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  • #76
    Interesting discussion. Zoink argues from the point of view of the listener, Drool argues from the point of view of the participant. You can both be right.



    <long incoherent ramble deleted/>
    Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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    • #77






      Quote Originally Posted by zoink
      View Post



      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.




      "the understanding to undertake 'experimental music' with some real insight". That's a very curious statement. I don't really have any clue as to what it means.








      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 (except for the sheer unlikelihood of it). The absence of mindfulness changes its significance and meaning.



      Could you tell the difference between the Mona Lisa that the chimps painted without understanding, and the real one, if they were exactly the same? Or 2 pieces of music that were exactly the same? Of course you couldn't. This is ideology, pure and simple, and nothing more. Of course, in the case of the chimps, the odds that they would produce the Mona Lisa, or a great piece of music, are infinitesimal. And that's the point, really. So, the real issue comes down to whether one must understand X, to compose something that doesn't use X. And all I see in support of this - that a person who doesn't understand harmony (and what exactly does that really mean? If one loves Bach, for instance, but hasn't studied harmony - does he "understand it"? Can you always tell, if you listen to music that disregards harmony, what the person's background in harmony is? NONSENSE. Just pure ideology.








      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.



      But of course, if someone composes music that doesn't use harmony, it may not be a "reaction to tonality". That's simply ridiculous. Of course, my music probably sucks by definition, according to your ideology, but I don't compose atonal music out of a 'reaction to tonality'. I'm not even sure what that is. I try to create music that I like. Of course, you're 'cooking the books' if you say that any atonal composition must be 'reacting' to tonality - because of course, if you're reacting 'point by point' as it were, to something, you have to have some understanding of it. but that presupposition is dramatically false.








      Context matters.



      Of course it does, but it doesn't imply that accepting that premise (which we both do) means that our respective reasoning is correct, or that we understand the context of the conversation, and the terms involved.








      The issue regarding "training" is a straw man.



      Not really. Most people who really "understand" harmony have some training in it. Or maybe you just mean, 'at one time, believed it to be necessary'.








      It turns out that tonality, rhythm, harmony in general, and counterpoint are not arbitrary features of music.



      'Arbitrary'? That's a strange term to use here. I claim, and certainly I'm not alone in the understanding of contemporary music, that they are not necessary. If you say that they are necessary, then you are presupposing that music that doesn't use them is not really music.








      There is an empirically provable physical basis for their status as objectives in music.



      That is simply hilarious. Please - prove it. 'Oh, my dear sir, what you are listening to and believe is music, is not really, because I can prove that it isn't.'.








      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.



      So? that in no way whatsoever says that it's 'all she wrote' as far as what music is. Are you acdtually saying that no one can respond in similar ways to atonal, non harmonic music? What exactly are people experiencing who love such music? This is IDEOLOGY.








      The mistake that an 'experimental musician' might make is in thinking that all of the so-called "rules" of conventional music are arbitrary,



      No one has said that they are arbitray. There is a different between them being unnecessary and them being arbitrary. I wouldn't consider the rules of music in the 18th century to be arbitrary, but obviously they were extended to a great degree before the acceptance of non-harmonic music began. The rules at any given time may not be arbitrary - they can be very self consistent, but also based on a lesser understanding on what music can be. Newton's laws weren't arbitrary because they became extended in the 20th century.








      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.



      This is just so insulting and ridiculous. Can you really be claiming that someone without an understanding of harmony isn't serious at all? IDEOLOGY. And of course, as I"m saying - unnecessary and arbitrary are simply not the same thing.








      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.



      huh? I'm not entirely sure that even the so called great composers understood the mathematics. You sure about that? I doubt it. This is IDEOLOGY, and nothing more. The burden of proof is on YOU to actually show that the understanding, not only of harmony, but the mathematics behind it, is necessary to make music that totally ignores harmony entirely. IDEOLOGY








      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.



