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Music vs. sound? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 7th April 2010
  #271
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
I generally find the 'psychology card' to be more offensive than anything that grumphh has said. You are misinterpreting much of what he's said, and attacking him, and then you have the audacity to suggest that he must be saying what he is because of feelings of inadequacy. And then you deny that you are posting in an elitist manner.
Drools, maybe you should re-read the thread. It seems like you haven't

All the way through myself and others have explained time and time again that experience, practice, education, learning, whether you consciously call it 'theory' or knowledge the name doesn't matter - its all the same thing.. education in what ever musical style you happen to be interested in is the only way to make progress. People have a real hang up with the word 'theory' and I think this has caused more crossed wires in this thread than anything else. Many people think that music theory is sitting in a classroom with a thick book on counterpoint and with a nerdy tutor dressed in corduroy banging on about Bach... It's not. Theory can be the simple understanding that minor chords sometimes sound better with a seventh in. It can be any knowledge of how music works from one genre to another..

Who here is seriously content not to improve their music and productions ? Isn't the whole point of forums like these to get tips on how to improve or change our thinking regarding the music we make ?

Beer.
Old 7th April 2010
  #272
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But I agree, but what's the point with harmony then ?
To me there is not.

You can improve your music in a number of way, so once again harmony is not that important for some.
Old 7th April 2010
  #273
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Originally Posted by Bio View Post

You can improve your music in a number of way, so once again harmony is not that important for some.
eg the deaf
Old 7th April 2010
  #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden beers View Post
eg the deaf

Old 7th April 2010
  #275
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
I think that saying that music is 'a language' is somewhat of a cliche. One can make analogies to a language, but I don't think that it is one, unless one claims trivially that the cliche has now become part of the language by constant use.
I don't know about how cliche it is. I know it's a language. All you have to ask is what a language is. A language uses symbols to communicate. There can be complex languages or simple ones. Sign, facial expressions, vocal inflection and most importantly words, help communication. Each individual, in order to communicate with a specific language, has to understand the symbols, both those originating and those receiving.

Music is a language. It uses notes, both in sound and written, in terms of pitch, sound and time/rhythm. Also it uses emotional inflection and dynamics to convey these musical ideas. Notes, tone, pitch placed on a canvas of time, which predicts their movement, to a greater or lesser degree, are the words of music. These "words" do not have to be written down to be music, but their writing forms another level of this language.

The success of the language is that the listener doesn't have to understand what's "under the hood" to GET the communication. He understands the tonic is expected to follow the dominant, but it doesn't have to. He understands the suspended 4th wants to resolve to the 3rd. He understands the minor 3rd doesn't belong in a Major 7th chord or it's very discordant, yet he has no idea what these concepts are specifically -- but he KNOWS because he hears them. It's brilliant.

More importantly he understands how to move his body to a funky rhythm or get emotionally involved in a performance or composition.

Music is an art and therefore it communicates, as a language, to the beholder, something or nothing.
Old 7th April 2010
  #276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I don't know about how cliche it is. I know it's a language. All you have to ask is what a language is. A language uses symbols to communicate. There can be complex languages or simple ones. Sign, facial expressions, vocal inflection and most importantly words, help communication. Each individual, in order to communicate with a specific language, has to understand the symbols, both those originating and those receiving.

Music is a language. It uses notes, both in sound and written, in terms of pitch, sound and time/rhythm. Also it uses emotional inflection and dynamics to convey these musical ideas. Notes, tone, pitch placed on a canvas of time, which predicts their movement, to a greater or lesser degree, are the words of music. These "words" do not have to be written down to be music, but their writing forms another level of this language.

The success of the language is that the listener doesn't have to understand what's "under the hood" to GET the communication. He understands the tonic is expected to follow the dominant, but it doesn't have to. He understands the suspended 4th wants to resolve to the 3rd. He understands the minor 3rd doesn't belong in a Major 7th chord or it's very discordant, yet he has no idea what these concepts are specifically -- but he KNOWS because he hears them. It's brilliant.

More importantly he understands how to move his body to a funky rhythm or get emotionally involved in a performance or composition.

Music is an art and therefore it communicates, as a language, to the beholder, something or nothing.
Word !

