Understanding Music as a Core Concept

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Billy
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Understanding Music as a Core Concept

Post by Billy » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:33 pm

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking post, and it would be dandy to read others thoughts on this subject.

"Music and the Arts - (Would need some help here, as I do not know if there are conventions or standards in these areas. Perhaps the frequency-note relationship should be included as a standard for anything we create.)"

This is something that I would like very much to take on as a longer-term project. Though I do have a background as a performing songwriter, vocalist, lyricist, and poet, never before was I taught about the truer essences of the music that I composed. Everything that I was taught was based around the circle of fifths, but I learned nothing of the fact that it was Pythagoras who developed this circle, nor was I taught that tones form chords due to the harmonization of mathematical ratios as they relate to vibrational frequencies. As with anything, there is so much more to be understood concerning the nature of music, and its relation to the underlying structures of life itself. The 'Circle of Fifths' is only just the beginning, the most rudimentary musical standard. There is much, much more going on there. Like so many things, nature operates on a more subtle level than that to which humans are accustomed. We as a species understood these things far better in ages past, and perhaps it is time to form a new musical standard, one that expands far beyond the Circle of Fifths and the standard 440Hz tuning cycle.

What also should be included here is poetry, which, to my mind, and in a linguistical sense, represents the deepest and most profound way to express the meanings of life. A poet works to frame words and phrases in such a way that the rhythm and syncopation of those words and phrases plays a subtle yet profound role in the expression of the sentiment. Truly, poetry itself is music. But here again, we currently have a standard: Two-thirds of all poetry in the English language is written in Iambic Pentameter. The rhythmic substitutions within this ten syllable framework are what make the language come alive; sort of like a 'departure' from some unit base (now golly, where have I heard that before?) The true test of any great poet or lyricist is the ability to express things in a way that, while perhaps not representing a new sentiment entirely, frames that sentiment in such a way that makes one think in an entirely different way; a way in which they were not previously accustomed to thinking. It clears tunnel wisdom, breaks down long-held dogmatic beliefs, and expands the mind. Truly, this is wisdom. Sad that so many poets nowadays have resolved themselves to working for advertising agencies. All the more reason why this art form must be preserved and expanded upon for future generations. A race is only as good as its ability to express its knowledge and wisdom in ways that expand the mind and lead to the ethical evolution of the species.

Also, in regards to Art: Truly, in the modern age, this has become a most bizarre cultural phenomenon. I agree with Miles Mathis when he questions the inherent talent of most modern artists. For five years, I worked at one of the most prestigious art schools in L.A., and most of what I saw left me with a feeling that half the students were narcissistic, and the other half were repressing deeply seated pain. It pained me to see so many in such pain, because their art spoke so many words that they themselves could not. To be frank, I honestly don't see much depth in most modern art. These young artists are trying to express something that they deem as 'profound', when honestly, the canvas is serving as nothing more than a palate for their egos. As Ambassador Kosh said, "Paint on the brush does not guarantee art from the bristle."

"Improve the quality of what you communicate on the outside and you will find that you also improve the quality of how you communicate on the inside."

What was that I was saying before about words being used to make the reader truly think? There we have it.

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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by Spaceman » Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:05 pm

Billy wrote:This is something that I would like very much to take on as a longer-term project. Though I do have a background as a performing songwriter, vocalist, lyricist, and poet, never before was I taught about the truer essences of the music that I composed. Everything that I was taught was based around the circle of fifths, but I learned nothing of the fact that it was Pythagoras who developed this circle, nor was I taught that tones form chords due to the harmonization of mathematical ratios as they relate to vibrational frequencies. As with anything, there is so much more to be understood concerning the nature of music, and its relation to the underlying structures of life itself. The 'Circle of Fifths' is only just the beginning, the most rudimentary musical standard. There is much, much more going on there. Like so many things, nature operates on a more subtle level than that to which humans are accustomed. We as a species understood these things far better in ages past, and perhaps it is time to form a new musical standard, one that expands far beyond the Circle of Fifths and the standard 440Hz tuning cycle.
This is something that I had been thinking about on and off all day. I came across the work of Ervin Wilson a couple years ago, and he immediately struck me as an “uncommitted investigator” of sorts in music. He didn’t write music so much as play with pitch fields. There is a site http://www.thesonicsky.com that is devoted to something of an expose of what he was all about, as well as being an attempt to expand musical boundaries utilizing his approach to the nature of music. Some of the music seems quite stretched. While I enjoy some of what I’ve heard here on the whole I prefer a little bit more of a traditional approach to microtonality; though that might just be because of the much greater of amount of time put into the creation of its melodies, and not anything intrinsic to the approach. It is the largest view of what music is while still having a structure that I have come across. I think of it as being on the leading edge in terms of theory for what is possible with music. From what I understand all musical systems that have existed or have yet to exist have a place within this “infinite pitch field” making it or something very much like it an ideal for communicating music. We would need not only the frequency note relation ship, but also how many intervals make up the master scale in use as well as the size of the intervals.

