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

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  • I never said anything about not caring whether the listener likes it. However, unless one is trying deliberately to create the most popular music possible, one obviously doesn't care about ALL listeners, but only some listeners.



    I just give up on the rest of it. I find your arguments to be silly.









    Quote Originally Posted by zoink
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    What I said was that experimental music and conventional music often share certain features in common, and that experience and knowledge of these features would be a benefit in making experimental music. Like it or not, there IS a knowledge and skill crossover. It's not to say that lacking "training" prevents good experimental music from possibly happening. But it IS to say that there are features of sound, and even of composition, that are useful to know -- even if your goal is to 'break' the so-called rules.



    An artist with a rich background and deep understanding of harmony will tend to also have a thorough grasp of discordance as well, and for that very reason. He'll be able to say something about what's happening physically with the sound itself, or in the experience of the listener, with the apparent clash of frequencies.



    I maintain that knowing what a chord is -- and what frequencies do when they interfere each other physically -- helps even if your intention is to play the first eight notes of the chromatic scale upward from middle C.



    You're saying, "What does it matter if the listener likes it?"



    And I'm saying, "Well your only metric is whether it's entertaining. I'm talking about experiments, and what they yield."




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    • Quote Originally Posted by zoink
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      Personally, I could care less about "training." In some ways "training" can even impede free thought and experimentation, and can even be indoctrinating.




      You may not but someone else here does. That is why my post was directed at the forum instead of you specifically.









      Quote Originally Posted by zoink
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      I care about the REASONS for experiment, what drives the artist to do it, what they're looking for, what they did and thought previously that made them want to do THIS now. I also care about skill, and a cognitive grasp of the variables you're playing with.




      All the high-level players in experimental music have reasons.



      All of them have skill in operating their gear of choice.



      It seems like you're overly concerned with the product of low-level players and not taking into account the accomplished practitioners of this admittedly small area of music. It would be like me watching that infamous Youtube cover of "Final Countdown" then expressing all these misgivings about rock music based on that example.

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      • Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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        I just give up on the rest of it. I find your arguments to be silly.




        ... And while we're being frank, I find your arguments to be baseless and more than a little absurd ... peppered for good measure with dismissiveness toward anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions.



        Quelle surprise.
        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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        • Quote Originally Posted by girevik
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          It seems like you're overly concerned with the product of low-level players and not taking into account the accomplished practitioners of this admittedly small area of music.




          I'm actually concerned with the conflation of the two.
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          • So droolmaster0... just out of curiosity, what are some documented examples of what you consider experimental music? As of now, it seems to me that your definition of what experimental music is exists almost as a form of chaos and/or nihilism within it's own genre. Unless I've missed something, I can't find a post in this thread that provides a good example of something that states your case. Others have posted good examples which points to the grey area within different genres... black being convention, white being most of what you've been pushing for. It would be nice to see some source material as to what exactly has been inspiring this discussion.
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            • Quote Originally Posted by Meatball Fulton
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              The original question was:



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



              Have we decided yet that it's become meaningless?







              I decided that more or less at the beginning.



              But sometimes a conversation is still fruitful even though it doesn't reach a consensus or ultimately answer the fundamental questions it poses.



              And I think that overall this has been such an occasion. It's an interesting topic, and a lot of people raised very good points.



              I also don't think that when two people disagree, one of them has to be right and the other wrong. 'Experimental music' is full of grey areas. There ARE no 'right' answers really. Only (hopefully) thoughtful ideas. Everything is a judgment call, or a statement of value -- not necessarily a statement of fact.



              My main goal was to present some of my thoughts with the hope of challenging certain presumptions about meaning and purpose. I don't claim to have any final answers.



              But it's fun to probe this topic for interesting questions.
              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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              • Quote Originally Posted by zoink
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                I'm actually concerned with the conflation of the two.




                I don't understand your concern.



                If I want to check out the rock music scene in your area, I want to hear the best players and songwriters, not the worst. You sound like you'd rather hear the worst than the best.

                Comment


                • I'm sorry, but I'm not sure I understand this post, or where it's coming from.



                  Why do you say that my 'definition' (which of course I haven't given because I don't have a precise one) "exists almost as a form of chaos and/or nihilism within it's own genre". I'm not sure what that means, first of all, but what is it that I said, please, that inspires this? I don't think that saying that it is not a REQUIREMENT that music contain the traditional musical elements as part of its structure is the same as saying that the music must be chaotic. My ideas are not even that unusual, and they certainly aren't original - perhaps check out youtube for some examples of John Cage speaking about music, etc. And while, for instance, Girevik is more patient than I am, and has a less confrontational style, it seems to me that he has said similar things. Please differentiate our views.