As a composer for film there are chord progressions and uses of harmony that spell out everything from romance and love...to tension and expectation....Heaven and hell, comedy and drama... all emotions and feelings. It can tell a story and draw the listener through a journey from one place to another. Thats before you even think about orchestration of the music and how it's performed and recorded.
Old 7th April 2010
  #277
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
Actually, the statement that "harmony very often isn't necessary" doesn't really answer the question I originally asked.

It is obvious that if you are creating music that relies almost entirely on percussion, then harmony isn't an issue. What is not obvious is why electronic music has gone in a direction that relies so heavily on percussion--or, more generally, why sound design has become such a major component that it often seems to crowd out everything else.

It is logical that sound design should become important as a result of its becoming possible :-) Again, what is not obvious--at least not to me--is why sound design should crowd out melody and harmony as important elements of music, rather than sharing the stage with them.

That's the question for which I'm trying to get an answer. Please note that the whole theory/non-theory debate is answering a separate question entirely, because sound design has its own theory that one can choose to study--or not.

Well, as someone mentioned earlier in the thread extensive manipulation of sound and timbre (via machine, at home) is a relatively new phenomeneon. And, already certain musical elements tend to "fight" for dominance with each other. For example, it's easier for jazz musicians to "stretch" over relatively static harmony. And a piece like Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" used some static harmony when he wanted to emphasize pounding, percussive rhythms. And often, an intricate melody sits better over a less rhythmically assertive background. So it's a little natural that a new element might crowd out other pre-existing ones.

Also, music created for dancing tends to focus on a repetitive beat. It seems to me that a lot of (not all) electronic music is focused on the dancefloor. People respond to (good) repetitive beats, and strong rhythm. Maybe this really started with disco, with the emphasis on "four on the floor". I always imagine Donna Summers "I Feel Love"as an electronica forerunner. Cool sounds, pounding beat, not-so-involved harmony. Lastly, there's the possibility that within the twelve tone system, many possibilities have been exhausted. After all, there was a big shift away from tonality among "classical" composers in the late 20th century, and a focus on getting new and often bizzare sounds from orchestras and soloists.

John
P.S. If anyone feels I am misrepresenting electronic music, you can say so. I am no expert.
Old 7th April 2010
  #278
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Sound / tone is very important, if it wasn't don't you think everyone would just be using Garageband or a similar program with stock sounds? If it was just about the music this website wouldn't be here.
Old 7th April 2010
  #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
I think that saying that music is 'a language' is somewhat of a cliche.
I agree. You're able to convey a mood / vibe with music but you can't actually communicate with it.
Old 7th April 2010
  #280
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
I agree. You're able to convey a mood / vibe with music but you can't actually communicate with it.

you ABSOLUTELY can communicate with music. do you think you cant communicate with math? that's a language too. when you hear these things being referred to as the "universal languages" it implies that it is a foundation from which anything can be translated.

morse code is just beeps, and you could change mood by increasing or decreasing the amount or speed of beeps. not a means of communication?
Old 7th April 2010
  #281
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
I agree. You're able to convey a mood / vibe with music but you can't actually communicate with it.
right - people triumphantly proclaim this, and vague notions that art is communication, etc, without really being very analytical about what these words mean....and then they think that you're somehow denigrating music if you say that it isn't communication.

It certainly isn't in the normal sense. It is, perhaps, if you take the fact that people throw it around as a metaphor and have come to believe it, and hence it's become part of regular usage.

I mean, you start throwing around words like 'love' and immediately you're taking music seriously, right? I can write a musical composition and think that I'm communicating love, and then you may enjoy it immensely and believe that I was communicating some kind of tranquil tropical setting....it's as if you say to me, "Nixon was impeached", and I understand you to have said, "ooooh that tree is a nice one, master", and then agree that we have communicated. The fact that sometimes music is sentimental enough to 'communicate' a particular emotion doesn't mean that this is what it is doing in its essence. It isn't communication, and it's a mistake to think of it that way.
Old 7th April 2010
  #282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djanthonyw View Post
I agree. You're able to convey a mood / vibe with music but you can't actually communicate with it.
Really?? You can't say that you need to go to the store, do yo need anything, of curse. But emotions are communicated. Dreams are communicated. Symbols are communicated. Humor, rhythms, vastness, velocity, speed, slowness, angularity. timbre, joy, despondency, anger, fear -- all these things are communicated with music.

