On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 7:56 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:41:33 PM UTC-4, Platonist Guitar Cowboy
> wrote:
>> I am not saying arithmetic = music; I have no idea about that, just that
>> the two can't do without each other.
> I think that is true of any form of expression or communication, since the
> formations which are used to induce the experiences (of music, art, poetry,
> etc) in the audience are constructed from material manipulations in
> spacetime. Anytime something has to be expressed externally, it has to be
> packaged with arithmetically coherent protocols. That doesn't of course
> mean that music "is" those protocols, only that any production of music can
> be analyzed arithmetically. Without an experience of sound associated with
> the arithmetic, there is nothing but a conceptual sculpture of abstraction.
> Craig

I'm not so sure about "there is nothing but a conceptual sculpture of

Recently, I stumbled on the similarity between how we're taught functions
in school, like some input x goes through some process/steps of operation
in a black box to turn into y, and how with set theory, the mapping is
"instantly total", implying no process.

Composing is similar. A score exists as complete set of assignments,
outside of time, even though its strings have to be executed in order, for
the totality to be made clear/communicable on sensory level.

Take Bach's well known fugues: as a beginning composition student, I
marveled at the counterpoint techniques, the flexibility, inversions,
complexity, and the craft. Today, I perceive the fugues to be timeless
entities of arithmetic relations. They are just "out there or in there".
And similar to induction proof: you're trying to get from a basis of
induction (a set of notes, or assignments of frequency relation, meaning
your bet from listening to "inner voice" generating instead of reproducing,
reproducing like when you hum/whistle a tune you know) through some
hypothesis "I bet I can build a triple fugue from this set of notes" to a
valid proof of your subject/set of notes.

With some familiarity and my horrible student fugues behind me, I realize,
it's the basis of induction that is so much harder to find than the actual
operations of craft. Once understood, the operations are just a formality:
This is subject or set of subjects, so episodes could be like such, so
development like so is possible... so diminution... so augmentation... so
inversion and other subjects etc. "it follows that and so on" until either,
your basis of induction has fallen to pieces (most often the case with
yours truly) or it proves itself. I marvel thus not at Bach's craft, but at
how he formulated or "remembered" so many precise induction hypotheses that
bore fruits. The Goldberg Variations are all based on the same ground bass
movement, iterating itself with different surface perfumes but always the
same fundamental movement in Bass. That's a fractal in sound, if you want.
30 completely different zooms into the same foundation set.

The statement "merely a conceptual structure of abstraction" ignores that
once the key to a precise problem formulation or hypothesis, in our case a
set of notes and rhythm, is remembered or discovered/found in its totality;
its procedural expression in time, as physically perceived sound, is mere
formality: a good hypothesis can be clothed to different appearances
infinitely, I believe. This does not work the other way around unless you
win the lottery. The precise dream of the totality of a musical song gives
birth to the procedure/process to execute. Therefore good sonic
architecture is to me the ability to dream deeply and freely.

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
On 9/19/2012 10:41 AM, Platonist Guitar Cowboy wrote:

> 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.

And doesn't this imply that one could write a computer program to compose
music to certain emotive specifications?


Yes, and these programs exist as software synthesizers, software samplers,
virtual mixing desks. But linguistic emotive specifications are lack
precision. Often different composers program different patch names for
sounds and the most intuitive thing is to use some corresponding quale, for
example: I pulled out "glacier melting winds" for an ambient track out of
my database yesterday; I know at some point, that I programed the virtual
synth to output that particular sound... but can't remember if this was a
sound based on some water drops sample recording I transfigured, whether I
got some FM synth to produce its staple crystaly-bell like chime to capture
some metallic coldness, whether there are barren/harsh wind timbres, that
might have more or less "bite" etc. Upon opening the patch, you remember,
and say "ah, yes I remember, THAT specific kind glacier melting winds".
Trivially, at this level language is too blunt an instrument.

This video is old already (2009), but gives you some impression of how
emotively rich the computer is becoming as an instrument; skip the
advertising chatter to him playing examples.


In terms of having the computer compose directly, yes this can be done with
a variety of low-level languages. But as with any program, as soon as you
finish writing or playing the damn thing, there are infinite things that
can be optimized. You write an affirming dream, and find that it would get
a little more real if it included some pain number relations, and a bit
more sincere if it displayed sense of humor here and there, maybe also some
amount of terror in the humor, in which there is some hope that recognition
of that terror entails, in which there is wishful thinking etc. ad
infinitum. You could work on one song your whole life in this way, but that
isn't really well paid, these days. I haven't seen a program dream that way
yet musically, I'll admit, then again, I haven't seen humans complete an
infinite task either so... Nonetheless, the enterprise of music moves
forwards all the time:

Could you imagine sound doing this?


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