[OT] music and responsibility

Sep 24, 2006 at 9:02am

[OT] music and responsibility

I’m looking for interesting personal stories, books, essays, letters,
interviews, and all other media concerning the subject of music-making
and responsibility. All suggestions and feedback will be appreciated.

Specifically, I am curious how composers – especially those working with
wordless music – deal with any feelings of responsibility to “do good in
the world,” especially if there is doubt that music in itself makes the
world a better place.

I am considering graduate study in electro-acoustic music, but before I
spend two years with my favorite subject I have to resolve this nagging
drive to make my work good and worthwhile. My current work is socially
beneficial, past work has been environmentally useful… How do I
appease my inner critic? How do I justify music in the harsh light of
physical necessity? How can I express this dilemma more clearly?

I am searching for a way to bring my love and my conscience together.

Many thanks for any feedback,

-Jon

#27762
Sep 24, 2006 at 1:22pm

Yikes. You really hit one of my ‘hot buttons’, especially in today’s
happy world. I wrote this as a Guest Editorial for KEYBOARD magazine back
in 1989:

http://music.columbia.edu/~brad/writing/papes/Artistic_Responsibility.html

and there are quite a few others in a similar vein stashed here:

http://music.columbia.edu/~brad/writing/index.html#COMMENTARY

“My Music Book”
(http://music.columbia.edu/~brad/software/downloads/My_Music_Book.html)
also has a fair amount of commentary about music/life/world, but being an
integrated music-text work it’s about a 400 Mbyte download.

Good luck. I read through these older writings and it seems more that I
was mainly attempting to justify my existence (as it seems you also are),
but perhaps the fact of your existence in your particular manner is what
really counts.

brad

http://music.columbia.edu/~brad

On Sun, 24 Sep 2006, dlurk wrote:

>
> I’m looking for interesting personal stories, books, essays, letters,
> interviews, and all other media concerning the subject of music-making and
> responsibility. All suggestions and feedback will be appreciated.
>
> Specifically, I am curious how composers – especially those working with
> wordless music – deal with any feelings of responsibility to “do good in the
> world,” especially if there is doubt that music in itself makes the world a
> better place.
>
> I am considering graduate study in electro-acoustic music, but before I spend
> two years with my favorite subject I have to resolve this nagging drive to
> make my work good and worthwhile. My current work is socially beneficial,
> past work has been environmentally useful… How do I appease my inner
> critic? How do I justify music in the harsh light of physical necessity?
> How can I express this dilemma more clearly?
>
> I am searching for a way to bring my love and my conscience together.
>
> Many thanks for any feedback,
>
> -Jon
>

#84379
Sep 24, 2006 at 4:48pm

> am searching for a way to bring my love and my conscience together.

revenge?

#84380
Sep 24, 2006 at 11:34pm

The following contains generalizations which don’t apply to all
musicians. I wish I could write more succinctly

Someone once said to me, “music is the only language where more than
one person can speak at the same time.” I’ll add that nearly
everyone ‘speaks’ it. So, in a way music is probably the closest
thing we have to peace.

How do comics make the world better? I think there is something to be
said for a subculture of people who munge their surroundings,
themselves, and their beliefs and reflect it back into their
surroundings, themselves, and what ever else they might believe in.
It’s a cleansing act and its contagious.

Also, People work an awful lot. Many times they work toward
honorable goals. Sometimes its to protect our freedom. sometimes
its for a more secure future. For their families survival. for others
to have an easier life. But many people also forget to partake in
freedom, what they will do when they are secure.

What they do is play music. I’m playing it, and if it looks fun, you
can come sit next to me and play along!

As for more “out there” music, I think the more we break away
culturally, the more we can cross cultures and do it in a deep and
meaningful way. I misheard a lyric the other day which inspired me.
“such a strange note, it could bring back piece to the earth”

thats what I can come up with for now.
-matt

#84381
Sep 25, 2006 at 4:58am

Reporters often ask me if there is any practical application to the
technology I create. My answer is “Yes. Making art.”

Eric

At 7:34 PM -0400 9/24/06, matthew aidekman wrote:
>The following contains generalizations which don’t apply to all
>musicians. I wish I could write more succinctly
>
>Someone once said to me, “music is the only language where more than
>one person can speak at the same time.” I’ll add that nearly
>everyone ‘speaks’ it. So, in a way music is probably the closest
>thing we have to peace.
>
>How do comics make the world better? I think there is something to
>be said for a subculture of people who munge their surroundings,
>themselves, and their beliefs and reflect it back into their
>surroundings, themselves, and what ever else they might believe in.
>It’s a cleansing act and its contagious.
>
>
>
>Also, People work an awful lot. Many times they work toward
>honorable goals. Sometimes its to protect our freedom. sometimes
>its for a more secure future. For their families survival. for
>others to have an easier life. But many people also forget to
>partake in freedom, what they will do when they are secure.
>
>What they do is play music. I’m playing it, and if it looks fun,
>you can come sit next to me and play along!
>
>
>
>As for more “out there” music, I think the more we break away
>culturally, the more we can cross cultures and do it in a deep and
>meaningful way. I misheard a lyric the other day which inspired
>me.
>”such a strange note, it could bring back piece to the earth”
>
>thats what I can come up with for now.
>-matt

#84382
Sep 25, 2006 at 6:58pm

Sometimes people tell me that they don’t understand why use a computer to
compose. I always answer…”That is correct.”

On 9/25/06 12:58 AM, “Eric Singer”

wrote:

> Reporters often ask me if there is any practical application to the
> technology I create. My answer is “Yes. Making art.”
>
> Eric

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

#84383
Sep 25, 2006 at 11:43pm

I have recently been asking myself similar questions. I am not sure I ascribe (or comply) with all that follows, but here are some thoughts on the subject.

The notion that each of us has a “purpose” may be of comfort to you if you can accept it. Certainly it can feel as if we are being selfish by doing the things we love to do, because part of us feels we don’t deserve it, or that the world doesn’t need another musician. But, an individual living out the full potential of what they were “meant” to be is precisely what the world does need. A vocation may appear small in the grand scheme of things, but perhaps our ability to measure grandness is faulty.

Maybe your new pursuit is not an abandonment, let alone a betrayal, of you formal “nobler” occupations. Perhaps you will return someday to a job that more apparently benefits society or the earth. Or, better yet, perhaps you will discover a vocation that benefits from all your skills.

Happy Philosophizing,

-ian

#84384
Sep 26, 2006 at 5:12am

I’d like to thank everyone who responded to my post, both on- and
off-list. Your thoughts are meaningful and helpful (even “revenge”).
Unfortunately I have a lot of business to do this week – the coming
weekend will probably offer you a hideously verbose reply.

Again, I really appreciate all the different perspectives on this topic;
the variety was exactly what I was looking for, though I didn’t realize it.

Many thanks,

Jon

#84385
Nov 22, 2006 at 1:59am

After a marathon of day-job work and application preparation, I respond.
Thanks to everyone that replied to the original thread. All of your
thoughts were appreciated, including those that dismissed my doubt out
of hand. It’s all useful.

Some time ago, Bradford Garton wrote:
> Good luck. I read through these older writings and it seems more that I
> was mainly attempting to justify my existence (as it seems you also
> are),

My existence justifies itself with my capability to do good, but my
existence is not necessarily me, nor meaningful. I have to use that
capability for something. Are there better kinds of good, and how much
good is enough?

It may help to understand that I currently live in a tiny (pop. < = 50)
fishing village in Alaska where survival is relatively sure but not much
else is certain. I am surrounded by immediacy and many people here do
not have the option or habit of thinking the way I do. That is part of
why I live here now.

Ah, philosophy. Take a hike. There’s a reason I didn’t just coast into
grad school on the momentum of my undergrad degree… in philosophy
(music and cs on the side).

I know that to satisfy myself, I will have to keep trying to do things I
think are good. I will also have to accomplish something occasionally
to convince myself that the way I’m trying is, if not the best way, at
least a passable way.

> but perhaps the fact of your existence in your particular manner
> is what really counts.