Language and communication are more than mere words, you know? Have a talk with your wife GF, friend. So much more is conveyed by tone of voice, "body language" -- there's another language for you!, eyes, . . . So many things can contradict words. At a family get together, for example, she can say yes, with words but her tone and eyes say to you, you better not even think about it.

If you can't get emotional connection and communications through music, then I think some else is wrong.
Old 7th April 2010
  #283
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I wonder how does samuel barber's string adagio fit into this idea that music cannot communicate. miscommunicates, yeah I buy that and thats also part of the fun of listening (hotel california).

maybe i read too much into the piece, but knowing a piece written by a gay man surviving depression era America, conducted by a man witnessing the implosion of his beloved home country / continent (Toscanini), musicians playing on nearly the eve of global conflict...it is not the sound of joy I hear.

listen...what does barber tell you? What is he saying? Is that not communication? does not communication always involve personal interpretation, and miscommunication part of the human condition?

original 1938 recording...
http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=6427815&m=6427820&t=audio

it is hard to imagine such a composition is even possible without the foundation, study and lessons taught by previous masters.
Old 7th April 2010
  #284
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I don't know about how cliche it is. I know it's a language. All you have to ask is what a language is. A language uses symbols to communicate. There can be complex languages or simple ones. Sign, facial expressions, vocal inflection and most importantly words, help communication. Each individual, in order to communicate with a specific language, has to understand the symbols, both those originating and those receiving.

Music is a language. It uses notes, both in sound and written, in terms of pitch, sound and time/rhythm. Also it uses emotional inflection and dynamics to convey these musical ideas. Notes, tone, pitch placed on a canvas of time, which predicts their movement, to a greater or lesser degree, are the words of music. These "words" do not have to be written down to be music, but their writing forms another level of this language.

The success of the language is that the listener doesn't have to understand what's "under the hood" to GET the communication. He understands the tonic is expected to follow the dominant, but it doesn't have to. He understands the suspended 4th wants to resolve to the 3rd. He understands the minor 3rd doesn't belong in a Major 7th chord or it's very discordant, yet he has no idea what these concepts are specifically -- but he KNOWS because he hears them. It's brilliant.

More importantly he understands how to move his body to a funky rhythm or get emotionally involved in a performance or composition.

Music is an art and therefore it communicates, as a language, to the beholder, something or nothing.
Sorry to be blunt, but:
Everything you have written above is absolute rubbish seen from an educated standpoint.

I have spent quite a few years at university studying the humanities (yeah, i am educated too) and there isn't even a reason to go into a point by point refutation of the above drivel - but man, even you must see that in order to have a language you have to assign meaning to its parts. In a language words are the parts with attached meaning.

But there is no meaning attached to an A at 440 hz - not even an artificial one.
...there is no meaning attached to an a chord either, and no meaning attached to a progression of chords either.

Without meaning attached all you get is a series of meaningless sounds that in no way whatsoever can be construed as communicating in the way a language does.
Old 7th April 2010
  #285
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
Really?? You can't say that you need to go to the store, do yo need anything, of curse. But emotions are communicated. Dreams are communicated. Symbols are communicated. Humor, rhythms, vastness, velocity, speed, slowness, angularity. timbre, joy, despondency, anger, fear -- all these things are communicated with music.

Language and communication are more than mere words, you know? Have a talk with your wife GF, friend. So much more is conveyed by tone of voice, "body language" -- there's another language for you!, eyes, . . . So many things can contradict words. At a family get together, for example, she can say yes, with words but her tone and eyes say to you, you better not even think about it.

If you can't get emotional connection and communications through music, then I think some else is wrong.
Ah - this is the part where people who are not understanding what is being said insult the people who are saying it, and correctly so.

Obviously you can use accepted cliches to portray certain emotions in music - no one has said that you can't. There is lots of sentimental music around, and I can definitely hear lots of this formulaic stuff when I watch most movies. However, this isn't what in its essence music is. And I would argue that the best music ISN'T sentimental, and looking to convey some obvious emotions with formulaic sappy formulas.

