On Friday, September 21, 2012 8:47:15 AM UTC-4, Platonist Guitar Cowboy 
> On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 8:39 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>> On Thursday, September 20, 2012 1:25:48 PM UTC-4, Platonist Guitar Cowboy 
>> wrote:
>>> Reflected eternal song(s) dressed in the illusion of time. As far as I 
>>> can see: proportions, relationships, ratios.
>> That's what I mean by "a conceptual sculpture of abstraction". It's not 
>> real though. Proportion of what? Relations between what? 
> Pick your ontological primitive and insert it there. 

Nothing would work except the ontological primitive that I use (sense).

> That said, a theory of everything with my stamp of approval has to account 
> for music, as intangible as it is: is it the code, the score, its syntax, 
> the technical levels a musician has to engage in (rhythm, harmony, melody), 
> the physical vibrations produced, nerve cells and neurons, the composer's 
> intention, the listening experience etc. simply because, despite that 
> ambiguity: music is here and guitars are awesome dream machines. 
> This ambiguity, that music appears only partially in all these different 
> ways, makes a piece of music materially intangible. A piece of music is not 
> reducible to the page of notes, nor to its interpretation by one musician 
> live, nor the recording etc. It does not exist materially. If you play me a 
> Mozart piece on Piano, I might not agree with articulation or some 
> parameter: for you this would be music and you'd point to the physical 
> waves of sound in the room and the corresponding score; and I'd say: 
> "nope." Even concert professionals see their best work as "approximations" 
> of a piece and rarely as "perfect" rendition of the piece.
> So despite physical vibrations and neurological correlations, music is as 
> intangible as ever.

I don't think of experiences as intangible, I just think of them as 
privately tangible as experiences through time rather than publicly 
tangible as objects across space. What makes it seem intangible is if we 
use public realism criteria against private phenomenology.

>> When we think of these things we can conceive of them abstractly 
>> as-if-they-were-real, but only because we are borrowing the concrete 
>> reality of our own neurology to do that. 
> How is this room I'm typing in not "some mental abstraction or 
> conception"? Neurologists can't explain "aesthetic experience" either.

Because the room is publicly accessible, not just to yourself but guests, 
dogs, termites, etc. The idea of an Ur-music which is independent of all 
forms of experiencing the music is a purely idealistic notion - which is a 
concretely real experience too, but as a cognitive artifact rather than a 
referent in public reality or private qualia. 

>> Just because we can imagine how a song would look as a graphic 
>> representation doesn't mean that there is an independently real 
>> mathematical spirit which is clothed in different forms. It is the math 
>> which is derived through experiences of form, not the other way around. We 
>> are informed by experiencing forms, not by composing in silence and then 
>> hoping to discover sound.
> How are forms not another kind of "mental abstraction"; the sort of which 
> you just denied "real" existence.  

Forms are another kind of abstraction but not mental. They are qualia of 
whatever sense modality we are being informed through - visual/tactile, 
acoustic, etc.

>>> Time makes them appear to chat and sing; but in some sense every song 
>>> has already been sung, even if they've never been voiced or heard. 
>> I almost agree, but I think that in the same sense that every song has 
>> already been sung, it has also already been voiced and heard, only not in 
>> the 'small now' of ordinary waking human consciousness. When I heard the 
>> song Street Spirit for the first time, I immediately knew that it was the 
>> song that I had heard in my mind often as a child. Not the exact Radiohead 
>> recording, but the tone and mood of the song, foreshadowings of the notes. 
>> They had found what I found and recorded it. What I heard as a child had 
>> nothing to do with ratios and pitch - it was pure aural psyche. A 
>> melancholic science fiction embodied as music. Music is a feeling that 
>> turns math when you play it or compose it...when we touch things with our 
>> fingers (actual or mental), they become as fingers: digital, distant, 
>> objects to be controlled.
>>> Beethoven was almost completely deaf while he composed/dreamed the 9th. 
>>> Mahler wrote/dreamed his later symphonies in a hut by a lake in Austria. No 
>>> Piano, no reference pitches. He never even "heard physically" his 9th. 
>>> Some are amazed by this. I am not. 
>> I would be amazed if they were born deaf though. Once you have heard 
>> music it is not too surprising that you could still compose or perform. 
>> Remarkable, but not surprising. Even if someone was technically deaf, they 
>> still might be able to feel the vibrations and rhythms. I think there is a 
>> famously deaf drummer I heard about. But to truly have no way to experience 
>> music at all, there would be no point to composing it. As a mathematical 
>> curiosity it would be pretty boring - simple repetitions for the most part. 
> Music's major appearance last century as "mass-product", as Adorno has 
> pointed out, materializes it into something taken for granted and boring 
> anyway. To most, music doesn't change much and they stick with a set of 
> favorites from their twenties onwards. 
> Sex is a series of repetitive moves. You can do these boringly and crudely 
> or not. 
> Music has only to satisfy those aesthetic criteria, that everybody 
> involved can identify with.
> Also, I don't think having impaired hearing inherently bars people from 
> learning to interact meaningfully with music. Google "hearing impairments 
> education". 
> But I guess that won't satisfy you: you want somebody completely deaf, for 
> their whole life to compose. 

Well yeah, that would be the only way to test the principle I am talking 
about. If there were no sound, what would be the appeal of 
music-theoretical structures in and of themselves?

