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I am a composition student at the Longy School of music, and member of the future of classical music class, which is now attempting to create an article describing what we think the future will hold for classical music.


-In an article of the future of classical music it is important to first talk about the past, and in this it is perhaps necessary to survey the way people throughout history have thought about music; what role did it play in their lives? What purpose did it serve? Then, perhaps we can ask if, in our time classical music seems to serve the same purpose or a different purpose to that of "other" music? Is it this that we're considering, or are we considering the relative "success" of classical music in the future: its popularity.

What are the important factors that will create future music?
-education is one of the many this on top of my list, and I think we must consider not just musical education, but education in all fields.
-Rate of advancement
-perhaps part the reason that music written today doesn't seem to have a true since of belonging: a sense of being in touch with today's society is because our current society is so vast and consequently, culturally sporadic: in the sense that, in America, there are so many different cultures, so many categories to which people belong. And of coarse we should not attempt to apply these categories in a strict fashion. In actuality it is the fact that no true lines can be drawn that make our culture so "wonderfully" diverse, which is, in theory great, however I think that having to many influences, especially from an artistic stand point can be just as damaging as having no influences at all. This is not to say that we, as human-beings, should not collect knowledge from and about other cultures and place them in to our own and here the more integration the better. However, I think we must have some bases for our exploration: since, for example you have been born into American culture and it has been there that you have grown up, this should be apparent in you work. Or should the contemporary artist aspire to be a man / woman of the world with no bounds on creative style, pulling from all parts of the world. A very picturesque idea: of the "man of the world"; a man you would have no true nationality, no ethicality, no category save for that of a Human-being. Does this idea work in the context of creating art? Or, do we need more specific bases for our creations? If we are assuming that creation takes place on both the conscious and sub conscious levels, then it is easy to see way an in-grown ideals of one's culture are important, even if these seem relatively undetectable in one's creations. In the context of the futuristic idea of a "man of the world" we must assume that his own in-bred ideals must come not from a specific place but from the world as a whole, or, because of the broadness of worldly ideals, would his ideals simply come mostly from his own original thought. If there is not evidence for this idea of a "man of the world" there is certainly evidence for a man for which his ideals come not from culture but from his own mind. Much of modern philosophy is based on this idea, and for centuries people have high society have strived to be cultured and worldly. At some point it was no longer good enough to be familiar with one's own culture; one had to be versed in "exotic" culture. Traveling around the world was and is considered to some, an essential part of life, enriching one's cultural needs with language, art, tradition, and custom from other lands. The validity of this ideal is obvious, and I need not go farther.

So, how does all this relate to the creation of ideas? It would seem that an exploration of world culture would only lead to a broader thought process when we create an idea: it seems that we would simply have more options, if you will. All this is fine; however we have yet to explore the effect this has on the actual idea. The first thing to look at would be the solidity, or coherence of ideas, with such worldly knowledge. My first reaction would be to say that given all of this knowledge, we would have a clearer view of our ideas, but I think the possibility that given all of this knowledge our ideas may become cluttered because there is a lack of a solid base of thought is equally valid. In other words our ideas become sporadic, because we try to integrate too many things into a single idea. The above being an extreme reduction of the actual number of possibilities, there are obviously an endless number of generalized creative outcomes, taking in to account that for each person with identical experiences there will be a completely different outcome. I don't think any of us would argue with that, however none of us would argue that these experiences do in some way effect people, and for our purposes the creator (As an aside, it is important to note that I am not only speaking of a composers creation, but that of performers and everyone else involved in the industry.) and thereby their creations.

Let's look at it in a different way. The whole "man of the world" idea implies that he/she is someone who is always open to learning: always open to new ideas. Consequently this person may, in learning these things; he/she may change his own personal beliefs because of what he learned, which is clear valid as well. However if we look at the world greatest thinkers to date (no doubt all of them were well cultured and educated, and more importantly had very open minds) we find that in most cases they were great, in many cases because of their strong convictions to a certain idea. Now in some of these cases we would be talking about a strong conviction to your own original idea but, it is hard to believe that if they a person has a one strong belief that they have no others. It is ironic, that in creating which is such an open minded field, that we must at times, to the opposite of our convictions, be so close minded.

