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Concert Countdown: Two Hours

Posted by Sumiki , in AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, Life, Music Jul 03 2014 · 112 views

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Concert Countdown: Five Days

Posted by Sumiki , in AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, Life, Music Jun 28 2014 · 115 views

I've practiced a ton and I'm really well prepared and really excited. July 3rd is less than a week away, almost everyone I know in real life who could realistically make it has been invited, and three string instrument players have been added to the program, meaning a larger audience because there are about a zillion chamber music players this summer.

Would have gotten more practice but I met this girl who is in the film program but is pretty handy with a piano despite a lack of formal lessons, and ended up spending a majority of the of the day showing her around the music building, finding grand pianos and an old out-of-tune double bass before going up an old staircase to the back of a concert hall. We struggled to find the lights at first, but once doing so we found all of these random percussion instruments and ended up doing an impromptu duet on a glockenspiel.

I'm really excited.



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How to Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Posted by Sumiki , in Music, Life, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Jun 26 2014 · 112 views

So the composition workshop is going astoundingly well, all things considered - and by all things I mean that there are eight of us this year so not everyone can get everything they need done given that there's only one music technology lab. That's fine by me, because I'm not as interested in writing for the abstract little films, and my time in said lab has basically been to assist the others in the operation of various bits of technology because, having attended for three consecutive years, I know more of the ins and outs of the software.

So, within the next week, I should be:

- Playing the piano part of a fellow composers' song, which she'll be singing at open mic night next Wednesday
- Playing and singing Tom Lehrer's brilliant song "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" at aforementioned open mic night
- Continuing to practice the recital pieces I'll play on July 3rd - next week aaaaaaaaaaa
- Finish writing, practice the piano part of, organize the rehearsals for, and present a piece for viola, piano, and percussion on the 11th

- Possibly a performance of a piano trio that was recorded last December but is still the only trio that has not had a public performance - if this happens, I'll be at the piano with aforementioned fellow composer on the violin and one of her friends on the cello

Which is insane.

At some level I feel as if I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but, to quote Leonard Bernstein: "To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."



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No Rest for the Weary

Posted by Sumiki , in AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, Life, Music Jun 19 2014 · 154 views

Having only returned twenty-four hours ago, I get just a few days off to unwind and rest from the trip ...
 
... except not.
 
I'm finally starting on the BIG THING that Pablo and I have been talking about for a while, but - and this is SUPER EXCITING NEWS that I literally only had confirmed earlier this week - I must practice and prepare all of the pieces that I've ever written for solo piano because I'm having a RECITAL DEDICATED TO THEM.
 
A RECITAL DEDICATED TO MY COMPOSITIONS AND I'LL BE PLAYING THEM. THIS IS A MAJOR EVENT.
 
It'll be part of a composition workshop that I've attended and had great fun at for the past two years, but this is a much bigger deal, for in the concerts that have capped them off I've played the piano part of various trio ensembles. I'll do that again this year (piano, viola, and percussion), but I get THIS AS WELL.
 
In terms of number of pieces played this will be the most and longest I've ever performed at one sitting.
 
It's EXACTLY TWO WEEKS FROM NOW TOO LIKE AHJSAHJASJKHFGUASGKHSAHJSAHJFSHJGASFFHFAK I"M REALLY SORT OF UNPREPARED FOR THIS I MUST GET TO WORK IMMEDAITRELY



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Is Bacon a Vegetable?

Posted by Sumiki , in Life, Music, Sumiki's Dad, The Great American Road Trip May 25 2014 · 135 views

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We got on the road at 10:30 bound for Harrisburg. We wanted to avoid going through the gnarly traffic of New York City - we consider that a trip unto itself, to be done at an undetermined later date - so we decided to go up all the way to Scranton before cutting through upstate New York to Connecticut.
 
