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What does 'experimental' mean, in 'experimental music'?

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  • #61






    Quote Originally Posted by Mooginator
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    One does not simply enter in "experimental" music BEFORE they have done anything else i.e. learn about music, how to play an instrument, etc... I stick to my statements.




    In the United States, experimental music activity is unregulated. It must be different in your country. Are the experimental music police over there well-trained and well-paid?

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    • #62






      Quote Originally Posted by Mooginator
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      The original post was about " experimental" music, not experimenting with music. The quotation marks, at least the way I read it, denoted a concerted effort to expand beyond typical boundaries within a given genre. One does not simply enter in "experimental" music BEFORE they have done anything else i.e. learn about music, how to play an instrument, etc... I stick to my statements.




      Several people have pointed out that when we talk about 'experimental music' we are not talking about slight deviations from sub genres. But you want to enforce your interpretation, which is your right. I'll simply disregard it.

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      • #63






        Quote Originally Posted by girevik
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        In the United States, experimental music activity is unregulated. It must be different in your country. Are the experimental music police over there well-trained and well-paid?




        That made me laugh...

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        • #64






          Quote Originally Posted by soundwave106
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          Lou Reed's another example, "Metal Machine Music" is an experiment entirely based on noise drones.




          I also forgot to comment on this... I have this record and got Lou Reed to autograph it for me at some book festival about a decade ago. There was some Q&A session and we had a good discussion about it. I also have Boyd Rice's "Pagan Muzak" autographed in my collection as well.
          Hard: JP-8000, MC-505, R3, microSTATION, Moog Theremin, miniKP, Ineko, Bitrman
          Soft: Ableton Live 8, Korg Legacy Collection, FM8, D16 Classic Boxes/SilverLine Collection

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          • #65






            Quote Originally Posted by Mooginator
            View Post

            The original post was about " experimental" music, not experimenting with music. The quotation marks, at least the way I read it, denoted a concerted effort to expand beyond typical boundaries within a given genre. One does not simply enter in "experimental" music BEFORE they have done anything else i.e. learn about music, how to play an instrument, etc... I stick to my statements.






            +1
            Kronos, Fant.G8, PC3X, K2500RS, A6, Q, M3-61, Fant.X7, Motif 8, EX5(x2), V-Synth, K2000(x2), D50, JD800, JD990, JP8080, XP30, MC909, MC505, JX-10, JX-305, TR-707, Juno 1, DR-202, Radias, Triton Pro, Wavest. SR, EMX1, ESX1, ER-1, EA-1, R3, Poly 800, RS7000, FS1R (x2), RM1X, AN200, DX200, QY70, QY100, K5000S, OB-12, Maschine,ASR10,ASR88,ASR-X Pro, EPS,Virus B, Equinox,E-Mu XL-7,MiniAK, Synthstation,X-Station, XioSynth,TG33,Venom,V50,UltraNova,Z1,Spark,Moog LP Stage II, JP8000,Tetra,Supernova 2.

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            • #66
              Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell...

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              • #67
                Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell...

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                • #68






                  Quote Originally Posted by mildbill
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                  What does 'experimental' mean, in 'experimental music'?







                  It means you don't know what you're doing.



                  If you know what you're doing, it's not experimental.










                  Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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                  That is just nonsense on so many levels. My sarcastic remark is that it is YOU who don't know what you're doing.








                  Perhaps I should re-phrase it. Experimental to me means 'I'm going to try something, and I don't know what the outcome will be.'



                  If you know the outcome, and the process involved to achieve the desired outcome, I don't consider it 'experimental'.

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                  • #69






                    Quote Originally Posted by Mooginator
                    View Post

                    The original post was about " experimental" music, not experimenting with music. The quotation marks, at least the way I read it, denoted a concerted effort to expand beyond typical boundaries within a given genre. One does not simply enter in "experimental" music BEFORE they have done anything else i.e. learn about music, how to play an instrument, etc... I stick to my statements.




                    How about the following scenario...



                    You make a deal with Guitar Center to allow you full access to any one of their stores for one entire day. You then invite several kindergarten classes with practically little knowledge of any musical instruments to run amok and "jam out" on instruments for hours. Every instrument would be set up to be recorded during the entire event. Using what you've just recorded as a sound source, you then edit down and mix everything together into to short audio snippets to be pressed on record. You could even take things one step further and translate everything note by note to sheet music. As an agreement with Guitar Center, you've now got the task of marketing these two products to the public... but what as?
                    Hard: JP-8000, MC-505, R3, microSTATION, Moog Theremin, miniKP, Ineko, Bitrman
                    Soft: Ableton Live 8, Korg Legacy Collection, FM8, D16 Classic Boxes/SilverLine Collection

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                    • #70






                      Quote Originally Posted by Re-Member
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                      How about the following scenario...



