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Thread: Functions in music

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    Default Functions in music

    I think some pieces of classical music convey specific functions.

    Which ones would you say for these? I am thinking of the music itself.

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    For the first: Soft, reflective, serene, tender sentiment.

    For the second: Rapid, unrelenting movement forward, dynamic explosiveness at its peak.

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    I agree. For a hint you can just look at the conductors :-) They mirror the energy of the music in their faces and movements.
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    Yeah, basically.

    1: Fi, Si
    2: Fe, Se (a bit biased on this one)

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    I wrote this a while back and forgot about it. It's a list of musical characteristics and how they correspond to Socionics (just my own impressions). This seems like a good thread to drop it off:

    Texture - usually I associate texture with whether or not a fragment of music is predominantly introverted or extraverted. For example:
    - Monophonic texture tends to have a sort of intimate dramaticism about it - lone voice of introversion.
    - Homophonic texture is the most common post-1700 (in fact, almost all music today is homophonic). Can come across as anything, really. Strictly "conventional" tonality comes across as extraversion. The farther you stray from conventional tonalities, the more potentially introverted the piece sounds. Compare, for instance, Benjamin Britten's arrangement of "The Last Rose of Summer" with one of the more traditional ones.
    - Polyphonic texture, usually associated with logical types and sounds basically like a group of introverts doing their own thing. It takes a lot more concentration from the composer to devise this sort of music. Polyphonic choral music from pre-Baroque Europe is a good example of this. Think: Palestrina. Also, Bach's Art of the Fugue.

    Cadence - can give some indication of a section's "temperament":
    Authentic cadence (chords V-I) - anytime I hear this I think of Handel because he always does this to his basses. Feels EXXj to me.
    Plagal cadence (chords IV-I) - mostly used in sacred music; Fi, perhaps IXXj temperament.
    Deceptive cadence (V to anything but I) - seems to leave you hanging, and and end in a way that suggest grasping at something ungraspable - Ni.

    Rhythm - rhythm is difficult to pin down; in classical music, the rhythm is colored by the harmony and texture of a piece.
    - Definitive rhythms - those in which the accompaniment and the leading voice are in unison - strikes me as extraversion.
    - When the accompaniment is voicing a constant, repetitive rhythm and the leading voice is doing its own thing (Mozart and Chopin do this a lot in their piano pieces; also Bizet does this a lot in Carmen), it seems Fe to me.
    - When a strong rhythm is combined with consonant voices, it comes across as very primative, almost carnal. (Think: Stravinsky - Sacre du printemps) Se.

    I remember I also wrote some other stuff on structure and something else... I saved it somewhere else. I'll need to find it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    A lot of it would be contextual, for example -- descending semitones in a piece composed by Rachmaninov could be considered , but not necessarily in pieces by other composers.
    That's definitely a good point. Rach doing descending half steps is also usually supported by a dramatic harmonic context, very Fe. Without that context you get something that could sound very Si or Ni (I guess Debussy might be a good example).
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    There is also the context of the composer's personal connections to their music. For example -- Messaien's music has an extra Si component when you take his synaesthesia into consideration (and Rachmaninov again -- the "teardrop", which is the descending semitones).

    Sculthorpe's Irkanda IV (an expression of his feelings about his father's death) is very Ni + Fi imo, and even moreso because of these personal, contextual associations -- note that it ends with a high E on the violin, which Sculthorpe uses to represent "connection with God".
    Yes. Another thing to take into account is the "literary" canon which composers will quote, and comment on. These can bring huge insight to a piece of music, and change your understanding completely. Schubert recycles the motif from his lied Der Tod Und Das Maedchen in his D-minor Quartet but "toys" with it. It becomes a commentary on death. There's countless examples of this sort of thing that I can't think of at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    I'm inspired now -- When I get home I'm going to go through my CD collection and write a functional analysis of my favourite pieces.
    Good idea.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    I'm inspired now -- When I get home I'm going to go through my CD collection and write a functional analysis of my favourite pieces.
    You should definitely post it on the wiki.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    I wonder if the cadenzas of soloists give a hint to their functional preference (assuming they did their own and not just copied someone else's candeza). What do you think?
    I think so. Cadenzas, as well as interpretation as a whole might be interesting to look at for different performers. Although I think this applies more to instrumentalists then singers. The way a singer ornaments a piece is determined usually as much by the constraints of their voice (physiology and timbre) as by their musical sensibilities. I had thought at one point there might be some correlation between vocal fach and Socionics type, and realized after some time the answer was "hell no."
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Yeah. That's one of things that has kept me from really going in-depth and doing a Socionics dissection of music beyond the superficial. There's only so much you can say before you're totally pulling things out of your ass. You're bound to miss a huge amount of important information and considerations without the understanding of, say, a musicologist or historian. Even a biographer of a composer/musician needs to be enlisted to make sure we aren't mistaking convention/imitation/practicalities for functional preferences. There's also the trouble of listening to yesterday's music with today's ears - which can be misleading, especially when we're listening in the context of something like Socionics where one tiny piece of information can mean the difference between two functions.
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder
    It's a bit of a tricky subject. What we really need is a time machine.
    That, and a mind-reader.

    I'm actually surprised about how much information we do have about these people, and about this music. The trouble is in accumulating enough of that information to make a reasonably educated guess. (This sets my Ti-agenda off.)
    "How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

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