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Department for counterfactual music history


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Showing 1-25 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 13, 2012 9:57:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 10:08:13 AM PDT
From wiki:
>>Counterfactual history, also sometimes referred to as virtual history, is a form of historiography that attempts to answer "what if" questions known as counterfactuals. It seeks to explore history and historical incidents by means of extrapolating a timeline in which certain key historical events did not happen or had an outcome which was different from that which did in fact occur.<<

So a counterfactual historian could ask the question: "What would have happened to Germany, Europe and the rest of the world if Hitler hadn't been born?"

Let us apply this method to music history!

We could have a lot of fun with this...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterfactual_history

Posted on May 13, 2012 10:03:09 AM PDT
Wolfgang had a sister who was also very talented musically and who performed with Wolfi at the royal courts in Europe in their childhood. So I imagine that if women's lib had happened a few hundred years earlier we might have had two Mozarts (plus Leopold of course) and that the female Mozart would be just as good as the male Mozart. I am asuming that Wolfi's sister was as talented as Wolfgang himself - talents she couldn't unfold, because a woman just couldn't be a composer in the 18th centrury.

Posted on May 13, 2012 10:16:56 AM PDT
If Beethoven hadn't had the decease that eventually made him deaf he wouldn't have had to struggle so much in his life and thus wouldn't have had the expericences in his personal life that resulted in the "victory through struggle" masterpieces he composed. With this lighter Beethoven Romanticism consequently wouldn't have been quite as dark an affair.

Posted on May 13, 2012 11:51:26 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 15, 2012 1:04:16 PM PDT]

Posted on May 13, 2012 11:54:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 11:54:38 AM PDT
KenOC says:
In literature this is known as "alternate history." One of my favorites is Turtledove's "Guns of the South." What if Lee's armies in the Civil War had been supplied with M-16s and plenty of ammo? The answer turns out to be a bit complex.

Posted on May 13, 2012 12:11:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 22, 2012 9:04:35 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 1:04:13 PM PDT
carnola says:
Ken,

Actually, in "Guns of the South," South Africans supplied them with AK-47s--very entertaining.

His WWII series (what if aliens had invaded Earth in the middle of WWII?) had me for a while, but it ended up getting a little too bizarre by the third book.

Posted on May 13, 2012 1:09:24 PM PDT
carnola says:
What if penicillin had been discovered at the beginning of the 19th century? Longer, healthier lives (perhaps) for Schubert, Smetana, Schumann (?), etc.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 1:25:45 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Thanks carnola! Been a while...

Turtledove's later books are too thick and too slack for me.

Posted on May 13, 2012 2:21:46 PM PDT
What if the first performance of 4'33" had been on the violin instead of the piano and the musician had been Larry Fine instead of David Tudor? Not much would have been different except the audience may have laughed thinking the piece was a joke instead of being bewildered and the reviews of the concert would have been a bit different based on a different performer and a different instrument but the public at large still wouldn't have considered it anything more than a gimmick and its impact on the evolution of music would have been about what it is now, almost nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 2:23:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 3:34:15 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Ah, but Omar: What if the first performance had been by the Vienna Philharmonic? Then it would get some respect! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 3:31:57 PM PDT
It depends on the conductor! If it had been Bernstein it may have gotten a performance too flambuoyant in its reverent solemnity distracting from the natural sounds that should emerge unintentionally and if the conductor had been Van Karajan the performance would have been too smooth and polished giving it a contrived feel rather than one of letting the natural sounds emanate without any external distractions. I think a conductor with very little personality that nobody would have noticed would have been perfect. I am not sure who that would have been in 1952. Maybe you could help me out on that one.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 3:52:32 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:
"I think a conductor with very little personality that nobody would have noticed would have been perfect. I am not sure who that would have been in 1952."

If only Richard Strauss could've lived on a few more years & been that conductor. Was there ever one less demonstrative??

Kim.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 4:08:32 PM PDT
K. Beazley says:
march,

"Schubert's Quartettsatz, String Quintet, and 887 Quartet were published in the 1820s/30s instead of the 1850s, thus influencing the direction of Mendelssohn and Schumann's chamber music instead of leapfrogging over them to leave their indelible stamp on Brahms' chamber music of the 1860s and 1870s (piano quintet, string quartets, etc.) when they were rediscovered."

Let's go the whole hog here: What if Mozart, Beethoven & Schubert had all enjoyed a longer life span, which, even with Beethoven's 57 years, pales in comparison with Haydn, who was contemporary with all of them bar Schubert. If they'd all gotten to 70 it's impossible to imagine what riches we would now possess!

Kim.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 5:59:37 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 22, 2012 9:04:44 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 6:06:57 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Only if his gunrack was out of the shop.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 6:07:19 PM PDT
"Let's go the whole hog here: What if Mozart, Beethoven & Schubert had all enjoyed a longer life span, which, even with Beethoven's 57 years, pales in comparison with Haydn, who was contemporary with all of them bar Schubert. If they'd all gotten to 70 it's impossible to imagine what riches we would now possess!"

That would be an absolute nightmare for the modern composer who already has a hard enough time getting his works performed and recorded! You could throw in Chopin, Mendelssohnn, and Bizet, and a few others, who all lived short of 40 years. Maybe Chopin would have tried something that didn't involve the piano. Maybe Mendelssohnn would have composed something more profound, maybe Bizet would have become the French Verdi, or at least Puccini, rather than a French one hit wonder.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 6:08:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 10:48:34 PM PDT
Millions,

You know I don't drink alcoholic beverages but I would have eaten the barbeque and been the designated driver for all those who passed out from boredom!

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 8:19:17 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 22, 2012 9:04:47 AM PDT]

Posted on May 13, 2012 8:30:56 PM PDT
John Ruggeri says:
If there werer not Enrico Caruso there would a close battle for the Number 1 tenor in his repetoire who left recordings.
My history reads "Rico et alia".

Posted on May 13, 2012 8:37:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 22, 2012 9:04:50 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 8:45:50 PM PDT
barbW says:
"...when they were rediscovered."

Did Brahms hear them performed?

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 4:07:34 AM PDT
MacDoom says:
Rasmus,

"What would have happened to Germany, Europe and the rest of the world if Hitler hadn't been born?"

In his book 'Making History', Stephen Fry explores this idea in an extremely readable and thoght-provoking novel. Recommended!

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 4:53:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 14, 2012 4:54:50 AM PDT
MacDoom

Thank you for the recommendation - sounds interesting.

Your post reminded me about the real life story about the man who had Hitler in his fore sight during World War 1, but decided not to pull the trigger.

Here is the story:

http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/tandey.htm

>>As the ferocious battle wound down and enemy troops surrendered or retreated a wounded German soldier limped out of the maelstrom and into Private Tandey's line of fire, the battle weary man never raised his rifle and just stared at Tandey resigned to the inevitable. "I took aim but couldn't shoot a wounded man," said Tandey, "so I let him go." <<

Had he pulled the trigger he would probably have had a bad conscience for the rest of his life... think about it...

Posted on May 14, 2012 5:05:43 AM PDT
carnola says:
What would have happened to music in Russia if the Russian Revolution had failed? (Although the Tsar and his crew had the country in pretty sorry shape by that time--still, if Kerensky had consolidated power or Trotsky defeated Stalin in the 20s, the musical scene may not have been as oppressive)
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  26
Initial post:  May 13, 2012
Latest post:  May 14, 2012

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