                      You make a deal with Guitar Center to allow you full access to any one of their stores for one entire day. You then invite several kindergarten classes with practically little knowledge of any musical instruments to run amok and "jam out" on instruments for hours. Every instrument would be set up to be recorded during the entire event. Using what you've just recorded as a sound source, you then edit down and mix everything together into to short audio snippets to be pressed on record. You could even take things one step further and translate everything note by note to sheet music. As an agreement with Guitar Center, you've now got the task of marketing these two products to the public... but what as?




                      Sounds a little Flaming Lips to me...
                      ---
                      https://soundcloud.com/patrickaei

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                      • #71
                        Don't give them any ideas. Sounds like the sort of thing they would do.
                        http://soundcloud.com/liliththekitten

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                        • #72






                          Quote Originally Posted by Mooginator
                          View Post

                          The original post was about " experimental" music, not experimenting with music. The quotation marks, at least the way I read it, denoted a concerted effort to expand beyond typical boundaries within a given genre. One does not simply enter in "experimental" music BEFORE they have done anything else i.e. learn about music, how to play an instrument, etc... I stick to my statements.




                          Once years ago, I was talking to a mentor of mine who was a really fine painter, and I asked him, "What if just anybody, not necessarily an accomplished artist, came along and invented cubism? Would it mean the same thing?"



                          I'll never forget his answer: "No. It wouldn't. It's what you bring to the table that gives something like cubism its weight and meaning. You don't START with cubism and abstraction. Context is everything. Braque, Cezanne, and especially Picasso had already mastered realism, and cubism was the next step in exploding the dimensions that were previously only visible from a single perspective. They EARNED it."



                          So I agree with Mooginator. It can be cheap and even meaningless to just walk in without any background, without any miles tread in music, and start banging things together and proclaiming, "Look at me. I'm experimenting."



                          In experimental music, it's not just a matter of what you do. It's WHY you're doing it. It's also a matter of what you did BEFORE it that induced you to experiment. There is continuity in art. There is such a thing as evolution in the artist. Context and precedent, it turns out, mean a lot. Experimentation, if it's meaningful, is a reaction to prior thought and knowing.



                          I also like STG's term "exploratory music." It sounds -- appropriately, I think -- a bit more like climbing a mountain for the first time than mixing vials in a lab. It sounds more like discovery than synthesis, which in my experience hits closer to the mark.



                          And I do think it's important to separate out the various motives people bring to 'experimental music', if we're to really understand it and reasonably define it.
                          Kronos, Fant.G8, PC3X, K2500RS, A6, Q, M3-61, Fant.X7, Motif 8, EX5(x2), V-Synth, K2000(x2), D50, JD800, JD990, JP8080, XP30, MC909, MC505, JX-10, JX-305, TR-707, Juno 1, DR-202, Radias, Triton Pro, Wavest. SR, EMX1, ESX1, ER-1, EA-1, R3, Poly 800, RS7000, FS1R (x2), RM1X, AN200, DX200, QY70, QY100, K5000S, OB-12, Maschine,ASR10,ASR88,ASR-X Pro, EPS,Virus B, Equinox,E-Mu XL-7,MiniAK, Synthstation,X-Station, XioSynth,TG33,Venom,V50,UltraNova,Z1,Spark,Moog LP Stage II, JP8000,Tetra,Supernova 2.

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                          • #73
                            ok, but the obvious negativity in the first formulation is what I was objecting to. I'm not sure that I've ever heard someone say 'you don't know what you're doing' and mean it as a compliment. One can deliberately set up 'experiments' where one doesn't know the outcome, but it would be false to say that (in many cases) that person doesn't know what he is doing. But I"m open also to there being music that we'd call 'experimental' even if the person knows exactly what the outcome will be. Ultimately - if they put the music out there, and don't proclaim that "I didn't know the outcome" then one is judging the music solely by the results. As I tried to articulate - I think that there are two main components to the judgement that music is experimental - one is the experience and process of the person making it, but the other is the experience of the listener. I might experiment all I want in all sorts of ways, but if the output is some lame pop crap that no one would recognize as 'experimental music' - well, that counts too.









                            Quote Originally Posted by mildbill
                            View Post

                            Perhaps I should re-phrase it. Experimental to me means 'I'm going to try something, and I don't know what the outcome will be.'



                            If you know the outcome, and the process involved to achieve the desired outcome, I don't consider it 'experimental'.




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                            • #74
                              I"m having enormous trouble posting right now. This is to zoink. I'll try to get the quote in here if I can...



                              Well, I"m not sure why your friend is relevant.



                              this is all conceptual, and linguistic.



