Me and Beethoven:
Among all composers, I love Beethoven the most. This part of the blog is dedicated to him.
I recently read the book “My Interview with Beethoven” by L.A. Hider Jones. Since it’s my new habit of writing about stuff that I like, I’m writing about this too.
Why did I choose to read this? Because among all composers, Beethoven is my thing. There are many other great ones (maybe Rachmaninoff gets close, but not a tie), but Ludwig is something else. As a Beethoven lover, I wanted to go beyond his music, and find out more about his personality, life style, and what had happened to him during his life that led him to compose his music. To me, music is not only about the sound. It’s also about the “process,” that is, why did the composer make this, how did he/she feel, etc. The “philosophy” of what happened behind the scenes is “yet more important” than the sound itself (people may disagree here). As Ludwig puts it himself, it’s the composer’s job to take your hand as the audience, and walk you through his/her world. If you don’t go there with the composer, you’ve failed to “understand” the piece.
With this book, I figured, more than ever before, that music comes from deep inside the composer’s brain. This in turn is largely due to his/her environment. The composer’s daily life, with sadness and grief (like Beethoven in Sonata No. 14, Op. 27, when he was parted from countess Guicciardi), happiness and satisfaction, desire, lust, love (like Beethoven in Fur Elise), greed, power, delicacy (like Schubert’s Serenade), oppression, depression (like Rachmaninoff after his first symphony), humiliation, jealousy, frustration, disappointment, excitement, even melancholia (like Schumann went crazy after composing Fantasie in C major), and all different types of human feelings resemble in his/her music.
Beethoven, in this book, taught me how to look at music and how to think about it, he taught me where music comes from, he taught me the purpose of music, he taught me what music is all about. Bottom line is, I always wondered about the underlying “thought” behind any piece of music. With this book, I learned it! All masterpieces composed by Beethoven, are simply a result of what happened to him on a daily basis! (Apr 23, 2018)
My greatest passion in life is music. I play guitar and piano, and have started learning Setar (an Iranian classical instrument). In this part of the blog, I’ve decided to write about where western music and Iranian classical music match or don’t match with the purpose of understanding their similarities and differences. The assumption in this blog is that the only reader is the author, so I assume the reader has an advanced music theory background.
Let’s start with the scales. In Iranian classical music, they don’t call them scales, they call them systems. For instance, the simplest system is Maahoor and a specific piece of music may be written in Maahoor. Now, let’s dig into scales.
1- C major
Notes in this scale are C-D-E-F-G-A-B.
Chords in this scale are: C-Dm-Em-F-G-Am-Bdim.
Recently, I learned that the equivalent Iranian classical scale to C, is a system called Maahoor. The reason I’m saying they’re equivalent, is that in Maahoor, too, there are no sharps or flats. I’m yet to investigate whether we have the same chords in Maahoor.
Notes in this scale are: F# – G# – A – B – C# – D – E
Chords in this scale are: F#m – G#dim – A – Bm – C#m – D – E
I watching a Youtube video lately that said this is equivalent to Bayat-e Shiraz in Iranian classical music. I need to make sure about this one.