湖北自考网2016-04-06 09:49:48
Different Types of Composers

I can see three different types of composers in musical history, each of whom creates music in a somewhat different fashion.

The type that has fired public imagination most is that of the spontaneously inspired composer - the Franz Schubert type, in other words. All composers are inspired, of course, but this type is more spontaneously inspired. Music simply wells out of him. He can't get it down on paper fast enough. You can almost tell this type of composer by his fruitful output. In certain months, Schubert wrote a song a day. Hugo Wolf did the same.

In a sense, men of this kind begin not so much with a musical theme as with a completed composition. They invariably work best in the shorter forms. It is much easier to improvise a song than it is to improvise a symphony. It isn't easy to be inspired in that spontaneous way for long periods at a stretch. Even Schubert was more successful in handling the shorter forms of music. The spontaneously inspired man is only one type of composer, with this own limitations.

Beethoven belongs to the second type - the constructive type, one might call it. This type serves as an example of my theory of the creative process in music better than any other, because in this case the composer really does begin with a musical theme. In Beethoven's case there is no doubt about it, for we have the notebooks in which he put the themes down. We can see from his notebooks how he worked over his themes - how he would not let them be until they were as perfect as he could make them. Beethoven was not a spontaneously inspired composer in the 

Schubert sense at all. He was the type that begins with a theme; makes it a preliminary idea; and upon that composes a musical work, day after day, in painstaking fashion. Most composers since Beethoven's day belong to this second type.

The third type of composer I can only call, for lack of a better name, the traditionalist type. Men like Palestrina and Bach belong in this category. 

They both are characteristic of the kind of composer who is born in a particular period of musical history, when a certain musical style is about to reach its fullest development. It is a question at such a time of creating music in a well-known and accepted style and doing it in a way that is better than anyone has done it before you.

The traditionalist type of composer begins with a pattern rather than with a theme. The creative act with Palestrina is not the thematic conception so much as the personal treatment of a well-established pattern. And even Bach, who composed forty-eight of the most various and inspired themes in his Well Tempered Clavichord, knew in advance the general formal mold that they were to fill. It goes without saying that we are not living in a traditionalist period nowadays.

One might add, for the sake of completeness, a fourth type of composer - the pioneer type: men like Gesualdo in the seventeenth century, 

Moussorgsky and Berlioz in the nineteenth, Debussy and Edgar Varese in the twentieth. It is difficult to summarize the composing methods of so diversified a group. One can safely say that their approach to composition is the opposite of the traditionalist type. 

They clearly oppose conventional solutions of musical problems. In many ways, their attitude is experimental - they seek to add new harmonies, new sonorities, new formal principles. The pioneer type was the characteristic one at the turn of the seventeenth century and also at the beginning of the twentieth century, but it is much less evident today.





由于找不到更合适的称呼,第三类作曲家姑且称他们为传统类。帕勒斯提那的创作活动与其说是主题概念不如说是对既定模式的个性化处理。即使创作了 48首主题各异充满灵感的《平均律钢琴曲集》的巴赫也知道他们将遵循的一般模式。不用说今天我们不是生活在一个传统时期。



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