Re: On the Grammar of Music (Pierre Divenyi )

Subject: Re: On the Grammar of Music
From:    Pierre Divenyi  <pdivenyi(at)MARVA4.NCSC.MED.VA.GOV>
Date:    Thu, 26 Apr 2001 17:11:39 -0700

I am not about to substitute for Ed Burns, but I think Steve's note has one problem: Even if music had a set of rules (which may not be true in the strict sense), any music that would follow these rules with absolute faithfulness would generate muzak. This thesis is true regardless of the rule system under consideration. (There could be 12-tone muzak, pentatonic muzak, gamelan muzak, etc., even Jimmy Hendrix muzak if someone wrote down his rules.) My view is that music happens when its author or perpetrator departs from the set of rules he follows. Here is a proposal: A rule system in music should have two components: one more-or-less firmly defined general rules and one that is relative. This latter would tell the musician the nature (the point in time, the degree, etc.) of a departure from the first system. This way, Leonard Meyer's criterion for emotion and meaning would be fulfilled and we would still have a "rule system", although roofs constructed with those rules would sometimes leak -- which is their beauty. Pierre At 12:08 AM 4/27/01 +0200, Stephen McAdams wrote: > > There are no such rules. > >Since Ed Burns isn't on this list anymore, I guess someone else has to >huff and puff and blow the house down and say "Stop the patent >nonsense!" > >Anyone who truly believes there are no rules in music would give up >working on the neuroscience of music and become a roofer. At least >there the basic rule is, water flows down hill (unless you don't believe >there are rules concerning gravity and water flow). > >-- >Stephen McAdams >Equipe Perception et Cognition Musicales >Ircam-CNRS (UMR 9912) >1 place Igor-Stravinsky >F-75004 Paris, France >tel: +33.1.4478.4838, fax +33.1.4478.1540 >

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