When one speaks of 'body language' one is using 'language' metaphorically. However, this really isn't a language in any kind of technical or generally accepted sense.

You can refuse to be analytical about the way that you talk and think, and feel threatened by the facts, but that doesn't change them. You can call music a language and communication only in the sense that people have come to talk about it loosely this way, but when people say this in the midst of a discussion about what music is, then it's only meaningful when you are being more precise.
Old 7th April 2010
  #286
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
right - people triumphantly proclaim this, and vague notions that art is communication, etc, without really being very analytical about what these words mean....and then they think that you're somehow denigrating music if you say that it isn't communication.

It certainly isn't in the normal sense. It is, perhaps, if you take the fact that people throw it around as a metaphor and have come to believe it, and hence it's become part of regular usage.

I mean, you start throwing around words like 'love' and immediately you're taking music seriously, right? I can write a musical composition and think that I'm communicating love, and then you may enjoy it immensely and believe that I was communicating some kind of tranquil tropical setting....it's as if you say to me, "Nixon was impeached", and I understand you to have said, "ooooh that tree is a nice one, master", and then agree that we have communicated. The fact that sometimes music is sentimental enough to 'communicate' a particular emotion doesn't mean that this is what it is doing in its essence. It isn't communication, and it's a mistake to think of it that way.
What you are saying then, essentially, is that music isn't communication most of the time, but that it can be in certain circumstances. Right?

I agree that music isn't as predictable or precise as, say, english. But if you are able to convey anything at all with it, I would be partial to calling it a (form of) language. It's a very very different form of language from english though, and I agree that it only works in certain contexts. I would guess that this is the position of most of the other posters who use the label "language" about music too.
Old 7th April 2010
  #287
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Not sure if anyone read any of the articles I posted, especially since the OP (Ark) mentions Wendy and bach etc... Wendy's words on the matter are opinionated and interesting stuff...

Well to answer this questions from Ark: "What is not obvious is why electronic music has gone in a direction that relies so heavily on percussion--"

In general, I think the reason (as mentioned by Bigbadjohn) is Dancing and where people dance. Bach wrote dances appropriate for his time... And modern composers have also, but the venue has changed. Modern amplification far exceeding anything possible in previous times; which has led to a very large trend/shift/statistical aggregate towards a different kind of straight up beat music as currently presented. For dancing, I would propose that the beat has always been more important than the melody... sing the melody for foxtrot or waltz, or 4 on the floor.. Sure lots of melody within the rhythm genres... but a waltz has been around forever as a rhythm genre... Basically a lot of people have been dancing in modern venues and the response over time has been music tailored for those venues.

I can;t find the write words for it, but also somewhere in there as an influence is the direction modern technology "urges" people to take music. I just watched the youtube doc on the tb303, basically the 303 could not replicate complex music structures easily, so the box "forced" people to simplify, misuse, etc.. which then lead to major shifts in music as people adopted this. Also, for instance, the original 4/4 tape loop that started house music was basically a creation from/for a particular NY dance scene, made possible by modern recording, tape, and amplification.

As a broad generalization, I would propose that as the basic answer to the OP's question. It is not theory or lack of it, there are plenty of people along the whole spectrum and it really does not matter (as I mentioned earlier you cannot escape the physics of it). But from the thousand foot view, the changes in dancing culture, and venue and the technology use tailored to cater to this are what have lead much music to emphasize sound and rhythm over more complex harmony etc..
Old 7th April 2010
  #288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
In a language words are the parts with attached meaning.

But there is no meaning attached to an A at 440 hz - not even an artificial one.
...there is no meaning attached to an a chord either, and no meaning attached to a progression of chords either.

Without meaning attached all you get is a series of meaningless sounds that in no way whatsoever can be construed as communicating in the way a language does.

you do indeed need to refute the "drivel" point by point, and you can start by defining the word "meaning" how you're using it, kuz if you think there's no meaning in a note we're just gonna have to ban you from any given music forum. to refute music as a language is just shortsighted, yes of course it's not two people having a conversation but it can still be TRANSLATED into anything, you cant have a conversation per se with numbers and plus signs minus signs etc you can most definitely translate math into anything tho. case in point: the computer sitting in front of you
Old 7th April 2010
  #289
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Regarding music / language:

Question #1: If you hear someone speak to you in a language that you yourself do not speak/understand: is it still a language?