This falls into the “teaching by example” category for me. It is murky
and unconvincing to the practitioner, even if it is arguably the best
method.

Music has affected my life deeply. I surround myself with other people
who feel the same way. Because of my intimacy with music, it’s
difficult for me to imagine what meaning it has to others. It’s also
difficult for me to imagine the effect of music on people who are not
intentionally involved in creating sound. I am half-serious when I
wonder how significant music can possibly be to someone who does not
have a physical relationship to it, someone to whom music is merely ear
candy and not sustenance mixed with an aural opiate.

I have decided to apply to a few schools; I am using their application
processes to stimulate my subconscious decision-making.

Again, my thanks to everyone that replied previously (and anyone who
might reply now).

Best regards,

Jon

#84386
Nov 22, 2006 at 2:26am

On Nov 21, 2006, at 5:59 PM, dlurk wrote:

>
> Music has affected my life deeply. I surround myself with other
> people who feel the same way. Because of my intimacy with music,
> it’s difficult for me to imagine what meaning it has to others.
> It’s also difficult for me to imagine the effect of music on people
> who are not intentionally involved in creating sound. I am half-
> serious when I wonder how significant music can possibly be to
> someone who does not have a physical relationship to it, someone to
> whom music is merely ear candy and not sustenance mixed with an
> aural opiate.

The practitioner has no greater claim to understanding than the
attentive listener. I have zero ability at violin, yet can be moved
by it. For an approachable yet thorough analysis of musical meaning
I would highly recommend “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by Leonard
Meyer.

-Randy

#84387
Nov 22, 2006 at 3:19am

I havent followed the thread, but that reasoning only a seasoned
painter can really appreciate the lines of (insert any painter) or
only an avid video gamer my combos in street fighter 3 3rd strike
(sic). Music certainly moves me, more so than many other things. I
have too have zero musical skill (or as close to none as possible).

And P.S., I cant imagine anyone who doesnt have a physical
relationship to music. Vibrations and all. Sorry to be overly
literal, but sometimes the best cure for too much thinking is to stop
and just start doing.

v a d e //

http://www.vade.info
abstrakt.vade.info

On Nov 21, 2006, at 9:26 PM, Randy Jones wrote:

>
> On Nov 21, 2006, at 5:59 PM, dlurk wrote:
>
>>
>> Music has affected my life deeply. I surround myself with other
>> people who feel the same way. Because of my intimacy with music,
>> it’s difficult for me to imagine what meaning it has to others.
>> It’s also difficult for me to imagine the effect of music on
>> people who are not intentionally involved in creating sound. I am
>> half-serious when I wonder how significant music can possibly be
>> to someone who does not have a physical relationship to it,
>> someone to whom music is merely ear candy and not sustenance mixed
>> with an aural opiate.
>
> The practitioner has no greater claim to understanding than the
> attentive listener. I have zero ability at violin, yet can be
> moved by it. For an approachable yet thorough analysis of musical
> meaning I would highly recommend “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by
> Leonard Meyer.
>
> -Randy
>

#84388
Nov 22, 2006 at 3:33am

Quote: dlurk wrote on Tue, 21 November 2006 20:59
—————————————————-
Because of my intimacy with music, it’s difficult for me to imagine what meaning it has to others. It’s also difficult for me to imagine the effect of music on people who are not intentionally involved in creating sound. I am half-serious when I wonder how significant music can possibly be to someone who does not have a physical relationship to it, someone to whom music is merely ear candy and not sustenance mixed with an aural opiate.
—————————————————-

It’s all about the communication of meaning, isn’t it? The question is whether you as a composer of any form of art or media can communicate meaning to anyone who makes the effort to consume your work. The meanings, the significations, the emotions, the intellectual stimulation, etc. they take from it may not be anything you intended, but that’s the way it works. We humans communicate in many ways and for many reasons. But we communicate, we build community, we look for order, discover, learn, teach, etc. My life is enriched by having a conversation (friend, foe, relative), reading a poem (ancient or modern), eating a meal that comes to me from a long list of hands, reading a thread on this forum, or hearing music (whether its Brahms in a recital hall, Corelli in an elevator, Cole Porter in a noisy club, your music). Every producer of something can make the communication meaningful merely by taking the responsibility of doing it well seriously enough. Of course I can glean more depth of meaning and impact from reading Rilke than from a paper handed in by one of my students–the meaning is more profound, and its communication more expertly done, more precise, transparent, artistic, etc. But I certainly don’t tune out the more mundane communications that come to me on a more daily basis.

Also, I could never dream to be able to paint, and consequently, I know precious little about it (and I’m colorblind to boot). But that doesn’t mean in the least that an artist’s work is wasted on me! In fact, the work of painters is very significant in my experience.

In my opinion, one is attracted to a means of expression because of some affinity, and that affinity should be explored and developed. You will only communicate meaning with it more effectively and profoundly with greater training and involvement. I don’t say you have a responsibility to do that, or even that you have a responsibility to offer anything at all. Many live their entire lives mostly consuming and contributing little. No matter. You probably have good connections with the 49 other folks in your town. Do you have a responsibility to connect with human civilization on a larger scale? Of course not. I say you choose your path as you walk it. The important question is where are you drawn. And if that is to a grad program, then that’s great–only you must be realistic about the details of that and whether it will work for you, but only you can make that determination.

Last, my opinion is that anyone who can center his life around the things he loves the most lives the fullest, and has the most to offer the world.

Tim

#84389
Nov 22, 2006 at 5:58am

vade wrote:
> I havent followed the thread, but that reasoning only a seasoned painter
> can really appreciate the lines of (insert any painter) or only an avid
> video gamer my combos in street fighter 3 3rd strike (sic). Music
> certainly moves me, more so than many other things. I have too have zero
> musical skill (or as close to none as possible).

For my interest in this off-topic discussion, this is pretty off-topic.

I can only blame my communication skills… or maybe I’m more wrong than
I know… but what I was trying to say was this:

For me, my own experience as a composer or songwriter is part of how I
experience other music or even just isolated sounds.

Because my perspective is my own, it’s difficult to imagine how others
perceive and experience, and from there it is difficult to imagine what
others draw from their experiences. I’m not classing myself as a
music-maker and wondering how non-music-makers listen; I’m wondering how
other people who aren’t me listen. Perhaps it is a kind of poverty, but
for me there are very few analogous experiences. A particular first
kiss, a near-death experience, and a few more of the most intense
moments of my life… What compares? Exceptional music. And why?

> And P.S., I cant imagine anyone who doesnt have a physical relationship
> to music. Vibrations and all. Sorry to be overly literal, but sometimes
> the best cure for too much thinking is to stop and just start doing.

Maybe that’s why. No, literal thinking is where I am comfortable with
this stuff, that’s one of my favorite things about sound. It is so real
and yet it is so ethereal. But that’s exactly why it’s confusing.

On one hand, I need to make music. On the other, I can’t enjoy that
unless I feel like there’s a point to my life other than my own
satisfaction – but that is the Why of why I make music, and it is such a
great satisfaction. I know I need to learn and improve, and my decision
to explore more education comes from the knowledge that a trial by fire
of my music and software and my love for it all would help my efforts
tremendously. But what good does that do for anyone else? Can I
justify the resources that go into it?

Going to school is a bet that if I find no inherent justification, I can
create one and make it real. That’s going to be the most formidable
challenge, assuming I’m accepted anywhere. ;)

#84390
Nov 22, 2006 at 6:46am

This seems pretty straight forward to me.

You love music. You love listening to it. Others do as well (if you
are to believe them, and me..).

