On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:


On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:36:03 AM UTC-4, rclough wrote:
>
> There are two ways of looking at a music signal.
>

I think it's a mistake to look at it that way. There is no such thing as a
music signal. There is no such thing as a signal. They are abstract
generalizations. Conceptual equivalences with no concrete reality.

What is a music signal? There is an experience of hearing music. There are
experiences of remembering a song that is independent of the memory of the
original circumstance of the listening event. There are experiences of
feeling a speaker cone vibrate, or seeing neurological changes mapped with
an electronic instrument, vibrating strings on a guitar or vocal chords,
etc. These are all different concretely real experiences in the universe.
Any continuity between them is inferred subjectively. All that a signal can
actually be is an experience which is interpreted as having significance.


>
> One is to view it on an oscilloscope as a series of vibrations.
> This is what the brain does.
>
>

Have to chime in here as professional qualia producer.

Music = sound in time.

Sound is relationship between discrete pitches, that themselves can be
broken down to partials/overtone-ratios => leads to tuning discussion, for
which you can look up pythagorean comma etc. but out of topic; pitch is
measured db amplitude and frequency Hz.

I have to admit, that I find the whole "musical taste/experience - to each
their own" a dead end. Every time I had to submit composition for a job or
at the conservatory, there is little disagreement between composers about
the semantic content conveyed; whether it be for film, exams, advertising
etc. it has to be appropriate to the experiential effect we're trying to
get at, and mostly, when the results are in, every composer in the room
basically agrees to who got it closest; or it's the boss' decision anyway
and we serve our work up like buffet, and they pick and choose. If the boss
has no capacity for deep musical introspection, he will sometimes be
aesthetically stupid; but he has the right because he pays.

But among those that have a strong introspective relation to music, which
conjures away the probabilistic/random assessments of music of everybody
else that merely "likes" music (I mean, who doesn't?) and can give some
impression or vague feeling, there is little room for disagreement about
semantic content conveyed and the precise, even if there are many paths,
means to arrive there. So common and deep is this understanding, that we
rarely even talk about it.

Frequency ratios (= sound; all the way compounding into noise; even though
your car motor noise will still have a dominating frequency) and rhythmical
ratios (the time aspect) make up every song's unique sonic universe, that
can all have different rules for conjunction/disjunction and
consonance/dissonance.

Without bloating this post with discussions about time/process aspect, I
suggest you see if you can convince yourself that a frequency ratio of:

1:1 or 1:2 = total harmony of octaves and unisons
3:2 = perfect fifth interval: from pre-renaissance (example Machaut:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Machaut_-_Missa_Notre_Dame_-_Kyrie.ogg)
to today, the most harmonic, if somewhat bland and blockish kind of
interval. Also carries an archaic and instinctual, even animal-like
quality, as can be seen by its extreme usage in death metal, punk rock etc.

... I could carry on like this and discuss every interval but I just want
to see if you can convince yourself that such ratios correspond to the
effect of music, in that when we raise the arithmetic complexity of the
ratios to something like 16:15 = dissonant minor second interval, which,
handled with care (appropriate register, voicing, placement in song,
rhythm) gives rise to, I'll just give one example: the heart of more
sophisticated minor chords, expressing a very precise needle-like pain,
which you can calibrate towards the intimate kind (orchestrate sparsely,
like a solo guitar, without much richness in voicings) or the tragic
grandiose, monumental pain of say depicting a hero's loss of their loved
one in a movie.

This may not be taken too literal, as relations spring to my head which
negate this... but you would hardly use a Bossa Nova "Girl of Ipanema" F
major 7th or major 6/9 chord, which begins the song, to depict the hero's
loss, because that would just be plain inappropriate.

Point in case: I think in ratios of integers/notes to get the set of qualia
I want to depict in a song or musical fragment. I do not think of the
tragic time when I lost a girlfriend... which is of relatively little use
when applied to musical architecture. Of course, composing freely, you have
some vague intuition of maybe an image or impression or feeling, but to be
expressed in music effectively, there's no way around ratios, which is why
I choose to see images, experiences, qualia and impressions as vague sums,
containing infinite amounts of possible arithmetical ratios, and when
translated into music by a competent architect: the point at which the
precise set of qualia becomes clear.

In schools we are taught colors and our perception is biased towards
visual. Semantics and taste of visual are therefore more intuitively
graspable than sound. We are not taught deep musical introspection, and
therefore people generally lack a sense of aesthetic judgement and, yes,
refined sense of taste. Everybody only notices when something goes "wrong";
say a bad DJ-set transition or some wrong notes, because that is so
obviously 1=2, but since few have the ability to count/meditate in a
musically introspective sense, it's a bit silly: cut the DJ and the music
student some slack.

Still, most musicians talk about experiences and inspirations... but this
is marketing. When you're working in/with an orchestra on a tight schedule
with multiple stakeholders, you see all the romantic fluff evaporating in
favor of getting the technique of musical ecstasy as mathematically precise
as possible. Even if many musicians won't admit this, because of marketing
and "aura" of music.

I am not saying arithmetic = music; I have no idea about that, just that
the two can't do without each other.

:) Back to my herd.

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

>
>
> On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:36:03 AM UTC-4, rclough wrote:
>>
>> There are two ways of looking at a music signal.
>>
>
> I think it's a mistake to look at it that way. There is no such thing as a
> music signal. There is no such thing as a signal. They are abstract
> generalizations. Conceptual equivalences with no concrete reality.
>
> What is a music signal? There is an experience of hearing music. There are
> experiences of remembering a song that is independent of the memory of the
> original circumstance of the listening event. There are experiences of
> feeling a speaker cone vibrate, or seeing neurological changes mapped with
> an electronic instrument, vibrating strings on a guitar or vocal chords,
> etc. These are all different concretely real experiences in the universe.
> Any continuity between them is inferred subjectively. All that a signal can
> actually be is an experience which is interpreted as having significance.
>
>
>>
>> One is to view it on an oscilloscope as a series of vibrations.
>> This is what the brain does.
>>
>>
>

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