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Define Music


ShredAstaire

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+1 from me too.

 

[thumbup]

 

It's one of the most attractive aspects of this virtual community collected here. I'm learning new things from many of you chaps (and ladies) pretty much on a daily basis......although in my case my cerebral organ needs more in the way of exercising rather than exorcising....

 

[laugh]

 

I hope......:unsure:

Indeed, it has helped me a great deal with my typing skills. And also, for some reason, have discovered that it is easier to spell properly writing than typing...like memory has something to do with it.

P.

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Aesthetics according to one on-line dictionary is:

 

"...the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments."

 

Music is one of the arts.

 

Within a consideration of aesthetics we hit some basic philosophical - if not psychological - questions of how we know what we think we know about music and musical taste, and secondly how we classify music either inside our own heads or in discussion with others. What is "good" and what is "bad" art of any sort?

 

In fact, at some point one must ask, "What is art?" Is it anything we call "art" or does it require an artifact, either static or temporal?

 

Is the wind in a tree music? The ringing of a cowboy's spurs' jinglebobs? The bells of a country church? The laughter of children or the elderly?

 

Where is the difference between an art and a craft? Does one define such a difference in temporal designs such as music or theater? At what point does a craft become art or vice versa? Does a craft create art, as in the craft of a painter creating a static visual or a guitarist's craft of fingering strings an art called music?

 

Such considerations are involved in the study of aesthetics - including the basic question here, "define music." By defining something, we involve aesthetics at some philosophical level whether we're an illiterate in a neolithic world or a university professor of philosophy - <grin> - or, as with one of our own, rocket science.

 

m

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Ok... RE: "rap."

 

Yes, I think a great deal of criticism of "rap" is cultural. Note I said "cultural"...

What an enjoyable post, Milo. Please excuse me for having decimated your post but, in the interests of space...

 

"Culture" and the sense of both personal and national collective identity plays, I'm sure, a large part in our understanding of the arts regardless of which of the media is under consideration.

 

I can empathise with pretty much every word in your post - although I do happen like Jane Austin (but then again I'm British...as you say, it's a "cultural" aspect).

 

I grew up in Scotland and I am therefore, as one might expect, familiar with the odd pibroch or two; yet some describe the skirl o' the 'pipes as being the 'missing link' between Music and Noise. Astonishing! LOL!

I actually played the chanter for a few years in my youth so I can fully appreciate it's not exactly 'Music' to everyones' ears.....

 

While I was a student in Edinburgh I roomed with a fellow who had decided - at the age of 22 - that the only composers who had written worthwhile music were Stockhausen and Varese......luckily he spent much time away from our digs.

 

And Chaucer - even back in the day when I was at school - was exclusively the reserve of those pupils who were deemed 'mature' enough not to place too much import. on the bawdiest Tales!

 

Happy Days indeed.

 

P.

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Ever heard of underground rap? Na.

 

All rappers get big cause' it's disposable garbage. Which America seems keen on feeding us in all other aspects of our lives.....

 

What rapper/hip hopper goes on a club tour? Not one that I know of. I may be wrong.

 

They are in no way musicians to me. They are actors that sample things and put poetry to those samples and beats. They look too "good", so to speak. And it seems to be all about dancing....

 

It's not my cup of tea. I gave it a chance a long time ago.

 

If you like rap or hip hop, I won't make me hate you.

 

But if you play it around me, I'll leave.

 

It's an easy getaway for those who look good with a microphone.

 

It's no longer "real" music when too much technology is involved.......

 

Geddy Lee will tell ya' all about that......He overdid it in the 80s with the keyboards and samplers and stuff.

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Aesthetics according to one on-line dictionary is:

 

 

Is the wind in a tree music? The ringing of a cowboy's spurs' jinglebobs? The bells of a country church? The laughter of children or the elderly?

 

 

it can be but not all wind and not all songs a bird or not all laughters. Only when it is defind as music (by a human), part of a piece or in a performance used. But that is my opinion.

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Ever heard of underground rap? Na.

 

Wrong again... man you make some silly comments..

 

Theres lots of underground rap and hip hop.. why haven't you heard of it.. COS ITS UNDERGROUND ](*,) .. only people that seek it will know about it which you obviously wouldnt as you dont like it..

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Wrong again... man you make some silly comments..

 

Theres lots of underground rap and hip hop.. why haven't you heard of it.. COS ITS UNDERGROUND ](*,) .. only people that seek it will know about it which you obviously wouldnt as you dont like it..

