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New Simplicity School

Technical Procedures of Antonio Celso Ribeiros Musical Language


One brief word... Some Composers are not Islands is the name of Kyle Ganns article. The author refers to the role that composers now are devoted: to analyze the other composers' music and to understand/to identify the contained/received influences. According to Gann, a life exclusively focused on my own music seems unimaginable. My musicological work feeds my composition, and vice versa. When I've been doing too much critical work and not composing, I get cranky; and when I've been composing continuously, I dry up a little, and I start to need the interaction with the music of others. It's not that I steal so many ideas from other composers, though of course I never scruple to do that. Nothing about the other people's music I'm working on went into the piece I just finished. I just need that rejuvenation from other artist's ideas, the mere presence of simpatico music I didn't write. Schumann certainly spent a lot of his career inside other composers' heads, and seems to have enjoyed having a trunkload of Schubert's manuscripts in his apartment, from which to draw for the occasional world premiere whenever he fancied. Liszt played the piano music of every significant contemporary except Brahms (who offended him by falling asleep at the premiere of Liszt's B minor Sonata). Part of it is what I think Henry Cowell sensed: that there's no such thing as a famous composer in a musical genre no one's heard of, and so one's personal survival depends on a rising tide raising all boats. But Morton Feldman also tells a story of an artist in the '50s

who, after seeing Jackson Pollock's first astounding exhibition of drip paintings, remarked, "I'm so glad he did it. Now I don't have to.

Painting by Jackson Pollock

Gann says: I hear an exquisite piece like John Luther Adams's The Light Within, and I do think, somehow, "I'm so glad he did it, now I don't

have to" - partly because I want to hear that kind of ecstatic wall-ofsound genre, and he can so it much better than I could. Mikel Rouse's music is so much more sophisticated than my intentionally naive fare, but listening to him gets me back on track.

Philosophical Bearings
Leonard Meyer [(1956). Emotion and Meaning in Music. Chicago: Chicago University Press.] begins by defining and contrasting classic positions in philosophical aesthetics. He outlines two contrasting dichotomies: the absolutist versus referentialist views, and the formalist versus expressionist views: ABSOLUTIST: "musical meaning lies exclusively within the context of the work itself." REFERENTIALIST: "musical meanings refer to the extramusical world of concepts, actions, emotional states, and character." FORMALIST: "the meaning of music lies in the perception and understanding of the musical relationships set forth in the work of art and that meaning in music is primarily intellectual" EXPRESSIONIST: "the expressionist would argue that these same relationships are in some sense capable of exciting feelings and emotions in the listener"

The New Simplicity School


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New Simplicity (in German, die neue Einfachheit) was a stylistic tendency amongst some of the younger generation of German composers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, reacting 3

against not only the European avant garde of the 1950s and 1960s, but also against the broader tendency toward objectivity found from the beginning of the twentieth century. Alternative terms sometimes used for this movement are "inclusive composition", new subjectivity (neue Subjektivitt), new inwardness (Neue Innigkeit), New Romanticism, New Sensuality, New Expressivity, New Classicism, and New Tonality.

Goals
In general, these composers strove for an immediacy between the creative impulse and the musical result (in contrast to the elaborate precompositional planning characteristic of the avant garde), with the intention also of communicating more readily with audiences. In some cases this meant a return to the tonal language of the 19th century as well as to the traditional forms (symphony, sonata) and instrumental combinations (string quartet, piano trio) which had been avoided for the most part by the avant garde. For others it meant working with simpler textures or the employment of triadic harmonies in non-tonal contexts. Characteristics: Neo tonal Modal Diatonicism Sporadic chromaticism Glacial harmonies Homophony Tonic pedal (Drones) Weak or very simple harmonic progressions Few use or absence of tone modulations Melodic emphasis

Use of ancient forms (suite, danses, gavotte, minuet, nocturne, gigue, rondeau, sonate, toccata, fugue, canon, hocquetus, hemiolas, etc) with strong reference to the past

Predominance

of

an

unique

compositional

element,

for

example: minor chords, fixed duration pattern (taleas) etc Clear compositional structure Rarefaction and condensation Sheerness and objectivity Music technically made easy but not intended for beginners Thematic similarities between different works; reorchestrations Quotations composers Time signatures in agreement with the musical phrases; metrical asymmetries, music without time signatures Contradictory notation rhythmical paradoxisms Melody made with scales fragments, etc Recovery of ancient duration values as longa and brevis; sometimes it makes use of square or white mensural notation Strong presence of expressivity and emotionality Search for beauty and pleasantness Strong presence of religiosity and mysticism Indispensable gestuality High level of referenciality through the use of extra musical sources: dance) Paradoxically it can makes use of expanded techniques (paper or objects inserted between the piano strings; non-orthodox tuning; overtones etc) pictorial images; literature; architecture; poetry; languages; cultures; movies; kinetics arts (circus, theatre, and/or rearrangements of works from other

Motto: behind its apparent simplicity lays a great complexity

A verse without music is a mill without water.


