — these basic phenomena can be developed into organized music. But even as a mere stimulus in an advanced musical technique the value of onomatopoeia is greatly overrated. Had its advocates asked the musicians about their methods instead of dealing with the listeners and their impressions, they probably would have abandoned their theory; for every observant musician knows that the effect upon a listener, caused by onomatopoetic imitation, even if extremely stylized, is always a secondary effect that accompanies the specifically and exclusively musical coherence of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic material.

From here it is a very small step to the further conviction that he himself is not only reproducing the feelings of other individuals, but is actually having these same feelings, being obsessed by them whenever he thinks he needs them, and being urged to express them with each stroke of his ever-ready pen. He believes that he feels what he believes the listener feels; he tries to construct musically the ultimate ring of this strange chain of thought — and consequently he does not express his own feelings in his music.

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