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Old 11-06-2013, 10:04 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I have studied this through music cognition work and research projects, and the simplest explanation is that music is just organized noise. I'd go into more detail but I'm on my phone!
Art of Noise had a tune with that lyric in it, but dam if I can't remember what song it was.

Crap, this is gonna bother me all day now.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:37 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Good John Cage video, very interesting.

I wanna point out I wasn't talking about music being good or bad. I've never heard a released piece of music and thought to myself 'that's not music'. Whether I hear music I like or music I don't like, I identify it as music and I think we all do. And it's precisely that which I find strange - that the whole human species has an inbuilt music detector.

I'll give you an example. I spent some time with my 20 month old niece recently and one day, on hearing Mumford and Sons on the radio, she broke into dance. Nobody showed her how to dance, nobody encouraged her to dance, I doubt she has any idea what music is or what a tune is or what the notion of being in tune means. But the point is she didn't dance earlier in the day to the sound of rainfall, or the sound of the soup bubbling in the pan, or the sound of the vacuum cleaner, or the sound of clanging plates and dishes during the washing up. She only reacted to the music, not to the hundreds of other noises she encountered. It was as if she had an innate ability, knowledge even, to distinguish music from noise and appreciate it. And I think we all do.
I was thinking of an example where the audience may not identify the sounds as music but the artist does. I'm not sure about what exactly differentiates music from noise anymore, a lot of avant-garde artists have bridged the gap I think. I think that your niece may have already known what music was by being familiar with music by having heard it before, and possibly seeing her mother dancing? Do you think that your niece would have danced to something like this or even call it music?


But I'm sure as an adult, she may hear this as we would and call it ****e or great music. So I guess what I'm saying is our intellect tells us, but it feels natural since we've been exposed to it for all of our lives. I'm not sure about the mechanics of the brain, but I'm sure that there is also a nature element to this situation that coincides with nurture.

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So would you consider, say, the sound of a river trickling over rocks, or the sound of the wind through a grove of trees in their natural environment (ie you're there listening to it live) as music? Or does it only become music to you when someone records it?
Well, I think that lies more in opinion than fact because someone with a liberal definition of music would say yes and a conventional listener would say no (supposedly). I personally would say that it's on a case by case basis, tbh. There will be times where I listen to the world from a musical perspective and at surprised at how well the sounds of wherever I am mesh together (in most cases I'm doing this on campus, so there's a lot going on). There's this hallway at my school that makes footsteps sound like an electronic bass drum that I enjoy quite a bit, and I definitely would call it music. Recording the sounds does make it easier for someone to decifer it, but I don't think it invalidates that it exists without recording it. One reason for this could be that most people listen to their world more passively than actively, because if you don't intentionally listen for something how are you going to find it?
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #23 (permalink)
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So would you consider, say, the sound of a river trickling over rocks, or the sound of the wind through a grove of trees in their natural environment (ie you're there listening to it live) as music? Or does it only become music to you when someone records it?
No, that's nature. Noise music is still planned. I'd consider it music if the artist created the motion of the noise themselves, or edit it to be apart of the music piece that satisfies some sort of musical agenda. It still has to take direction to what the music piece is actually about. I'm not talking about empty noises, I'm talking about the culture around noise music production. I wouldn't just record what was going on in the atmosphere and call it music. But hey, even then there might be something there that I don't hear, it's really subjective.
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:58 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I was thinking of an example where the audience may not identify the sounds as music but the artist does. I'm not sure about what exactly differentiates music from noise anymore, a lot of avant-garde artists have bridged the gap I think. I think that your niece may have already known what music was by being familiar with music by having heard it before, and possibly seeing her mother dancing? Do you think that your niece would have danced to something like this or even call it music?


But I'm sure as an adult, she may hear this as we would and call it ****e or great music. So I guess what I'm saying is our intellect tells us, but it feels natural since we've been exposed to it for all of our lives. I'm not sure about the mechanics of the brain, but I'm sure that there is also a nature element to this situation that coincides with nurture.



Well, I think that lies more in opinion than fact because someone with a liberal definition of music would say yes and a conventional listener would say no (supposedly). I personally would say that it's on a case by case basis, tbh. There will be times where I listen to the world from a musical perspective and at surprised at how well the sounds of wherever I am mesh together (in most cases I'm doing this on campus, so there's a lot going on). There's this hallway at my school that makes footsteps sound like an electronic bass drum that I enjoy quite a bit, and I definitely would call it music. Recording the sounds does make it easier for someone to decifer it, but I don't think it invalidates that it exists without recording it. One reason for this could be that most people listen to their world more passively than actively, because if you don't intentionally listen for something how are you going to find it?
I don't know whether my niece had seen people dancing before, but it's certainly possible, be it in real life or in a cartoon. Nor do I know whether she would have danced to a more esoteric and experimental track such as the piece you suggested.

I agree, as you allude to, that as we are introduced to and experience music in our life, it influences and shapes what we define personally as music. But I also feel that before we are exposed to music, there's something inside of us lying dormant waiting to react to it, that acknowledges it, even if it's only on a very basic level.
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:49 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I agree, as you allude to, that as we are introduced to and experience music in our life, it influences and shapes what we define personally as music. But I also feel that before we are exposed to music, there's something inside of us lying dormant waiting to react to it, that acknowledges it, even if it's only on a very basic level.
I also agree that there is a natural element to music given that it finds its way into a great deal of early cultures even though they were separated by seas or time.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:09 PM   #26 (permalink)
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No, that's nature. Noise music is still planned. I'd consider it music if the artist created the motion of the noise themselves, or edit it to be apart of the music piece that satisfies some sort of musical agenda. It still has to take direction to what the music piece is actually about. I'm not talking about empty noises, I'm talking about the culture around noise music production. I wouldn't just record what was going on in the atmosphere and call it music. But hey, even then there might be something there that I don't hear, it's really subjective.
is this music?

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Old 11-06-2013, 09:07 PM   #27 (permalink)
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There are some good books on the subject of the science behind music. I highly recommend "This is your brain on music"
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:14 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I think what defines a tune is that there has to be some pattern that your brain can latch on to. Something where your brain says (subconsciously of course), "THAT's where this is going". And then it fools you now and again, that is, it creates a tension. But a good melody brings it back to a comfort spot at the end. But it's that "latching on" to a pattern that to me separates music from just random noise.

Of course, what your brain latches on to is going to vary somewhat based on what your brain has been conditioned too, i.e. what culture you were born into.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:16 AM   #29 (permalink)
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is this music?

That's abstract music. It flows, has a few layers, a certain mood and imagination. Check.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #30 (permalink)
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That's abstract music. It flows, has a few layers, a certain mood and imagination. Check.
I only ask because it's just wind hitting telegraph wires. Alan Lamb set it up but didnt know what the final result was going to be.

(I do agree though; it's music)

Also hmm another question, directed to anyone. Is 4'33" music?
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