In my thinking in general I seem to head toward a much broader thinking of the study of the future of classical music, because the reality is that our future was and will effected by the world at large. This is why we must consider not just music history for example, but all of history. Now, of course the problem with this, of course, is perhaps more of a question, "where to stop"? Then again, how can we possibly put a limit on the subjects we choose to include in our studies, in a reality that is fully entwined with itself?

Instrumentation and its effect on music to come[edit]

I. Materials
II. Workings

III. Tuning[edit]

As we all know our current Equal Temperament has not always been in place as the common tuning system, not that we really use it to tune in the first place. Although, the current temperament is what instrument makers use as a bases for key placement and so forth. However certain notes on their respective instrument will be out of tune; that is with out any help fro the player. It is obviously impossible to have every note, in every key, naturally in tune on a single instrument, because of the nature of the overtone sequence. The most frequent example of this is that of the third of a major triad, A C# E for instance. In this cord the C# in equal temperament is naturally sharp, requiring the player to tune the third slightly lower than in would be, say on a piano, an instrument in perfect equal temperament. The reality is that equal temperament puts every note in a scale slightly out of tune, except of course for the tonic. The reason being, so that, on one instrument, you can modulate to all the keys without having a change in character.

The penultimate tuning system is the overtones them selves. Every tonal system created has been an approximation of natural overtones. Pythagoras used a series of 11 pure / just fifths to do thi Line breaks, the disadvantage being that some of the left over fifths are wolf / false fifths, being quite badly out of tune. The predominating tuning system after this is what we still use today in part, just intonation. Logically, in just intonation you tune notes to other notes in the same overtones sequence (given a limit), giving a very pure, in tune sound. The problem with just intonation is that it only works, on an instrument, in one key. As soon as you modulate the tuning becomes useless. This is where tempered tuning systems come in: they are again, a compromise, some intervals are pure and others are quite impure. Often times what is called a comma from a preceding system, usually related a series of fifths would be eliminated, and then distributed over the other intervals in the system. For instance, in many mean-tone temperaments each fifth would be narrowed and each fourth widened, especially in the attempt to create a purer sounding third. Many times the result of this was that in certain, more common keys the intervals were very pure, while others were less perfect.

Over about two-thousand years of history new tuning systems have been created and are still being created to solve this problem. Consequently, this constant change in tuning scheme has and will affect the sound of the music created at a fundamental level. Here I have compiled I list of many of the tonal tuning systems used in the past and some that have been recently created.

I. Tonal (Western Major)

  • a. Overtone series
    • i. Pythagorean
    • ii. Just
      • 1. Regular temperament
        • a. Mean-tone temperament
          • i. Ramis's Pure temperament
          • ii. Aron's meantone temperament
          • iii. Ganassi's temperament
          • iv. Salinas's temperament
          • v. Praetorius's meantone temperament
          • vi. Kepler's pure temperament
          • vii. Mersenne pure temperament
          • viii. Schnitger's meantone temperament
          • ix. Lucy Tuning
          • x. Wilson's Meta-Meantone
          • xi. Kornerup Phi
          • xii. 1/3 comma
          • xiii. ¼ comma
          • xiv. 1/5 comma
        • b. Well-temperament
          • i. Werckmeister (1-4) (III, II, V, VI)
          • ii. A.Silbermann's temperament
          • iii. Silbermann's 1/6 temperament
          • iv. J.S.Bach
          • v. Matteson
          • vi. Rameau
          • vii. Malcolm
          • viii. Neidhardt (1-2)
          • ix. Vallotti
          • x. Euler
          • xi. Marpurg
          • xii. Kirnberger (1-3)
          • xiii. Harry Partch scales
          • xiv. Wendy Carlos
          • xv. Rousseau’s Equal Temperament
          • xvi. Jousse’s Well Temperament
          • xvii. Broadwood (Best, Usual)
          • xviii. DeMorgan Uneaqual Temperament
        • c. Equal temperament
          • i. Hamilton’s Equal Temperament
          • ii. Merrik’s Equal Temperament

II. Micro Tonal
III. Arabian

IV. Overtones produced
V. Tone color
VI. Availability
VII. Ease of play
VIII. Ensembles
IX. Orchestration
VIII. Connection to aesthetics