And as far as a long term project goes I would be interested in helping. I've been giving it some thought and though I might not be able to commit to mastery in terms of performance a study of tuning systems and their uses (existing and non-existing) falls well within the field of knowledge I'm interested in pursuing.
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by LoneBear » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:35 pm

Billy, Spaceman... do you have a proposal to address the arts? Keep in mind that the idea isn't to restrict any form of expression, but to define tools to communicate those expressions efficiently, particularly since those involve are from all over this planet, from a variety of cultures. How would a palindromic haiku in Mandarin, written by a brain-boosted Arnold Rimmer, be translated into iambic pentameter?

The Arts are "temporal standards," not spatial ones (as are computers, science and engineering, mentioned in the original post). A temporal standard is based in the anima/soul. Instrumentality is spatial, so you can define things like tuning standards. But when it comes to the soul--I would defer to the concepts put forth by the classical masters, of every culture. In my opinion, music should lift the soul and spirit, bring life and energy to those listening to it. I can immediately tell if music I hear meets those "parameters," but I don't have a clue as to how to define them.

I can give an example. Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune has always held significance for me, as both my parents were very much in to music; my dad played the piano and trumpet (Clair de Lune was one of his favorite pieces), my mom was a radio singer and her brother, my uncle, was a professional nightclub musician (Boston, New York and Miami; and a personal friend of Frank Sinatra and Danny Kaye). I learned how to sing when I was 5, and ended up a lead singer in the church choir. Yep, as pgolde can tell you, I'm just full of surprises.



Now when I listen to this song, I don't don't hear "music," but a story that is being told by someone's heart--and a story that I can relate to. To me, it does not speak notes, but emotions, someone walking a path, encountering challenges, facing and resolving them, triumphantly. I'm not sure that kind of "ear" still exists in today's youth, but for my generation, it is important.
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by Ilkka » Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:33 am

LoneBear wrote:Now when I listen to this song, I don't don't hear "music," but a story that is being told by someone's heart--and a story that I can relate to. To me, it does not speak notes, but emotions, someone walking a path, encountering challenges, facing and resolving them, triumphantly. I'm not sure that kind of "ear" still exists in today's youth, but for my generation, it is important.
For me I have always known that music is particularly classical music has been all about emotions and if one is to compose a classical musical piece it should tell a story and be thus emotional. Nowadays its different mostly, its all about sex, drugs, violence and money that sort of story they give todays world mostly.

When I listen to some of my favourite psychedelic music ("Shpongle") I can imagine all sorts of stories in particular songs that is. Maybe all that is, because back then I was using psychedelic drugs and through those experiences I enjoyed music much more than before. Didn't get to use much of them though, just enough to see that same "rollercoaster" for several times. Still get chills from listening "Shpongle - Divine Moments of Truth" at the beginning of it. At one point it releaved my headache even, just have to tune in to that "something", which might be just some chemical release "button" in the brains for pain relief.