At 11:30, we entered the parking lot for the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Nationals' double-A affiliate. The Senators' stadium is located on an island in the Susquehanna River, accessible from both sides by bridges. We drove on one of these bridges onto the island, then walked from the parking lot up to the stadium. This would have been an easy proposition if there weren't throngs of people traversing a footbridge to downtown Harrisburg, where an arts festival was being held.
 
We got into the team store, got a hat and a pennant for the esteemed Collection, learned valuable information on the mayflies that torment summer night games at the ballpark, and nearly walked over the footbridge to get a bite to eat. At nearly noon, the throngs of arts-lovers were peaking, and we knew it'd be nearly impossible to get anything to eat.
 
So we kept northbound, looking for a good stopping point on I-81. The thing about that stretch of I-81 (as is true for most stretches of that road I've been on), is that there really isn't much on it if you're not in a major city. The stretch between towns and exits is vast.
 
We got off at one of the few stopping points, a town with the rather unfortunate name of Frackville. We entertained the employees at the local Subway and filled up with gas.
 
A little after 2:30 we located the stadium of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees and known as the Yankees themselves until last offseason. Their stadium certainly isn't major-league size, but it is a quality park. We entered the team store, got our requisite gear for the Collection, and then walked into the park.
 
If they noticed, they didn't care. It was the sixth inning, and the Rochester Red Wings were beating the RailRiders. We gave ourselves a quick stadium tour, saw the control booth where they were broadcasting the game on a local network affiliate, and encountered their mascot - something akin to a mutated hedgehog. It surprised my mom with a hug.
 
We contemplated getting something else to eat, but with the subs still in our stomachs and the portions generous, we headed out of the park, having caught a few innings without having to pay the price of admission.
 
Leaving the park at 3:00, we headed out of Scranton and headed for New York on I-84. We went through some tedious sections of road work and evaded some nasty pot holes. (A few fault-line-style potholes were entirely unavoidable, but it didn't screw up our alignment.)
 
I-84 curved along the New Jersey state line before traveling into New York. The "I ♥ NY" logo was emblazoned on a hill as we entered the Empire State.
 
We pulled off at a "text stop" - a feature peculiar to New York and something that has left me with even less hope for humanity as a whole. Every few miles, they've built a turnoff - basically a rest stop without any buildings - so people can stop trying to text and drive - instead, they can text at the text stop.
 
I guess this is good for keeping the folks stupid enough to text and drive off of the roads, but it wouldn't do any good if the texters are looking down at their phones and miss the sign that says "text stop."
 
The views from atop one of these stops, especially when the road is already on a mountaintop - is stunning. I took over behind the wheel at this point, and the traffic increased around me with every mile as we traveled to Connecticut.
 
A little after 5:00 we got to the Connecticut welcome center. This is the first time on this trip that I've been to a state that I've never been to on any previous trip. We talked with the friendly fellow who gave us all kinds of maps, as well as one sage piece of wisdom about traveling in Connecticut: don't go on Interstate 95.
 
Guess what road we'd later find ourselves on?
 
He advised an alternate route from Danbury to New Haven which involved state highways. We were perfectly fine with that, and went on picturesque, winding, river-paralleling Route 34. We started to get quite punchy as we wound our way to New Haven, culminating in my mispronunciation of Fort Sumter as "Bacteria Bulge."
 
They've not let me forget it since.
 
On Route 34, there are a series of small towns, filled with Cape Cod-style domiciles. Some were incorporated before the Revolution, like the town of Derby - incorporated in 1675.
 
(Side note: the fine for littering in Connecticut is $219. They make this fact well-known on their signs, which is kind of hilarious, because it's not $200, or $250, or even $300. It's $219. I can only imagine how this came to be set as the maximum fine for littering.)
 
A little after 6:00, we got to the outskirts of the Yale campus. We needed something to eat and wanted to see a little bit of the campus, so we drove around quasi-aimlessly until we found it.
 
It's a masterpiece of gothic architecture encased in one-way roads and dotted with enough modernity to keep you rooted in 2014 and not 1814. The detail and beauty everywhere we went was astounding.
 
