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Music vs. sound? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 7th April 2010
  #301
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
but I think music can communicate musical ideas and concepts, even though it's more subjective.

John
heh If it could that by itself you wouldn't need theory now, would you? heh

You'd just have a bunch of guys playing together and getting further and further out there just by playing...
Old 7th April 2010
  #302
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
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.
So you think most music is devoid of emotion ? you need to get out more if so !
Old 7th April 2010
  #303
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post

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)
Yes, definitely.

John
Old 7th April 2010
  #304
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
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.
why are yall on that side of the fence making all these assumptions about our emotional states every step of the way? there is nothing "metaphorical" AT ALL about saying that music is a language. BigBadJohn just used the cigarette example - after you make assignments, and then teach those assignments to someone else, you absolutely can ask for a cigarette with music, and this is exactly how every language as you're using the word developed. if yall wanna have subjective arguments about how certain harmonics depict certain emotions and whatnot, fine, i'm not going there, and there's no need to for the purposes of my point, but if it wasnt for the fact that no one wants music to be bound to any set of rules for the sake of the artform, you could create a language every bit as complex as a spoken one from musical sounds. it's just a matter of assignment. that we prefer music as an artform over a means of precise and accurate communication is the only reason why such concrete assignments were never made
Old 7th April 2010
  #305
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One more thing to consider, spoken in a succinct manner, by a poet (someone who uses language as his medium of expression):

"Music has a great advantage; without mentioning anything, it can say everything."

Ilya Ehrenburg
(commenting on Shostakovich's Eight Symphony, 1943)

p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #306
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
The fact that YOU may derive certain emotions from a particular piece of music doesn't mean that this was intended by the composer.
What is miscommunication? more then one person. Music *is* communication. Perhaps its not a clear medium for precise expession, but that is the appeal right?

Composer puts his thoughts into audio form. Listener listens. Perhaps the listener understand clear as day--perhaps the listener walks off with a completely different impression.

communication still occurred because music is a language. when something puts an idea in your head that wasn't there before, something communicated with you. re piotr absolutey it!
Old 7th April 2010
  #307
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post

Good answer actually - rhythm 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.
Now, we could be talking about different things in terms of "conventional harmony", but I still see people being pretty attached to "tonality" in the "western" sense. Most pop music for example uses a regular scale, and chords that relate to each other in a fairly standard way. I cannot think of too many pieces that use alternate tunings, that have been accepted by large numbers of say, international clubgoers. Also when I hear samples of "international" pop music, most of them seem to use our tonal system, if only a little. Maybe rap is much less tonal? I've also heard some Autechre that is really sound based and non-tonal. What I mean is, I think an artist might have trouble getting over in a really big way if he completely disregarded both the tuning system, and any harmony. What do people think?

John
Old 7th April 2010
  #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
So you think most music is devoid of emotion ? you need to get out more if so !
the 'language' of the non-elitist. You don't understand what grumphh is saying, so you suggest that he has feelings of inadequacy. You don't understand what I'm saying, and so you vaguely insult me.

Let me try again. Music itself doesn't contain emotion. A composer may, or may not, attempt to convey specific feelings, or he/she may simply compose something with passion....the listener may or may not get any of these specific things out of the music, or may get other things out of it. One can also listen to music soley for the beauty in it, though I'm sure someone will try to say that beauty is an emotion...

So the problem here again is that you're not really taking the time to think about what's really being said, and simply reacting emotionally. Perhaps you need more formal study in order to fully appreciate the way that language works...
Old 7th April 2010
  #309
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"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. "
yeah, I think it still applies from what I have noticed outside of electronica... all the tweener rock and hip hop, commercial music etc.. are all very "club" oriented nowadays I think. I was in a club last wee and the Dj put on miley cyrus, the young girls around me were digging it and singing along... me ... geeeshh I'm getting old.

Really I think in a blue field sums it up pretty well. Actually I would state that Music is language. +1 to this: music and math are UNIVERSAL languages
I think there is plenty of non-sentimental basis for linguistically classifying it as such.

Is a computer a device for making music? Yes. It can be used for that but also it's a universal machine capable of a lot more. It is bigger than that one use, but that does not make this a false statement: A computer is a device for making music. The set defined by the statement is not discrete, and the universality of the meaning shatters the boundaries of the set (or something like that) Godel and incompleteness theory changed thinking on this type of thing in a big way and led to the notion of universality in language, math, machines, music etc... Interesting stuff.