So make great music (or learn how to), so that others will love and
enjoy it, and you have done good for someone else. Is that
justification enough?

v a d e //

http://www.vade.info
abstrakt.vade.info

On Nov 22, 2006, at 12:58 AM, dlurk wrote:

>
> On one hand, I need to make music. On the other, I can’t enjoy
> that unless I feel like there’s a point to my life other than my
> own satisfaction – but that is the Why of why I make music, and it
> is such a great satisfaction. I know I need to learn and improve,
> and my decision to explore more education comes from the knowledge
> that a trial by fire of my music and software and my love for it
> all would help my efforts tremendously. But what good does that do
> for anyone else? Can I justify the resources that go into it?
>

#84391
Nov 22, 2006 at 10:03am

if you want to make a difference, and better understand the direct
effects of your music and methods on others, teaching music/maxmsp
may be a good direction for you. that way you can satisfy your own
inner desires and at the same time contribute to the advancement of
others.

otherwise, if you want to make a difference in life… there is
always charity work, NGOs, the peace core… but its very difficult
to predict the effect that your life and passions will have on
others, isn’t it? and many artists are long dead before their work
is appreciated; many were not able to appreciate that fact even when
they were alive and respected. others were over-appreciated and then
promptly forgotten (we all know Kafka, but Max Brod?? http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Brod).

i guess what i’m trying to say is that going back and trying to
justify something as arbitrary as your own existence is a slow form
of committing suicide. it’s not like you’re destroying the rain
forest or contaminating the town drinking water by becoming a
musician, think about it that way. and you can still spend weekends
at the soup kitchen if you feel guilty about your positive
contribution to society. and sure, you’ll be in debt for years, but
debt is a good motivator to get things done. :)

to paraphrase one of the great philosophers of the 20th century,
“Fuck it Dude, let’s go bowling.”

(substitute your passion in life for “go bowling”)

peace
evan

On Nov 22, 2006, at 5:58 AM, dlurk wrote:

> vade wrote:
>> I havent followed the thread, but that reasoning only a seasoned
>> painter can really appreciate the lines of (insert any painter) or
>> only an avid video gamer my combos in street fighter 3 3rd strike
>> (sic). Music certainly moves me, more so than many other things. I
>> have too have zero musical skill (or as close to none as possible).
>
> For my interest in this off-topic discussion, this is pretty off-
> topic.
>
> I can only blame my communication skills… or maybe I’m more wrong
> than I know… but what I was trying to say was this:
>
> For me, my own experience as a composer or songwriter is part of
> how I experience other music or even just isolated sounds.
>
> Because my perspective is my own, it’s difficult to imagine how
> others perceive and experience, and from there it is difficult to
> imagine what others draw from their experiences. I’m not classing
> myself as a music-maker and wondering how non-music-makers listen;
> I’m wondering how other people who aren’t me listen. Perhaps it is
> a kind of poverty, but for me there are very few analogous
> experiences. A particular first kiss, a near-death experience, and
> a few more of the most intense moments of my life… What
> compares? Exceptional music. And why?
>
>> And P.S., I cant imagine anyone who doesnt have a physical
>> relationship to music. Vibrations and all. Sorry to be overly
>> literal, but sometimes the best cure for too much thinking is to
>> stop and just start doing.
>
> Maybe that’s why. No, literal thinking is where I am comfortable
> with this stuff, that’s one of my favorite things about sound. It
> is so real and yet it is so ethereal. But that’s exactly why it’s
> confusing.
>
> On one hand, I need to make music. On the other, I can’t enjoy
> that unless I feel like there’s a point to my life other than my
> own satisfaction – but that is the Why of why I make music, and it
> is such a great satisfaction. I know I need to learn and improve,
> and my decision to explore more education comes from the knowledge
> that a trial by fire of my music and software and my love for it
> all would help my efforts tremendously. But what good does that do
> for anyone else? Can I justify the resources that go into it?
>
> Going to school is a bet that if I find no inherent justification,
> I can create one and make it real. That’s going to be the most
> formidable challenge, assuming I’m accepted anywhere. ;)

#84392
Nov 22, 2006 at 3:53pm

dlurk wrote:
> My existence justifies itself with my capability to do good, but my
> existence is not necessarily me, nor meaningful. I have to use that
> capability for something. Are there better kinds of good, and how much
> good is enough?

Simply the best you can do, if you can do music the best, then its your
responsibility to do music, if its charity, do charity…

You got your skills to use them…

Charity is not better than anything else. I believe that life makes
sense, even if I don’t know the sense and never can grab it. As beside
music obviously philosophy is also one of your skills, I would never
advise you to “just do it and don’t think about it”. Its better to say
“just do it” (including thinking about it)…
And never loose contact to your emotions, they lead…
Do not put down your doubts, understand what is behind, then you can
transcend them…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84393
Nov 23, 2006 at 7:56am

> “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by Leonard Meyer.

… second worst book on music ever written, after Tame’s ‘The Secret Power
of Music’. IMO.


J. Simon van der Walt —– Composer
< http://www.jsimonvanderwalt.com>

#84394
Nov 23, 2006 at 8:53am

I often wonder if technological music is an extreme path far away from what originally was thought of music. Is music something people play together or something someone does alone. I know personally I enjoy music where multiple people are all working towards a similar goal… this may be because I get bored easily and the more cooks who contribute to the recipe the more deviations and alternate perceptions of the music you can experience. Then I think what about classical music composers who made these crazy emotional pieces of sound that move any who listen… so I guess I’m confused… ultimately it’s expression. Computers are completely inorganic. The world is polluted by the processes that create them. The first computer Eniac?? I think was made to calculate trajectories for missles. Can any good become of something that was originally created to destroy? For me most of my life is inspired by electronic music and sounds of which are virtually impossible to create organically. I would say conscious music creates conscious actions no matter what is the context or medium of expression. Today anyways.

#84395
Nov 23, 2006 at 11:39am

#84396
Nov 23, 2006 at 11:57am

#84397
Nov 23, 2006 at 12:04pm

>
>
>>The first computer Eniac?? I think was made to calculate
>>trajectories for missles. Can any good become of something that
>>was originally created to destroy?
>
>You are right on this.
>Traditional music instruments were never used to bring people to make war.
>Assault were never made at the sound of a clairon.
>It’s ridiculous to think that hornpipes could have been played
>during fightings.

never forget the snare drums!! think about saxophones (invented so
they could be played when riding a horse, and heard from a distance –
much moer difficult with a oboe!!)

and when you think about it, wasn’t the PA system first used/set up
(invented) so the spechees of Adolf Hitler could be heard???

time to go back to this acoustic luth and theorbe project i guess………

best

kasper

Kasper T. Toeplitz
noise, composition, bass, computer

http://www.sleazeArt.com

#84398
Nov 23, 2006 at 12:28pm

And I think that stringed instuments derive from arc and arrows.

All the best

Alessandro Fogar

2006/11/23, Nick Rothwell :
>
> On 23 Nov 2006, at 11:39, Jean-Michel Darrémont wrote:
>
> > Traditional music instruments were never used to bring people to
> > make war.
>
> Bagpipes.
>
>
> nick rothwell — composition, systems, performance — http://
> http://www.cassiel.com
>
>
>
>
>

#84399
Nov 23, 2006 at 1:37pm

On Nov 23, 2006, at 3:53 AM, Tyler Nitsch wrote:
> I know personally I enjoy music where multiple people are all
> working towards a similar goal…

It is possible with computers…
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?
jid=OSO&volumeId=9&issueId=03

One contemporary incarnation…

http://plork.cs.princeton.edu/

My personal association with the topic…

http://www.mobileperformancegroup.com

—–
Nathan Wolek
nw@nathanwolek.com

http://www.nathanwolek.com

#84400
Nov 23, 2006 at 1:57pm

>On Nov 23, 2006, at 3:53 AM, Tyler Nitsch wrote:
>>I know personally I enjoy music where multiple people are all
>>working towards a similar goal…
>
>It is possible with computers…
>http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=OSO&volumeId=9&issueId=03
>

I personnaly did quite some computers duos, as well as some bigger
projects – including a 6 hour long piece for 4 computer-players

and of course you can play computer with people playing other
instruments (from duo up to orchestra & computer – live & real-time)

best

kasper

#84401
Nov 23, 2006 at 2:02pm

> Traditional music instruments were never used to bring people to make
> war.

what makes a piano or MAXMSP less traditional than wardrums?

how can we be sure that the first drum human made has not
been used to prepare for a battle against the neighbour clan?

you might say the first drum has been made by accident, and
has only been used to impress women or pray for rain, but do
you have proofs?

i have proofs thaat MAXMSP was originally created to control
laser guns but thats another story.

