Roni's Journal

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The perfect musical composition

What is a perfect musical composition?

Is it, like the perfect chess game, a 'combination' yet to be found by a computer some time in the not so distant future?

Is it silence?

No.

A perfect musical composition is simply a piece that sounds "just right". It has the perfect balance between the melodic and harmonic shape. If you change or take out even one note from such a piece, you will disturb this balance, and it will no longer be perfect.

When you hear a perfect musical composition, you may feel that you have already heard it before, although you haven't.

So, is there a perfect musical composition out there in the classical music world? Yes. Mozart wrote a few hundred of such. Beethoven also tried. But there aren't that many out there.

Is this 'perfectness' an impartial property? Mostly. The more developed a musician is, the better he or she can notice the imperfections, the weaknesses.

Unfortunately, a bad performance of a piece can greatly affect one's judgement. A performance should conform strictly to the composer's instructions, while being musically alive.

Time is a great 'selector' of perfect musical compositions. Time passes and discards mostly everything. Only the best survives. Unfortunately, not the other way around – many perfect musical compositions were lost amidst the local 'noise' never to resurface again.

The greatest known composers were and remain great not because the public 'loves' them today, but because they have passed the test of time. Mostly, they have passed the test of later great composers. These later composers knew what they were 'selecting'. The public didn't and doesn't.

Most people are wrong about why is any one of the great composers a great composer. Reasons such as 'heavenly music', 'great influence', 'sheer number of works', 'immense popularity' are all wide off the mark. The main factor is the musical perfection achieved by the composer in his compositions.

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