Sketches from Michele Trenti's essays

Misconceptions

Appunti di Michele Trenti

There is a basic misconception on the part of some musicians who think that, in order to be considered original and contemporary, today’s music must use only the harshest dissonances. The modernity of this conception is barely comprehensible if one considers that, with such composers as Stockhausen, it was already out-of-date fifty years ago. These positions currently manifest a post-war avant-garde epigonism, with their basic problem, on closer examination, being found in the approach specifically taken by this avant-garde. Spurred by a necessity to renew the vocabulary of sounds, the avant-garde has championed a compositional practice directed at conceiving, testing, and developing techniques rather than at expanding and establishing ideas of a musical nature using motifs, themes, rhythms, and harmonies, as has happened throughout music’s entire past history. The current generation of composers has felt the need to once again move toward a more spontaneous relationship with a composition, from sounds to grammars of discourse, up to broader formal aspects. However, the problem can be approached from countless ways. The majority have adopted naturally trivial, pseudo-naïf attitudes intended to culminate in purely entertaining performances; others have actually proposed original, truly productive directions and points of view.