Question #2: Does the voice of someone speaking to you in a foreign language then become music?

Ponder these questions might shed some light on the argument you gentlemen are having here...

p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #290
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
Ah - this is the part where people who are not understanding what is being said insult the people who are saying it, and correctly so.

Obviously you can use accepted cliches to portray certain emotions in music - no one has said that you can't. There is lots of sentimental music around, and I can definitely hear lots of this formulaic stuff when I watch most movies. However, this isn't what in its essence music is. And I would argue that the best music ISN'T sentimental, and looking to convey some obvious emotions with formulaic sappy formulas.

When one speaks of 'body language' one is using 'language' metaphorically. However, this really isn't a language in any kind of technical or generally accepted sense.

You can refuse to be analytical about the way that you talk and think, and feel threatened by the facts, but that doesn't change them. You can call music a language and communication only in the sense that people have come to talk about it loosely this way, but when people say this in the midst of a discussion about what music is, then it's only meaningful when you are being more precise.
OK, then define the word "communication." We're obviously using different definitions of the word.

And who said anything about sentimentalism? You did. I listed a whole variety of emotions and concepts that are communicated with music, and I don't think I mentioned sentimental once.
Old 7th April 2010
  #291
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
Actually, the statement that "harmony very often isn't necessary" doesn't really answer the question I originally asked.

It is obvious that if you are creating music that relies almost entirely on percussion, then harmony isn't an issue. What is not obvious is why electronic music has gone in a direction that relies so heavily on percussion--or, more generally, why sound design has become such a major component that it often seems to crowd out everything else.

It is logical that sound design should become important as a result of its becoming possible :-) Again, what is not obvious--at least not to me--is why sound design should crowd out melody and harmony as important elements of music, rather than sharing the stage with them.

That's the question for which I'm trying to get an answer. Please note that the whole theory/non-theory debate is answering a separate question entirely, because sound design has its own theory that one can choose to study--or not.
Actually when you present it that wat, you are correct.
The theory thing is a side discussion - but nevertheless spawned from your mentioning Bach and his harmonisation skills ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by choice_of_meat View Post
Not sure if anyone read any of the articles I posted, especially since the OP (Ark) mentions Wendy and bach etc... Wendy's words on the matter are opinionated and interesting stuff...

Well to answer this questions from Ark: "What is not obvious is why electronic music has gone in a direction that relies so heavily on percussion--"

In general, I think the reason (as mentioned by Bigbadjohn) is Dancing and where people dance. Bach wrote dances appropriate for his time... And modern composers have also, but the venue has changed. Modern amplification far exceeding anything possible in previous times; which has led to a very large trend/shift/statistical aggregate towards a different kind of straight up beat music as currently presented. For dancing, I would propose that the beat has always been more important than the melody... sing the melody for foxtrot or waltz, or 4 on the floor.. Sure lots of melody within the rhythm genres... but a waltz has been around forever as a rhythm genre... Basically a lot of people have been dancing in modern venues and the response over time has been music tailored for those venues.

I can;t find the write words for it, but also somewhere in there as an influence is the direction modern technology "urges" people to take music. I just watched the youtube doc on the tb303, basically the 303 could not replicate complex music structures easily, so the box "forced" people to simplify, misuse, etc.. which then lead to major shifts in music as people adopted this. Also, for instance, the original 4/4 tape loop that started house music was basically a creation from/for a particular NY dance scene, made possible by modern recording, tape, and amplification.

As a broad generalization, I would propose that as the basic answer to the OP's question. It is not theory or lack of it, there are plenty of people along the whole spectrum and it really does not matter (as I mentioned earlier you cannot escape the physics of it). But from the thousand foot view, the changes in dancing culture, and venue and the technology use tailored to cater to this are what have lead much music to emphasize sound and rhythm over more complex harmony etc..
Good answer actually - rythm has always been the most important part of dance music - but the interesting thing is that even if you go outside the realm of dancefloor friendly electronica you still find that conventional harmony is not used widely.

