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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 21, No. 2. March 27, 1958

Composer's Workshop

Composer's Workshop

Because there is too much [unclear: mus] in modern life, our minds [unclear: hav] become conditioned to it, [unclear: resu] in too little active listening, said [unclear: D] R. Tremain. Those who [unclear: listes] fell into three main [unclear: categories] Firstly, the sensuous listener [unclear: wh] used magic as an escape from [unclear: real]ity into a private dreamland [unclear: wh] he saw himself as hero of a [unclear: rorr]tic idealised situation.

The second type was the listener [unclear: wh] sought the meaning expressed in [unclear: mud] This was rather difficult to do [unclear: adequabfl] since the emotions were objectified [unclear: and] distanced in a musical composition—[unclear: they] were essentially disciplined. Thus [unclear: the] greater the composer, the more [unclear: difficult] it became to pin a meaning to his [unclear: work] as for instance, Beethoven and [unclear: Tchaikaw] sky.

In the third category was the [unclear: intellec]tual for whom listening involved the [unclear: ex-] ercise of the mind on the musical [unclear: mate] ial; his approach was analytical as [unclear: well] as sensuous. All three types of [unclear: listener] played a part, said Dr. Tremain, but [unclear: he] suggested that the ideal listener was the intellectual who could be both inside and outside the music simultaneously, so that his approach was both subjective and [unclear: ob]jective.

Dr. Tremain went on to discuss [unclear: the] various elements which were [unclear: combined] in a musical composition. First [unclear: came] the initial ideas on which the composer based his work. The source of these [unclear: was] often a mystery—it might be [unclear: inspiration] from within or it might come from [unclear: some] simple occurrence in everyday life. [unclear: For] example, John Ireland's 'London [unclear: Over-]ture' was inspired by and built [unclear: around] the word 'Picadilly,' as cried by a London bus conductor.

The idea formed the composer's raw materials, their seperate elements being rhythm, melody, harmony, texture and tone colour.

Rhythm Dr. Tremain described as the temporal dimension of music, or the organisation of sounds of timelessness appreciable to the senses. Various types of dance music were used to illustrate the differences in the rhythmic variations.

Melody was described as something as elusive as the scent of a flower, but consisting of tone as opposed to mass. The attributes of a good melody were beauty of shape, a sense of progression to a climax, and the avoidance of monotony.

Texture could be melodic, harmonic or contrapuntal. The last involved extension of melody or the co-existence of two or more themes. To appreciate this type of music Dr. Tremain said that it was vita to require the capacity to listen in the third dimension, particularly with the music of Bach. A simple illustration of contrapuntal texture was the community singing of 'Pack up your troubles' from one half of a group while the remainder sang 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary.'

Dr. R. Tremain, Mus.B., Mus.D. (London). Lecturer in Music, University of Auckland. Previously Professor at the Trinity College of Music, London, and Lecturer in the Extra-Mural Department of the London University. Studied Composition and Oratorio in Rome on an Italian Government Bursary. Travelled in Italy, France, Austria and Sicily.

Harmony was the easiest element of music to take in, said Dr. Tremain. It obeyed certain simple rules or principles, moving from simple thirds upwards, to the polytonality of the twentieth century.