The excellent book "Godel Escher Bach" is a good seminal read on the topic(s) we are discussing. You have to get into the real tricky areas of the nature of cognition, language, meaning etc.. to really argue any of this. Man is capable of extending his metaphors(meaning) out to infinity and perhaps our consciousness arises from this. Which is cool, basically our ability to derive infinite meaning from music is an integral part of the nature of our consciousness.

Well one thing I have got from this thread is the importance of Bach. First the OP's original question, then Wendy Carlos S.O.B album and thoughts, then my remembering "Godel, Escher, Bach" which discusses the nature of human consciousness as it relates to music, art, math and meaning.

And now to poke fun at the non-theory people: don't read the wikipedia article on Bach or it might ruin your music.
Old 7th April 2010
  #310
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crufty View Post
What is miscommunication? more then one person. Music *is* communication. Perhaps its not a clear medium for precise expession, but that is the appeal right?

Composer puts his thoughts into audio form. Listener listens. Perhaps the listener understand clear as day--perhaps the listener walks off with a completely different impression.

communication still occurred because music is a language. when something puts an idea in your head that wasn't there before, something communicated with you. re piotr absolutey it!
ok. Enough trying to talk to you. you're not listening - you're simply declaring these things to be true.
Old 7th April 2010
  #311
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
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.
I never matters what the artist INTENDS as to what is interpreted. A painter can paint a landscape and a viewer can experience all these memories and emotions from that landscape which had nothing to do with her personal take. That's what I believe art is. It doesn't matter what the composer intends. It never has. It's not a LITERAL communication.
Old 7th April 2010
  #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choice_of_meat View Post
.....Really I think in a blue field sums it up pretty well. Actually I would state that Music is language. +1 to this: music and math are UNIVERSAL languages
I think there is plenty of non-sentimental basis for linguistically classifying it as such.
No one has made one yet.

Quote:
Is a computer a device for making music? Yes. It can be used for that but also it's a universal machine capable of a lot more.
And you can also say, and it has already been said, that one can communicate some things with music....that is not the same thing as saying that in its essence, it is communication. Just as, a computer may be used for making music, and also not.

Quote:
It is bigger than that one use, but that does not make this a false statement: A computer is a device for making music.
It does make it a false statement if that statement is meant to mean more than the vague, 'a computer CAN be used to make music'. It is false when it is intended to mean that a computer is by its essence a musical instrument. A radio can be used as a musical instrument, but it would be weird if someone asked you what a radio was, and you said, 'a radio is a musical instrument'.


Quote:
The set defined by the statement is not discrete, and the universality of the meaning shatters the boundaries of the set (or something like that) Godel and incompleteness theory changed thinking on this type of thing in a big way and led to the notion of universality in language, math, machines, music etc... Interesting stuff.
Godel's theorem was about formal languages. The rest is fancy.

Quote:
The excellent book "Godel Escher Bach" is a good seminal read on the topic(s) we are discussing. You have to get into the real tricky areas of the nature of cognition, language, meaning etc.. to really argue any of this. Man is capable of extending his metaphors(meaning) out to infinity and perhaps our consciousness arises from this. Which is cool, basically our ability to derive infinite meaning from music is an integral part of the nature of our consciousness.
Tried reading it years ago and thought that it was self-important and silly.
Old 7th April 2010
  #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I never matters what the artist INTENDS as to what is interpreted. A painter can paint a landscape and a viewer can experience all these memories and emotions from that landscape which had nothing to do with her personal take. That's what I believe art is. It doesn't matter what the composer intends. It never has. It's not a LITERAL communication.
I'm not saying that it matters to the music. I'm saying that it is relevant to the notion that it is communication. What you mean by 'LITERAL communication', I'm not sure, but you still seem to be arguing solely on emotional grounds. I think that all you're saying is that music is communication metaphorically, and indeed that is a facile metaphor that you and others like to use.
Old 7th April 2010
  #314
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Quote:
No one has made one yet.
Well, I for one see no point in formally going through the rigorous exercise of defining music into that which it is so much more than. That is the "universality of music" part. The infinity of metaphor "universal" type things are capable of. Our minds being one of the best "universal machines"

Quote:
that is not the same thing as saying that in its essence,
I don't understand the "essence" quality you are referring to?