- subversive 110

#84402
Nov 23, 2006 at 2:25pm

#84403
Nov 23, 2006 at 2:31pm

#84404
Nov 23, 2006 at 2:39pm

#84405
Nov 23, 2006 at 3:17pm

#84406
Nov 23, 2006 at 8:20pm

Damn north american literature always saying it was invented in the states first and foremost….. I read that from a book one of my Professors wrote on the origins of signal processing. Peter thanks for clarifying this. ps I’m Canadian not american hahaha

#84407
Nov 23, 2006 at 9:42pm

On 23-Nov-2006, at 21:20, Tyler Nitsch wrote:

> ps I’m Canadian not american hahaha

Ooooooooooops!

Good think I remembered not to launch into that rant!-) Even better
that you have a sense of humor.

BTW, the Wikipedia article on History of Computing Machinery does a
good job of evaluating the merits of the German, British, and
American claims to ‘first’, noting that it’s partly a definition of
what counts as ‘earliest computer’. It also points out that with a
war going on there wasn’t a lot of academic exchange between the
parties concerned.

————– http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ————-
Peter Castine +–> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter
Universal Binaries on the way
iCE: Sequencing, Recording &
Interface Building for |home | chez nous|
Max/MSP Extremely cool |bei uns | i nostri|
http://www.dspaudio.com/ http://www.castine.de

#84408
Nov 23, 2006 at 11:55pm

#84409
Nov 24, 2006 at 12:24am

#84410
Nov 24, 2006 at 1:23am

Sebastien, you brought this thread full-circle in a lovely way. Thanks!

-Jon

Sebastian.Rivas wrote:
> Nowadays it is more difficult for me to see the range of action of
> non-commercial music. But I think that the way it generates a plus-value
> which is very difficult to calculate, makes it a field of resistance
> that i appreciate. It is economically useless but socially and
> individually usefull.

#84411
Nov 24, 2006 at 2:58pm

#84412
Nov 25, 2006 at 10:24pm

I’d be interested to hear some background on this response to the
Meyer…

On Nov 23, 2006, at 12:56 AM, J. Simon van der Walt wrote:

>
>> “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by Leonard Meyer.
>
> … second worst book on music ever written, after Tame’s ‘The
> Secret Power
> of Music’. IMO.
>
>
> —
> J. Simon van der Walt —– Composer
> < http://www.jsimonvanderwalt.com>
>

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM Atrium Sound Space OVOS
http://sfifem.csf.edu http://atrium.csf.edu http://pubweb.csf.edu/
~smill/ovos.html

#84413
Nov 26, 2006 at 3:45am

My take on the issue of culture and militancy partly is written down
in paper3.pdf, perhaps more eloquent than I’d be just typing what
comes to mind:

http://www.siggraph.org/artdesign/gallery/S06/paper3.pdf

Now for typing what comes to mind:

I think making useless things is very human, if by useless we refer to
things that are not at all required for our survival, or even for our
comfort. Art could be defined as the search for new and better ways to
make us feel uncomfortable. Without it, life is much less interesting.

If music and art art are useless things because they don’t make any
great changes in hunger, disease, or poverty, they do at least measure
the possibilities of what to do after hunger, disease and poverty have
been vanquished. We need to work on producing art and on changing the
world, but these tasks don’t necessarily happen in the same time
frames. We carry culture across generations, but our neighbors’
affliction may need a remedy right now.

I am skeptical of the effectiveness of most political advocacy in art,
not because it is insincere–it is almost always serious in its in
intent and frequently capable of arousing our emotions and desires for
change–but because it is usually in a position of preaching to the
choir. It is fine to make your art express your convictions, but that
is not the same as acting on your convictions.

Upon meeting “political” artists, I feel compelled to proclaim art for
art’s sake; when meeting artists of great aesthetic purity, I feel the
urge to start a political argument.

There is no reason you can’t be an artist and also a political
activist. Produce art in the morning, organize in the afternoon, and
enjoy the revolution in the evening.

Being an artist also means acquiring a craft. Putting your craft at
the service of your convictions is one way of being an activist, and
in no way diminishes the aspiration to a work of great formal beauty,
if that is what you pursue. It should be possible to do both.

I f you really feel the need to combine your art with your social
consciousness, the work of Paolo Freire in education and that of
artists involved in “cultural animation” may suggest an approach to
art-making that puts the artist at the service of the community. It’s
one that may require letting go of the privileges of being an auteur,
a person with special gifts, but I would suggest it as a viable
alternative both to “political art” and to the production of commodity
art.

– Paul

On 9/24/06, dlurk wrote:
>
> I’m looking for interesting personal stories, books, essays, letters,
> interviews, and all other media concerning the subject of music-making
> and responsibility. All suggestions and feedback will be appreciated.
>
> Specifically, I am curious how composers – especially those working with
> wordless music – deal with any feelings of responsibility to “do good in
> the world,” especially if there is doubt that music in itself makes the
> world a better place.
>
> I am considering graduate study in electro-acoustic music, but before I
> spend two years with my favorite subject I have to resolve this nagging
> drive to make my work good and worthwhile. My current work is socially
> beneficial, past work has been environmentally useful… How do I
> appease my inner critic? How do I justify music in the harsh light of
> physical necessity? How can I express this dilemma more clearly?
>
> I am searching for a way to bring my love and my conscience together.
>
> Many thanks for any feedback,
>
> -Jon
>


—– |(*,+,#,=)(#,=,*,+)(=,#,+,*)(+,*,=,#)| —–

#84414
Nov 26, 2006 at 1:57pm

Steven,

>>> “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by Leonard Meyer.
>>
>> … second worst book on music ever written, after Tame’s ‘The
>> Secret Power
>> of Music’. IMO.

> I’d be interested to hear some background on this response to the
> Meyer…

Erm, well. Yes. That’s one of those postings one makes and then regrets
instantly after pressing the ‘send’ button. Like, I know I don’t actually
have time to justify my opinion in this forum, so I should have just shut
up. In essence, I don’t personally believe music has got much to do with
emotion at all, and in arguments which seek to privilege the importance of
emotion within music really really tend to piss me off bigtime. I haven’t
looked at the book in a long time, though, so I really can’t say much more
about it just now.

Cheers,


J. Simon van der Walt —– Composer
< http://www.jsimonvanderwalt.com>

#84415
Nov 28, 2006 at 4:28am

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the reply. I’m just curious when folks make those sorts of
‘big pronouncements’… ;)

I happen to agree that music has nothing inherently more to do with
emotion than it does with intellect, intuition, etc., though it’s
hard to deny that the typical response to a wide range of musics –
contemporary as well as historical, both ‘Western’ and ‘non-
Western’ (for lack of quicker shorthand) – involves emotional affect.
The thing I like about “Emotion and Meaning” – as well as several
sections of his later “Music, the Arts, and Ideas” – is his clarity
about the fact that *any* meaning we attribute to music, whether
emotional, intellectual, etc., is a product of our perception of and
conditioned response to patterns, expectations, etc. – i.e. none of
the meaning is integral to or inherent within the music itself. It is
rather a cultural construct built up around the experience of music.
He uses a fair amount of borrowings from both information theory and
gestalt psychology to set up his thesis – and profitably so, IMHO.

I also like that, whether he intends it to or not, his theory jibes
just fine with centuries of theoretical and aesthetic writings on
music from India, Java, and elsewhere, for example, concerning the
very fine shadings of emotional affect appropriate to specific
scales, rhythms, tuning systems, etc., as long as one understands
that, again, it’s all cultural construct and not somehow directly
encoded in or otherwise “inside” the music itself.

For another (largely compatible though quite different) take on these
ideas, I recommend “Musicking” by Christopher Small. His thesis is
that music is not a noun at all, but rather a verb, an activity – and
that the meaning(s) we ascribe to music are a result of our social
roles in experiencing it – expectations, interactions, assumptions,
etc. These, again, are culturally conditioned.

