Genres and Forms in the Universe of Miracles

Genres and Forms in the Universe of Miracles

Maybe you dreamed of eating all the ice-cream in the shop, running through water on a cold day, buying all the puppies in the store.

Now is the time to do that.

In the Universe of Miracles, there are no traditional genres and FORMS. The use of traditional forms is discouraged with punishment with the things you dreamed about as a kid.

Actually, there is no punishment in art, of course, the only punishment is that you repeat history, life itself, when using something that was already created. Wasting precious Time.

Mostly, using things created by others saves time, helps discover and uncover in great speed. But in the Universe of Miracles, Time isn’t what you expect it to be. Time is irrelevant and completely obsolete. It’s faster to invent something new from scratch than re-using, up-cycling old forms. You have to hurry slowly.

As you all know, I want to write a story with Music. And usually I use mathematical forms, plans, maps, to travel through my own Musical Universe without getting lost. Uncovering new forms, besides the ones already in use. With the help of the Map I can See these new forms, in more-D-dimensions. But abstract forms are difficult to describe and lack a more enchanting kind of phantasy.

The magic is there, but magic and grandeur isn’t fun. And since we play music, there must also be joy in the forms we use. I read that our own body produces joy when we succeeded in something we wanted to do or experience. And yes, joy is practically that beauty of imperfection.

There are traditional forms, forms other people discovered before us. Forms you can use so you create something people will recognize, something that will probably work from the start. You can make things that people will pad you on the back and say ‘Well done!”. You can research the examples of other composers, who skillfully uncovered that form for the first time. They were reinventing Music again and again.

But when you use those forms, you don’t reinvent FORM yourself, do you? It’s a repetition, though a beautiful one that people appreciate, a FORM of what already has been thought of. It’s not new, the content might be new, the harmony, the rhythms. But not the form itself.

Through the use of traditional forms, repetition of forms, boredom arose and a land of only boring bedtime stories developed, lullaby’s that weren’t goodbye’s, but just lullaby’s. Music to make you sleep without thoughts or dreams.

The traditional form describes it’s purpose: a mess is religious in a church. A Rondo is ABCBDB.. until people are tired of singing and dancing and well … play the lullaby before sleeping, again.

In this dull and formative library, where books are categorized by function, period and name, but not by emotion or coloring or paper-smell. There the theory driven researchers did however uncover one truth about Music: There is no end to it.

Every time there are new forms and styles and harmonies invented. They keep up and register and organize. They bought new libraries, cupboards, registers, computers, servers…

But little do they know that all the music is already out there, I’ve seen it, in all abundance and color and smell. And all that is what is coming for them is huge. It just won’t fit into any system, will it?

They will have to reinvent their bookkeeping, maybe have walking shelves, with legs, self-thinking book-covers, reshaping the surface for every reader, addictive paper perfumes to keep the distracted readers with the story until they did get to that one sentence that might change their lives.

Because these FORMS I see out there, they might show up, they might find us. And the libraries must be prepared to catch those new ideas, those forms.

Owly and me, we find these forms more Real than others, but we are only a little owl and a black cat, traveling the Universe of Miracles. What do we know? We only saw these forms, traveling thought the Universe of Miracles and carefully Listening to the Silences:

