「Copland On Music」を読む 第3回 pp.66-72

Then the unexpected happened. These resultant chords or harmonics, when properly organized, began to lead a self-sufficient life of their own. The skeletal harmonic progression became more and more significant as a generating force, until polyphony itself was forced to share its linear hegemony with the vertical implications of the underlying harmonies. That giant among composers, Johann Sebastian Bach, summarized this great moment in musical history by the perfect wedding of polyphonic device and harmonic drive. The subsequent forward sweep of music's development is too well known to need recounting here. We ought always to remember, however, that the great age of music did not begin with Bach and that after him each new age brought its own particular compositional insight. The Bach summation hastened the coming of a more limpid and lively style in the time of Haydn and Mozart. The Viennese masters were followed in turn by the fervent romantics of the nineteenth century, and the past fifty years have brought an anti-romantic reaction and a major broadening of all phases of music's technical resources.  



Preoccupation with our own remarkable musical past ought not blind us to the fact that the non-Western world is full of a large variety of musical idioms, most of them in sharp contrast to our own. The exciting rhythms of African drummers, the subtle, melodramatic singing of the Near East, the clangorous ensembles of Indonesia, the incredibly nasal sonority of China and Japan, all these and many others are so different from our own Occidental music as to discourage all hope of a ready understanding. But we realize, nontheless, that they each in their own way musically mirror cherishable aspects of human consciousness. We needlessly impoverish ourselves in doing so little to make a rapproachement between our own art and theirs. 



We needlessly impoverish ourselves also in confining so much of our musical interest to a comparatively restricted period of our own music history. An overwhelming amount of the music we normally hear comes from no more than two hundred years of creative composition, principally the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. No such situation exists in any of the sister arts, nor would it be tolerated. Like the other arts, the art of music has a past, a present, and a future, but, unlike the other arts, the world of music is suffering from a special ailment of its own, namely, a disproportionate interest in its past, and a very limited past at that. Many listeners nowadays appear to be confused. They seem to think that music's future is its past. This produces as corollary a painful lack of curiosity as to its present and a reckless disregard for its future. 



This question of the public's attitude toward the art of music has become crucial in an age when the general interest in music has expanded beyond the expectations of the most optimistic. Since the advent of radio broadcasting of serious music, the expansion of the recording industry, sophisticated film scores, and television opera and ballet, a true revolution in listening habits is taking place. Serious music is no longer the province of a small elite. No one has yet taken the full measure of this gradual transformation of the past thirty years or calculated its gains and risks for the cause of music. The gains are obvious. The risks come from the fact that millions of listeners are encouraged to consider music solely as a refuge and a consolation from the tensions of everyday living, using the greatest of musical masterpieces as a first line of defense against what are thought to be the inroads of contemporary realism. A pall of conventionalism hangs heavy over today's music horizon. A situation dangerous to music's future is developing in that the natural vigor of present-day musical expression is being jeopardized by this relentless overemphasis on the music of past centuries. 



Every composer functions within the limits of his own time and place and in response to the needs of his audience. But for some curious reason, music-lovers persist in believing that music on the highest level ought to be timeless, unaffected by temporal considerations of the here and now. It can easily be shown, however, how far from true that notion is. The music a composer writes makes evident his life experience in a way that is exactly similar to that of any other kind of creative artist, and it is therefore just as closely identified with the aesthetic ideals of the period in which it was created. The composer of today must of necessity take into account the world of today, and his music is very likely to reflect it, even if only negatively. He cannot be expected to execute an aboutface for the sole purpose of making contact with an audience that has ears only for music of the past. This dilemma shows no sign of abatement. It isolates more and more the new generation of composers from the public that should be theirs. 



How paradoxical the situation is! We live in a time that is acutely aware of the medium of sound. The words “sonic” and “supersonic” are familiar to every schoolboy, and talk of frequencies and decibels is a fairly common usage. Instead of composers being looked to for leadership in such time, they are relegated to a kind of fringe existence on the periphery of the musical world. It is a fair estimate that seven eighths of the music heard everywhere is music by composers of a past era. Because music needs public performance in order to thrive, the apathetic attitude of the music-loving public to contemporary musical trends has had a depressant effect on present day composers. Under the circumstances one must have tenacity and courage to devote one's life to musical composition. 