We found a parking spot near an ornately spired steeple and began to walk around. After asking around, we wormed our way over to where we thought the School of Music would be, but ended up finding one of the coolest bits of architecture on campus: the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. If we had been here on anything but a Sunday, on any weekend but Memorial Day weekend, I could have gone in and seen the manuscript to Leo Ornstein's Piano Concerto.
 
This Library was part of the greater Student Commons area. It stood on a plain of gray textured stone, and looked as if it was being held aloft by four pyramid-shaped structures on each corner. Much of the face was of the same monolithic stone, engineered into a geometric pattern. The entrance was on the bottom, underneath an imposing overhang of stone.
 
On the other side was the Student Commons, an ornate L-shaped building with the names of World War I battles etched on one side. Below was some temporary set-up, presumably for Memorial Day.
 
The in the "elbow" of the L stood a flag pole forged in New York in 1908, and between that and the Library was a hole in the ground - a rectangular hole which looked down on a courtyard area for the subterranean offices.
 
Since it was one of the only open buildings on campus, we walked into the Student Commons building. Most of the doors were locked - you could really only use it for its bathrooms and as a cut-through to the other side - but the interior was intricate and ornate. If it were a new construction, I'd consider it an ostentatious display of gaud.
 
Inside were the names of Yale alumni that gave their lives for the United States in war. Their names were carved in marble on the concentric walls of the interior. Other jaw-dropping details included the relief work, a tile mosaic on the ceiling, and old-fashioned stalls in the bathrooms.
 
We went back to the car to get some hand sanitizer, then headed in the opposite direction for food. We didn't go far before my dad spotted a place to eat - Claire's Corner Copia. Now, this was a vegetarian restaurant, which I saw upon arrival, but somehow this fact escaped my dad as he went through the motions of ordering. We both got the special - southwestern egg rolls - while my mom sprang for some nachos. I began thinking about the fact that we were going to eat vegetarian Mexican in Connecticut when the waitress came over and told us that there was only one batch of southwestern egg rolls left.
 
With no immediate back-up, I mentioned the mac and cheese that I'd seen in the display case. My dad looked the waitress in the eye and asked if it came with bacon, loud enough to shock some of the more sensitive patrons.
 
I was somewhat mortified internally, but I laughed my head off when it happened. The waitress thought he might be referring to soy bacon, which made it even funnier.
 
The nachos were rather plain, and accounts from my dad with regards to the state of his egg salad sandwich were good (although he ate the individual layers of the sandwich off of the bread with a fork and knife, leaving bread and what appeared to be arugula detritus on the plate by meals' end.)
 
But those southwestern egg rolls were something else. Spicy beans and corn inside what appeared to be some kind of rye wrap, served on an abundance of greenery with some sort of sauce over the whole thing ... it was a glorious experience. The portions of it - and the other things I saw, brought to our table and to others - were massive. I couldn't finish mine, a third of the nachos were left, and the lump of hardtack they tried passing off as bread saw little action until we felt like we had to do something with it at the end.
 
We did not book a room in advance since we didn't know where we'd end up - Danbury, New Haven, or even New London - so we looked into it when we got to the car. The only property available anywhere close to our route required a wee bit of backtracking.
 
In the context of how far we'd traveled, backtracking really wasn't a deal-breaker - it was only about three miles, as the crow flies, from the Yale campus - but getting to the hotel meant that we had to face those three miles on Interstate 95.
 
It was bad, but it could have been much worse, and I was thankful that we didn't try 95 when we needed to get from Danbury to New Haven. We entered West Haven and then exited, nabbing a room at a hotel that, despite being Memorial Day weekend, doesn't have an insane number of visitors. I guess that's because no one has ever said "hey guys, we're going to spend our Memorial Day in West Haven, Connecticut!"
 
Tomorrow: New London, CT, Narragansett and Newport in RI, and Hyannis, MA.



