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Old 11-20-2012, 12:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Fake or Future?: Electronic Music's Conflict With Tradition.

After hours of reading biased posts from a variety of positions and sources purely to sate my own curiosity. I found myself seeking an open minded, music-oriented community to discuss the common, and possibly annoying topic; Is electronic music real music?

I wanted to find opinions based on one's definition of music, that is after all the fulcrum on which the scale of your opinion is balanced. What do you believe music is? My real source of inquiry being: "What is the common definition of music." And before I get a copy-paste definition of music, fresh from Google's first 'dictionary' search result. Consider what your own feeling might be, and with that said...

Music has been criticized almost every time a new style gained influence among young people. The base of new music types or just new combinations of musical elements always seems to be disliked by the listeners of the last trend. Rock and Roll experienced this, Jazz experienced this, Even the piano was wrong for those who mastered bow techniques to create the same note.
Electronic music (My generalized umbrella term of choice for any music of this type.) is quite possibly a new trend for young people and my be future of music. *gasp* That indeed feels sinful to say on any music forum. Traditional music (That which is not made by a computer of sorts.) will probably never leave the spotlight and this is for many good reasons. But the issue will persist until the new fad arises.

If you think music is solely based on creativity and pleasure, Or if you're neutral on the matter and just dont like the sound of electronic music, or possibly based on your definition consider it ''robot and potty sounds''; you're human and your position should be understood, and your skepticism respected.

I should probably say that; personally I listen to a mixed playlist consisting mostly of Howard Shore, Modest Mouse, Flux Pavilion, Feed Me and the old Korn. Nobody is completely free of bias.

Try:
Bassnectar's song: 'What' For some modern American Dubstep.

Johnny Cash's: 'Hurt' For.. well, It's Cash fool, you dont pass up a jam like that.

If you did not find this tldr and you're still here, I would love to hear input from any point of view.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Musicians have been trying to push the boundaries of what can and cannot be considered music as well as what can or cannot be considered art for a long time now. The truth happens to be that there is an audience for almost every type and so you would have a difficult time trying to claim that something isn't music without receiving a huge argument.

Some people have a hard time with aleatoric music since the composer did not make all of the choices in what is and isn't performed. The more indeterminacy, the less some people consider it music.

Some people have a difficulty considering serialism (and integral serialism) as music since, although it requires a lot of thought and effort to do it well and it does have a method, structure, and form, the end result can sometimes sound like a child pounding and pressing random keys on the piano.

Some people might say,"screw serialism, I don't even consider free atonality to be music" because of some of its extreme dissonance and usual lack of chordal progressions easily recognized by the tonally oriented ear.

Even I have a difficult time with some of the avant garde "music" just before the turn of the century. I mean what does Nam June Paik telling a performer to "creep Into the vagina of a living whale" in his "Danger Music for Dick Higgins" or Takehisa Kosugi telling the performers to "Scoop out one of your eyes 5 years from now and do the same with the other eye 5 years later" in his "Music for a Revolution" have to do with music? Are we meant to enjoy the sounds of performers scooping their eyes out or the sounds of the inside of a whale's vah-j-j? Or how about this? For Toby Driver's "The Lugubrious Library Loft" (this one was actually done in 2005) ALL of the instruments were played using two people (for instance one player played the keyboard of the piano and another played the strings with mallets). The thing that makes this really strange is that one of the instruments was voice. The way that this was played by two people is one sat with their mouth open while they sang "Ah" and the other performer placed their lips, tongue, and teeth against and in the other persons mouth and moved them around to form the "enunciations."

In light of these, I have absolutely no issue with the idea of electronic music (I frequently use computers and computer sounds in my own compositions). In fact I've actually found some of the stranger methods of composing music (not including whales and shoving spoons in your eye) useful for expressing certain types of emotion that tonal music is just flat out incapable of. I think my personal definition of music has become the simple and nondescript,"any collection of sounds (or lack thereof) that someone, somewhere enjoys for whatever reason" which I guess could include everything ranging from the inside of a whale's chacha to Mozart to a person speaking rhythmically with an "off da hook" beat to Journey to Rachmaninoff to Gregorian chant to having players perform music composed by having a handicapped person tape a crayon to his head and repeatedly bank it against a wall that has a piece of manuscript paper taped to it. Although I would only consider it to be music for the person/s that enjoy that music (for whatever reason) and most possibly not for those who don't.

Now, as to what i consider to be good music, beautiful music, or a masterpiece, etc.? That's quite a different story. This, for me, has less to do with the method of composition chosen and has more to do with the results. I would have to hear a well-prepared performance and then I would only be able to judge that individual performance separately (even in popular music I sometimes thought the recording was good but then went to hear them in concert or see a performance on you tube only to think to myself,"holy crap these people suck monkey-balls!").

The op makes me question something though. In a good deal of computer music, the music is played by a keyboardist and then simply recorded into some sort of a sequencing program. Do you only have a problem with the point-and-click-a-note compositions or any music that is played using samplers and synths? And if it has to do with the fact that music using samplers and synths played by a live keyboardist is also an issue for you (or is the only issue for you), is it because the live musicians final sound is actually created through electronic means (which would also include electric guitars and basses) or because they re-record each line until it is perfect, so it's not a played-through performance (in which case you'd have to question every c.d. recording that you have in your collection since that's kinda what they do in a recording studio for the vast majority of recordings available)?

I can say that I do have an issue with "musicians" that use loops and grooves previously composed by other musicians to "compose" their own music since they had so little to do with the compositional process and their part didn't require very much "musical skill" (although I still would consider the end result to be music). I mean, the truth is, they have video games that do something quite similar (plug and play samples of music created by an actual musician) and my seven year old cousin was quite capable of creating something that sounded as good or better than anything else composed by the same process. I still wouldn't call my cousin a musician or great artist by any means. I'd just call him a gamer.

Wow, realized how long I rambled for after I clicked post and had to add an apology to those who were annoyed and thank you to those who actually bothered to read it.

Last edited by neptune1bond; 11-20-2012 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There's something lost in the lack of a physical presence in electronic music, but at the same time, the technology gives artists a potentially infinite array of sounds to compose with. There's definitely something gained, also. I welcome electronic music with open arms. I listen to quite a bit of it, and I've made some (granted, not well.) Plus, plenty of electronic musicians use keyboards and whatnot in making their music in the first place.

I mean, I would be sad if traditional instruments disappeared, but that's not gonna happen within our lifetimes. If it does, I'll stop making beats forever and exclusively devote my musical energy to playing guitar.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So is electronic music that heavily relied on analog synthesizers in the '70s part of this discussion, or are we classifying electronic music solely as music that's made on a Mac or PC? Because, if we're defining it by either of those criteria, the premise of this discussion needs to be either clarified or revised.

If we're talking about new genres offending old genres, then it's another discussion entirely.
But if we're talking about the foreseeable future of music no longer utilizing traditional means, by virtue of it becoming solely electronic, then I would categorically deny that probability given the fact that historical instruments are still in use today, in both the main and minor streams.
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crygorg View Post
After hours of reading biased posts from a variety of positions and sources purely to sate my own curiosity. I found myself seeking an open minded, music-oriented community to discuss the common, and possibly annoying topic; Is electronic music real music?
Are you including instruments like the electric guitar that use electric signals to produce sound which is amplified, even though the initial source of the signal isn't electric but mechanical one, a vibrating string?
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Music is organized sound which generally, but not always, contains one or more of the following: rhythm, melody and harmony. So yes, of course, electronic music is music.
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