Monday, November 24, 2008

Webern in Mayberry

In our last episode (aka, earlier this afternoon), I posted a quick comparison of a short Webern piece (Op.6/3) with some soundtrack samples from The Andy Griffith Show. Then it occurred to me that it would be interesting to see/hear the Webern itself in the Mayberry context. I think anyone who's seen the show very often will concur that this fits right in.



This is from the AG episode, "High Noon" - if I'm not mistaken, the man who appears at the door is a mysterious Mr. Schoenberg...

8 comments:

Baywatch said...

Unheimlichkeit!

a progressive crank said...

Genius! I think this is a great way to demonstrate how what might seem to be challenging music is more accessible, more ubiquitous, than many of us know.

Tony Renner said...

excellent!

John K said...

I love it! I am going to link to this tomorrow and post my Webern acrostic poem, "Symphony (Opus 21)". It's one of his pieces that I'll return to from time to time, because like a number of Schoenberg works and Berg's "Chamber Concerto," it resets my palate, so to speak. (BTW, I tried to explain Webern's and Berg's playful use of tone rows at a reading tonight, and people's eyes started to glaze over, so a lesson learned. Just read the poem(s)!)

Hucbald said...

Interesting, as I've done a lot of personal research into this phenomenon: "Atonal" music - however you wish to define it - works just fine as film music, but is unsatisfying as absolute music in a concert hall, precisely because the film provides an extra-musical context for it. The same phenomenon is in effect for music for plays, and to a lesser extent, music with lyrics.

This is easily explained because absolute music must generate its own purely musical context, and you can't do that while completely rejecting the musical implications of the harmonic series (And, "atonal" music is defined by its being a total rejection of the musical implications of the harmonic series).

In fact, I'm currently writing a book about this very subject. At some point, composers are going to have to come to grips with this, because it isn't the composers who left the audiences behind, rather the audiences abandoned the composers because their harmonic series-based musical intuitions make a satisfying experience with "atonality" as absolute music impossible. Sure, their dissatisfaction may be expressed crudely as some form of, "I hate that!" - but the sentiment comes from a perfectly natural and explainable sense of common musical intuition that is based on hard-wiring from pre-birth by what the harmonic series implications define as musical and exclude as non-musical.

Harry Sarkosian said...

Total chromaticism is not atonality and Webern's op. 6 is not atonal.

TigerCard said...

Thanks for posting this. I had never made the connection with the Andy Griffith Show, but I'm not totally surprised. I think a survey of 60s TV shows, especially those that considered themselves "serious" dramas, would reveal that quite a lot of the music is stylistically related to that of the Second Viennese School. (Listen, for example to the music written for the WWII drama "Combat," a show that I watched religiously as a kid.) I think that this says something about the attitudes of TV composers of the time and the status of so-called "atonal" music. Remember, these composers wanted to convey an aura of "cutting edge" sounds to match the shows they were writing for (and here, Andy Griffith stands perhaps as somewhat of an exception) and they searched for what was perceived at the time as "cutting edge" music. As progressive crank wrote, such music is more ubiquitous and more accepted by the public (at least, in certain contexts) than many would think.

TigerCard said...

Thanks for posting this. I had never made the connection with the Andy Griffith Show, but I'm not totally surprised. I think a survey of 60s TV shows, especially those that considered themselves "serious" dramas, would reveal that quite a lot of the music is stylistically related to that of the Second Viennese School. (Listen, for example to the music written for the WWII drama "Combat," a show that I watched religiously as a kid.) I think that this says something about the attitudes of TV composers of the time and the status of so-called "atonal" music. Remember, these composers wanted to convey an aura of "cutting edge" sounds to match the shows they were writing for (and here, Andy Griffith stands perhaps as somewhat of an exception) and they searched for what was perceived at the time as "cutting edge" music. As progressive crank wrote, such music is more ubiquitous and more accepted by the public (at least, in certain contexts) than many would think.