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General Update: The Next Six Weeks

Posted by Sumiki , in BZPower, Life, Music, Other Stuff Apr 02 2014 · 140 views

Alright, so I'm going to have to finish up being sick, play baseball thrice a week until May, prepare for the end-of-season awards day/roast for the team (I'm in charge of making dumb videos for the roast portion), and finish up my course work for this semester.
 
I was going to compete in a piano competition in Charlotte but that fell through - even though I passed the regional with flying colors, the state tournament conflicts with a home game for us against the toughest team we're due to face. This sucks, because even though I didn't care about the competition (Béla Bartók said "competitions are for horses, not artists," and I agree), if I'm going to put off learning tough repertoire that I want to learn in order to play stuff I don't care for and have now overplayed, I was hoping to get some mileage out of them before I went into "I'd-rather-give-myself-a-papercut-with-the-sheet-music-than-play-it-again" territory.

 
Oh, and I'm composing a set of 23 short piano pieces for a legally blind prodigy, as well as a longer piece to be played by myself for my honor society's graduation ceremony, which, last I heard, they were trying to move to a Friday specifically so they could accommodate my playing because people really liked what I threw together last time apparently. This piece might end up being for four hands, which I really hope works out. Because of reasons. (she's cute)
 
By now, you all should know what happens when May rolls around, so I'll try not to spoil anything there.

 
The things that could have been put off have been, I'm sorry to say. I'll try to get around to writing more for Rise of the Rookies (which is still a thing that I haven't forgotten about) as well as do THAT ONE THING which none of you know about except for Pablo. At the moment I'm swamped, but I'm still kicking.


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The Strangest Pieces

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 12 2014 · 183 views

I swear this isn't a music blog.
 
(Okay, it kind of is.)
 
I've listened to a wide swath of different pieces of classical music, and I occasionally come across some things that are just ... well, strange. We're talking off-the-wall levels of goofy here.

-----La Monte Young - Piano Piece for David Tudor #1

This piece doesn't even have a proper score, just a sheet of paper telling the performer to come out onto the stage with a bucket of water and a bale of hay for the piano to drink and eat. Performance consists of either feeding the piano or letting the piano feed itself, and that the music is over once the piano had been fed.

-----Erik Satie - Vexations

Satie's Vexations is a remarkably unassuming piece of sheet music - but inspection reveals a peculiar direction in the corner: if you want to play it 840 times in a row, Satie advises performers to prepare beforehand, "in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities." John Cage - who will appear later in this list - was inspired by the inherent ridiculousness of Vexations and organized its first performance in New York in 1963. It lasted 18 hours and was played by a dozen pianists working in shifts.
 
-----Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet

The controversial Stockhausen composed Helicopter String Quartet to be part of one of his massive operatic projects. Each string quartet member is lifted in a different helicopter, and they coordinate their playing in tremolos, with the intended effect of making the helicopters instruments themselves. The piece is by far the most complex string quartet ever written.
 
-----Karlheinz Stockhausen - Fresco
 
Fresco is not composed with the audacity of Helicopter String Quartet, but nonetheless makes this list because of the scandal that marred its only performance to date. Written as background music for four orchestras situated around a hall, the instructions in Fresco irritated the classically-trained performers. Tensions between composer and performers grew wider, and some performers tried to refuse playing it, only to realize that they were contractually obligated to do so. (This didn't deter the concertmaster, who threatened to kill the head conductor.)
 
Remaining performers did so under protest, and the performance was a complete disaster. Performers took to practicing other repertoire instead of following their score as an act of protest, pranksters and hecklers distracted the few that stuck to Stockhausen's instructions, and the performance was halted when somebody cut out the lights on them.
 
-----Erwin Schulhoff - In Futurum

A lot of people are familiar with John Cage's famous "silent piece," 4'33", but it's not here. Few are aware that, while Cage's motives were different, the idea of a completely silent piece was not his own - the first one was composed by the Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff over thirty years before Cage. In Futurum - with its ostensibly crossed hands (the clefs are switched) and irrational time signatures (3/5 and 7/10) - appears as the third movement of his piano collection Fünf Pittoresken. The rest of Schulhoff's works take influence from jazz, making In Futurum all that much more remarkable in its uniqueness.
 