  • CanAria: An Aria everybody can sing.
  • CannedAria: It’s hard to sing canned. But muted brass does have the sound you can listen to for inspiration for your first canned song.
  • LetterOpera: Each part is a letter, not a number. A Love letter, a Miss you letter, a break-up letter. The Letter Opera can take years, sometimes there is a happy last letter. But nobody knows, most audience members already left to go on with their own lives.
  • NecklaceOpera: Instead of numbers, there are Beads, Heartbead(t)s. This opera might be very short, just a few heartbead(t)s, one last stroke even. But there is always a circle, a snake biting it’s own tail. For it is a necklace.
  • The UnSingSong: The song that was never performed, never even sung. It’s only on paper, waiting, for ever.
  • The Tailored Suite: This piece is exactly right for you, completely tailored to your needs. Depending on who you are, the size differs. The colors differ from day to day, moment to moment. The pockets where you can put your personal stuff, will have your favorite lining.
  • A Messy Mess: Church used to be everything, even a market place with carriages come and go. The Messy Mess depicts these scenes. It’s not at all a Holy Sacred piece of Music. Being messy, can be all the bars mixed up, the voices upside down, coffee stains on the paper. But also a more deeper confusion can be felt in this Music. A not knowing where to go, a lack of sense of direction. Perfect in a Universe where Time doesn’t matter. Sitting around being disoriented can be so delightful in a Mess.
  • Mamadrigal: Every toddler sings this, asking for mothers attention. It’s a repetitive chant all children master from early age.
  • CanZone: Italian, of course, a zone where everything can be done in delightful sunshine with a deep colored sea at your feet. We all know what this sounds like? Don’t we?
  • Ricerscar: Traditional this is a composition that has random scenes lined up. Like a walk through a museum with pictures that don’t relate. Then you see a man, a dog, an apple, clouds, a ship, blue, a frame, lot’s of naked women, gods, things that can’t be, things that look too real. But it ends up like a child making a necklace, only using the most bling-bling beads. This never ends up as a unity. It’s like a chattering group of people not listening to each other. This is might be the perfect form for a deaf composer.
  • Da Capo Aria (ABA): It’s the thing you do in the morning: You think of crabbing your key before leaving the house for work. You think of work. You think of crabbing the key before leaving the house for work. It’s boring, but easy to recognize.
  • D’Or-atorium: We’ve tried it, we thought it would be made of gold, d’or. But is wasn’t. Is a lot of people screaming at us at some point in time. Some-one was telling the story, explaining what we could not understand because there was music interfering with the words all the time. We were very tired after this type of Music, we felt heavy as gold: D’or.
  • Rondo: Some places in the Netherlands, this is a cookie, other places in Europe this is a dance. Very confusing at the bakery. A rondo can be anything, as long as a circle of something is involved: a circle of dancing people, a circle of dough, a circle of mushrooms. As long as there is something that is repeated again and again in between.
  • Offic(i)e: In the office, what do we need to say?
  • Choral: choral reefs in all the brightest settings. This Music is endangered.
  • Cantate: You can’t sing nor eat this. Composers write this, but you can’t sing or play it. Not even air-conducting is possible. Nothing is possible with a can’t-ate.
  • Concerto GROSSO: We will quote the German writer Moers: Big is good, bigger is better and biggest is exactly the right size. Every concert that is exactly the right size, be it in number of measures, instruments, singers, pauses, papersize. That all are concerto’s grosso’s. Don’t confuse this with the concerto grotto, which is a type of music only driven by reverb.
  • Ouverture: Opening. The sound of opening a bottle of wine, beer, a jar. Opening a door, ringing before opening a door. “pop” , every pop sounds differently. even a laugh that signals the opening of a stream of thoughts. This music opens doors to other universes, imagination starts here. Opening up skies, looking behind doors, through looking glasses.
  • Fuga: the intertwining of the same thing over and over again. Like a reed basket. In the end, you can’t really see where one straw started and the other ended.
  • Fantasia: Nobody knows what this is, you can only imagine. It’s purely personal. You can’t hear the exact fantasy of the composer in the music. This type of music doesn’t really exist as a composition, but more as your personal fantasy or that composition. This means that even imagining the composition while reading the title, makes a perfect performance. Listening to fantasias in the manner can safe listeners a lot of time.
  • Toccata: It is the Dutch sound that chickens make. But we know that every language has it’s own chicken sound. Not that chickens sound differently everywhere, they sound all the same everywhere to us. But they do of course have to be translated into every language possible. And that is where the complication of sound begins: the interpretation. Toktok! It’s chickens all the way down, not turtles.
  • Prelude: This sounds before everything starts. This is the Silence, the white canvas of the conductor, of the composer even. What happens, before it happens. Sometimes it’s just practical: setting the table, cook dinner, open the bottles (a little ouverture in the prelude). Sometimes, there is a Silence before a Storm. Sometimes that storm is in a glass of water. The prelude sounds very different with wine.
  • Passacaglia: The passing of Time, the passenger, what passed. It’s all gone by now. There is no need to compose it, it will have passed by before you know it. It’s all the same without this kind of music.
  • Symphony: Traditionally a complicated structure with parts and a part with parts in it. But the only thing that matters is that it sounds well. When it did, you heard a symphony. When it didn’t, we hope is was a passacaglia.
  • Son-ate: We don’t discuss what your son ate here. All we can say that from a certain age on, they eat like lions. Until they get sons themselves, then they tend to pass stories of what their Son-ate to interested listeners. This is how the Son-ate was invented. There aren’t many Daughter-ates developed, due to the new scientific insights that a subculture around eating for women might encourage eating disorders. We think that a gender-neutral ‘Ate’ will be better suited for modern society.
