A Few Irrelevant Questions

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Last week we talked a little about jockishness in music, while sort of casually mentioning beauty. Maybe this topic is too nuts/obvious/irksome, but what are the categorical elements of composition? In addition to the sports of performing difficult material and gut-wrenching beauty, what are the constituents of a plush musical idea? I'm thinking large additional categories are comedy, piety, chaos/structure and, um, reverberance? Man vs machine? Do composers think this way?

Is it reductive to think of music in these terms? When I was studying chamber music as a kid, most of our coachings were devoted to constructing weird narratives to flow alongside the quartets we were playing. We often performed non-programmatic pieces programmatically, sometimes, especially in high school, with elaborate X-Files-derived plot lines. It's pretty safe so say that Haydn wasn't focusing on the antics of Mulder & Scully when he wrote his "Sunrise" quartet, so is it appropriate to knit these ideas together?

How much of the composer's intent needs to be mirrored by the musicians interpreting the work? I get to work directly with the composers of most of the music I play, so I feel like we can kinda come to a middle, collaborative place, but what does one do if the composer is no longer around?