I still stand by the statement that music is language. But well, we live in a probabilistic universe, not even light or matter is anything all the time.

Quote:
but it would be weird if someone asked you what a radio was, and you said, 'a radio is a musical instrument'.
Sure because a Radio does not have "universality". Computers and music do. They are universally capable of meaning.

Quote:
Godel's theorem was about formal languages. The rest is fancy.
Tried reading it years ago and thought that it was self-important and silly.
Well sure, you are entitled to your opinion. It's all good.
Old 7th April 2010
  #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by in a blue field View Post
why are yall on that side of the fence making all these assumptions about our emotional states every step of the way? there is nothing "metaphorical" AT ALL about saying that music is a language.
sure there is. It isn't a language in the same sense as English at all.

Quote:
BigBadJohn just used the cigarette example - after you make assignments, and then teach those assignments to someone else, you absolutely can ask for a cigarette with music, and this is exactly how every language as you're using the word developed.
I don't see that as relevant at all - I can map out various meanings and words to many different things, but that doesnt' meant that those things, as they exist in the world, are languages.

Quote:
if yall wanna have subjective arguments about how certain harmonics depict certain emotions and whatnot, fine, i'm not going there, and there's no need to for the purposes of my point, but if it wasnt for the fact that no one wants music to be bound to any set of rules for the sake of the artform, you could create a language every bit as complex as a spoken one from musical sounds.
I'm simply not sure how the technical possibility, if it exists, of mapping out the sounds in music to work as a language, means that music, as it actually is used, IS a language. I mean, I suppose that, with much training, one could map out the subtleties of fart noise into various meanings, but it doesn't mean that farting is a language.

Quote:
it's just a matter of assignment. that we prefer music as an artform over a means of precise and accurate communication is the only reason why such concrete assignments were never made
this is grade A silly and speculative. Music IS an art form, so the notion that we 'prefer' it that way, and not as a more formal means of communication is really just plain nonsense. If we didn't react to music in the ways that we do, why would it exist? Putting it another way entirely (but essentially saying the same thing) - if we didn't react to it the way that we do, and used it solely to communicate ideas and information, then it would be talking, not music.
Old 7th April 2010
  #316
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
ok. Enough trying to talk to you. you're not listening - you're simply declaring these things to be true.
hmm was thinking the same thing.

definitions here
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/5283322-post292.html

how is music NOT communication per the definitions made?

if music does not communicate is it music?
Old 7th April 2010
  #317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
the 'language' of the non-elitist. You don't understand what grumphh is saying, so you suggest that he has feelings of inadequacy. You don't understand what I'm saying, and so you vaguely insult me.
You are a sensitive little soul then aren't you Drools. - Your words not mine were quoted as you wrote them... like it or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
Let me try again. Music itself doesn't contain emotion.
So when I see concert hall full of people with tears in their eyes at the end of a performance of Ravel.... what exactly is it that has bought this reaction upon these listeners ? Where did it come from ? why did they all feel the same thing..?
Old 7th April 2010
  #318
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choice_of_meat View Post
Well, I for one see no point in formally going through the rigorous exercise of defining music into that which it is so much more than. That is the "universality of music" part. The infinity of metaphor "universal" type things are capable of. Our minds being one of the best "universal machines"
I can't understand what you're saying, really.

Quote:
I don't understand the "essence" quality you are referring to?
Sure you do. To say that something IS something else, even in this loose sense, is saying that it is essentially the same as that other thing, not that it may be used as that in some kind of loose way from time to time by some people.

Quote:
I still stand by the statement that music is language. But well, we live in a probabilistic universe, not even light or matter is anything all the time.
Oh, please. We are not talking about things on the quantum level here, and the glass of espresso I have in front of me is simply that. It doesn't mutate into a giant gila monster when I'm not looking.

I know that you're standing by your statements, but you're not offering anything in the way of an argument - you're pretty much saying that arguments are irrelevant.

Quote:
Sure because a Radio does not have "universality". Computers and music do. They are universally capable of meaning.

Well sure, you are entitled to your opinion. It's all good.
This is really just nonsense. Entirely. The thing is that you can go on with this belief system, even though you can't back it up in any way other than stoned out statements about 'universality' etc. And nothing bad will happen. So, I suppose I should just ignore it.
Old 7th April 2010
  #319
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one more:

communicating through music

This video is part of the panel discussion from the 2009 World Science Festival entitled Notes & Neurons.