  • Serenade: This is what you sing to praise and show love and affection for some-one. But we found it also works really well for screw-drivers, cars, the molecule, gold-fish and because there is often a balcony involved in the staging of these songs, snails with houses.
  • Divertimento: Designed to divert thoughts for a while. This can be done by utter Beauty, transporting you into another world. But it can also be done by composing the worst sounding thing ever and have people complain during and after the performance. The effect is the same: they didn’t think of their own worries for a while. Nothing really matters when you write a divertimento.
  • Nocturne: It’s played when everybody is sleeping. Nobody knows what it really sounds like. Not even people with insomnia.
  • Cassation opera: Cassata is a kind of layered ice-cream you can cut into slices: Ice-cream lasagna. This music is written for sopranos that like to play ice-cold queens. There are a lot of Unsingsongs in these opera’s as well, because of frozen lips and tongues they never get performed. Mostly the opera ends in an disillusioned Silence.
  • Opera buffa: This is music about food, cooking, eating with your hands, grabbing chicken leg and wings, tearing them up with your teeth. Of course, there will be a buffalo on the grill. It’s buffalo, buffa, buffet. All at the same time during a walking dinner, the buffalo not included. Don’t go for the little quiet magic with this music, write an Ouverture with bottle of beer.
  • Opera Comique: The idea is that this is a fun, humorful opera that makes us laugh. But Humor is so time sensitive and we all know: Timing is everything. And timing the performance of your opera decades later, that’s bad timing. Write something dull and slow and not really thought through. It will match in perfectly with the older versions of this style.
  • Symphonic poem: This is a well sounding poem. Usually it’s a kind of random thing, that is too short to be something else with strange words and a guitarist with long hair catching fire by his burning heart. It’s what people do when they are in love, we have to forgive them. Love is a drug we are all blinded by once in a while. But don’t expect this music to make any sense at all.
  • Polonaise: I would love this on my French fries, but it’s actually something you put on Spanish chicken-meals. It’s a finger-food you can walk with in a cue. It’s a bit strange, but walking looking at people’s back for a change makes everybody happy.
  • Mazurka: Might be something sour, but it’s not a tequila or pisco sour. Turns out it’s Russian or somewhere near there. No cocktails. Left us uninterested to further investigate. Music needs color, even when it’s just a small umbrella and a cherry. Vodka doesn’t come with an umbrella, but with snow-boots. In that landscape everything is white, grey or black.
  • Scherzo: This piece of music is a joke. There is a pun intended. When not, it’s custom to laugh anyway to not offend the musicians.
  • Nocturne: It’s an evening, night, sleepy thing. We think it’s written because a lot of composers don’t sleep well, it’s a part of the profession to lay awake in bed, get the best ideas, fall asleep and the next morning finding out you know you forgot one of your best compositions ever. Instead, you write a stupid Nocturne, a little stardust to cover up the strains of being a composer.
  • Impromptu: Improvisation, but written down into the finest detail. Multiplied in print, so every-one can play the same improvisation. Escapes us, this whole idea of a printed improvisation. We suggested to invent a new name for it. But no.
  • Ballade: The ballade is a sung story about some hero nobody ever met or saw….This makes it very easy to write a ballade. You can invent some-one interesting, put some fake details in the text and people start investigating the assumed history for centuries. They will find this person you made up eventually, in the end, all ballades are part of history. Writing them in old, historic languages speeds the process up. It’s easier to become part of history, because you don’t have to be very clear anymore, nobody will really understand it anyway. And we all know, nobody wants to look stupid and ask you …
  • Etude: Interesting choice of word, because an etude of a composer is hardly an etude to a musician. It’s the word for exercise, and it seems to us that the exercise for a composer isn’t that of a musician. Maybe the etude for a composer is? What? The etude for a composer is the scribbling and erasing? Maybe composers have to exercise what not to write most and there best etude is an empty piece of paper?
  • Waltz: flattens all curves, flattens everything, even too slow feet. Only two themes involved circling around each other. A good waltz has a light, airy feel to it. The spin is magical. But when done incorrectly, it flattens feet, crushes roads slowly and heavily.
  • Opera Grande: It’s just a big opera, with lot’s of stages, orchestra’s and singers, conductors everywhere. All kinds of different tempi, harmonics, screaming, chanting, animals walking around, a ZOO. And again chickens in all kinds of different languages you would love to hear or eat canned.
  • Verisme: This is a Dutch word and translates into ‘Far-ism’. This Music sounds as if it comes from far far away. Like from another Universe. This is where the composers hear their ideas before they write them down. As if they would invent their own melodies? Of course not, all Music is already there. Actually, all music is Ver-ism. You have to hear the Music, before you can write it down, or decide not the write it in an Etude.
  • Organum: This is a well organized composition. The best organum is organized A-A-A-A and reminds us of the Mamadrigal, the repetitive song of little children to seek attention from their mother.
  • Motet: Reminds us of the French word for word, but there are no words in a word.
  • Conductus: This Music means there is a conductor. It isn’t clear from the description whether there need to be musicians. There is music for 3 conductors, the score looks like 3 very bright etudes by composers for conductors. In that sense, a conductus is mostly an etude.
  • Canson: Your son can do this.
  • Chansons: Your sons can do this with an exotic Chinees accent.
  • Caccia: The Acaccia is a flower, but a caccia is Italian Dance Music. The word means hunt. We tried to find out what or who is hunted down in this music, but it wasn’t very clear on the dance floor. We prefer the flower, it’s less noisy and easier to keep than a caccia.

By Anneloes Wolters


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