      Well that's a little better.








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



      I think that you mean that music that is created with disregard to the actual result is a 'different animal'. I've already addressed that.








      This is why I think it's important to explore the motivations for making such music.



      It's really simple. No matter what the 'understanding', whether one composes popular music, traditional classical music, noise music, or more 'pure' experimental music, quality matters. What exactly quality is and how it's evaluated - that's another matter. but it's not like more experimental music is somehow different than anything else. There's crap everywhere. So what?

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      • #78
        . I have emphasized that there are 2 viewpoints from which one can assess what is expermental - the process itself, but also (I think obviously) the result. So what you're saying isn't true at all.









        Quote Originally Posted by mate_stubb
        View Post

        Interesting discussion. Zoink argues from the point of view of the listener, Drool argues from the point of view of the participant. You can both be right.



        <long incoherent ramble deleted/>




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        • #79






          Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
          View Post

          "the understanding to undertake 'experimental music' with some real insight". That's a very curious statement. I don't really have any clue as to what it means.






          It's simple.



          Experimental music can and often does possess the same structural features that conventional music has. I'm talking here of rhythm, harmony, pitch as a relative and absolute quanity, etc.



          Knowledge of theory informs this practice. Theory gives you knowledge of the features of music, a mindful handle on the variables you can change experimentally. It doesn't necessarily require that you follow 'rules' that govern these features in western music.



          And for the record, even Pythagoras reportedly understood the mathematical relationship between the length of a string and its pitch when strummed. 2:1 for an octave, 3:2 for a fifth, etc. And yes, this mathematical understanding has informed music theory for centuries.
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          • #80






            Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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            Could you tell the difference between the Mona Lisa that the chimps painted without understanding, and the real one, if they were exactly the same?




            What is important is that the chimps wouldn't even know what they had done -- not the slightest inkling.



            But Leonardo would.
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            • #81






              Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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              So, the real issue comes down to whether one must understand X, to compose something that doesn't use X.




              No. There are certain "X's" that you often cannot avoid using if you're making music at all.



              The issue then is whether understanding what you're using makes a difference in HOW you use it, or in what the final result means. I would argue that it does.



              Music theory is not just a set of rules for how music is made according to western European dictates. More broadly it is an understanding of the features of music in general.
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              • #82






                Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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                That is simply hilarious. Please - prove it.




                It's very easy to prove.



                Play a D major chord for a child untrained in music, then play a D minor chord, and ask him/her which one is the "happy" chord, and which is the "unhappy" chord.



                I'm not even arguing for any kind of universalism here. This is just a curious fact that points to some basis in the physics of sound for why major and minor chords came to be. A LOT of what we now call 'music theory' arose out of observations like these. In other words, many of the "rules" started out as observed correlations between the physics of sound in music and music's effects on listeners.



                You're arguing on the one hand that experimental music doesn't have to involve harmony, while I'm arguing that any two or more pitches played simultaneously constitute a form of harmony in their own right. I'm saying that you arguably can't escape 'harmony' as a factor in *any* kind of music, in so far as two or more different notes are being played.



                You could even create a system of 'harmony' based on some initial proportion, and develop it further as a deductive mathematical exercise if you wanted to. As strange and "experimental" as it might sound, I would argue that it's still a form of harmony. A listener might register it as discordant, but that would be based on an innate sense of concordance.



                As for rhythm and tempo, you could also create an experimental piece that is completely arhythmic, but it would still have a tempo, however changing and erratic. Even if your experimental piece only consisted of two events -- each separated by 3 hours, 43 minutes, and 5.27 seconds of silence -- it still has a tempo. There is still a "rhythm" to it. You cannot escape it.
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                • #83
                  I'll be honest, I more side with zoink here, partially. Great experimental artists often have great knowledge of traditional music so they know exactly what rules to break. In music, the best example I can think of is probably Arnold Schoenberg, the radical experimenter in classical music of his time. His other works include the more Mahler-esque Gurre-Lieder -- he could compose in that style if he wanted to. Boulez certainly could conduct a Mahler piece, and I imagine if he wanted to he could compose in that style as well. Many of the artists that push new technique painted more traditional work as well (at least in the beginning). Salvador Dali comes to mind.



