Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Delicious Musical Opinion Blog

I want to start this out by saying first off, I didn’t know you could debate about music seeing as how music is completely a subjective subject. I guess you could just argue about each others’ opinions, which to me seems quite futile. However, I will write this essay as if I do know what I am talking about.

Debating about music is like debating about anything. You have to choose a topic to debate on. Once you know what your topic is, you have to choose a side. This doesn’t mean researching only about your side of the argument. The best way to win a debate is to understand and be knowledgeable about both sides of the argument.

Okay! I think I understand now.

Let’s say we are debating about Mozart and the style in which his Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Major is supposed to be played. Now if I were about to debate this subject I would first choose my opinion on how it should be done. For example in the seventh measure of the violin solo, the notes are marked to be played tenuto and not slurred. Since the tenuto markings are in fact products of the editor and not Mozart himself, it is really up to the performer to interpret how these notes are to be played. My side would be that the notes should be slurred to guarantee maximum length and flow. To form my side of the argument, I would do research on past performers and their styles while playing the piece. I would find out about as many different styles of playing that one measure of notes. I would then find facts about Mozart and what relates most to his intentions. I would find what the other side of the argument could choose to dispute about and then find good solid facts to counter their arguments. I could incorporate my own opinions along with facts, but only with facts so that my argument is tight and professional. After that I would sit and hope my argument sounded the best.

Woo hoo!


At 9/07/2006 4:48 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

Kudos to you for being the first person to post a blog on this subject because I am pretty sure none of us knew how to aproach it.
Anyway, I have always wondered if back in the day of Mozart there was as much visual appeal in music as today. For instance, if one violinist in a quartet wanted to play tenuto with two down bows, did all of the musicians change their styles so that it was visually appealing, like they do today?
Also, I think I would agree with you on the bowing you were discussing because I always felt I had the best accents and the most biting sound when I used all downs. Also, it does look cool when everyone "retakes." :)

At 9/07/2006 8:28 PM, Blogger Renee said...

Alex, I agree with Emily... way to make a post before the weekend! Anywho, I really like the way you addressed this blog. Using an example (Mozart) to form your blog helped me follow your opinions.

At 9/10/2006 10:43 AM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

Alex, I really liked how you approached this blog. It was easy to follow it with the Mozart example and I really understood your opinion on debating about music. Nice job!

At 9/10/2006 6:00 PM, Blogger Kitt_Katt said...

The problem with the whole research thing though is that often debates come up and you have not researched. I don't mean formal ones, but often informal debates come up and you have to choose a side right then and there and just use your own knowledge.

At 9/10/2006 7:17 PM, Blogger Becca said...

I had the same reaction when I started writing this. I was confused... music is so subjective, how can we argue tangibly about it? I guess a debate is a debate is a debate. *shrugs* I liked your approach to this, and I liked reading your epiphany about music debating.

At 9/10/2006 10:20 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

thanks everybody. and miss kit kat, i think that the debates that come up out of nowhere aren't really debates. i'd call them arguments. heh. anywho, to emily's comments about the bowing and whatnot, back then there was (i do believe) the bow that was actually shaped like a bow (and arrow). so they probably were able to do alot of things we can't now anyway. like the first chord in that mozart concerto, we play it broken now, back then, they could play all 3 strings in one stroke.

At 9/11/2006 10:55 AM, Blogger Scott Spiegelberg said...

This post is a great example of how writing can shape our thinking. Alex didn't know how the essay was going to turn out. In fact, she didn't even fully understand the thesis. But through writing down her thoughts she ended up with an excellent thesis on debating music. Bravo! (In future drafts, replace "side" with "stance," "argument," "point," or something like that.)


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