But, as for Tame’s book…well, that’s another story… ;)

Best,

Steven

On Nov 26, 2006, at 6:57 AM, J. Simon van der Walt wrote:

> Steven,
>
>>>> “Emotion and Meaning in Music” by Leonard Meyer.
>>>
>>> … second worst book on music ever written, after Tame’s ‘The
>>> Secret Power
>>> of Music’. IMO.
>
>> I’d be interested to hear some background on this response to the
>> Meyer…
>
> Erm, well. Yes. That’s one of those postings one makes and then
> regrets
> instantly after pressing the ‘send’ button. Like, I know I don’t
> actually
> have time to justify my opinion in this forum, so I should have
> just shut
> up. In essence, I don’t personally believe music has got much to do
> with
> emotion at all, and in arguments which seek to privilege the
> importance of
> emotion within music really really tend to piss me off bigtime. I
> haven’t
> looked at the book in a long time, though, so I really can’t say
> much more
> about it just now.
>
> Cheers,
>

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM Atrium Sound Space OVOS
http://sfifem.csf.edu http://atrium.csf.edu http://pubweb.csf.edu/
~smill/ovos.html

#84416
Nov 28, 2006 at 6:19am

Steven,

Interesting. I may have to give the book another go, and have a look at the
Christopher Small book as well.

Cheers,

JS

#84417
Nov 28, 2006 at 7:59am

#84418
Nov 28, 2006 at 10:47pm

J. Simon van der Walt wrote:
> In essence, I don’t personally believe music has got much to do with
> emotion at all, and in arguments which seek to privilege the
> importance of emotion within music really really tend to piss me off
> bigtime. I haven’t looked at the book in a long time, though, so I
> really can’t say much more about it just now.

That is an interesting point… I believe, the reception of music has
nothing to do with believes, only with experience. My experience is the
opposite, music which doesn’t touch me personally is not interesting.
But I can’t tell anything about it, because if it doesn’t touch me (ment
emotionally by the way, even if I love intellectual aspects of music,
it’s love and thus emotion…), I can only assume I didn’t understand
the aim (emotion) which is behind it.
Purely rational music doesn’t exist. I could prove that this is a fact
and not a believe…

You might refer to “music” which claims to have a certain emotion, but
thats usually not music, its kitsch, its an emotional lie. Most music
for commercials, some film music etc. could fall into that category.
Its based on the assumption that you could push emotional buttons on
humans to control and manipulate them…

Please do not regret that you hit the send button, I love essential
discussions (bah – attention another emotion… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84419
Nov 29, 2006 at 2:41am

Stefan Tiedje wrote:
> Purely rational music doesn’t exist. I could prove that this is a fact
> and not a believe…

Tangent 73: The intersection with linguistics here is fascinating. I
assume someone has spent some time on this – any comments?

#84420
Nov 29, 2006 at 6:19am

>> In essence, I don’t personally believe music has got much to do with
>> emotion at all ….
>
> Simon,
>
> Just a non polemic question:
> What else?

Maybe…

Interestingness
Coolness
Cleverness
Funkiness/groove/rhythmicity
Originality/novelty/historicity
Showing off/performance
Playfulness

#84421
Nov 29, 2006 at 6:35am

Stefan,

> You might refer to “music” which claims to have a certain emotion, but
> thats usually not music, its kitsch, its an emotional lie. Most music
> for commercials, some film music etc. could fall into that category.
> Its based on the assumption that you could push emotional buttons on
> humans to control and manipulate them…
>

That’s part of what bothers me about the ‘music and emotion’ argument. Like,
I teach a music and film class, but apart from the potentially huge amounts
of cash involved, I might not be particularly interested in writing music
for a film. It’s a /trivial/ problem, in the sense of a trivial problem in
science; not an interesting or deeply challenging task, just pushing
well-known now-feel-happy now-feel-sad now-feel-excited musical buttons.

Thing is, these days I realise I feel the same sense of, umm, emotional
cheapness when I listen to the supposedly expressive parts of the classical
canon as I do when I listen to a Hollywood film score.

JS

#84422
Nov 29, 2006 at 8:31am

J. Simon van der Walt wrote:
>
> That’s part of what bothers me about the ‘music and emotion’ argument. Like,
> I teach a music and film class, but apart from the potentially huge amounts
> of cash involved, I might not be particularly interested in writing music
> for a film.
Maybe because you don’t have the inspiration or the will to make
something better than what you describe. You’re not forced to write the
same bullshit as everyone else. They will ask for this shit, for sure,
but you’ll think a little, and you’ll do something else. For you, for
people, for the movie, for god’s sake. Now i wonder how you could teach
something you’re not involved in (?). It’s also a trivial problem that
film scores are not well considered at all by the so called ‘real’
composers/teachers. That’s often because nobody asked them do write one.
I don’t like it either and i don’t have a dozen good film scores i like
as examples, but that is not a problem between music & movies. Writing
for movies is one of the most interesting challenge for a composer,
especially because you’ll have to avoid being such ridiculous.
> It’s a /trivial/ problem, in the sense of a trivial problem in
> science; not an interesting or deeply challenging task, just pushing
> well-known now-feel-happy now-feel-sad now-feel-excited musical buttons.
>
There’s no more interesting challenge than to get rid of this. This
conception of film score is for bad directors, bad producers & bad
composers. They are a lot.

I saw “the new world” by T.Malick last night and it’s a perfect example
of what you say. One of the most horrible soundtrack of all times (150
000 $ at least, for John Horner only). Terrifying orchestration (suffer
to the horrible duets for horn and different things at the very
beginning, for example), no ideas at all (or bad ones : the chromatic
ends of the piano theme in the middle, arghhhhhhh)… Film scores only
work when they are not supposed to underscore the pictures (your emotion
buttons). Unfortunately, most of them do. I the case of Malick, i wonder
how he could have agreed with this bullshit which is devastating all his
movie… But in LA, it’s not the director’s matter but the producer’s one.

After the opening of my first picture, years ago, the director
introduced me to people as the composer. They said : “ahem, ohh, it was
music ? Wonderfull, really… This theater is so charming, don’t you
think ? ” because they were expecting the kind of score you’re talking
about. And it took years (and it’s not finished) for people to
understand it could be something different. So what you should take care
of : don’t say film scoring is awfull but film scoring is awfully done.
It’s your responsability as a teacher not to write such trivial
conceptions on such a forum.
> Thing is, these days I realise I feel the same sense of, umm, emotional
> cheapness when I listen to the supposedly expressive parts of the classical
> canon as I do when I listen to a Hollywood film score.
>
Ohh, if you’re not ravaged by Bach, so maybe you’re lost for music :-)

best

f.e
> JS
>
>
>
>
>


f.e chanfrault | aka | personal computer music
> >>>>>> http://www.personal-computer-music.com
> >>>>>> |sublime music for a desperate people|

#84423
Nov 29, 2006 at 6:37pm

On Nov 28, 2006, at 3:47 PM, Stefan Tiedje wrote:

>
> I believe, the reception of music has
> nothing to do with believes, only with experience.

Does not experience lead to beliefs, in the sense that expectations
are formed by experience? Unless you mean ‘beliefs’ in the sense of
‘biases’ or ‘preconceptions’ i.e. unfounded a priori assumptions
about something – which is a different thing. All perception &
cognition involves filters based on experience – ‘beliefs’ or
expectations about what’s relevant, what one is *likely* to
experience in a given context, etc. Research has shown, in fact, that
these filters are both necessary (essentially a form of noise
reduction and bandwidth reduction in the perceptual process) and
often the source of cognitive dissonance – all at the same time.

> My experience is the
> opposite, music which doesn’t touch me personally is not interesting.
> But I can’t tell anything about it, because if it doesn’t touch me
> (ment
> emotionally by the way, even if I love intellectual aspects of music,
> it’s love and thus emotion…), I can only assume I didn’t understand
> the aim (emotion) which is behind it.

