Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear Piano Teacher... You win.

JS Bach (1685-1750)

I love music (a real surprise I know... but I thought I'd get it out in the open). For years my stance has been "the later the better." Meaning, I "sort of" gravitate to anything from the Romantic Era on. However, I'm beginning to have a revolution of sorts in my thinking. For years I've avoided a certain composer who's name I considered to be somewhat profane, B*ch (note, only one missing letter, not two.) I appreciate anything from the baroque era, but I love the chromaticism that begins to show up later, and I love how thick and syrupy (that's not a word... but I'm using it) things can start to get with composers like Ravel, Brahms & Mendelssohn and their fellow Romantic Era composers. Do I still love Ravel, yes. Some of his Orchestral works will forever hold my heart... but this week in my Theory class, we began an in depth study of Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern.

Some of the music written by these composers is pretty cool. One of their contemporaries (George Crumb) wrote a piece for flute called "Voice of the Whale" and I will not die happy until I have learned to play it (IT SOUNDS LIKE WHALES CALLING BACK AND FORTH!!!! IT IS SOOOOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOOOL!) The theories and level of thinking behind some of the things these composers wrote is incredible but I detest listening to it. I love chromaticism, but there are some times in their pieces that I would give anything for a simple I IV V progression.

Enter good ol' J.S. Bach. I've never been the most avid fan of his. His flute music irritates me because I can play the notes... but good grief, the musicality is IMPOSSIBLE! In freshman theory we began studying all theory from the ground work of J.S. Some of his rules can be directly linked to the drop in my GPA. (I happen to be an expert at writing hidden fifths and octaves, so if you ever want some, come visit me.) Recently though, with Theory classes delving into poly-tonality, tone rows, and goodness knows what else, I've started to long for the steady progressions and simply beautiful musicality of Bach. My real breakthrough came today as I sat in Sacrament meeting. We sang 197, O Savior Thou Who Wearest A Crown written by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was glorious. The chord progressions were steady yet perfectly written, and the elegance blew my mind. I determined I really like J.S. Bach.

Now to my former piano teacher, with whom I argued relentlessly about Bach... you win. He is pretty darn cool. Not sure I'll ever love him quite like some people, but wow, he was brilliant, and his music was and is exquisite.

Oh, and on a side note, you know how they always do studies on what children who listen to Mozart turn out like.... well here is what the child who got stuck listening to Berg's opera "Wozzeck" turned out like:


  1. How did you find that picture of you?! I thought I had hid that away. :)

  2. Sorry Cole, it was a way too funny of a picture to not make some kind of a comment. I enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks for posting.

  3. I got a kick out of it.... and I really do think that a kid who was forced to listen to Berg as a small child would turn out like that... his music is nasty stuff...

  4. Dear Nicole,

    I always knew you would one day see the light. :)

  5. NO! I found it on line... but it captured the right idea. Last I checked Mom and Dad never played Wevern for me as a small child... something I will eternally be grateful for.