1. punchthedamnkeys
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    punchthedamnkeys Member

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    could anybody or has anybody, ever been so good at writing that they could...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by punchthedamnkeys, Mar 19, 2013.

    describe a famous classical piano piece without ever mentioning its title... only with the most detailed and descriptive ways they could come up with..

    any instrumental-like pieces only. nothing with lyrics...

    IS IT POSSIBLE?
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The identifying characteristics of a music piece are it's name and it's melody. To identify a melody without a name in writing you would have to use a music score. Otherwise you can describe the emotions it causes or the purpose of the melody all you want, but no reader will attribute those characteristics to a single piece.
     
  3. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    Essentially, what you're asking is for a detailed description of something with no common frame of reference.
    It's like trying to describe a colour without any reference to colours whatsoever (try it!), language and human communication doesn't work like that. When describing something that is not verbal in nature we work from common frames of reference and comparisons, without them it kinda falls apart.
    For example, I've noticed that the actor Bradley Cooper bears more than a passing resemblance to Ralph Fiennes. To describe that similarity in terms that do not include their names would be immensely and unnecessarily complicated. Could it be done? I dare say it could but to paraphrase Xatron, no two readers would get exactly the same interpretation from it.

    Incidentally, a computer could probably describe a piece of music quite accurately with a hash algorithm or parity information but it would be meaningless to us!
     
  4. Bagabon
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    Bagabon Banned

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    Beethoven's 5th can be done, but im not sure about any other pieces of music
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it would be fairly easy for me to do that with one of my favorite classical composiions, smetana's 'the moldau'... or grofe's 'grand canon suite'... probably ravel's 'bolero' too...
     
  6. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    A sharp, b flat cord, up tempo C minor, D flat minor 7th,

    Sorry couldnt resist.
    But seriously I don't think its possible as different music effects different people in different ways. What might be happy for someone could make negative feeling in another.
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Probably not. Like others have said, there would need to be some sort of notation. Otherwise, I don't see how anyone would ever guess the title based off a description, no matter how detailed it is.
     
  8. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Of course, very easy and simple. However, you will not understand my description because the same music would feel, look and sound different to the two of us.
    Away from music, even written words, a poem, would sound, feel and mean something totally different to each individual. The reason is because the way each of us interpret feelings is different. people are different with the way they feel, hear and see things.

    So, I can describe it to you but it will be absolutely useless.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You could do it using technical jargon, e.g. "440 Hz for .82 seconds, 256 Hz for 1.64 seconds ..." etc. Someone could then program a computer to reproduce the melody from that, and it would be recognizable.

    Of course, nobody would want to read that kind of description, and it would mean nothing without the necessary lab equipment to do the experiment. But it could be done.
     
  10. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I would really love to read a description of the 'bolero' without any reference to the name or musical jargon from which anyone familiar with the piece can recognize it only as the 'bolero'.


    And when i said it can't be done, i meant that in my opinion it can't be done in any productive way that would possibly contribute to a plot and that would be comprehensible from any reader without a music degree.
     
  11. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    This.
     
  12. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    I can play you a classical song and the next day I can describe it by saying "I'm thinking about the classical song we played yesterday at my house". And if your memory don't fail you I have just described what song I was thinking about (and you can fill all the blanks with the imagination).

    This is a description that would work between you and me only. A matematician can probably describe famous math formulas without using math saying "mr X most famous formula" and other matematicians would know and probably be able to in detail write the formula out (and use it too), for most normal people that probably wouldn't be enough. But this holds true for any writing. What some will understand others won't (at least someone wont).

    Can anyone describe a famous classical piano piece or a simple thing like a chair in a way that everyone will understand?

    Probably not. Say 'bolero' and I say "what?".
     