Despite the absence of stimulus and encouragement, composers in Europe and America have continued to push forward the frontiers of musical exploration. Twentieth-century music has a good record in that respect. It has kept well abreast of the other arts in searching for new expressive resources. The balance sheet would list the following gains: first, a new-found freedom in rhythmic invention. The very modest rhythmic demands of a previous era have been supplanted by the possibilities of a much more challenging rhythmic scheme. The former regularity of an even-measured bar line has given way to a rhythmic propulsion that is more intricate, more vigorous and various, and, certainly, more unpredictable. Most recently certain composers have essayed a music whose basic constructive principle is founded on a strict control of the work's rhythmic factors. Apparently a new species of purely rhythmic logic is envisaged, but with what success it is too soon to know. 



Then the area of harmonic possibilities has also been greatly extended in contemporary writing. Leaving behind textbook conventions, harmonic practice has established the premise that any chord may be considered acceptable if it is used appropriately and convincingly. Consonance and dissonance are conceded to be merely relative terms, not absolutes. Principles of tonality have been enlarged almost beyond recognition, while the dodecaphonic method of composing has abandoned them altogether. The young composers of today are the inheritors of a tonal freedom that is somewhat dizzying, but out of this turmoil the new textbooks will be written. Along with harmonic experiment there has been a re-examination of the nature of melody, its range, its intervallic complexity, and its character as binding elements in a composition, especially in respect to thematic relationships. Some few composers have posited the unfamiliar conception of an athematic music, that is, a music whose melodic materials are heard but once and never repeated. All this has come about as part of the larger questioning of the architectonic principles of musical form. This is clearly the end result toward which the newer attitudes are leading. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means an abandonment of long-established constructive principles and a new orientation for music. 

それからハーモニーの許容範囲も、現代音楽の作曲に際して大いに拡大している型にはまった従来の慣習から離れ、ハーモニーの作り方は、適切かつ誰もが納得するようなやり方であれば、どんな方法でも良しとするという段階まで来ている。「協和音」と「不協和音」という言葉は、今は相対的な意味を持つものとなり、「これが協和音」「これが不協和音」という基準はもはやない。調性音楽というものの様々な原則は、明確な見分けが殆どつかなくなっている。それもこれも、12音作曲技法が全て葬り去ってしまったからだ。最近の若手作曲家達は、いささか耳障り気味ともいえるくらい自由な音の響による楽曲を聴いて育ってきている。とはいえ、今は試行錯誤の混乱が続いている中から、将来新たな指針が出来上がることだろう。ハーモニーの実験と並行して、メロディーについても、音域、音の高低の複雑さ、曲中に出てくる様々な素材を組み合わせて一つの作品にまとめ上げるための要素、こういったことについての見直しが行われている。ごく一部の作曲家達だが、目新しい作曲コンセプトをこの度打ち出している。athematic musicと言って、曲中メロディの素材が、一度演奏されたらこれを繰り返さない作曲法である。こういった取り組みは全て、従来の音楽形式のもつ曲を構築する原則に対する問題提起の一環として行われている。これは明らかに、曲作りのより新しい在り方がもたらした結果だ。こうしたロジックにより導かれる結論は、音楽において、長きにわたって存在した曲作りの原則が撤廃され、新しい方向性が生まれたことを意味している。 


Sometimes it seems to me that, in considering the path that music is likely to take in the future, we forget one controlling factor: the nature of the instruments we use. Isn't it possible that we shall wake up one day to find the familiar groups of stringed instruments, brasses, woodwinds, and battery superseded by the invention of an electronic master instrument with unheard-of microtonic divisions of a scale and with totally new sound possibilities, all under the direct control of the composer without benefit of a performing interpreter? Such a machine will emancipate rhythm from the limitations of the performing brain and is likely to make unprecedented demands on the capacity of the human ear. An age that has broken through the sound barrier can hardly be expected to go on producing musical sounds in the time-honored manner of its ancestors. Here, I confess, is a prospect a little frightening to contemplate. For this really may be that music of the future about which Richard Wagner loved to ruminate. All this belongs to the realm of speculation. Only one thing is certain: however arrived at, the process of music and the process of life will always be closely conjoined. So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.