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Old 12-15-2014, 11:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Music and Nature

MUSIC AND NATURE
What is Nature? I suppose it is the totality of the state of things, including ourselves, and/or the force or forces that cause or control this, or these, thing or things. To a spiritual agnostic like myself, you could say that Nature is God, or God is Nature. This "pagan" idea might be sneered at by the followers of the various theistic religions, who divorce their God from Nature, but us children of Nature see things differently. Besides, I believe that we all have within us an intuitive knowledge of what "Nature" is, the all pervading force of the universe that creates and destroys, that is equally present within and without us.

And what is music? Is it something different for a classical composer and a rap artist? I'm sure that both of these artists would recognise each other's creations as music. Is this because both genres have rhythm? Perhaps, but then I could create an ambient piece of music, that has no rhythm, that randomly modulates through various harmonies, and this too would be recognised as "Music".

Also, we can have music without melody and harmony, such as a drum ensemble. Also, there is, according to some people, music without rhythm, melody, or harmony, such as John Cage's 4'33s, which is four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence- music without sound. And many good composers use pregnant pauses and silences to great musical effect. But, again, even though we can go around in dialectical circles trying to define what music is, or what is or is not music, I believe that all of us, at least those of us with some culture, have an innate intuition as to what is music.

Now does the music that people make, and listen to, and search out, reflect Nature? Nature, and our natures, are constantly changing. Think about classical music, with it's smooth legato and consonant harmonies, and think about the lives of the people who listened to it. During these times, people were much more in harmony with "Nature" in the narrower sense of the concept- they lived close to the countryside, close to the smooth undulation of the seasons, the changes of weather, the undulating rhythms of life, the unobtrusive sounds of nature, such as water trickling and birds singing. Life was slower, changes less sudden and more expected than today. Isn't this reflected in classical music, the blended sounds of the classical orchestra, the diatonic melodies, the predictable modulations, the gentle rhythms and natural beauty of this music reflecting and amplifying the sounds and perceptions of life in this age.

Look how music has changed since the Industrial Revolution. How the machine age has brought music with staccato rhythms, jarring sounds, percussive elements displacing the old legato. How the age of mass media has brought rap and hip-hop, lots of talk with little content. How the ever increasing complexity of society has brought an ever increasing complexity of harmonic material, evident in Jazz and modern composition. How, as modern life alienates us from each other, and from our own natures, some music has become alienated from melody and harmony, again evident in hip-hop styles. How the repetitive routine of modern life is reflected in modern music with its repetitive unvarying motifs and rhythms. How the blandness of our high technology lifestyles is reflected in bland but highly polished and produced music.

As a lover of classical and romantic music I yearn after the flowing, fluid sound of the symphony orchestra. However, as a composer, I live in this city of traffic noise, stop start rhythms, an alienated and compartmentalised society, where images are constantly bombarded at my mind, with my pleasure and pain centres constantly stimulated. I must live in this world- there's no-where else to go. I was born in the city, and it is the only life I know, and I have adequately learned to survive, and even enjoy life here.

This is my nature. My "Nature". And as a composer, if I am to write music that is valid, that reflects the zeitgeist and condition of my life, music that is true innovative art, and not mere imitation or an exercise in meaningless notes and rhythms, I must bring together two disparate elements- the old, legato, melodic, harmonic sound, that reflects "Nature" in the narrow sense, and still reflects what we are, as we are still all children of nature, we have not physically or emotionally changed with progress.

But also I must express musically what has changed, the progress of technology and the corresponding changes in society. These things will favour the opposite sounds for their expression, such as staccato rhythms, jarring sounds, sudden stops and starts, dissonant harmonies, and unexpected modulations. These things seem ugly at first glance, but as a musician, as an artist, can I arrange these elements, using classic rules of rhythm and melody and harmony, to create a sound that is truly beautiful, yet totally modern and original?

This is the challenge that I set myself, to create a true music of the future, as Wagner did in his romantic age. I must combine classical and rock sounds, smooth and broken rhythms, melody and a-tonality, conventional harmonies with a-harmonic invention, somehow tame the constant relentlessness of this age into beautiful music.

Thus will music and nature be as one, even when we are divorced from our own natures and Nature. I must describe this new nature, this anti-nature, in natural and musical terms, and if the current rules of music cannot do this, then I must create new rules, that are natural in themselves.

For however far we are from Nature, we are our Nature, and I will find the new music of Nature. As music too is a child of nature, and if I search and listen hard enough, I will hear the music of the future, as something original, valid, and beautiful.
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Last edited by Jathon Delsy; 12-15-2014 at 04:37 PM. Reason: To improve punctuation and paragraphs.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default What Are You Saying?

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Originally Posted by Urban Hat€monger ? View Post
Are you trying to tell me something, Urban Hatemonger?
If so, why not tell it me straight, and educate us all?
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Old 12-15-2014, 12:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Are you trying to tell me something, Urban Hatemonger?
If so, why not tell it me straight, and educate us all?
I think Urban's trying to tell you that you've just built a wall of text and you should either tear it down or reconstruct it.

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Old 12-15-2014, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ladyislingering View Post
i think urban's trying to tell you that you've just built a wall of text and you should either tear it down or reconstruct it.

The wall stands.
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The wall stands.
Use paragraphs.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Use paragraphs.
I did; five of them.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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tl;dr a block of text
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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tl;dr a block of text
Oh well, at least I say what I mean and mean what I say.
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Old 12-15-2014, 04:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh well, at least I say what I mean and mean what I say.
Well I guess your right, but nobody will read it so.
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