I think there might be some confusion between intention vs. reception
(for lack of easier handles) – are we talking about emotion
intentionally expressed through music, or a listener having an
emotional response upon experiencing music? These are not at all
synonymous! It is entirely possible for a given intent to be
experienced by the listener completely differently, of course. The
crux of my earlier post is, however, relevant here: *whatever*
meaning (emotional, intellectual, etc.) we experience in response to
music is, in fact, a product of the cultural conditioning go the
listener – the meaning resides at the intersection of the listener,
the music, and the cultural context, it is not inherent within the
music itself.

> Purely rational music doesn’t exist. I could prove that this is a fact
> and not a believe…

Again, do you mean ‘purely rational’ in the construction of it, and
perhaps the composer’s intent, or in the experiencing of it? It is
not at all clear from your writing which you mean, or indeed whether
you are separating them out. This is not a minor point!

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM Atrium Sound Space OVOS
http://sfifem.csf.edu http://atrium.csf.edu http://pubweb.csf.edu/
~smill/ovos.html

#84424
Nov 30, 2006 at 7:02am

J. Simon van der Walt wrote:
> Thing is, these days I realise I feel the same sense of, umm, emotional
> cheapness when I listen to the supposedly expressive parts of the classical
> canon as I do when I listen to a Hollywood film score.

I completely agree! But thats the challange and a good reason to make
music. Fill the gaps avoid the crap(s). And if you listen to good music,
its usually not feeding the expectations in the first place. As in all
art, most is crap, but thats not what you’re after. Never blame the
style, the explanations, the tools if somethings bad. You might exclude
valuable stepstones for creating good music (in your personal sense good
music). If somebody who claims to make emotional music, creates crap,
its crap and has nothing to do with emotional music…
The conclusion that aiming emotions creates crap is wrong.

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84425
Nov 30, 2006 at 7:05am

J. Simon van der Walt wrote:
> Maybe…
>
> Interestingness

is an emotion

> Coolness

is a fashion and thus meaningless

> Cleverness

is a problem for the clever ones (listeners and creators alike)

> Funkiness/groove/rhythmicity

basic musical categories usually used to trigger fashionable emotions

> Originality/novelty/historicity

won’t last till next weekend exept for historicity, but you don’t live
long enough for the proove and can’t judge it at the moment you’re
listening…

> Showing off/performance

belongs to the circus of emotions (I love it)

> Playfulness

all music is part of a game…

All your categories seem to trigger your emotions…

Just a matter of taste, but you knew that didn’t you???

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84426
Nov 30, 2006 at 8:19am

Stefan,

> All your categories seem to trigger your emotions…

I don’t think of it like that. For me as a composer I don’t find linking
emotions and music as an interesting or creativily profitable approach, and
I am not convinced by analyses which seek to do so.

JS

#84427
Nov 30, 2006 at 10:26am

f.e.

I feel slightly attacked! But I think we agree on some things; that some
(perhaps a lot of) movies have unimaginative, formulaic music, which sounds
just the same as the last movie made in that style.

And that there surely must be other ways. I gave my students an exercise the
other day; they had a short student film to look at, called ‘Little Waltz’.
The soundtrack was the Leonard Cohen song ‘Take This Waltz’, which the
filmmaker couldn’t get clearance for, so would be looking for something
similar. Off they all went writing perfectly nice waltzes, except for one
student who did something *completely different*; just a kind of sad tune,
not even in 3/4. It was brilliant and fitted perfectly, despite going clean
against the brief.

> Now i wonder how you could teach
> something you’re not involved in (?).

Shit happens. I didn’t particularly set out to teach the unit, but we really
wanted to include it in our course and all my colleagues agreed that I would
be best placed to teach it. I’ve done a lot of research into it, I’m open
with my students about my lack of real experience in the field, and it seems
to have gone well so far. (I’ve heard worse. A prominent academic friend of
mine will gleefully tell you that, at least in his view, and in a university
environment, it is possible to teach anything, even a subject you know
nothing about. He quotes with approval a lecturer of his who, for a joke or
a bet or something, took a semester of a Portuguese class, not knowing the
language at all.)

> So what you should take care
> of : don’t say film scoring is awfull but film scoring is awfully done.
> It’s your responsability as a teacher not to write such trivial
> conceptions on such a forum.

That wasn’t quite what I said. I got myself in this gentle flame war by
saying that arguments about music and emotion were awfully done.

> Ohh, if you’re not ravaged by Bach, so maybe you’re lost for music :-)

Yeah, possibly. I heard the Brandenburg Concerto no 6 on the car radio this
morning, and I had to turn it off. Mind you, that piece always struck me as
a bit duff; if it had been Brandenburg 2 it might have been a different
story!

Cheers,

JS

#84428
Nov 30, 2006 at 11:13am

Hello JS,

J. Simon van der Walt wrote:
> f.e.
>
> I feel slightly attacked!
Don’t do.
> But I think we agree on some things; that some
> (perhaps a lot of) movies have unimaginative, formulaic music, which sounds
> just the same as the last movie made in that style.
>
> And that there surely must be other ways. I gave my students an exercise the
> other day; they had a short student film to look at, called ‘Little Waltz’.
> The soundtrack was the Leonard Cohen song ‘Take This Waltz’, which the
> filmmaker couldn’t get clearance for, so would be looking for something
> similar. Off they all went writing perfectly nice waltzes, except for one
> student who did something *completely different*; just a kind of sad tune,
> not even in 3/4. It was brilliant and fitted perfectly, despite going clean
> against the brief.
>
That student is the one ! What was the orchestration ?
>
>> Now i wonder how you could teach
>> something you’re not involved in (?).
>>
>
> Shit happens. I didn’t particularly set out to teach the unit, but we really
> wanted to include it in our course and all my colleagues agreed that I would
> be best placed to teach it. I’ve done a lot of research into it, I’m open
> with my students about my lack of real experience in the field, and it seems
> to have gone well so far. (I’ve heard worse. A prominent academic friend of
> mine will gleefully tell you that, at least in his view, and in a university
> environment, it is possible to teach anything, even a subject you know
> nothing about. He quotes with approval a lecturer of his who, for a joke or
> a bet or something, took a semester of a Portuguese class, not knowing the
> language at all.)
>
>
>> So what you should take care
>> of : don’t say film scoring is awfull but film scoring is awfully done.
>> It’s your responsability as a teacher not to write such trivial
>> conceptions on such a forum.
>>
>
> That wasn’t quite what I said. I got myself in this gentle flame war by
> saying that arguments about music and emotion were awfully done.
>
Yes, i understood. But the point is that academies absolutely reject all
that is related to beauty / emotion in any artistic expression this last
30 years (IMHO, of course). These words are, of course, so subjectives,
and i’ll never go against the Stravinsky’s “a note is note”. But what i
mean is that we may separate from awfull mass entertainment products
what’s up when the 7th is delayed for a few bars in a Bach’s
counterpoint. This last one is always killing my heart but, for sure,
Bach didn’t go “let’s do something emotional”. I always react on this,
because there is such a global race to achieve the most frigid piece in
the ‘academic’ fields that we still have to fight to claim we’re really
not forced to write ‘unfuckable’ music in order to impress the vulgum
pecus (who is, indeed, never impressed at all) nor we’re forced to write
mellow shit. A cerebral piece could be delightful, of course, but a lot
of them often miss the point which is, IMO, to give some delight, for
brain &/or heart &/or bollocks. When a famous french composer loses his
nerves because he still doesn’t understand why he’s not in the top 50,
he should think about the fact that, even if people get awfully less
cultivated (that’s horribly true), these same people are not always
deaf. When the path is made to them, they don’t spit on the job.

In the same flavour, i may be very subborn, but another famous french
composer explained to me his last piece was a whole detailed work on
uglyness (all : patterns, structures, textures, instrumentation and so
on…), and, indeed, it was. And i still don’t understand how he could
have spent so much time on this…
>
>> Ohh, if you’re not ravaged by Bach, so maybe you’re lost for music :-)
>>
>
> Yeah, possibly. I heard the Brandenburg Concerto no 6 on the car radio this
> morning, and I had to turn it off. Mind you, that piece always struck me as
> a bit duff; if it had been Brandenburg 2 it might have been a different
>
The bridge in “being boring” by the Pet Shop Boys is also a masterpiece…

cheers

f.e
> story!
>
> Cheers,
>
> JS
>
>
>
>
>


f.e chanfrault | aka | personal computer music
> >>>>>> http://www.personal-computer-music.com
> >>>>>> |sublime music for a desperate people|

#84429
Nov 30, 2006 at 6:49pm

> saying that arguments about music and emotion were awfully done.