> Besides this being perhaps cruel to some people with profound hearing 
> impairments, I will say this: if the problem set of formal music theory and 
> its genealogy is made explicit to them with enough clarity, then I bet 
> their internal "semantic imaging/thought/voice", for lack of a better term, 
> will eventually be able to pick, through pattern recognition and 
> refinement: the more appropriate line, voicing, and or chord; even if you 
> have to work pedagogically with just trial and error: writing a fugue is 
> also like crossword puzzle. It's not all that ethereal: stringing events 
> convincingly in code. If they like puzzles and stringing code, it might be 
> great, but I don't know explicitly of any scientific work done in this 
> direction.

Sure they might be able to compose great music - even masterpieces from 
pure theory, but I am asking what the point would be from their 
perspective. Other than the socio-economic appeal of producing something 
valuable, what would make someone map out a logical function and then 
repeat it three times as a 'chorus'? Why would that be interesting if you 
didn't have an accompanying emotional-somatic-audio experience which makes 
that repetition groovy?

>>> You're probably gonna state that they needed experience hearing in the 
>>> first place, which leaves me unconvinced as I have read the scores: 
>>> whatever is being coded there is not "dead information" but entities, 
>>> portals into dreamworlds. 
>> I agree with portals into dreamworlds, but I see that as psyche, as 
>> sense, not as math. What does math care for mood or timbre? If you don't 
>> need experience first, then why not compose music-equivalents in a sensory 
>> mode that doesn't exist yet?
> The timbre of most recorded instruments today is brought totally into the 
> digital domain; even if this is avoided until CDs are produced. As for 
> Vinyl, I wish people lots of joy with their hissing analog records.
> How can composition take place in an unknown unknown? Throw people a 
> sensory mode, and composing will take place.

Not really though. Very few people compose music purely for it's visual 
appeal when played on a graphic equalizer. It's the sound that makes music 
special. Music exploits sensual qualities of sound to evoke rich 
transpersonal qualia. You can get something like that with visual art, but 
looking at visual maps of music just isn't as interesting as hearing it. 
All forms are not equally commutable in every sensory mode. I think that 
music derives from the exquisite nature of sound in the human experience, 
not from the mathematical relations which inform it.

Composing is a bit like dreaming with interventions of analytical aspect of 
> mind, to render the dream more universally accessible for others. But we 
> dream constantly; if mind is allowed to run redundantly, with no focus and 
> or functional distractions, it will naturally start to dream up its own 
> worlds. 
> With certain consciousness altering plants and substances that perturb the 
> mind's routine illusions/dreams, or to a less explicit degree, right 
> between waking and sleeping (you know you're dreaming, the 
> self-referentiality of which usually kills the dream "machine" from just 
> running) the mind dreams redundantly and starts creating one artistic 
> universe after the other. In a few hours people experience more art, 
> poetry, music, dreams than the entire tangible history of mankind. 
> What implications this has for us, is for every mind to explore.
>> Note how in festival culture from woodstock to burning man: music 
>>> functions as portal, a kind of carrier wave, to other loci of being and 
>>> perception => physical sound strings point towards some dream, mind of the 
>>> festival goers do the introspective traveling. 
>> No question of that. I don't know that the dirt and blankets have a 
>> similar experience though. Seems like a human journey to phenomenological 
>> places. Figurative spacetime, not literal. You can't play a song from the 
>> 1920s and learn who was vice president by osmosis.
> Yes you can, 

How so? You are saying that I can learn specific factual knowledge about 
the real world of the 1920s by listening to a recording of any random song 
from that time? Like an oracle?

I guess if you don't annoy anybody: speech is a stringed succession of 
> small mouth noises, pitch, articulation and rhythm... People play music 
> with their mouths all day. I just keep wondering why so many don't take the 
> opportunity to make this more beautiful. We're here. Stuck. So why not a 
> more musical global discourse, while we are? A bit more Mozart and reggae 
> in global politics and law, anyone?
>>> Their use of similar adjectives, hyperbole and superlatives to describe 
>>> their experience points towards kind of eternal universality of music, when 
>>> removed enough from "consumer of music", "User of music" through the usual 
>>> list of consciousness altering practices, substances, and plants.
>> I think that music gives humans access to a kind of human universality - 
>> to point the antenna of the psyche to different places that it wouldn't be 
>> able to point on its own perhaps. 
> I'd buy that, no probs.
>> Dogs and cats don't seem to care too much about it though.
>> Craig 
> Yeah, I only know of one cat that responds to it at times. But our dog 
> just chills out whenever I play. Doesn't matter if guitar or piano... he 
> just lays there and forgets to nag for walks, treats or to want to go 
> outside on his barking routine, annoying the neighbors (not music anymore 
> sadly). He does not give a damn about speakers however, even if I play him 
> the same songs I play, played by concert pianist in pristine studio 
> conditions through reference quality studio monitors... Perhaps my dog 
> argues in favor of physical universe. Then again, he might just have 
> aesthetic preference for my strings of code.

That's very interesting to me though, because it suggests what I take as 
axiomatic in my model, which is that the map is not the territory. Just 
because what comes out of the speakers seems similar to a live performance 
a song to us humans does not mean that it means the same thing or anything 
to other organisms, or even people of different cultures. This is why it is 
so easy to confuse the possibility of artificial intelligence with 
artificial sentience. We think that if it answers verbal questions in a way 
that seems familiar to us that it means they are as good as human, when in 
fact they are a plastic and silicon apparatus. 


> Mark

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