I highly encourage you guys to watch the 5 videos. Very enlightening. And I guarantee you that it will settle at least some of the issues regarding the language and music relationship.

For one thing: useful is the reminder, that before we had language (or at least what we think of as language today) we had... sounds. Sounds we made as humans that mimicked sounds of nature. Sounds we made to communicate without words, sounds we made to commune: to partake in a community. To express feelings and ideas.

p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #320
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
You are a sensitive little soul then aren't you Drools. - Your words not mine were quoted as you wrote them... like it or not.
You can quote this or that without having any understanding of the words, Beers.


Quote:
So when I see concert hall full of people with tears in their eyes at the end of a performance of Ravel.... what exactly is it that has bought this reaction upon these listeners ? Where did it come from ? why did they all feel the same thing..?
The music uses certain formulas to convey certain emotions, and does so effectively. OR sometimes people get tear eyed simply because something is beautiful. And it doesn't mean that all music works the same way - do you get tears in your eyes when you listen to, say, xenakis?

You're really trying to read me as saying that no music can convey anything BECAUSE it's not a language and not communication essentially.

And you're really trying to read me as saying that it's somehow wrong to react to music this way.

But I haven't said any of those things, and I don't see you as doing anything at all but be an arrogant, elitist who claims constantly that he is not...Beers.
Old 7th April 2010
  #321
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
I'm not saying that it matters to the music. I'm saying that it is relevant to the notion that it is communication. What you mean by 'LITERAL communication', I'm not sure, but you still seem to be arguing solely on emotional grounds. I think that all you're saying is that music is communication metaphorically, and indeed that is a facile metaphor that you and others like to use.
I never said music's communication was limited to emotion. Never said it and I don't believe it. You didn't read what I wrote.

"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."

What's more "aesthetics" are communicated. Listen to Utrenja or Threndoy for the Victims of Hiroshima by Penderecki. It's modern poetry. Sure there's emotion, but mainly they're ideas. You can almost be transported to another time and place with music. It's virtually the only art form based primarily on the predictability of time.
Old 7th April 2010
  #322
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I don't see how it could settle anything. How could that work?This is a philosophical/linguistic issue, not a brain science issue. Scientists reduce phenomena into tidy little bundles that they can quantify.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piotr View Post
communicating through music

This video is part of the panel discussion from the 2009 World Science Festival entitled Notes & Neurons.

I highly encourage you guys to watch the 5 videos. Very enlightening. And I guarantee you that it will settle at least some of the issues regarding the language and music relationship.

For one thing: useful is the reminder, that before we had language (or at least what we think of as language today) we had... sounds. Sounds we made as humans that mimicked sounds of nature. Sounds we made to communicate without words, sounds we made to commune: to partake in a community. To express feelings and ideas.

p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #323
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grumphh's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by choice_of_meat View Post

music and math are UNIVERSAL languages
No, they are both universally understood as being the thing they are - but that does not make them languages.

"Language of music" is nothing but a corny poetic metaphor, eagerly grasped by "artistes" because it awakes connotations of something bigger than they could express in words, making the young lasses swoon over the sensitive natures of these artistes.
(Of course that is probably why they became artistes instead of scholars - because they had difficulties expressing themselves concisely in words heh ).
Old 7th April 2010
  #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
So when I see concert hall full of people with tears in their eyes at the end of a performance of Ravel.... what exactly is it that has bought this reaction upon these listeners ? Where did it come from ? why did they all feel the same thing..?

THIS is very very different... we are highly influencable by the energy of people around us and the feelings created by being in an audience as a collective are much stronger than what we would feel as an individual sitting at home listening on our headphones.

You're more likely to feel the same thing as the 9 people next to you, along with your own interpretation - the power of the vibe heh
Old 7th April 2010
  #325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
I don't see how it could settle anything. How could that work?This is a philosophical/linguistic issue, not a brain science issue. Scientists reduce phenomena into tidy little bundles that they can quantify.
My bad.

I thought that maybe some scientific points of reference would help in finding some common ground.

Please disregard the science, and carry on.