Here are some intersting arguments:

http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/BBC3.mp3

It’s an interview with Marvin Minsky listening Beethoven.

best,
nesa

#84430
Dec 1, 2006 at 2:24pm

Steven Miller wrote:
> Does not experience lead to beliefs, in the sense that expectations
> are formed by experience? Unless you mean ‘beliefs’ in the sense of
> ‘biases’ or ‘preconceptions’ i.e. unfounded a priori assumptions
> about something – which is a different thing.

You are right to point to this distinction; very often, what we call
biliefs are preconceptions which filter the experience, versus, what
would be a stronger conncetion to what one could call reality, the other
way around. Watching children is the best to keep in mind what searching
and experiencing means, they have no other choice than just being
curious and then pull out conclusions. The difficulty is to stay aware
of the fact that our conclusions might be wrong and that there often is
more than one way to interpret experience and thus the same experience
could lead to very different conclusions…

> I think there might be some confusion between intention vs. reception
> (for lack of easier handles) – are we talking about emotion
> intentionally expressed through music, or a listener having an
> emotional response upon experiencing music?

I was talking about my experience as listener. Emotions within my own
music are a different beast, some of it I want to share, but I know I
could at best give a glimpse on it. My emotions are mine, and the
emotions of the listener are those of the listener, and each listener is
different again. But thats exciting, if you can touch a big audience
though not knowing what it means in the end for each of them…

> The crux of my earlier post is, however, relevant here: *whatever*
> meaning (emotional, intellectual, etc.) we experience in response to
> music is, in fact, a product of the cultural conditioning go the
> listener – the meaning resides at the intersection of the listener,
> the music, and the cultural context, it is not inherent within the
> music itself.

I completely agree…

>> Purely rational music doesn’t exist. I could prove that this is a
>> fact and not a believe…
>
> Again, do you mean ‘purely rational’ in the construction of it, and
> perhaps the composer’s intent, or in the experiencing of it? It is
> not at all clear from your writing which you mean, or indeed whether
> you are separating them out. This is not a minor point!

My statement was intended thought provoking – it worked… ;-)
What does the term music mean for a musician? (assuming most listmembers
define themself as musicians) There is more music out there which is not
composed, even not created/played by a human. (which points back to your
cultural connection)

Your reply made me wonder what the wikipedia would say about music. (a
word I normaly would not consider needed to be looked up, as I wrongly
believe I am an expert on the subject… ;-)

I would not agree to all stated there, but some is worth to quote:

“In essence, music is a personal response to mechanical vibration.”

“The existence of some modern-day genres such as grindcore and noise
music, which enjoy an extensive underground following, indicate that
even the crudest noises can be considered music if the listener is so
inclined.”

“in short, there is rarely a consensus…. By all accounts there is no
single and intercultural universal concept defining what music might be.”

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84431
Dec 1, 2006 at 2:26pm

f.e wrote:
> In the same flavour, i may be very subborn, but another famous french
> composer explained to me his last piece was a whole detailed work on
> uglyness (all : patterns, structures, textures, instrumentation and so
> on…), and, indeed, it was. And i still don’t understand how he could
> have spent so much time on this…

Maybe he pointed to common believes of uglyness, and wanted to open the
ears of his listeners to the beauty of it. Mostly this attempt failes,
especially if the listener rejects any other form as she is used to, but
it could work as well.
Or it was just a conceptual work on uglyness. And the big fun with it is
watching the disgusting faces of the audience…
If you annoy someone, its also a way to touch (creating negative
emotions), but thats not your taste I know…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84432
Dec 1, 2006 at 3:27pm

“I have an important message for all the cute people in the
audience….there’s more of us ugly motherf*ckers than you!”
Frank Zappa
(a man of great responsibility)
Cheers
Roger

On 1/12/06 14:26, “Stefan Tiedje” wrote:
> Or it was just a conceptual work on uglyness. And the big fun with it is
> watching the disgusting faces of the audience…

#84433
Dec 1, 2006 at 3:54pm

#84434
Dec 1, 2006 at 7:16pm

Apropos this discussion and the set of quotes from Wikipedia, I offer
a couple of excerpts from an interview I did last year with composer-
sound artist-bioacoustician David Dunn for Arts Electric
http://www.arts-electric.org/articles/051205.dunn.html>:

David Dunn:

“One of my interests has also been in reframing a lot of the activity
that musicians have been engaged in over the last half-century,
particularly in the experimental American tradition. I’ve had the
sense for a very long time that there’s some deeper significance to
this activity. We really don’t know what it is we’re engaged in when
we make music. In some ways that’s a silly statement, because we know
perfectly well what music is – or at least most people think they do
- there’s an overt aspect to it which is its entertainment purpose
and its deeper cultural resonance – ways in which music informs us
collectively, the kinds of buttons it pushes in terms of emotional
and physiological associations, etc. But I’ve had this sense that
there’s another level to musical activity, a kind of unconscious
project that’s at work. A lot of my work as a composer has been about
reframing or re-examining – both historically and analytically –
looking at what some of the more experimental music activity might
mean in the light of what I think may be its larger purpose: Music is
one of the most profound means we have for growing the capacity to
perceive the world through sound.”

“We really need to ask, “what is music about, what is this activity?”
In terms of its evolutionary significance, Stephen Pinker, for
instance, as a theorist of cognition, believes that music has no
evolutionary meaning. He actually calls it auditory cheesecake. And
yet, he thinks it’s one of the great human mysteries because every
culture we know or have known of had some form of music. There’s
obviously something significant about this, but on an evolutionary
level he thinks there’s no real imperative. It’s just something that
exists and is a rather extraordinary mystery because of that. I don’t
think that’s true. I think that there really is a direct evolutionary
imperative. Music is the vehicle through which we explore our
auditory structural coupling to the external world.”

On Dec 1, 2006, at 7:24 AM, Stefan Tiedje wrote:

> Your reply made me wonder what the wikipedia would say about music. (a
> word I normaly would not consider needed to be looked up, as I wrongly
> believe I am an expert on the subject… ;-)
>
> I would not agree to all stated there, but some is worth to quote:
>
> “In essence, music is a personal response to mechanical vibration.”
>
> “The existence of some modern-day genres such as grindcore and noise
> music, which enjoy an extensive underground following, indicate that
> even the crudest noises can be considered music if the listener is so
> inclined.”
>
> “in short, there is rarely a consensus…. By all accounts there is no
> single and intercultural universal concept defining what music
> might be.”
>

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM Atrium Sound Space OVOS
http://sfifem.csf.edu http://atrium.csf.edu http://pubweb.csf.edu/
~smill/ovos.html

#84435
Dec 1, 2006 at 7:29pm

The problem I have with this line of reasoning is the complete
subjectivity of labels like “beautiful” and “ugly.” Without further
clarification of the operating definitions, these words are basically
meaningless.

And, whatever your specific definitions, I just think its silly to
believe that privileging one at the expense of the other is a
reasonable way to define an aesthetic. If you can’t find something
worthwhile/interesting/valuable (pick your term…) in both/either,
you have an impoverished experience of the world.

