In my view, there are two types of people who compose in atonal clusters and such: those such as Ives and Boulez who have already mastered conventional musical technique and consciously want to move beyond it (i.e., those who have earned the right), and those who haven't.felixer wrote:but then there is 'atonal' and 'free' and 'noise' and 'collage' music were those rules are (often conciously) thrown overboard and don't apply ...Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote: What good is all that pseudo-academic gobbledygook if you can't listen to a few seconds of music and say which note is functioning as the root, or what quality seventh chord is being played, and how it wants to resolve? This maybe sounds a bit mundane next to "pitch physics" but these are the questions that matter in making actual music.
wanting chords to resolve is pretty oldfashioned afaik ... how do you resolve a cluster?
but yeah, i learned all those old techniques and it is useful. even if it took me a long time to 'unlearn' 'm ...
I've been listening this morning to Webern and Schoenberg. Their "atonal" music is tantalizingly close to tonal-sounding (and very beautiful), but of course they are studiously avoiding any functional harmony. I'm still not convinced that one cannot identify roots, but the music moves too fast for me to do so. Of course, without any functional harmony, the whole idea of a "root" is nonsensical. I believe the reason why this music never "caught on" with the listening public is because there is very little to latch onto (because of the missing functional harmony), in the sense that it's not very "memorable" -- there are no simple melodies to hum or whistle. It's too bad, really, because this music is sumptuous. Messiaen is more memorable, largely because much of his music is pseudo-tonal (and he had a real talent for melody, when he chose to exercise it).
As far as "free" music, most of what I've heard is just a bunch of dudes blowing and honking away, usually playing in one or two modes over several minutes (most of Coltrane's later stuff, Albert Ayler, etc), which I loathe. I don't believe that this music is subject to any theory (outside of psychology). Better efforts in this realm (such as Ornette Coleman's Double Quartet album "Free Jazz") often find one or more participants playing more or less stock bebop riffs while the others try to respond in interesting ways. This has more to do with "call and response" blues than anything else.
Noise music is largely un-pitched, and as such falls outside the realm of music theory. I'm not sure what collage music is.