Gebrauchsmusik und Erziehung

La parola Gebrauchsmusik (lett. musica di consumo) è da considerarsi impropria: la musica non si “consuma” come un qualunque manufatto, ma la si esegue e la si ascolta, la si impiega per danzare o cantare in un determinato contesto d’uso, in correlazione a uno scopo o una funzione socio-culturale. Al giorno d’oggi le musiche della radio, del grammofono, degli strumenti meccanici, del jazz determinano nuovi contesti d’uso: al declino del concerto corrisponde una insolita richiesta di musica di consumo, che ha bisogno di musicisti appositamente formati. Strumenti meccanici come Pianola e Welte richiedono uno studio accurato dell’apparecchio per il quale realizzare una composizione.

Ancora più complicata è la composizione di musica per film. La prassi scontata della illustrazione è da escludere: la musica deve essere sincronizzata immagine per immagine, corrispondere nella durata temporale e nel movimento alla banda visiva. Questo si può realizzare – come ha dimostrato la scorsa edizione del festival di Baden-Baden – se si impiegano gli strumenti meccanici, che consentono effettivamente una precisa sincronizzazione di immagine e musica. Ciò tuttavia non risolve ancora del tutto i problemi della musica per film, che esigono l’ideazione e l’affermazione di un nuovo tipo di musica cinematografica, come forse solo il cinema sonoro saprà rendere possibile.

Lo stesso può dirsi della radio. Noi ascoltiamo ogni giorno alla radio musiche antiche o nuove, che tuttavia non sono stata ideate per essa. Una musica che sia stata concepita appositamente per la radio ancora non l’abbiamo, e quelle poche opere che hanno visto la luce con questa idea si basano ancora sulle logiche della sala da concerto. Ma la trasmissione radiofonica pone tutt’altro genere di questioni ai compositori e ai musicisti, questioni che vanno trattate approfonditamente in apposite sedi didattiche, come si è fatto alla Rundfunkversuchsstelle del Conservatorio di Berlino. Ciò a cui miriamo è la creazione di una musica fondata su leggi tecniche e formali che sono proprie della trasmissione radiofonica.

Georg Schünemann, “Gebrauchsmusik und Erziehung”, Die Musik, 1929, XXI/6, pp. 434–436 (Abstract).

When Jazz Meets Cinema

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At the recent conference When Jazz Meets Cinema (Lovere, May 5-7, 2017), Francesco Finocchiaro and Leo Izzo held a lecture on jazz numbers in Gottfried Huppertz’s score for Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang. The paper gave rise to a lively discussion that addressed many issues concerning the reception of the jazz music in Europe between the two world wars.

Francesco Finocchiaro & Leo Izzo, Metropolis’ di Fritz Lang: la città del futuro nell’età del jazz, International Conference “When Jazz Meets Cinema”, May 5-7, 2017, Lovere (BG)

Metropolis in the Jazz Era

Metropolis-new-tower-of-babelAt the forthcoming International Conference When Jazz Meets Cinema, May 5-7, Lovere (BG), Project Leader Francesco Finocchiaro, together with jazz scholar Leo Izzo, will give a lecture on Gottfried Huppertz’s original score for Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang.
In their four-hand paper, Finocchiaro and Izzo will deal with two remarkable film scenes accompanied by jazz music. The analysis will focus on the symbolical meaning associated with jazzy sound and language in the music accompaniment for silent movies.

An Interview with Daniele Furlati

IMG_2033PI Francesco Finocchiaro has recently released an interview with composer Daniele Furlati, who authored a new accompaniment music for Augusto Genina’s silent movie Addio, giovinezza! (1918).

The new score, which elaborates on musical themes derived from an operetta by Giuseppe Pietri, will premiere in Bologna, at the Festival Il Cinema Ritrovato.

The interview with Daniele Furlati will appear soon in the Italian magazine Amadeus.