  13. punchthedamnkeys
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    punchthedamnkeys Member

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    interesting responses here.

    some classical pieces are have pretty distinct sounds though, beethoven's 5th for example ^. obviously the reader who need to have to know the song being played in the first place. i mean really really trying to describe it...

    let me give it a try and let's see if you guys can come up with it... i'll just jot it down in point forms instead though.. very classic piece by the way

    - the song starts of slowly, with high notes, piano keys are being struck very lightly
    - listening to it and right from the beginning, i quickly feel every ounce of emotion in me
    - it makes me think of the moon, illuminating very brightly in the dark sky
    - the notes remain high, but slowly, each melody becomes slightly louder than the last
    - the same melody seems to repeat themselves almost similarly, with a pause of silence in between them
    - the tempo quickly changes, a single low note suddenly strikes, interrupting the series of high notes
    - another single low note, the melody repeats again
    - a single low note replaces the silence that once occured in between melodies
    - ANOTHER low note strucked very loudly now! before a melody of high notes follows each one another fluidly
    - the pace quickens, and quickens.. each strike of a piano key, almost like it's being hammered.. the sound intensifies
    - then it fades away in silence for a moment but not before another melody of high notes
    - silence...
    - now it begins.. the piano player's hands dance themselves from one end of the piano to the other. the once fluid melody, now come barrage, like a waterfall of notes, all coming coming and coming from all direction


    i hope you guys don't think i'm crazy.. i'm just really curious if anyone can guess this..

    i tried lol... it is pretty fucking hard to describe. i let out a pretty good hint in there though, probably too descriptive. it's only 2/3s of the song...

    let's see if anyone can get it hahahaha lol
     
  14. Bagabon
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    Bagabon Banned

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    moonlight sonata?
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's not a 'song' punch... it's a classical composition... or a 'concerto' or 'sonata' and so on... a 'song' has words and can be 'sung'...

    in re the supposed impossibility of describing music, who of you who have ever heard it can fail to recognize this piece?

    or this?

    fyi, classical music critics describe music in words all the time... the best can make you recognize what they're reviewing without mentioning its name, or the composer's...
     
  16. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to read how a classical symphony can be described brilliantly just in words, read the novel "Grace Notes" by Bernard MacLaverty (the part towards the end of the novel). The work is about a composer, so there are lots of descriptions of music in it.
     
  17. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    punchthedamnkeys- just giving it a shot and adding credence to the fact that its really hard to describe music, I'm guessing Wagner's Flight of the Valkyries.
     
  18. punchthedamnkeys
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    punchthedamnkeys Member

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    no sorry lol.. no to moonlight sonata too ^^, close though, you got to where i was trying to hint towards. it was claire de lune. listen to it and tell me if the description is somewhat okay.
     
  19. David K. Thomasson
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    content removed by author
     
  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes of course it's possible. Good music is like good dance, it tells a story. I can describe you Danse Macabre or Aquarium by Saint Saens or Beethoven's Silence or Tchaikovsky's piano concerto in B minor without ever mentioning the title. You talk about the instruments, the atmosphere and feel, you describe your visuals and maybe if you heard it somewhere else before. You try and work out what the composer might have thought, you describe your synesthesia to colour or touch or even visual recognition of notes, you identify the story in it and talk about it as you refer to keys or changes in tempo or intensity or a particularly beautiful sequence, stuff like that. Music piece is like life, it has its ups and downs, it's highlights, milestones, a beginning, middle and an end. If you adore a piece enough, you'll have plenty of vivid description.
     
  21. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Debussy's "Clair de Lune"?
     
  22. Kendria Perry
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    Kendria Perry Member

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    "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham? :p
     
  23. punchthedamnkeys
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    punchthedamnkeys Member

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    amazing... a round of applause for this gentleman everyone..
     
  24. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    Wagner once succinctly described a certain movement of a certain Beethoven symphony as 'the apotheosis of the dance'. If you know your Beethoven, there's really only thing it can be. But I'll admit it's a difficult thing to describe music - particuarly if you have no formal training in music theory. We lack the vocab. But I must say, I'm impressed by Punchthedamnkey's description of Clair de Lune!
     
  25. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    The original question was if something like that can be done in a novel, not for music critics or experts. Unless the novel is exclusively marketed to people with years of musical education, something like that would alienate the readers and fail to express what it is intended to.
     

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