-----John Cage - Atlas Eclipticalis

Cage's music ranges from the serene (Dream, In a Landscape) to silence (4'33", 0′00″, One3) to more or less off-the-wall concepts. Atlas Eclipticalis is for any number of instruments playing the music however they wish, with the sheet music consisting of star charts graphed onto music paper. Because of the undefined instruments and the lack of both tempo and dynamic instructions, performances of Atlas Eclipticalis are all remarkably different.
 
-----John Cage - Organ²/ASLSP

A fan of extremes, Cage wrote ASLSP (standing for As Slow As Possible) for piano. The piano version usually takes around an hour to perform ... but the organ edition, owing to the nature of the instrument, can sound indefinitely. It wouldn't be on this list if not for an organ that was built expressly for the purpose of performing the piece - an organ piece that will end in September of the year 2640. But, while slow, it's still - theoretically speaking - not as slow as possible.
 
-----György Ligeti - Poéme Symphonique

Ligeti's music is full of rhythmic variation and unique sonority. Equal parts rhythmic experimentation and avant-garde parody, the score calls for 100 metronomes, all of which are set to different speeds.


-----Leo Ornstein - Suicide in an Airplane

This piece isn't really strange in the ways that the others are, but it honestly has one of the most metal titles of any piece of music I've ever heard of. I've decided to hone my orchestration skills and I've chosen this piece because of its musical depiction of a dogfight and rumbling engines, which is equally well suited to an orchestral sonority.



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Music Since the Twentieth Century

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 11 2014 · 116 views

After my opinions on Mozart and much of the Classical era, I got to thinking about modern classical music, which in this sense means any music written after 1900. I have ... mixed feelings, shall we say.
 
Time for another music history lesson.
 
By the turn of the century, late Romanticism was beginning to die out. Gustav Mahler was writing symphonies of epic proportions, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were defining a musical style dubbed "Impressionism" - though Debussy hated the term - and Alexander Scriabin was writing increasingly mystical music based on his own egomaniacal philosophy. These folks, and figures like them, were continuously evolving the musical language that had existed more or less continuously from about 1600, when the Baroque era started. Romanticism was fracturing, and there were sub-groups of composers who sought their own styles, and composers who simply struck out on their own path.
 
As time went by, harmony was extended, and by 1900 the usage of chromatic harmony - a technique whereby harmonies are derived from both pitches within the scale of the music you're working in and from without - was everywhere. In many composer's eyes, these kinds of rich, expanded tonal structures would go on indefinitely, with composers adding to the additions that had been accrued over the years.
 
Other composers thought that there simply was no place to go, that traditional tonality had reached its breaking point, and new rules had to be developed. Scriabin, who started out writing very Chopinesque music, evolved his own brand of harmony derived from fourths, altered dominant chords, and a few stunning examples of bitonality in some of his late preludes. Igor Stravinsky embraced rhythmic drive (and bitonality as well) in The Rite of Spring, which was so groundbreaking that the first performance was marred by a riot in the Parisian audience.
 
Most lasting was the music of the so-called Second Viennese School, headed up by Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg's first few opuses show the influence of Mahler and is filled with intense chromaticism - so intense that even those early works - far and away his most accessible pieces - were met with incomprehension at their first performances. Undaunted, Schoenberg veered into extreme atonality, writing pieces such as Pierrot Lunaire. Pierrot made waves not just with its atonality, but for its unique ensemble (known henceforth as the Pierrot Ensemble) and with its half-speaking, half-singing writing for voice.
 
But Schoenberg, for all of his cacophonous music, realized that this kind of free dissonance and atonality - something that composers such as Charles Ives and Leo Ornstein had experimented with - needed some sort of structure to hold it together, just as tonality had held music together before him. To make a long, diagram-necessitating story short, he came up with something called the 12-tone technique, whereby every note was sounded equally through the use of tone rows, which were essentially randomized chromatic scales.