;-)

p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #326
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Music can use formulas to 'communicate' certain emotions. The less formulaic, the less likely that the listener will derive the same emotion or feeling, and the further therefore that it strays from the meaning of communication. This does not mean that one cannot react emotionally to music, and legitimately. But the emotion is not a part of the music, and it's certainly not a language, else there'd be rules, and correctness/incorrectness about the interpretation of the feelings/emotions.

As I've said again and again - feelings and emotions can be conveyed in music to various degrees. If Penderecki's piece didn't have that title, and you just heard it without any knowledge of what it is, would you make the same associations? I suspect not. That doesn't mean that the piece is any less effective.

But you really want to believe that you deny that music IS communication or language that it somehow loses something, or that it is somehow more 'dry' and devoid of feeling. The fact that you are doing so suggests time and time again that you don't understand what's being said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I never said music's communication was limited to emotion. Never said it and I don't believe it. You didn't read what I wrote.

"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."

What's more "aesthetics" are communicated. Listen to Utrenja or Threndoy for the Victims of Hiroshima by Penderecki. It's modern poetry. Sure there's emotion, but mainly they're ideas. You can almost be transported to another time and place with music. It's virtually the only art form based primarily on the predictability of time.
Old 7th April 2010
  #327
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piotr View Post
My bad.

I thought that maybe some scientific points of reference would help in finding some common ground.

Please disregard the science, and carry on.

;-)

p.
Not everything can be resolved by science, and not every correct claim that this is so is worthy of ridicule. Understanding what can and what can't be is an issue that should be thought about.
Old 7th April 2010
  #328
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJohn View Post
Now, we could be talking about different things in terms of "conventional harmony", but I still see people being pretty attached to "tonality" in the "western" sense. Most pop music for example uses a regular scale, and chords that relate to each other in a fairly standard way. I cannot think of too many pieces that use alternate tunings, that have been accepted by large numbers of say, international clubgoers. Also when I hear samples of "international" pop music, most of them seem to use our tonal system, if only a little. Maybe rap is much less tonal? I've also heard some Autechre that is really sound based and non-tonal. What I mean is, I think an artist might have trouble getting over in a really big way if he completely disregarded both the tuning system, and any harmony. What do people think?

John
Absolutely, i certainly don't think that the 12 tone system is going to vanish anytime soon, and i would also doubt that atonal music will spawn popular hits for many decades to come - but there certainly is more atonal material floating around these days than in the 70's when i was a kid.

Then again, who knows what will be a hit in the future - Pink Floyd had a very unlikely hit with "Money"...
Old 7th April 2010
  #329
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
Not everything can be resolved by science, and not every correct claim that this is so is worthy of ridicule. Understanding what can and what can't be is an issue that should be thought about.
I did not say that everything would be resolved.
I said that some things may be settled.

But if you want philosophy:

Here is Wittgenstein's take on the music/language issue:

4.014 A gramophone record, the musical idea, the written notes, and the
sound-waves, all stand to one another in the same internal relation
of depicting that holds between language and the world. They are all
constructed according to a common logical pattern.

4.0141 There is a general rule by means of which the musician can obtain
the symphony from the score, and which makes it possible to derive the
symphony from the groove on the gramophone record, and, using the first
rule, to derive the score again. That is what constitutes the inner
similarity between these things which seem to be constructed in such
entirely different ways. And that rule is the law of projection which
projects the symphony into the language of musical notation. It is
the rule for translating this language into the language of gramophone
records.


This is from his "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus".
Now, I will not say that this will settle anything. In fact: I thought that I could contribute to this conversation by simply providing some factual points of reference, instead of stoking the emotional fires here.
So the above passages from Tractatus (as well as other texts and materials I posted earlier) are meant to serve that purpose exclusively: references.

Sincerely,
p.
Old 7th April 2010
  #330
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
The music uses certain formulas to convey certain emotions, and does so effectively. OR sometimes people get tear eyed simply because something is beautiful.
There are certainly structures and forms that evoke all kinds of feelings in people but its the performance and arrangement of instruments that really makes or brakes the power of the emotion and feeling in hand. If this isn't emotion and communication then what is ? ..... on that basis you could describe away emotion as merely being electrical pulses in the the brain with various combinations chemical reactions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
do you get tears in your eyes when you listen to, say, xenakis?
Depending on which work of Xenakis and who's performance I have all kinds of emotional responses to his music.
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