A Modern, Mild-Mannered Admonishment

Because adjectives and adverbs are unavoidable, I’d like to refresh our vocabulary:

1. Lyrical means, “expressing the writer’s emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way.” However, in music lingo, it simply means “like a [beautifully] singing voice.”

2. Mildly means, “in a mild manner, without anger or severity” or “not seriously or dangerously” or “to a slight extent.”

3. Dissonant means, “lacking harmony” or “unsuitable or unusual in combination” or “sounding apart.”

4. Chords are “a group of (typically three or more notes) sounded together.”

So when one says:

The third movement introduced the lyrical playing of mildly dissonant chords.

One is really saying, “The third movement introduced the beautiful, singing-like playing of slightly clashing combinations of a series of simultaneous notes.”

See how this game works? Good.

Not surprisingly, however, this is something that must be overcome.

Despite the inherently modern harmonies...

5. Despite means, “without being affected by; in spite of.”

6. Inherently means, “existing in something as a permanent, essential or characteristic attribute.”

7. Modern, in music, means, “ugly or bad; usually denoting an incompatible aesthetic or philosophy.” Look it up—it’s really there!

8. Harmony means, “the combination of simultaneously sounded notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.”

When translated, this reads: “In spite of the characteristically ugly attributes of the series of clashing combinations of simultaneous sounding notes...”

...the music sounded distinctly romantic in character.

9. Romantic means, “redeeming” or "better than modern."


Sator Arepo said...

Quick, name an "inherently modern" harmony! Oh, wait, that doesn't mean anything?

Just checking.

Gustav said...

Well, if we're being ironic, I'll say...a whole tone chord. Nothing sounds more "modern" and "dated" at the same time than whole-tone scales/chords and/or octatonic scales.

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