                              If someone recommended a composer to you highly, and you listened to their work, and you were just floored by it. It did all of the things that new, interesting music should do, etc - and it was different - you had never heard anything like it before. Well, I think that means something. But then suppose you found out that it was made by someone with no training, or experience in the traditional musical components. You really have 2 choices. You can simply decide that you were wrong based on this preconception about who can create good music, or you can reevaluate your preconception.



                              What you friend, I think is really saying, is that he doesn't think that it's possible for such a person to exist. But his point isn't conceptual.



                              I know people whose music I very much respect, who never played a real instrument, and have no traditional training. That to me is enough of a counterexample to your ideoiogy that I simply can't take it seriously. The other counterexample, which admittedly is even more subjective, is that when I am 'experimenting' with sounds, I simply don't feel the need, on any level at all, for more training in harmony, etc, in my background.



                              I suspect that people who require these things, BY DEFINITION, are simply people with rather conservative tastes. They want to hear that trace of harmony, or other training, in the music. They get uncomfortable when they are challenged by stuff that puzzles them at first.'



                              What I have never heard at all, not even close, is any hint of an actual argument about why exactly one must know harmony in order to avoid it altogether, versus that the presuppositions formed in learning it are a disadvantage. It's all ideology. People are OFFENDED by the notion that maybe this training isn't really helpful in making other sorts of music, so they ideologically devalue the music. 4'33" did not require traditional classical training to write, and whether Cage had it or not shouldn't affect one's appreciation (or not) of the piece and its ideas. The real issue here is an ideological predisposition AGAINST traditional backgrounds, but there is NO logic to it.

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                              • #75






                                Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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                                Well, I"m not sure why your friend is relevant.






                                I can see that.











                                Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
                                View Post

                                If someone recommended a composer to you highly, and you listened to their work, and you were just floored by it. It did all of the things that new, interesting music should do, etc - and it was different - you had never heard anything like it before. Well, I think that means something. But then suppose you found out that it was made by someone with no training, or experience in the traditional musical components. You really have 2 choices. You can simply decide that you were wrong based on this preconception about who can create good music, or you can reevaluate your preconception.




                                There is no real equivalency in your example to what I said. I'm not concerned with "training." I'm concerned with "understanding." If a person without training possesses the understanding to undertake 'experimental music' with some real insight, then that's one thing.



                                But if a room full of chimpanzees painted the Mona Lisa, wrote Hamlet, and spontaneously composed Clare de Lune, they wouldn't even know what they had done. And for that reason, it wouldn't really matter that they did it (apart from amazement at the sheer unlikelihood of it). The absence of mindfulness changes its significance and meaning.



                                And what I'm saying is, if for example someone with an extensive understanding of tonality composes something atonal as a reaction to tonality (i.e. as an exploration outside of it), it means something different from the atonal meanderings of someone with no understanding of tonality. And this is true of *any* criterion or feature of music, whether experimental or conventional.



                                Context matters.



                                The issue regarding "training" is a straw man.



                                It turns out that tonality, rhythm, harmony in general, and counterpoint are not arbitrary features of music. There is an empirically provable physical basis for their status as objectives in music. Our auditory sense registers proportions of pitch as they combine in harmonies, and what we experience subjectively (even emotionally) as the pleasure of harmony and the displeasure of its opposite actually correspond very consistently with the math behind it.



                                The mistake that an 'experimental musician' might make is in thinking that all of the so-called "rules" of conventional music are arbitrary, made up, even encultured. And it's simply not that simple. You can't write it all off as an arbitrary fabrication, compose your own symphony of sampled farts, and call it insightful experimental music.



                                To understand principles relating to the mathematics of pitch and rhythm, for example -- I don't care how you acquire the understanding -- is to apprehend something universal and essential about music as a physical phenomenon.



                                I think what you're arguing for are the merits of experimental music independent of the existence of conventional music -- i.e. as an organic creation that isn't a reaction to anything. Fair enough.



                                But experimental music that is composed as an ABSTRACTION (to borrow from the Picasso example) is a different animal.



                                This is why I think it's important to explore the motivations for making such music.
                                Kronos, Fant.G8, PC3X, K2500RS, A6, Q, M3-61, Fant.X7, Motif 8, EX5(x2), V-Synth, K2000(x2), D50, JD800, JD990, JP8080, XP30, MC909, MC505, JX-10, JX-305, TR-707, Juno 1, DR-202, Radias, Triton Pro, Wavest. SR, EMX1, ESX1, ER-1, EA-1, R3, Poly 800, RS7000, FS1R (x2), RM1X, AN200, DX200, QY70, QY100, K5000S, OB-12, Maschine,ASR10,ASR88,ASR-X Pro, EPS,Virus B, Equinox,E-Mu XL-7,MiniAK, Synthstation,X-Station, XioSynth,TG33,Venom,V50,UltraNova,Z1,Spark,Moog LP Stage II, JP8000,Tetra,Supernova 2.

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