Schoenberg's two major pupils, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, took Schoenberg's techniques and personalized them. Webern idolized Schoenberg and often moved just so he could be near him, and took the 12-tone technique and honed it to a disjointed science. Webern was known for writing exceptionally short pieces, and his piano music is characterized by its brevity, sparseness, and unholy dissonance. He died at the end of World War II after a trigger-happy American soldier saw his cigar and mistook him for an enemy soldier ... but strange composer deaths are a story for another time.
 
Despite the fact that his music was aesthetically terrible, Webern became one of the most important modern composers, for the avant-garde for most of the rest of the century followed his lead to some extent. The 12-tone technique was applied to other areas of music - instruments, dynamics, note lengths - to derive an incredibly strict kind of "total serialism," where the composer writes a few rows and the music more or less writes itself.
 
Alban Berg, on the other hand, experimented with making Schoenberg's ideas accessible. He wrote a masterpiece of a Violin Concerto and an opera, Wozzeck, which half-succeeded in this endeavor. He's considered the easiest atonal composer to listen to. His middle-ground approach makes him an oddball figure on both sides of the fence.

 
But back to Webern, whose techniques had a significant impact. Pierre Boulez took Webern's usage of serial composition to every extreme imaginable, writing music where every imaginable aspect is controlled by rows - pitch, velocity, register, etc. While Boulez has always composed this kind of music, even he realized that total serialization leaves no room for creativity.
 
The Greek composer Iannis Xenakis took off in a different direction. A mathematician and an architect, Xenakis was one of the first composers who took to "Musique Concrete" techniques - sound collages of recorded tape. Aside from his solo percussion pieces, his music is frankly ridiculous, as he wrote music based on mathematical formulas. Similar approaches were taken by Karlheinz Stockhausen, a controversial and influential figure in the sphere of electronic music, and who once wrote a string quartet where every instrument is lifted on a separate helicopter.

 
(Don't ask.)
 
I give all these examples to illustrate one point: since Schoenberg, many composers have taken refuge in music that is of theoretical interest, but not traditional musical interest. Say what you want about Schoenberg, Webern, Boulez, and Xenakis, but their music is aesthetically unpleasing. They thought that there was nothing of strict musical interest left to say, and so they found their own paths.


These paths are now showing themselves to be dead ends. The same strict adherence to predefined sets of rules makes much "modern" music as boring and as aesthetically similar to music of the Classical era.
 
But it's not like all 20th-century composers took to serialism. Alfred Schnittke and György Ligeti were remarkably innovative and wrote significant pieces without adhering to the strict serialism that had gripped much of the classical music cognoscenti. Schnittke likened his departure as getting off an overcrowded train, and Ligeti mercilessly parodied his fellow composers in his Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes.
 
Other composers, such as Henryk Górecki, Lowell Liebermann, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and John Corigliano have abandoned serialism in favor of a return to late Romanticism, a kind of musical reboot. They all have written music of musical and theoretical interest. Even Krzysztof Penderecki, a noted avant-garde composer who gained fame through his manic pieces for string orchestra (Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Polymorphia among them), abandoned that style, saying that we "must go back to Mahler and start over."
 
Suffice it to say that I very much agree with Penderecki.



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Why I Don't Like Mozart

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 08 2014 · 210 views

Let's get this out of the way: I really love classical music, and I kind of know a lot about it. I'm willing to bet that I know more things about music history than anyone else on BZP ... save for perhaps -Windrider-. Dude's a beast when it comes to this sort of stuff.
 
Most people don't really hold opinions on classical music one way or another, and those that do generally see it as monotonous and boring. I've never really held this opinion, but my favorite music has always come later in music history - not with the dissonance and atonality so revered by the composers of the 20th century, but with the Romantic era.
 
I'm using "classical" in a broad sense because I'm really not the world's biggest fan of music from the Classical period. Those who aren't as familiar with this history may be a bit lost at this point, so I'll see if I can't briefly recap some of the details.
 