 

I guess.....

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Aesthetics according to one on-line dictionary is:

 

"...the branch of philosophy dealing with such notions as the beautiful, the ugly, the sublime, the comic, etc., as applicable to the fine arts, with a view to establishing the meaning and validity of critical judgments concerning works of art, and the principles underlying or justifying such judgments."

 

Music is one of the arts.

 

m

 

Yo m!

 

Way too much here to comment on, but you do have a way of getting to the essence of an issue.

 

When I say that aesthetics have nothing to do with the definition of music, I mean that "music" may exist outside of any aesthetic appreciation. Once you remove the aesthetic from any art form, it becomes purely intellectual. Defining anything is an intellectual exercise. Dadaism was anti-art because it used imagery that didn't appeal to an aesthetic, but rather, to appreciate it was to understand the relevant interests from a purely intellectual perspective. It is pointless to assign some aesthetic value to an art form since aesthetics are subjective and individual.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zHdKREjtkI&feature=player_embedded#!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml_BetwQ84I

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Dadaism?

 

In effect it was an artifact <grin> of a largely political perspective circa WWI that attacked pretty much logic and reason as well as what it perceived as the bourgeois mentality that these folks blamed for the war and its incredibly obvious horrors. Rather obviously too, they attacked the then current styles of art.

 

Yes, aesthetics are a branch of philosophy, but "harmony" in terms of music does have some degree of its roots in physics, something known to Vitruvius and obviously to many before even him.

 

Without an aesthetic, there is no art form. In fact, I'd suggest even that without an aesthetic there are even no crafts. Functionally all archaeological evidence to the time of Neanderthals indicates an aesthetic applied to human endeavors. One can deny certain aspects of current artifacts in our culture as "beautiful," whether static or temporal art, yet I think certain bits of art from all history might be seen as having beauty by an isolated jungle tribesman as well as a professor of mathematics today.

 

All of us are in our own way making aesthetic judgements based on some scientific principles as well as cultural habit.

 

Our guitar is out of tune and regardless of our preferences in music, we hear the beats of dissonance that have their roots in the physics of sound.

 

Static art, classical or modern, has a tendency to have followers of various "schools" who might profess superiority of one over the other for this or that intellectual or cultural reason, but there are reasons beyond time that leaves the Parthenon in our minds as "beautiful" even in its ruin, the bust of Nefertiti the same... Beethoven's Moonlight or Liszt's Liebestraume #3 regardless of the culture in which we were raised.

 

Lao Tzu saw the five tones of Chinese traditional music and five colors of Chinese tradition as so powerful that they might deafen and blind one - because truly they can bring a degree of lust such as we here feel for music regardless of our "style" preferences to a degree that we can lose track of the aesthetic involved.

 

Under heaven all can see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness.

All can know good as good only because there is evil.

Therefore having and not having arise together.

Difficult and easy complement each other.

Long and short contrast each other:

High and low rest upon each other;

Voice and sound harmonize each other;

Front and back follow one another.

 

m

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Yin and yang.

 

m, your definition of aesthetics (of which I have found many) includes the cultural aspects of the term, which is relevant and critical when assessing the value of art. My usage of the term involves the analytical, empirical aspect of determining what is beauty. Cultural influences certainly exist, but there is also an innate realization of what determines that which is pleasing. From that perspective, aesthetics cannot be quantitatively or qualitatively understood and is, therefore, irrelevant in assessing the value of a work of art.

 

Edit: (I write this stuff, and re-read your stuff, and some new aspect of what you are saying reveals itself.) I would agree that there is likely some mathematical relationship in shapes and sounds that produce certain harmonies which are innately pleasing. Dissonance is harmonious (pleasing) when it is resolved. However, tension does not always require resolve. In fact, the "dadaist moment of arrest" comes in that moment of suspension and tension created with the conflict between understanding and confusion, harmony and dissonance, belief and disbelief. (I call it the WTF moment!) This is the principle of much of modern art that followed Dadaism and why it was such an influencial movement.

 

Art can be music, but music is not necessarily art. In defining "music," we are not necessarily referring to the art of music.

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The thing is, one cannot define music without reference, directly or indirectly, to aesthetics because such a definition is included within the term "aesthetics." That's regardless whether one wishes to use the term in argument or not.

