Fw: Re: Why the music is music and the noise is noise? (Peter Lennox )

Subject: Fw: Re: Why the music is music and the noise is noise?
From:    Peter Lennox  <peter(at)LENNOX01.FREESERVE.CO.UK>
Date:    Wed, 25 Apr 2001 10:55:16 +0100

----- Original Message ----- From: "Peter Lennox" <peter(at)lennox01.freeserve.co.uk> To: "Julian Vrieslander" <julianv(at)MINDSPRING.COM> Sent: 24 April 2001 21:23 Subject: Re: Re: Why the music is music and the noise is noise? > I think you've put your finger on it there; the music lies in the "pattern", > not the sound(s) per se. So the examples you quote, including the V12, are > all potential musical *materials*, though do not necessarily in themselves > constitute 'music'. > So, music is that which is recognizable as such. But the idea that 'music is > in the ear of the beholder', so to speak, should (in my view) be treated > with some degree of suspicion, being related to relativism. But it's a deep > philosophical point, metaphysical in nature and so not really open to > proof/disproof, at this time. > I take on board what several people have said about the cultural constructs, > but only up to a point. As soon as 'preference' comes into it, I have > doubts. For instance, with music as with food, for instance, I might > recognise 'good' music, without liking it (or conversely might like 'poor > quality' music). > And with territorial issues, such as someone else's music ( especially too > loud), it's important to recognise that something can be 'noise' and 'music' > *simultaneously* (it could be music that I would like if I was playing it, > but don't if someone else is). > The question does really revolve around whether there exists the possibility > of an 'objective' definition of music, whether definitions must be > task-specific, or completely specific to the individual. > regards, > ppl > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Julian Vrieslander" <julianv(at)MINDSPRING.COM> > To: <AUDITORY(at)LISTS.MCGILL.CA> > Sent: 24 April 2001 05:50 > Subject: Re: Why the music is music and the noise is noise? > > > > On 4/23/01 11:36 PM, James W. Beauchamp <j-beauch(at)UX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU>, > > wrote: > > > > >A simplistic answer to the original question is to take two sound > > >signals, one considered "noise" (e.g., "white noise") and one considered > > >to be "music" (e.g., "Beetoven's Fifth Symphony") and connect them > > >to two inputs on a mixer. Then start with one fader full on and the > > >other completely off. Gradually lower the first fader while increasing > > >the second... > > > > And when the channels are balanced, the resulting mix will sound > > remarkably like a Philip Glass composition. ;-) > > > > On a more serious note... There are many sounds which are "pleasant" or > > "interesting" - waterfalls, purring kittens, happily babbling babies. I > > happen to love the sound of a Ferrari V-12 engine (no, I don't own one). > > But only in a figurative sense do we consider those sounds as music. > > > > I don't have an answer to the question of why some sounds are considered > > music. But I suspect that we might get some interesting answers from > > people who study ethnomusicology and music theory. I'm guessing that > > they will mention the familiar notions of harmony, rhythm, dynamics, > > tempo, timbre, repetition and surprise, etc. These qualities differ in > > the musics of different cultures, but perhaps there are common shared > > threads. > > > > Human brains have evolved a capacity for recognizing patterns in our > > experiences. If we are "higher" than some other animals, it might be > > because our recognition abilities operate at many levels. We recognize > > harmonically repeating waves as tones. We recognize more complex > > patterns of sounds as speech elements and musical timbres. We recognize > > sequences of sounds as sentences and melodies. Perhaps music is > > pleasurable becuase it stimulates our brains, to exercize many of these > > recognition mechanisms simultaneously and in novel or playful ways. > > > > -- > > Julian Vrieslander <mailto:julianv(at)mindspring.com> > > > > >

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DAn Ellis <dpwe@ee.columbia.edu>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University