The Middle Ages and the Renaissance are more or less grouped together in one era of music history. This was a very long era, but there were crucial innovations in harmony, melody, and musical notation. By the high Renaissance, polyphony - multiple melodies at once - was extremely common, and the best composers were able to write motets that used up to 40 distinct voices. Polyphony was music.
 
Around 1600, as musical instruments increased in quality and secular music became a more popular genre, the Baroque era started. Baroque music is often characterized as architecture, and Baroque composers were, as a general rule, ridiculously prolific. (Telemann is still the single most prolific composer in history, and Vivaldi nearly got thrown in an asylum when he interrupted himself at his day job - as a priest - to write down some notes that had occurred to him.)
 
Baroque music still drew on the polyphony of the high Renaissance to a certain extent, but by and large this kind of writing wasn't very common. Most Baroque composers used one or two melodies, with the notable exception of Johann Sebastian Bach. His keyboard music - especially his complex fugues with their finger-breaking polyphony - was considered antiquated, and his sons (he had a whopping 20 kids overall) were considered better composers than he was when he died. His reputation was revived when his works were rediscovered in the mid-1800s, and now, he's the only Baroque composer most people are familiar with.
 
All of which brings us to Classicism, where musical form became a bigger deal. Instrumental sonatas, symphonies, concertos, and string quartets became standard forms, and methods of writing for those ensembles were also standardized to a certain extent. Essentially, if you have a theme or two, you could plug those into sonata form, add a few basic harmonies, and boom, you've got a sonata movement. Simplicity and clarity became the name of the game in the Classical era.
 
The three major composers of this period were Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. While many like to group their music together as the "First Viennese School," the music of these three were different. Haydn, speed-writing symphonies for the court orchestra under the Esterházy family, was, as he said "forced to be original," although many of his 100+ symphonies are not particularly innovative, as he had to conform to the musical tastes of both the Esterházys and their guests. His contributions to form have long since outlived him, and due to his productivity and his standardization of forms, he is known as the "Father of the Symphony" and the "Father of the String Quartet." Haydn's contributions to form and the language of Classicism cannot be understated.
 
Beethoven was widely different - while he started out fixed to Classical molds, he experimented with pushing the limits of what said forms could handle even before he realized that he was going deaf. When he came to terms with this, his experimentation led to more innovative and trail-blazing music, dispensing with convention after convention. He replaced the minuet with the scherzo in his later symphonies, looked towards Romanticism with his Sixth Symphony and a great number of his piano sonatas, didn't stick to traditional movement numbers in his late piano sonatas and string quartets, and famously introduced a chorus in the last movement of his Ninth Symphony.
 
Now for Mozart.
 
Mozart was hailed as a child prodigy, composed prolifically, and died at the young age of 35. In that time, he stuck to the already well-defined Classical forms, choosing to do as much within those constraints as he could. However, there really wasn't much more that any composer, no matter how great, could do within those forms - forms that were already well established by Haydn by the time Mozart began composing.
 
Haydn, though his music contains an aesthetic similarity, was creative as a musical troll. His Symphony No. 94 - nicknamed the "Surprise" - was designed to wake up sleepy members of the court with a massive chord following a very soft passage. His Symphony No. 45 - nicknamed the "Farewell" - sent a message to his patrons to let the musicians return home by letting players leave as the last movement progresses. Haydn chose the unusual F# minor as the symphony's home key, and had to get special crooks for his orchestra's horns to play.
 
But Haydn's formal unoriginality is explicable, as we know that he had to compose musically conservative pieces in order to get paid and did quite a bit under those kinds of restrictions. Mozart was, for most of his time as a composer, not hindered by a particular court. He was, more or less, freelance. Financially insecure, Mozart had the opportunity to be an innovator such as Beethoven came to be later, but did not.
 