                  Quote Originally Posted by Re-Member
                  View Post

                  So droolmaster0... just out of curiosity, what are some documented examples of what you consider experimental music? As of now, it seems to me that your definition of what experimental music is exists almost as a form of chaos and/or nihilism within it's own genre. Unless I've missed something, I can't find a post in this thread that provides a good example of something that states your case. Others have posted good examples which points to the grey area within different genres... black being convention, white being most of what you've been pushing for. It would be nice to see some source material as to what exactly has been inspiring this discussion.




                  Comment








                  • Quote Originally Posted by girevik
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                    I don't understand your concern.



                    If I want to check out the rock music scene in your area, I want to hear the best players and songwriters, not the worst. You sound like you'd rather hear the worst than the best.








                    I'm referring to the possible conflation between the experimental musician who has skill and makes music with some kind of meaning or intention, and the random dabbler who just makes noise. I've maintained all along that it's not just what you do, but "why" you do it that also matters.



                    I would argue that in experimental music, text without context is often meaningless and empty.



                    I'm not really concerned -- at least in this conversation -- about what someone 'wants' to hear. What I'm talking about centers more on the relationship between the experimental artist and his experiment, the drive behind that process.
                    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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                    • And for what its worth, sometimes experiemental music sounds exactly the same as "regular" music but is being created or controlled in a new way.
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                      • Sorry about that last post. Came home rather drunk from a debate party last night... still trying to remember what my frame of thought there was, but I know it had something to do with this:









                        Quote Originally Posted by droolmaster0
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                        I precisely DON'T want to make music in which I know the outcome, and I want the result to diverge as much as possible from my expectation. I want to be surprised by what I'm getting. The technique, for me, involves many things - knowing the gear well enough to hold on for dear life and find things that surprise and delight me, learning to unlearn certain presuppositions about playing the violin, trying to improvise in new ways, etc - but always with the notion that the end result must please me. At the same time, I don't think that the methods that I used on some particular day are important in themselves, and I don't think (unless it's purely for professional interest) that the listener should really care about them.".




                        There's a few things in there that suggests an element of chaos and negation of expectations and the methods being used.
                        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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                        • Quote Originally Posted by Allerian
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                          And for what its worth, sometimes experiemental music sounds exactly the same as "regular" music but is being created or controlled in a new way.




                          +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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                          • Quote Originally Posted by Allerian
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                            And for what its worth, sometimes experiemental music sounds exactly the same as "regular" music but is being created or controlled in a new way.




                            I would hesitate to call music that uses some experimental methods, but whose result is entirely conventional, 'experimental music'. there is obviously disagreement on this. But it seems very strange to me to encounter, say, a very conventional country song on youtube, describe it as such, and then be corrected by someone who then described how the person used various techniques to compose this very conventional music. I don't think that this is what is generally meant by 'experimental music', except by people who are more immersed in conventional music and think that they are doing something really unconventional.

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                            • I'm not sure what suggests that the final product needs to be chaotic. Ultimately the evaluation of experimental music is pretty similar to conventional music, though the person doing the evaluating may not have similar experience. I think it comes down to various factors of whether one is 'drawn into' the work, moved by it (in some sense), attracted to the way the sounds are used, etc. To say that I try to 'surprise' myself in various ways, and that I do not want to be in total control of the eventual outcome does not imply (to me) that I'm looking for some random junk at the end. Not at all.











                              Quote Originally Posted by Re-Member
                              View Post

                              Sorry about that last post. Came home rather drunk from a debate party last night... still trying to remember what my frame of thought there was, but I know it had something to do with this:







                              There's a few things in there that suggests an element of chaos and negation of expectations and the methods being used.




                              Comment








                              • Quote Originally Posted by zoink
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                                I'm referring to the possible conflation between the experimental musician who has skill and makes music with some kind of meaning or intention, and the random dabbler who just makes noise. I've maintained all along that it's not just what you do, but "why" you do it that also matters.




                                In other words, you may have trouble distinguishing between experimental music made by a skilled artist and experimental music made by an unskilled one.



                                I don't have this trouble, because I've listened to enough of this music to be able to discern the difference. In the case of the former, there is some kind of discernable organization going on. Even in free improvisation, a performance may commence chaotically, but if all participants are skilled, they discover a structure together rather quickly, like two or more people settling on a conversational topic and developing the conversation from that point.



                                I can tell the difference between a piece like "Imaginary Landscape #1" by John Cage, and monkeys banging on metal things. You can too, if you have sincere interest in listening to this music, and start listening to a lot of it.



                                As for the relationship between an experimental artist and his (or her) "experiment", you could always try asking the artist or reading up on that artist. There are quite a few books and articles on Cage for example. I think this would be more productive than going after the hypothetical dabblers, the monkeys - the strawmen that are too easy to knock down.

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