 

However, language - which is itself a cultural artifact - also comes into play. That's also part of the Dadaist movement in that it chose to make language itself a matter of nonsense. If language is nonsense, and logic is nonsense, then one is left with feelings and feelings about art and everything else become a matter of aesthetics.

 

Any commentary on art is by the nature of the human psyche a reflection of taste which comes from one's culture - one's culture in micro if not macrocosm. That also is a matter of the discipline of aesthetics if for no other reason than putting one's perspective on art into words which themselves are an art form at best and a craft at minimum.

 

Yeah, there are issues of both epistemology and ontology involved as well. <grin> Life can be fun in other ways than just pickin'. Although pickin' is rather special, I think, albeit one might question whether one's motives to do so are any more rational than performance of any other creative art or craft.

 

m

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Does that mean that music without aesthetics is just noise?

I think thats the whole point of this discussion.. to some people it will just be noise.. but to others it wont.. some people may find a connection with that noise that others dont due to their experience in life.

 

Which in some ways is why some people say its almost pointless discussing it in the first place.

 

But as others said, that is how we learn and evolve as a race by learning and incorperating what we have learned through not only discussions like this, but indeed any hardship or struggle (which seems to bring out the best (and indeed the worst) in some of us).

 

This is why people travel the world and study, to open their minds to new things they may not have condisdered before otherwise you are bound to your enviroment and cultural upbringing. And strangely enough that tribute of rebeling against everything you know when you are younger and discovering the world is what makes us like this, its just human nature. Some of us loose that urge younger than others, some people never loose it and rebel against the whole of life :)

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In my mind Rap/Hip Hop is music because the delivery is changed throughout verse and completely changed for the "hook". It's not monotone like "numb" by U2. If there is any structure created by a human being and it has two or more parts to it it's music.

I've created musac before (meaning it doesn't fit into any time signature) but it had two many notes in it, alas. If you can't add melody, harmony and a beat to it, it's not music.

This topic is more entertainment than education in my opinion. The more opinions you have about a subject, the more you denigrate against it being a form of education. Did I learn anything from this thread other than I was introduced to new vocabulary that danced around the main issue of the thread and that I would never use because I go to the "meat" of the problem but anyway. It seems like an old word in society today that nobody uses anymore is the word no.

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Music doesn't need hooks and changes to be music. Like I said earlier, the three tones that accompany the NBC logo is music. In fact it's an arpeggiated triad, a very specific musical movement.

 

Just out of curiosity, how many posters in this thread have had any formal musical training? Most guitarists that I've met are "Self Taught", so the question of "What is Music" is very different for someone who has been taught what music is and how it's grown through history. It's not so enigmatic a question, but it's not easily answered without some knowledge of musics inner workings.

 

Lets' take the tree falling in the forest example. If you are there to hear it and you think it's the most beautiful sound you ever heard, it's still not music. It's just the sound of a tree falling.

 

Likewise, if you hear a complex harmony with an odd meter played with kazoos and you don't like it, it's still music.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, the definition of music doesn't have anything to do with aesthetics. It can be reduced to a very dry, mechanical definition that may seem less than magical, but it is definable. However it's not a definition that can be given to a someone with limited understanding of theory. It's not covered in Music 101, so to speak. It's kind of like asking a surfer to how waves are formed instead of a physicist or oceanographer.

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No, rhythm and pitch are considered by aesthetics in defining and categorizing what they are and how they may have a part in "music" and whether that "music" might be considered "good" or "not good." Those with different points of view may or may not agree whether something such as the fall of that tree is music or simply sounds.

 

E.g., a drip from a malfunctioning water faucet has both rhythm and pitch, but do we consider that music? I personally think not, although I suppose through sampling and addition to a performance, it could be made to be so.

 

A tree falling in the forest, btw, is not a bit of rhythm, although again, I suppose with sampling it could possess both pitch and rhythm.

 

Aesthetics defines and categorizes. It also attempts - albeit varied by culture - to determine both intrinsic and extrinsic values of art. It's also inherent in the human condition to do so whether one is academically trained or whether one intuits even as one intuits logic within an illiterate culture.

 

m

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Well, is it possible that a violin string plucked at the same pitch and rhythm as a water drop would be considered music? Is it music simply because it is played by a musical instrument? My analogy of the tree falling in the forest was not to ask whether or not it made a noise, but if there is no one around to hear the noise, then there is no one around to interpret its aesthetics as a musical form. In other words, does music depend on interpretation to qualify as music?

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