morton feldman. horror movie guy. (not really)

I feel that I will have a difficult time writing on Morton Feldman. He has a quality to which I don't feel connected. Perhaps I should write on something to which I do have a connection, and that is movies.

Fear not, for this will involve dear Morton. I am playing "Triadic Memories" in the background as I write this, with the hopes I will come up with something, anything. Morty's music has a "horror movie" quality. We've discussed this in class, and I was trying to figure out what, exactly, generates that response from us. Firstly, many horror movie scores resemble "Triadic Memories," as well as some of Morty's other work. The piano can have such a solitary, somber sound that it is appropriate for the situations of the protagonists of many horror films. They are often running away from some evil something-or-other, or at least trying to avoid them.

The piano's variance between high and low notes creates a feeling of uncertainty. Morty, especially, seems to deal with uncertainty throughout "Triadic Memories." One never knows what note will come next. Each section of the song seems to echo the previous section, but with slight variance. The brain wants to associate the notes, and call them the same, but there is a slight tweak. Something does not sit right. This is appropriate for the horror genre as well. Something is creepy and off-kilter with Morty's work, just as something is creepy and off-kilter in the worlds of our protagonists.

The slow pace of Morty's work and the pauses inbetween notes also contribute to the feeling of uncertainty. We are almost unsure of what to do with the silence (thanks, John Cage, for reminding us that everything is music in the non-existent, supposed silences). In turn, we feel unsettled, like everything is not right in the world.

While listening to a cello and piano piece from Feldman, I found the music a combination of beautiful, sad, and still creepy. Feldman's work with tonality, like the paintings of the abstract impressionists, brings forth emotion. This emotion is not tangible, but inexplicable.

And that's all I have to say about that. I tried.

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