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Well, I would say there's only so much freeform you can do with a piano--fixed notes--and Debussy, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky did what you describe--cutting loose and composing freeform--but composing rather than a live improvisation (a la Keith Jarret)--so I suggest they were completely free (or became free) to use sounds as they preferred.  

Especially, I think Stravinsky's use of horns is very free--I think of brass and woodwind as being less needy of exact tonal relationships (I don't know--because in themselves their sound worlds are fairly variegated--)

Then (in my theory) came WWI and tonality was frivolity was not understanding the depth of resonance--tonality was a pretending that there could be consonance in a world where--etc....

The next move was to use synthesised sounds (Messiaen's use of the Martenot)--and then...well...but yeah!  I think there is a wide space for compositions that experiment with the full range of tibral expressions available through whatever instruments can be brought together:

To get people to repeat the music at other moments and in other locations, it has to be created in a medium where re-production is possible--so there's a technical apsect--but anyways, I think the freedom to work without predefined structure and method arrived with (or just before) Beethoven.  For my ears, the serialist exercises sound much better played on a classical guitar--so timbre has a lot to do with it--

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed May 14th, 2008 at 05:56:42 AM EST
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