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Old Guard vs. Avant-Garde - Essay Example

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Music is a huge part of culture today. This has been our way of expressing feelings, emotions, and celebrating special events. A lot of people regard music as a sound that is pleasing to the ear while those sounds that do not form a melody or a tune are said to irritate ears. …
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Old Guard vs. Avant-Garde
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Download file to see previous pages Well, until today, there has been an increasing number of different versions of descriptions on what music is and what it is not. However, there has not been a single universally acknowledged definition of music as it is a wide realm of art that is hard to limit within a sentence to encapsulate everything that it is. Well, to be able to understand music in its entirety, it is best to revisit its history. First of all, to give you the most general definition of music, it is an artistic form of auditory communication that incorporates instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner. Another great description of music would be that “it is any pleasing and harmonious sound created by singers or musical instruments” (Espie, n. d.). These descriptions came about during the Medieval Ages where musical notation, such as monophony and polyphony, were developed. Monophony is characterized by a music that only consists of one melodic line without accompaniment and where the beauty of the chant relied on its melody. On the other hand, polyphony is a type of music created by two or more melodic lines which are heard simultaneously ("History of Music", n. d). Music in the Medieval Ages was considered the “old-guard” music because at that time people were not open to welcoming other ideas and means of creating music outside of these standard definitions stated above. Avant-garde music on the other hand, is basically the merging of all the elements and genres of music, such as the Medieval, Classical, and Romantic etc. It strongly reflects the modernist style of art music where the irregularity of melody or consistent tune and the rejection of tonality are being embraced. John Cage is an artist and composer being well known for this. He promoted the use of almost anything that could produce sound as one of the instruments to create music and at the same time considered the sound of nature and the most random things as part of his music. Two of his popular works are the “Dream” and “Souvenir”. John Cage’s “Dream” for me is a bright illustration of an “avant-garde” work. This is because of the fact that there is no consistent melody that reflects monophony and polyphony. Another point worth of noting would be the pauses or silence, which is the element that is imminent in the “Dream” and would never be considered as music per se within the context of “Old guard” era. Aside from that, one would be able to notice the altering of tonality from high to low and from long stretches of pitches to a sudden halt. Medieval Age music is totally the opposite to that of modern or avant-garde era being distinct by its repetition of melody and tones, which is something you would not be able to hear in the “Dream”. Every deployed tone is a new phase of music that reflects randomness and an expression of real life (Eidt, n. d.). A lot of people regard John Cage’s “Dream” as something that is composed of merely an expression of random outcome of events, which is an element that is not recognized within the “old-guard” technique. Mainly the piano was used to create this music and what makes it special is that the notes being hit are not based on a certain standard of tonality instead they are based on the musician’s score. This allows this work of his to uncover a deeper mystery and beauty as it is not repetitious and predictability of the piece is not there. Thus, its element of silence which is distinct feature of the “Dream” contributes to something new in the music sphere and causes a lot of aspiring musicians to create the same mystery and at the same time producing a story that would reflect the reality of change in everyday life. Although the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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