Re: On the Grammar of Music (Martin Hansen )

Subject: Re: On the Grammar of Music
From:    Martin Hansen  <m.hansen(at)WIDEX.COM>
Date:    Fri, 27 Apr 2001 12:55:26 +0100

* Martin Braun (27 Apr 2001, 11:34) | | Odd Torleiv Furnes wrote: | "You might like to know that my bookshelf contains several books | about the chordal treatments in Bach, Hindemith, Bartok and Oasis to | name a few." | | Reply: | | Fine. Then you will surely agree that there is so much variation in | the chordal treatment within the work of each composer that they | were obviously not following any grammar. How could you then, as described in an earlier mail by you, detect the wrong note in the Mozart piece? Doesn't this imply the existence of "rules" or a "grammar" for music? Shurely they change from one time or composer to the other. So do grammars differ between different languages. Maybe the use of the word "grammar" has too many connotations in this discussion. Like pointed out for "rule" before, which isn't a "law". | A grammar of chords could only exist, if there were at least a few | chords that had a meaning. Such a meaning would have to be the same | for composer and audience. We don't have such things in music. The | examples of possible meanings of chords, given by Julian Vrieslander | earlier today, clearly show that an agreement on meaning is not | possible in this field. Ask ten persons what they think the | difference between A-C-E and G#-C#-F is. Isn't that example like asking "what is the difference between 'see' and 'sun'"? Meaning and grammar are not really the same, are they? You can not tell very much about the words alone, unless you know the (grammatically correct?) sentence around them. Martin Hansen

This message came from the mail archive
maintained by:
DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University