Organic-mechanical metaphors in the musical discussion between the two World Wars

896The discussion on music’s mechanization exploded in German print journalism between the two World Wars, when a series of technological innovations (radio, phonograph, cinematograph and sound cinema) caught the attention of the public and swept through the music world, shaking its very foundations.

In this sharply polemical debate, the metaphorical antithesis “organism-mechanism” reflected the contraposition between different thought systems and structured a generational opposition.

In other words, “organic music” was the music of the Nineteenth Century and that of the followers of the Classical-Romantic tradition; by contrast, “mechanical music” was the music of radiophonic, electro-acoustic and cinematic experiments, carried out by the new generation of composers at the Baden-Baden Festival.

In the framework of this ideological debate, the organic-mechanical metaphors constitute the point of connection between compositional structures, music analytical categories, and exegetical processes. Metaphors represent the hinge, the element of mediation between the categorization of the compositional structures and the hermeneutic processes that forge the aesthetic discourse. They mediate between the territories of poetics and aesthetics, where the verbal discourse has the central role, and the immanent structures.

Francesco Finocchiaro, “Musica organica versus musica meccanica”. Un’antitesi metaforica nel dibattito musicale fra le due guerre, in Musica e metafora: storia analisi ermeneutica, edited by F. Finocchiaro and M. Giani, Torino, Accademia University Press, 2016, pp. 117-154 (Biblioteca di Athena Musica, 1).

Project Presentation

Jour FixeThe research project on Film Music as a Problem in German Print Journalism will be presented at the University of Vienna, on 23 March 2017.

Project leader Dr. Francesco Finocchiaro and Project assistant Henriette Engelke will introduce the main issues of the ongoing project.

The lecture will be held at the Department of Musicology, from 3.30 pm to 5 pm.

Musikblätter des Anbruch

anbruch_titel-1926
Musikblätter des Anbruch, Wien, UE, 1926

From 1919 to 1934, the Universal Edition published the earliest journal specifically devoted to modern music: the Musikblätter des Anbruch (from 1929 onwards just called Anbruch). The journal’s establishment came along with Schönberg’s Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen, the Salzburger Festspiele, and the Internationale Gesellschaft für Neue Musik and thus has to be seen in post-war context. Focusing on modern music and culture, it also correlated with Melos in Berlin (1920) and Auftakt in Praha (1920). As each issue closed with an extensive advertisement section, the journal further functioned as self-promotion of the young Viennese publishing house, which had been releasing contemporary music since 1908.

In 1923, critic Paul Stefan (1879–1943) followed Otto Schneider, former editor of the Expressionist periodical Anbruch (1917–1922), as chief-editor until the journal’s demise in 1937. Furthermore, the editorial board included names such as Alfred Kalmus, Paul Amadeus Pisk, Hans Heinsheimer, and Theodor W. Adorno. Progressive composers and writers – critics as well as musicologists – were among the journal’s contributors, e. g. Ernst Křenek, Franz Schreker, Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg, Kurt Weill, Béla Bartók, Egon Wellesz, Paul Bekker, and Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt. Therefore, the (Musikblätter des) Anbruch represented a platform for contemporary critical, aesthetical, and theoretical discourses.

As of September 1930, the Anbruch incorporated Pult und Taktstock. In 1935, the journal was renamed Österreichische Zeitschrift für Musik, gradually neglecting its former leading figures and principles (in particular modernism and internationalism).
See for instance: Paul Stefan (Rosenkavalier und Filmmusik); Guido Bagier (Der sprechende Film); Carl Robert Blum (Das Musikchronometer); Hans Kayser (Aus der Praxis der Filmmusik); Giuseppe Becce (Tonfilm und künstlerische Filmmusik).

Sections: Musikautomaten (1926); Musik und Technik (1929).

Special issues: Musik und Maschine (October/November 1926); Leichte Musik (March 1929); Probleme der Kompositionstechnik (September/October 1929); Wo stehen wir? (June 1930).