I think that this might also have to do with (consciously or not) rejecting the limits of having only 12 tones to play with and starting to use musical elements that cannot be placed in traditional harmonic theory.

Stuff like samples of natural sounds, or extremely processed sounds, that have no specific pitch after processing and so on.
There is a world of possibilities beyond traditional harmony (as the avantgarde of the 50's and 60's showed us) and maybe that influence has filtered down to the mainstream now?
Old 7th April 2010
  #292
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
but when people say this in the midst of a discussion about what music is, then it's only meaningful when you are being more precise.
Consider a discrete entity: the letter a, 440hz.
A language is a collection of discrete, related entities.
Consider a grammar as being rules on how languages are used.
Consider communication being the expression of valid implementations of grammar from a source object to a destination object.
Consider meaning being the interpretation of communication.

Consider music has meaning in that it communicates thoughts and emotions
Consider these thoughts and emotions are triggered by very discretely combined audio artifacts. Consider that how audio artifacts are combined are very intentional, heavily regulated and are a precise implementation of a grammar, even if the output is extremely random.

Consider that the grammar of music involves an equally precise definition of language. Music has a language, and it does communicate. The language may not be chords, progressions and notes...it might be more complicated then that and require much study to describe although only basic practice to use and likely comes quite naturally.
Old 7th April 2010
  #293
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Language / Music reference

Additionally:

I have recently been working with the John Cage texts called "Empty Words". These three lectures are constructed to undermine our conventional understanding of both: language and music. Effectively creating something that is not language, not music, or both at the same time, or not.

In a radio interview, August 8, 1974, Cage describes the piece as follows:

"I let it be known to my friends, and even strangers, as I was wandering around the country, ... that what was interesting me was making English less understandable. Because when it's understandable, well, people control one another, and poetry disappears --and as I was talking with my friend Norman O. Brown, and he said, "Syntax [which is what makes things understandable] is the army, is the arrangement of the army."

So what we're doing when we make language un-understandable is we're demilitarizing it, so that we can do our living....

It's a transition from language to music certainly. It's bewildering at first, but it's extremely pleasurable as time goes on. And that's what I'm up to. "Empty Words" begins by omitting sentences, has only phrase, words, syllables and letters. The second part omits the phrases, has only words, syllables and letters. The third part omits the words, has only syllables and letters. And the last part...has nothing but letters and sounds."

Here is the radio interview and performance of the Empty Words.

Sincerely,
p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #294
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I don't think that anyone has said that music cannot communicate. That is a generally accepted form of the word 'communicate'. However, when you are attempting to be rigorous, and say that music IS communication, then I think that this is obviously incorrect.

The fact that YOU may derive certain emotions from a particular piece of music doesn't mean that this was intended by the composer. He might have intended something entirely different. that doesn't make what you get out of it wrong at all - but this isn't communication in the sense that's being talked about here, and not all music is intensely emotional.

So, you make a very emotional point, but it really has nothing to do at all with what's being said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
I wonder how does samuel barber's string adagio fit into this idea that music cannot communicate. miscommunicates, yeah I buy that and thats also part of the fun of listening (hotel california).

maybe i read too much into the piece, but knowing a piece written by a gay man surviving depression era America, conducted by a man witnessing the implosion of his beloved home country / continent (Toscanini), musicians playing on nearly the eve of global conflict...it is not the sound of joy I hear.

listen...what does barber tell you? What is he saying? Is that not communication? does not communication always involve personal interpretation, and miscommunication part of the human condition?

original 1938 recording...
http://www.npr.org/v2/?i=6427815&m=6427820&t=audio

it is hard to imagine such a composition is even possible without the foundation, study and lessons taught by previous masters.
Old 7th April 2010
  #295
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in a blue field's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
When one speaks of 'body language' one is using 'language' metaphorically. However, this really isn't a language in any kind of technical or generally accepted sense.