On Dec 1, 2006, at 7:26 AM, Stefan Tiedje wrote:

> f.e wrote:
>> In the same flavour, i may be very subborn, but another famous
>> french composer explained to me his last piece was a whole
>> detailed work on uglyness (all : patterns, structures, textures,
>> instrumentation and so on…), and, indeed, it was. And i still
>> don’t understand how he could have spent so much time on this…
>
> Maybe he pointed to common believes of uglyness, and wanted to open
> the
> ears of his listeners to the beauty of it. Mostly this attempt failes,
> especially if the listener rejects any other form as she is used
> to, but
> it could work as well.
> Or it was just a conceptual work on uglyness. And the big fun with
> it is
> watching the disgusting faces of the audience…
> If you annoy someone, its also a way to touch (creating negative
> emotions), but thats not your taste I know…
>

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM
Atrium Sound Space
OVOS

#84436
Dec 2, 2006 at 10:48am

happy new ears everyone ;)

#84437
Dec 2, 2006 at 9:19pm

> “The existence of some modern-day genres such as grindcore and noise
> music, which enjoy an extensive underground following, indicate that
> even the crudest noises can be considered music if the listener is so
> inclined.”
>

They actually wrote that in Wikipedia with a straight face? Amazing.

Eric

#84438
Dec 7, 2006 at 9:29am

Eric Lyon wrote:
>>even the crudest noises can be considered music if the listener is so
>>inclined.”
>
> They actually wrote that in Wikipedia with a straight face? Amazing.

I thought – oh this is as well poetic as diplomatic, which probably is a
requirement to let uncommon perpectives survive in Wikipedia. The
straight face of the authors remain a mystery, the straight faces of the
readers hopefully do not exist… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#84439
Dec 8, 2006 at 4:08pm

This may be of interest to some on the max/msp mailing list. Apologies in
advance for list cross-posting; we’re trying to spread the word far and
wide (and please pass this along to other individuals or lists you think
may be interested).

Thanks!

brad

http://music.columbia.edu/~brad

————–
Columbia University
Music Department
Composition and Theory
Assistant Professor Opening

The Department of Music at Columbia University announces a full-time
non-tenured position in Music Composition and Theory, at the rank of
Assistant Professor, to begin 1 July 2007.

The successful candidate will be expected to carry out creative work,
teach music composition and theory at undergraduate and graduate levels,
and potentially teach in other areas of intellectual interest. He or
she will also be expected to teach in the undergraduate Core Curriculum
and participate actively in the development of the Department’s programs.
We seek candidates who can contribute through their composing, research,
teaching, and service to the diversity and excellence of the academic
community at Columbia.

An appropriate doctorate or the equivalent is required for this position.
Significant work as a composer and/or music theorist is the most important
qualification. We welcome applicants with a wide range of aesthetic and
technical orientations. A candidate’s involvement in areas that would
expand the scope of compositional and theoretical research at Columbia
will be viewed as an advantage.

All continuing appointments at Columbia begin with a one-year contract,
with renewal anticipated.

Columbia University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

Send a letter of application, curriculum vitae, and three letters of
recommendation to:

Brad Garton
Chair, Composition Theory Search Committee
Columbia University
Department of Music
621 Dodge Hall, MC1813
2960 Broadway
New York NY 10027 USA

Review of applications will begin January 15, 2007.

#84440
Dec 8, 2006 at 4:58pm

Hi,

On Nov 21, 2006, at 5:59 PM, dlurk wrote:
> It’s also difficult for me to imagine the effect of music on people
> who are not intentionally involved in creating sound. I am half-
> serious when I wonder how significant music can possibly be to
> someone who does not have a physical relationship to it, someone to
> whom music is merely ear candy and not sustenance mixed with an
> aural opiate.

Our observation studies of air performance and free body movement to
music indicate that there are some fundamental gesture-sound
relationships that seem to govern our music perception, independent
of musical experience. Theoretically this is supported by recent
neurocognitive research on mirror neurons that implies that the same
brain activity is involved whether we perform an action, or just
observe the same action being performed by someone else. This
explains how we can learn things by watching others, and also why
people without any direct musical experience can also “feel” a
musical performance.

Check out the following publications for some more pointers on air
performance and musical imagery:
http://www.hf.uio.no/imv/forskning/forskningsprosjekter/
musicalgestures/publications/pdf/godoy-gw2005.pdf
http://www.hf.uio.no/imv/forskning/forskningsprosjekter/
musicalgestures/publications/pdf/godoy-gw2003.pdf

Cheers,
Alexander

Research Fellow, PhD-candidate
Musical Gestures Group
University of Oslo

#84441
Dec 8, 2006 at 5:14pm

Hi again,

Another seminal work on the topic of music and emotion is Juslin’s
and Sloboda’s “Music and Emotion” (2001), with contributions from
researchers in psychology, musicology, neuroscience, etc:

http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780192631886

The main chapters are:
- Multidisciplinary Perspectives
- The Composer
- The Performer
- The Listener

Cheers,
Alexander

On 28. nov. 2006, at 05.28, Steven Miller wrote:
> The thing I like about “Emotion and Meaning” – as well as several
> sections of his later “Music, the Arts, and Ideas”

[...]

> For another (largely compatible though quite different) take on
> these ideas, I recommend “Musicking” by Christopher Small.

#84442
Dec 8, 2006 at 6:00pm

On Dec 8, 2006, at 9:58 AM, Alexander Refsum Jensenius wrote:

>
> Our observation studies of air performance and free body movement
> to music indicate that there are some fundamental gesture-sound
> relationships that seem to govern our music perception, independent
> of musical experience. Theoretically this is supported by recent
> neurocognitive research on mirror neurons that implies that the
> same brain activity is involved whether we perform an action, or
> just observe the same action being performed by someone else. This
> explains how we can learn things by watching others, and also why
> people without any direct musical experience can also “feel” a
> musical performance.
>

Unless the research you reference is truly cross-cultural in scope, I
have trouble with the designation ‘fundamental’ in describing these
common relationships observed between gesture and sound. The
analogies that different cultures use to describe similar musical/
aural experiences are very different (i.e. pitch being ‘high or low’
in the West whereas the Javanese refer to them as being ‘small or
large’, etc.). Does this difference in analogy correlate at all to
different typical physical gestures in relation to aural stimuli?

The other problem I have with the term ‘fundamental’ relates to how
much these gestures are learned responses vs. physiologically
determined. How much has this been determined?

—-
Steven M. Miller

Associate Professor of Contemporary Music
College of Santa Fe
Contemporary Music Program
1600 St. Michaels Drive
Santa Fe NM 87505
http://pubweb.csf.edu/~smill
(505) 473-6197

SFIFEM
Atrium Sound Space
OVOS

#84443
Dec 8, 2006 at 9:55pm

A fantastic discussion. Wish we could have an audio or videoconference about all this, to put some voices and faces to the words. Who wants to make a jitter videoconferencing patch? Shouldn’t be too tough, right? ….

As far as “justifying” your pursuit of music, I don’t think you need to, nor should you feel like you have to. That’s a rather guilt-based thought, isn’t it? You don’t need to save the world through your music, just make the worlds of yourself and those you play for a little better, more interesting, more beautiful, even more “ugly”. You don’t have to be Mother Teresa to do good, even just a smile to a stranger can work wonders. Pay it forward.

Music certainly has the ability to stir emotions, whether they be the tear-jerking kind, the excited kind, the angry kind, anything. I’ve never been moved to tears by a piece of visual art, nor a section of a film that had no music with it. The music, for me, is the essential element that takes an idea over the top. This doesn’t mean the other forms aren’t inspiring or worthwhile–they simply produce different reactions within me. And it doesn’t mean that being moved to tears is the “deepest” kind of emotion, though it definitely feels that way sometimes. These moments are the most memorable, regardless of any kind of “schtick” or “button-pressing” going on. The mere fact that certain “button-pressing” even works means there’s a lot more going on than at first look.

You love music, so go for it. That’s all! Forget questioning that leads to self-doubt. Only question to further explore, understand, and hone your beliefs. Be a good person and justification will not be necessary.

Fantastic postings!

–CJ

#84444
Dec 9, 2006 at 3:27am

Alexander Refsum Jensenius wrote:
> Check out the following publications for some more pointers on air
> performance and musical imagery:
> http://www.hf.uio.no/imv/forskning/forskningsprosjekter/musicalgestures/publications/pdf/godoy-gw2005.pdf
>
> http://www.hf.uio.no/imv/forskning/forskningsprosjekter/musicalgestures/publications/pdf/godoy-gw2003.pdf

Thank you very much – I can’t quite explain how valuable this is to me.

Jon

#84445

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