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extended project

Music Theory
25 Nov 2009 10:06 | Quote
Joined: 08 May 2008
United Kingdom
Karma: 1
Hi I'm doing A level and in my school we have to do an enrichment subject and I'm doing an extended project where I will look at the styles of Wagner and Chopin, then write a piece of music to emulate their styles.

I know these two composers sound a lot different, but it only got approved because of their differences. However I have found through research that both of the use counterpoint and chromaticism and harmony to effect. Also there are a few melodic differences so I don't believe this will be as hard as it first seems.

What I would like if you could help would be some books, websites or essays that will help me and if one of you knows a lot about whether of these two composers I'd be grateful if we could talk through AGC, email or Msn as our teacher recommends we get someone in the know and use them as a source for a greater variety.

And thank you for your help
25 Nov 2009 10:56 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
United States
Lessons: 12
Licks: 42
Karma: 38
To better understand their music, you should first understand them.

Frederic Chopin : Biography of Frederic Chopin

Richard Wagner: Biography of Richard Wagner

Here are some sources that should be useful:

Richard Wagner:
Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

Frederic Chopin:
Source 1
Source 2
Source 3

I hope these help. Good luck and rock on.
25 Nov 2009 23:34 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
well first that me stated I'm not a fan of romantic music at all. To me it is almost useless, but I'm not that ignorant to see its importance in the progression of classical music and the music i love so much. Out of the two I can only stand Chopin at times. So as one of the crazy basters who write to much on this forum I'm out(i think I can get the crazy ** title eh?). But i liked to point out some directions you may/may not know of. so take and leave/ignore what you want as always.

I don't know how you essay has to be structure, weather it is just about music or about them as well, but anyway knowing about the musician "the guy" is important to understanding there music even if you don't need it for your possible essay(didn't say there is one). Wagner and Chopin are very different people even ignoring the whole German nationalist and polish thing(they would of hated each other no doubt in any sane person's mind). I know a bit more about Wagner the person, due to my reading of Nietzsche(philosopher) who was good friends with each other until learn falling out and Nietzsche going up into "the mountains" so to speak and becoming the crazy ** i love. Now If you don't already know Wagner was a egoistical manic, He made people call him "master" for just a taste of it (didn't fly with Niet. after a while and thought him less because of it). Also he was a complete German nationalist(some reading on Prussia's rise to power(Frederick Wilhelm I) and the conquering of most Germanic states to crate the ancestor of moderner day Germany[named after the Germanic ethic group if you don't know not there other way around). Now what dose this strong German nationalism mean to us well as very bad example and way to explain it is(if you use this i will be disappointed also wont know) Hitler didn't come from nowhere. Yes Adolf Hitler(will not in any way respond to Hitler comments) his(Hitler) whole thing was breeding in Germany during the 19 century and Wagner played a part in it. Now this is a bad example because Wagner was not Hitler,No one would erase Wagner from history(not erasing in forgetting what happen, in making it have never of) happened), but it is an easy way of saying what Wagner was like, so i took the easy way out. you however will not because I'm talking on a forum so i have an excuse a bit lame but it is what it is. Know this is also important Because Chopin was a Polish nationalist of shorts. not in, I'm better then everyone else(Wagner), just proud to be one. So if you know what the Nazi did to the Polish you should be able to make the riffed between the two men.

As to there musical styles what it seems to be more about. First all common practice classical music composers used counterpoint. It is a fundamental idea in European classical music all the styles use it. how they used it through all those years is very different. And even though Wagner and Chopin came from the same epoch, I'm going to guess/know(not 100%) even they used it differently(I don't really listen to Wagner at all so i can't confirm but, take Mozart if all you listen to was his pop compositions you would never know he made comp based off the Augmented scale, but i doubt it and to me I'd rather waste my time on something I like then trying to find something good in what i hate[though i tend to do that a lot which confuses a lot of people]) So the point in all of this is that the fact that they use Counterpoint extensively that doesn't mean there the same.

On chromaticism, it has been a growing tend in music based(even partly) on European music as well as dissonances. Not that other cultures don't have it, it is just that European music killed all dissonances in the middle ages(Gregorian chant use only fifths for instances) and are slowly bring it back. So while I'm sure you could write something about there use of chromaticism it's not a book your writing, I'm guessing, so i would worry to much about it, in short while chromaticism and dissonance is very important to them and musical evolution as a whole, only if they where of different epochs or it was on a evolution of musical progression i would make a stink about chromaticism, but i could be wrong on this one.

Melody I'm going to strongly disagree with. melody In classical music(specifically common practice) is the heart and soul of the peace of music. a composers sense of melody is what makes them who they are. Chopin and Wagner are very different, the best you could do is just to sit and listen to a large portions of there music(not just a few songs, 90% of the nocturnes at lest and not just the nocturnes, The whole opera not just bits and not just one, and not just the operas). Dame i feel bad for you not that you have to listen to Wagner(who am i to say what you can and can't like), but Wagner's operas are notoriously long

So as to there styles. I would focus my attention on the Composers' musical forms they where most know for, and are the key composers of that style. Wagner's Operas and Chopin's Nocturnes. Now if you want to talk about different styles opera's and nocturnes are as different as different comes. Now obliviously your not going to write a whole opera but you could write a small bit and write the words and the whole bit to it like Wagner himself did(most operas music is written by one guy and that written by other Wagner tended to do a lot more him self then others). Even based it on northern European Germanic traditions(back to Wagner's nationalism) Write something about Thor, people tend to who that is. As to books I'm sure you can find something on written operas just make sure your writing the same style opera as Wagner(there are many different operas)

Now that is basically all i got but I'm going to add little bit more. You should look into the cult of Wagner and Wagnerism in general and what effect it had on the future of music(Schoenberg, Erik Satie's complete hatred of it). That i know more about. Also Chopin was a mainly a piano guy and help pushed it farther then any one else he also developed many new styles.

Also i don't know how this reads(I'm not proofreading) but just to make it clear I basically hate/despise Wagner can't listen to it for more then short bits, but no one in there right mind can say his input isn't one of the most important of the 19 century. I fit very much into the Satie point of view(modern/impressionist guys), and his follows/friend/peers, notably Debussy. and are the only European composers i truly love that aren't of the Baroque period(i like the Russian guys as well like Stravinsky, but they tend to piss me off a lot). So thanks for helping spend my time before turkey day i have nothing to do(if you couldn't tell), got to up early so can't do to much.

EDI--Also i don't know if i made it clear but you really have to take this with a grain of slat. I'm not that knowledgeable, just trying to point you in some directions. classical music can be daunting, and i think more people would like it if that astigmatism of Mozart this Beethoven that would die. never had any one hate Satie he is wonderful or the right Cage comp.
26 Nov 2009 10:01 | Quote
Joined: 08 May 2008
United Kingdom
Karma: 1
@ guitarslinger thanks those really helped get me started

@ RA, I like Wagners music and at one point we did have the whole ring cycle sky plused although never had time to watch it and my dad deleted it, however I did watch the first hour or two. From what I've heard about Wagner as a person he doesnt seem that nice, and like you I have heard a lot of him from Nietzsche.

I was thinking of writing orchestra piece dominated by piano which would be more Chopin like.

Also did you know wagner was who the sorcerer in part 4 of Also sprach Zarathustra was based on.

Also for the ext project we have to write 5000 words but we can get away with a lot less if we have something like music accompanying it, so I'll probs be able to do 3000 words if I have a piece of music 4 minutes plus (including writing on what I done when writing and how it reflects their styles)

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