Mozart, for his part, did write a few brilliant pieces in his later years - his unfinished Requiem, his Clarinet Concerto, and his late symphonies among them - but in his entire oeuvre these masterpieces are relatively few. If you took all of Mozart's works, put them into a list, and then randomized it, chances are you're not going to come out with one of his great works. Most of his pieces have a similar mood, and as mentioned, they nearly always stick to a predetermined form. In this sense, a great many are interchangeable.
 
In the end, this all comes down to my personal preferences and musical tastes. I know that Mozart holds a special place in many people's hearts, but as someone who has listened to a wide swath of his pieces, I really don't see what all of the fuss was - and still is - about.







    

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He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life

How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six

[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker

Sumiki is magic. - Cholie

Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles

Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo


"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker


LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie


Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva


BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex


What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus


I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh


EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru


Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok


Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker


He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist


I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens


I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig


I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk


I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome


Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex


Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz


10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome

    

Sumiki
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.

10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith

11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)

    

1/3/12 - Daiker
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/13 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
8/27/13 - 8/5/14 - None
8/12/14 - Another Chro Original
8/19/14 - Kanohi Zatth
8/26/14 - Miniland Hatpile
9/2/14 - S. S. Starfish
9/9/14 - Special - Claude Hairgel
9/16/14 - Green Flame

    

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Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.

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Leaders:
Sumiki
Waffles

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Members:

ChocolateFrogs

ToM Dracone
xccj
Uzmakikunai
Novek
Nukaya
Overlord
Kaymac
(((DARKNESS)))
lunaticCircuitry
-Toa Lhikevikk-
DeepFriedZombies
Dirk Strider
GUYUGKUYG
Toa Flappy
Lime Paradox
McSpit
RotationalBasis
Mesonak
chunkeh!
Toa Robert
The X
Nuparu574
Dave Strider
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Commander Helios
Popup2: The Camel
~Shadow Kurahk~
Luna
Rho
~System Of A Down~
Kohrak Kal17
Brickeens
Jackson Lake
Thunder on the Mountain
McBobby
Ackar's Follower
Rahkashi
Bitter Cold
Tobi
Vinylstep
Nidman
Doc Scratch
Mendicant Bias
Eyru
Kagha
Darth Eryzeth
Millennium
Tschurtlschnatchen
kopakakid
Toa of Vahi
~Legoman~
noob
Makuta GigaDon
WORT WORT WORT
~Toa Drokonas~
Kwydjybo
Progenitus Worldsoul
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
-Morgoth-
Bohrok Kal
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
Nidhikiandco
.: WoLVeRINe :.
Zokau
DragonxFlutter
Lebon
ChocoLvr13
Uzumakikunai
Dokuma
Carnifex
Xetra
Metrongana
Alternate Velika
HercuLesss
Absol'd
SquishyFrog
Ynot
qUESTIE
SonicBOOM XS
Tavakai
Schnee 1
Brickeens (again!?)
Kakaru
The Great Forgetter
Kylus
Thomas the Tank Engine
Roablin
Aho-Chan
Jonah Falcon
~MatoroIgnika~
Vocals
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
e=mc^2
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
GlatorianJaller
knuckles chaotix
The Bean
Kyronex
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Jaicho
Toa of Dancing
/Got_Your_6/
ZamorBob
Daiker
Toa Arzaki
The Oncoming Storm
Darkrylles
Lego Obsessionist
Toa of Pumpkin
christo1096
Unit#phntk#1
Teal Armada
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Mr. M
Chibinuva
Vohon
Mylo Xyloto
Lord of Ice
Celu
Architect
Rix
.:ENCRYPTION:.
~~Zarkan~~
TornadoToad
Fantasia
Gamzee Makara
Zarayna: The Quiet Light

Paleo

Xaeraz

Vorex: Keeper of Time

Roablin

Toa of Smooth Jazz

fishers64

Zeene

Dual Matrix

rahkshi guurahk
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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:

You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.

just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle

so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay

nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION

[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange

Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra




You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.

Also a long line of really great hats.

Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.

have we mentioned hats

To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.

It's a long story.

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