Folquet de Marselh (Marseilles), the troubadour immortalized by Dante Alighieri (12651321) in his Paradiso

Antonio Celso Ribeiro


Analysis of some of his Compositions
Elements: Resonances Medieval compositional procedures Baroque-like ornamentation Tonic pedal (drones)

Weak or very simple harmonic progressions Thematic similarities between different works; reorchestrations Predominance of an unique compositional element Homophony Time signatures in agreement with the musical phrases; metrical asymmetries, music without time signatures Contradictory notation rhythmical paradoxisms Melody made with scales fragments, etc

***

Resonances...

There are two kinds of resonance in Antonio Celso Ribeiros compositions. The first one deals with sound residues left by dissonant cluster-like chords changing afterward into consonances played by the piano (examples shown here: El Diablo y la Melancola and Break Away Secrets); the second one deals with resulted consonance/dissonant by holding down the respective piano

key after the note is played (examples shown here: Dresden Impressions Cloister and The Bethsaida Miracle ato secondo).

Break Away Secrets

The Bethsaida Miracle ato secondo

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Medieval Compositional Procedures...

Some compositional techniques from the Middle Ages are recovered in order to add some excitement and beauty to the work. Here we include the use of polyphonic notation (example shown here: Verzweiflung), imitation and counterpoint (see: Danse des Fous), polychrony several tempos occurring at the same time (see: Piping Down the Valleys Wild); dance-like melody (see: La Doncella y la Melancola Dulce Dame Donaira en Dulcidana), use of retrograde motion (see: Le Lacrime della Vergine Triste Ploratio), hocquetusstyle accompaniment (see: Le Lacrime della Vergine Singultus), Gregorian chant style melody (see: Si la Beaut).

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Ten or Maybe Nine Short Useless Songs of Joy or Strangeness

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Danse des Fous

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La Doncella y la Melancola

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Le Lacrime della Vergine Triste Ploratio

Le Lacrime della Vergine Singultus

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Si la Beaut

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Baroque-like ornamentation and style...

Revival of baroque ornaments as trills, gruppettos, mordents, doppelt-cadences, appoggiaturas, acciaccaturas, glissandis, and portamentos (see: Ten or Maybe Nine Short Useless Songs of Joy or Strangeness Stille Leuchtet die Kerze). Also is brought in evidence the spirit of baroque suite, in the overall structure of a composition, making some allusions to Bach and Haendel textures employment (see: My Menuet is Broken, Two Baroque Sadness y una Vals desvairada para l). From Brazilian baroque, Antonio Celso Ribeiro steals the dark atmosphere and deep religiosity of Minas Gerais Churches, mainly those built by Francisco Antonio Lisboa (Aleijadinho). Examples: Bitter Baroque Ballads Tears; Ave; Breve Litania para Nossa Senhora das Mercs; Le Jeu du Roi qui Jamais ne Ment.

Ten or Maybe Nine Short Useless Songs of Joy or Strangeness Stille Leuchtet die Kerze

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Ten or Maybe Nine Short Useless Songs of Joy or Strangeness

Two Baroque Sadness y una Vals Desvairada para l - Entre

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Bitter Baroque Ballads Tears

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Ave

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Breve Litania para Nossa Senhora das Mercs

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Le Jeu du Roi Qui Jamais ne Ment

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Tonic pedals...

The use of a constant and steady note in the composition is an allusion to pre-polyphonic organum vocal music of late medieval Europe and other classical traditions as Japanese gagaku or the Byzantine chant (ison). In the musical examples, the drone note causes the melody to flow (see: Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia Sanatio Amoris), or recalls the bagpipe music (see: O O O Par la Pluie Oh! Amargo Fim!). It can also evoke the power and religiosity of Byzantine chant (see: Preghiera alla Vergine Canto e), or creating an ecstatic/tense movement (see: Cheiro de Terra Molhada de Chuva Ciranda).

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Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia Sanatio Amoris

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O O O Par la Pluie Oh! Amargo Fim!

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Preghiera alla Vergine Canto i

Cheiro de Terra Molhada de Chuva Ciranda

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Weak or Very Simple Harmonic Progressions...


