CHAOS, WHEN THE MACHINE BECOMES GOD'S INTERLOCUTOR

Prof. Massimiliano Messieri / Italy / – composer

The evolution of musical language, that happened in a radical way in around 1925
(Arnold Schönberg “Suite op. 25 for piano”) passed from an harmonic system (atonal or
pantonal) to the serial one, in which the key points of tension and distension become
numeric relations between a note and another, creates the first fracture between the
musicians and the audience. This evolutive passage has led the composer to an assiduous
search for the objective music, where the beauty was researched no more in harmonic
relations in the sound but in intervallic algorithms that had to elude in any way the most
consonant relations, as the octave or the fifth intervals; relations on which all the music of
the past centuries had been built. This absolutist and denier phenomenon, follower of the
last webernian writing, has its recognition between 1950 and 1960, during the Summer
Courses for the New Music in Darmstadt (Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik),
where musicians like Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio, Luigi Nono,
Bruno Maderna, Gyorgy Ligeti, Theodor Adorno would be defined Masters of the New
Music. These Masters would produce a big quantity of self - referenced followers. These
followers/supporters of the objective musical thinking would later become the
executioners of the music or of the relation between the New Music and the user, the
audience.
The consciousness of our History will always produce questions without answers. If the
Western European compositive thought had followed another path instead of Anton
Webern’s “punctual” way, today would we be in the same dramatic situation, where the
classical music is coming out of theatres and the audience is getting older? The path
taken up from the Masters of Darmstadt’s Summer Courses has created a “serial”
doctrine about Music, which for several decades has been the diktat of their “followers”,
who didn’t want to accept the truthful provocations of John Cage (who attended
Darmstadt’s school). These provocations turned out to be premonitory under some
aspects, for example the use of objects unrelated to music employed for prolification of
compositive – musical material. These objects, while for Cage could be of any form or
material like dice, coins, astronomic cards, pencils etc… today we can find them united
technologically in the computer or more precisely in the software. Cage’s provocation
was considering himself more a mycologist than a composer, maybe because he knew the
creative process used to draw up a music score (because the creative act was simplified to
the causality of an action and the interpreter became composer against his will in carrying
out diligently John Cage’s indications). Anyway, this provocation hasn’t had success at
all among the composers to whom it was referred; on the contrary they had continued
with the quest for an objective “cage” that created objective and absolute music. If with
the term Music we understand an artistic - expressive language, different from the word,
almost certainly John Cage’s “interplay” was to let people understand that the use of
technique and technology unrelated to music, produces a sonorous cacophonic
agglomerate that is beyond physical-sensorial laws of sound, even if it is perfectly logical
and organized with rules and algorithms. At the same time it affirms that nature’s sounds,
that men consider casual, because they are extraneous to the western concept of music,
produce harmony and melody themselves because they are ruled by a logic of the
Universe that man defines “Fate,” unable to understand it completely.
Massimiliano Messieri

(translator Martina Berardi)
Listen:
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007), “Klawierstück I” for piano (1952)
Pierre Boulez (1925), “Piano sonata n.3” for piano (1955-57/63)
Franco Donatoni (1927-2000), “Black and White n.2” for piano (1968)
Sandro Gorli (1948), “Studi in forma di variazione” for piano (1987)
Alessandro Solbiati (1956), “Interludi” for piano (2000-2006)
Yuval Avital (1977), “Sogno, ombre e paesaggi” piano sonata (2010-2011)
Inseong Beck, “Space Monkey” (Algorithm Composition ) for piano and Stella,
Max/Msp, Cubase software (2011)
IAMUS : Can machine be creative?

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