You can refuse to be analytical about the way that you talk and think, and feel threatened by the facts, but that doesn't change them. You can call music a language and communication only in the sense that people have come to talk about it loosely this way, but when people say this in the midst of a discussion about what music is, then it's only meaningful when you are being more precise.

you dont actually think that when people are saying "music is a language" in here that we all think there's english, chinese, german, spanish, and then... music, right? every single instance of musical sound can be assigned to mean something, no different than how we decided that the unnunciation of the word "cloud" would be assigned to define those things in the sky. that's why music and math are UNIVERSAL languages - they are the base that comes before you assign. it is still most definitely a language, that it's not a language with set-in-stone assignments does not make it less of one, in fact that's the beauty and complexity of it.
Old 7th April 2010
  #296
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by in a blue field View Post
you do indeed need to refute the "drivel" point by point, and you can start by defining the word "meaning" how you're using it, kuz if you think there's no meaning in a note we're just gonna have to ban you from any given music forum. to refute music as a language is just shortsighted, yes of course it's not two people having a conversation but it can still be TRANSLATED into anything, you cant have a conversation per se with numbers and plus signs minus signs etc you can most definitely translate math into anything tho. case in point: the computer sitting in front of you
Grass is green.

Explain to me how you would communicate this extremly simple statement to me with notes. Or chord progressions. Or whole instrumentals.

Or with math, if you wish to.


...

As for the computer/math analogy - ermm, have you ever heard the term programming languages?
Where humans actively assign meaning to the mathematical equations that go on in the processor before reaching our screens?
Old 7th April 2010
  #297
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droolmaster0's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfenstadt View Post
What you are saying then, essentially, is that music isn't communication most of the time, but that it can be in certain circumstances. Right?

I agree that music isn't as predictable or precise as, say, english. But if you are able to convey anything at all with it, I would be partial to calling it a (form of) language. It's a very very different form of language from english though, and I agree that it only works in certain contexts. I would guess that this is the position of most of the other posters who use the label "language" about music too.
But language is more than the ability to convey a mood, or a feeling, that may be interpreted entirely differently from person to person, and is not considered right or wrong in any of these cases. Language has some rules to it - to say that because some people find particular emotions evoked, or visualize this or that, when listening to some music some of the time, doesn't suggest that music is 'a language'. It suggests to me more that people really, really want to think of it that way.
Old 7th April 2010
  #298
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droolmaster0's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by in a blue field View Post
you dont actually think that when people are saying "music is a language" in here that we all think there's english, chinese, german, spanish, and then... music, right? every single instance of musical sound can be assigned to mean something, no different than how we decided that the unnunciation of the word "cloud" would be assigned to define those things in the sky. that's why music and math are UNIVERSAL languages - they are the base that comes before you assign. it is still most definitely a language, that it's not a language with set-in-stone assignments does not make it less of one, in fact that's the beauty and complexity of it.
Well, no - and what I'm saying doesn't suggest that. but most of the time when people say this, they don't have any real precise notion of what they mean at all. For instance - that's what I see you doing - when it comes down to it, you're getting all teary eyed and simply declaring music to be 'a language' because you want it to be. And I suppose it is in a metaphorical sense - but that doesn't do any work at all. If you're trying to clarify things by saying that music is a language, but you're using it to mean 'it's own particular sense of the word' then you're not clarifying anything. You're just really saying that music is music.
Old 7th April 2010
  #299
Gear Head
 

O.K. Right. I can't ask you for a cigarette using music. But in some ways musicians communicate musically with each other. For instance, If we listen to someone's music, we can get an idea of what the musician thinks sounds good. And we get ideas from other musicians all the time. Also, in a band context, good musicians listen to and communicate musically with each other. I agree about extramusical communication being a pretty iffy proposition, but I think music can communicate musical ideas and concepts, even though it's more subjective.

John
Old 7th April 2010
  #300
Lives for gear
 
droolmaster0's Avatar
 

Again and again - no one has said that you can't use music to communicate at all. All I said is that music isn't communication. There is a difference between saying that a can be used to do x, and saying that a IS x.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
O.K. Right. I can't ask you for a cigarette using music. But in some ways musicians communicate musically with each other. For instance, If we listen to someone's music, we can get an idea of what the musician thinks sounds good. And we get ideas from other musicians all the time. Also, in a band context, good musicians listen to and communicate musically with each other. I agree about extramusical communication being a pretty iffy proposition, but I think music can communicate musical ideas and concepts, even though it's more subjective.

John
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