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Opposing to the traditional concept of tonal harmony, where strong harmonic progressions are generally the norm, the work of Antonio Celso Ribeiro prioritizes the use of weak harmonic progressions. This option causes the music to sound more neutral (see: Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia Babylon Amoris), or even ecstatic and intimate (see: Dolores and Cor Som Palavras Soltas K).

Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia Babylon Amoris

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Cor Som Palavras Soltas - K

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Thematic Similarities Between Different Works; Reorchestrations

Sometimes two different compositional ideas share the same feeling, image, or fate. So, the possible solution for this impasse is both scores to share thematic similarities. Examples: Dresden Impressions Reflexes of the Light Through the Colored GlassWindow of the Old Church & La Doncella y la Melancola La Vida Debe Seguir; Two Baroque Sadness y una Vals Desvairada para l Entre & Brevissima Missa Pauperis Veni Sancte Spiritus; The Bethsaida Miracle Ato Secondo & Bitter Baroque Ballads 3 Disillusion; Las Visiones de Margarida la Loca 4 & Mia Santa Margarida 1; A Velha Sarah est Serena e to Saudosa & Mia Santa Margarida 3. In other occasions, theres a need to expand, contract or to give new colors to a certain kind of composition. Thus a work scored for two instruments can be reorchestrated into 11 instruments, the same way a work scored for five instruments can be rearranged for two instruments (see: Break Away Regrets and Songs of Sadness 4)

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Break Away - Regrets

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Break Away - Regrets

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Songs of Sadness - 4

Songs of Sadness 4

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Dresden Impressions

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La Doncella y la Melancola la vida debe seguir

Two Baroque Sadness y una Vals Desvairada para l Entre

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Brevssima Missa Pauperis Veni Sancte Spiritus

The Bethsaida Miracle Ato Secondo 38

Bitter Baroque Ballads

Las Visiones de Margarida la Loca - 4

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Mia Santa Margarida 1

A Velha Sarah est Serena e to Saudosa...

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Mia Santa Margarida 3

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Predominance of an unique compositional element...

Some of the works share a preference for one specific compositional element. In the following examples (O O O Par la Pluie Dulcidana and Song of Sadness II) the chosen element is the minor chord.

O O O Par la Pluie - Dulcidana 42

Songs of Sadness - II

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Homophony...
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Theres a need sometimes, to have all things sounding together, under a unique voice, a unique body of sound. Homophony is only used in vocal or choir works, making the understanding of the text/words clear and precise.

Preghiera alla Vergine Canto e

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Lege mich wie ein Siegel

An Autumn Greeting

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Time signatures in agreement with the musical phrases; metrical asymmetries, scalar melodies, fragments...

Rather than mark a regular pulse, time signatures are used according to the musical phrase, functioning the same way the regular language does, obeying to it own sintax (see: Le Printemps). The time signature also defines the length of the musical phrase (metrical asymmetry), as seen in Cnticos de Veneracin a la Virgen de las Rosas Adoracin II and Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia LAmour Humain. Scalar melodies can be seen in Bitter Baroque Ballads Disillusion and in Le Lacrima della Vergine Lamentationes. Melodies built from scalar fragments can be seen in Two Mechanical Birds and a Melancholic Cage The Melancholic Cage and in Dies Irae des Fous Cantus IV.

Le Printemps 48

Cnticos de Veneracin a la Virgen de las Rosas

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Amoris Divini et Humana Antipathia LAmour Humain

Bitter Baroque Ballads Disillusion

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Le Lacrime della Vergine

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Le Lacrime della Vergine Lamentationes (continued)

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Two Mechanical Birds and a Melancholic Cage Melancholic Cage

Dies Irae des Fous Cantus IV

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Contradictory notation rhythmical paradoxisms...

Sometimes the composer uses a contradictory time signature to express a special feeling, swing or mood. In Solido, a clear 2/4 meter is used instead of right 3/4 meter, even though the music itself claims for this ternary feeling. In Bitter Baroque Ballads, the contratempo (countertime) in the piano part creates in the cello part the false feeling of syncopation, as the part is written in thetic mode. In Brevissima Missa Pauperis Pater, theres an inappropiate use of the 9/8 meter, both for piano and voice, since the basic swing for 9/8 (tuplets) is not considered on it. In La Doncella y la Melancola Dulce Dama Donnez Moi lAdieu, the piece is written in 3/4 meter, but is sounding effectively in 6/8 meter. In Visiones de una Vieja Ventana Mamma, the rhythm pattern in the electric bass part, with its regular syncopation and tuplet gives the (false) feeling of moving faster than the other instruments (polychrony).

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La Doncella y la Melancola Dulce Dama Donnez Moi lAdieu

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Visiones de una Vieja Ventana - Mamma

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