                  There is room in the experimental world for art that is made by people completely without knowledge of *any* technique, however, chances are, that art will be relegated to the "outsider art" status -- and I'm talking of the Wesley Willis type, where there's a bit of kitsch novelty.



                  More common is experimental techniques applied to pop music, usually done by people with pop technique but less formal classical training. The music is probably not all formalized technique that people think about and write essays on, but the influence is there. Early industrial music (Einst
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                  • #84
                    I know about Pythagoras. I'm not sure how it's relevant to anything that I've said.



                    I don't think that there is much debate that if one is composing music that is based in complex traditional harmony, etc, that one will probably be served well with a theoretical background. My point is that music doesn't require this, and that it's quite a stretch to claim that this theory is required for music that doesn't use this at all.









                    Quote Originally Posted by zoink
                    View Post

                    It's simple.



                    Experimental music can and often does possess the same structural features that conventional music has. I'm talking here of rhythm, harmony, pitch as a relative and absolute quanity, etc.



                    Knowledge of theory informs this practice. Theory gives you knowledge of the features of music, a mindful handle on the variables you can change experimentally. It doesn't necessarily require that you follow 'rules' that govern these features in western music.



                    And for the record, even Pythagoras reportedly understood the mathematical relationship between the length of a string and its pitch when strummed. 2:1 for an octave, 3:2 for a fifth, etc. And yes, this mathematical understanding has informed music theory for centuries.




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                    • #85






                      Quote Originally Posted by zoink
                      View Post

                      What is important is that the chimps wouldn't even know what they had done -- not the slightest inkling.



                      But Leonardo would.




                      I realize that this is important to the chimp, and to Leonardo. But if the paintings were the same, you couldn't tell the difference. If the work moved you, it would be kind of silly to revise your opinion after the fact simply because you found out that the author didn't have the kind of background that you require.

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                      • #86






                        Quote Originally Posted by zoink
                        View Post

                        No. There are certain "X's" that you often cannot avoid using if you're making music at all.



                        The issue then is whether understanding what you're using makes a difference in HOW you use it, or in what the final result means. I would argue that it does.



                        Music theory is not just a set of rules for how music is made according to western European dictates. More broadly it is an understanding of the features of music in general.




                        Well, here is, I think where your reasoning seems circular to me. I claim that music does not require these elements. I don't think that it's true to say for instance, because a piece might have some hints of pitch in it, that it 'uses' harmony in the same sense that traditional music does. If one is open to say, the sounds that one hears in the environment, it can be enjoyable to listen to the noises of traffic, or other noises of civilization. Some of these sounds obviously can be pitched. But the 'music' doesn't use harmony, and obviously no understanding of harmony is possessed by the machines. Same for rhythm. I put quotes around music because I think that human intervention is required LINGUISTICALLY to correctly consider something music, but one can certainly arrange sound in time without using these traditional elements. Not applying knowledge of harmony doesn't mean that one avoids all pitched sounds at all. Pitch can be understood as a subset of timbre...

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                        • #87
                          The test there would be to play this to a child who had never heard any music at all before....I think that your version proves nothing at all. I'd also argue that music doesn't carry meaning except by convention, or perhaps if there is anything to the test above, in very simple cases. But (to my ears and mind) music starts becoming bombastic and sentimental when the composer understands himself to be infusing it with great meaning.



                          And as I said above - just because pitch might exist in a piece does not mean that the piece 'uses harmony'. And I would argue about the rhythm examples that you give - you can create some kind of technical requirement for tempo to exist, and then say that a piece has it. As far as tempo - I'm not really sure what in the world your argument is there. Surely one does not need a theoretical background to understand tempo, and also surely while tempo can probably be derived in some sense from passages if you come up with a formula, I'm not sure where a theoretical background is required here....









