In Sketch of New Aesthetic of Music (published 1907), Ferruccio Busoni
globally describes his ideas on the following subjects.
Music was born free
Busoni suggests that art-works consist of spirit
and "the flavor of the epoch
." While spirit, emotion, and humanity remain
"unchanged in value through the years,", Busoni believes that the form,
manner, and "flavor of the epoch are transient and are aging rapidly.".
When a composer creates a succesful musical work it has succesfully imitated nature and
intepreted the voices of that time. At that point music cannot be bound to 'hallowed
traditions, rules and principles
'. "So what is the aim of music?" 'It was born free,
and to win freedom is its destiny
Absolute music in Busoni's words is like 'program-music'. Absolute music 'lacks freedom
is confined to preconceived symmetrical
forms. "This sort of music ought rather
to be called the ‘architectonic
,’ or ‘symmetric,’ or ‘sectional,’ and derives from the
circumstance that certain composers poured their spirit and their emotion into".
The original creators of the standard forms, used those forms as a loose guide for
freely created music. Modern composers, however, are held back by the them because over time the forms
have become restrictive
. Busoni proposes compositions not defined by forms or programs, but created
out of the 'natural development' of a motive
(i.e. The composer doesn't know where the composition goes or ends,
but he just follows the motive's development)
Notation and interpretation
Busoni is a proponent of improvisation
. When a musician improvises he's trying to capture the music
as he envisions it. Music composition is a form of improvisation but then on paper. Busoni uses
the painter example: "notation is to improvisation as the portrait to the living model. It
is for the interpreter to resolve the rigidity of the signs into primitive emotion."
Music of the future
Busoni envisions a music of the future, but then free from the restraints of the scale system
by classical composers. "we strictly divide ‘consonances from ‘dissonances’—in a sphere where no
dissonances can possibly exist!". People are taught that there are 24 different keys, but according
to Busoni, there are in fact only two: major and minor.
He admits the strenght of a system developed
over 400 years, but asks composers why to limit their musical expression to this system.
Busoni sees a the future with instruments that will fully utilize all of the modal
of the current twelve-note
division of the octave
, but it won’t stop there. He also predicts a
further division of the octave into smaller degrees (see microtonality
Music without dogmas
In Busoni's words: "Let us take thought, how music may be restored to its primitive,
; let us free it from architectonic, acoustic and esthetic dogmas