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Re: COMMENT on test results

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Martin Braun <nombraun@POST.NETLINK.SE>
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2001 10:02 AM
Subject: COMMENT on test results

Braun wrote:
> I think we all have to thank Odd for returning his test answers,
> particularly as nobody else was able to return ANYTHING.
> The most important result is that nobody, not even Odd, could say WHICH
> syntactic expectations of a listener possibly could be satisfied or
> violated. I take this as strong evidence that the given chord sequence may
> be totally UNRELATED to syntactic expectations of listeners.

I refer to 1) in my test reply.

Braun wrote:
> Had I been given the test, I would have returned:
> "There are two tonal centers, G-minor and D-major. The order of chords has
> not the slightest similarity to any chord pattern described in theory books.
> Therefore a pattern satisfaction or a pattern violation in listeners must be
> excluded."
Such circular chord-progression patterns are not a rare thing in theory books. 
Also, the contents of theory books does not exclude the existence of patterns or rules. 
I refer to what I said in my "test answer": 
"As I see it, this test is not a test on the existence of syntax or rules in
harmony. It is rather a test on our knowledge of different harmonic rules in
different styles around the world. Many of these relations are still waiting
to be unveiled."
Because of my activity in this discussion I felt an obligation to answer to this test - I would very much appreciate that the man behind the test took the time and read what I wrote.

Braun wrote:
> Odd suggested that this type of chord pattern could appear in music of
> Mariah Carey or Edvard Grieg. This is interesting, because both music styles
> are not only separated by about 120 years, but also by immense differences
> in music production and in listening habits of audiences. This means that
> there is NOTHING style-specific in this chord pattern. Such freely composed
> chord patterns can probably be found from around 1800 until now. And that in
> so-called TONAL music.

Braun replied earlier that "There are plenty of rules in music."
Your argumentation above implies that these rules cannot be shared by different styles or that a pattern in one style cannot be used in another style. There is obviously a flaw in your reasoning here.     

Braun wrote: 
> I hope the test and its results could clarify the background of my sharp
> criticism of the paper "Musical Syntax is processed in Broca's area: an MEG
> study" by Maess et al., which I had mailed to this list on April 25, 26, and
> 28.
> Perhaps we can extend Pierre Divenyi's view: Not only composition according
> to text-book rules produces muzak, also listening to music according to
> text-book rules leaves nothing but muzak.
> Fortunately, with the exception of some dogma teachers, nobody seems to do
> that.
> Music is something different.

Any style can be described with rules, all of them just haven't been written down or fully revealed. So whether you like it or not - you listen to music according to rules. Also, muzak is defined partly with content, but mostly with context.  

Some questions: 
If you wrote a song "according to text-book rules", it is muzak? 
If you put in a deviation from the rules, it is music? 
How many deviations does it take to make music? 
If I wrote a text-book in theory that described with rules the music you had written - with all its deviations - does your music then suddenly become muzak?
Is the music where one can describe its underlying rules, actually muzak?
In other words; Is music of some value indescribable with rules?
If I weren't able to write down the rules underlying your music, does that mean that there cannot be rules?

Odd Torleiv
Odd Torleiv Furnes
Department of Musicology
University of Oslo