                          Quote Originally Posted by zoink
                          View Post

                          It's very easy to prove.



                          Play a D major chord for a child untrained in music, then play a D minor chord, and ask him/her which one is the "happy" chord, and which is the "unhappy" chord.



                          I'm not even arguing for any kind of universalism here. This is just a curious fact that points to some basis in the physics of sound for why major and minor chords came to be. A LOT of what we now call 'music theory' arose out of observations like these. In other words, many of the "rules" started out as observed correlations between the physics of sound in music and music's effects on listeners.



                          You're arguing on the one hand that experimental music doesn't have to involve harmony, while I'm arguing that any two or more pitches played simultaneously constitute a form of harmony in their own right. I'm saying that you arguably can't escape 'harmony' as a factor in *any* kind of music, in so far as two or more different notes are being played.



                          You could even create a system of 'harmony' based on some initial proportion, and develop it further as a deductive mathematical exercise if you wanted to. As strange and "experimental" as it might sound, I would argue that it's still a form of harmony. A listener might register it as discordant, but that would be based on an innate sense of concordance.



                          As for rhythm and tempo, you could also create an experimental piece that is completely arhythmic, but it would still have a tempo, however changing and erratic. Even if your experimental piece only consisted of two events -- each separated by 3 hours, 43 minutes, and 5.27 seconds of silence -- it still has a tempo. There is still a "rhythm" to it. You cannot escape it.




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                          • #88
                            When did I ever claim that some experimental artists don't have a big theoretical background? I certainly didn't. Citing specific examples of composers who might have been considered experimental, but also came out of a traditional background does nothing at all to show that this background is required. Perhaps again, since violin is my 'real instrument', I'll make an analogy. One could cite specific violinists with classical training and then claim that classical training is necessary to be a good improviser on the violin. But then there are counterexamples...



                            you mention people 'without technique'. But I think that there is a rather large gap between not having traditional theory or training on an instrument, and not having any technique. Generally, for instance, if one is using electronic instruments to compose, one must develop technique - it's just different. But the development of skill is important. It's just that the development of some of the traditional skills isn't necessary.



                            I never said that there is anything wrong with having some traditional background. My only claim is that it is not required if one is composing or making music that doesn't use it. And certainly one should listen to music on its own merits.









                            Quote Originally Posted by soundwave106
                            View Post

                            I'll be honest, I more side with zoink here, partially. Great experimental artists often have great knowledge of traditional music so they know exactly what rules to break. In music, the best example I can think of is probably Arnold Schoenberg, the radical experimenter in classical music of his time. His other works include the more Mahler-esque Gurre-Lieder -- he could compose in that style if he wanted to. Boulez certainly could conduct a Mahler piece, and I imagine if he wanted to he could compose in that style as well. Many of the artists that push new technique painted more traditional work as well (at least in the beginning). Salvador Dali comes to mind.



                            There is room in the experimental world for art that is made by people completely without knowledge of *any* technique, however, chances are, that art will be relegated to the "outsider art" status -- and I'm talking of the Wesley Willis type, where there's a bit of kitsch novelty.



                            More common is experimental techniques applied to pop music, usually done by people with pop technique but less formal classical training. The music is probably not all formalized technique that people think about and write essays on, but the influence is there. Early industrial music (Einst

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                            • #89
                              this is sarcastic , but experimental music = I have a keyboard and dont know how to play it, but I can make cool sounds.
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                              • #90






                                Quote Originally Posted by TIMKEYS
                                View Post

                                this is sarcastic , but experimental music = I have a keyboard and dont know how to play it, but I can make cool sounds.




                                This is sarcastic, but Wow. That's the first time in this thread that someone has made that joke. You have obviously studied humor.

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