But yeah music today is quite repulsive, of course there is some good ones in the mix, but most of it is just bad in the mainstream.
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by LoneBear » Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:20 am

Interesting that the upcoming generations have lost painting, sculpture, music and who knows how much more of the arts... perhaps that is something that we need to work to preserve, as well. Not just photos or music sheets--but what went into making them.
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by mongo » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:27 am

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DAT ... ic_1.shtml

by Theodor W. Adorno, with the assistance of George Simpson
Originally published in: Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, New York: Institute of Social Research, 1941, IX, 17-48

I came across this article recently which sparked a lot of personal thought. Mr. Adorno has been speculated of writing all the Beatle compositions. (he died in 1969, the year the Beatles broke up)
But, I find his article on pop vs. serious music fascinating. ( always wondered why I don't like Blues music ) Makes me question whether Music is an art at all. Have we been turned? I remember hearing that the worst thing you can do is use music as entertainment. That which I do. How do we approach music ? Art, Science, or both?

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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by LoneBear » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:33 am

I've split this topic off from Core Concepts, to focus solely on the musical ideas.
mongo wrote:http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DAT ... ic_1.shtml

by Theodor W. Adorno, with the assistance of George Simpson
Originally published in: Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, New York: Institute of Social Research, 1941, IX, 17-48

I came across this article recently which sparked a lot of personal thought. Mr. Adorno has been speculated of writing all the Beatle compositions. (he died in 1969, the year the Beatles broke up)
But, I find his article on pop vs. serious music fascinating. ( always wondered why I don't like Blues music ) Makes me question whether Music is an art at all. Have we been turned? I remember hearing that the worst thing you can do is use music as entertainment. That which I do. How do we approach music ? Art, Science, or both?
Music is based on the Muses:
In mythology, the Muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. Today, a muse is a person who serves as an artist's inspiration. Often filmmakers talk about a certain actor being a muse — meaning the actor inspired a movie. Writers, painters, musicians, and other artists have muses. Muse can also refer to thinking deeply. If you muse about something, you're giving it serious thought. You can't muse in five seconds. People muse on certain ideas for years.
Based on that definition, music is the language of the soul, which in a man, is feminine--hence the goddesses. Female vocalists are popular with men because it becomes the shadow/anima bring out a message from the heart. Male vocalists perform a similar function for females, since their soul is masculine (basic alchemy of the hermaphrodite structure).

Nine is also interesting from a Reciprocal System perspective, as the basic vibration--on which all music is made--has 9 degrees of freedom (why 9ths are part of the Inter-regional ratio calculation). There may be more here than meets the eye.

I would be very curious to know if those that use music as entertainment were to switch that music to over to some of the classics for a few days... none of the guitar/keyboard/drum/vocals stuff. I wonder how their soul would respond to the emotional communication?
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by DSKlausler » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:21 am

LoneBear wrote:Interesting that the upcoming generations have lost painting, sculpture, music and who knows how much more of the arts... perhaps that is something that we need to work to preserve, as well. Not just photos or music sheets--but what went into making them.
Hmmm, "lost" is not quite right, in my opinion. The removal of the arts has been, and continues to be a purposeful plan.
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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by DSKlausler » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:26 am

LoneBear wrote:Now when I listen to this song, I don't don't hear "music," but a story that is being told by someone's heart--and a story that I can relate to. To me, it does not speak notes, but emotions, someone walking a path, encountering challenges, facing and resolving them, triumphantly. I'm not sure that kind of "ear" still exists in today's youth, but for my generation, it is important.
One of my favorites as well... simply beautiful.

I am always at a loss to understand why so few get similar feelings, from even some of the simplest "rock" tunes. Many, many songs have spawned stories within my mind. Even more trigger memories of my past - unfortunately, a lot of these are quite sad.

My son reminded me recently of one of my favorite albums: Genesis - Seconds Out. Many parts of that too are beautiful to me.
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Re: Understanding Music as a Core Concept

Post by mongo » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:08 pm

sorry if the article I posted earlier was off topic. It merely shows how structure of today's music takes precedent over the music itself. In a blues song, if you meander away from the structure (12 bar blues etc.) blues aficionados will police the composition. In the same vein, you can play anything during those I-IV-V 12 bar structure and it will be deemed blues. The structure is the most important part of the music. Sound becomes less musical, magical and more, dare I say, dialectic. That's why (some) classical, like the previous example, speaks to you like a language. No structure to fit into. The piece is dependent upon itself for meaning.

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Re: Core Concepts and Standards

Post by dave432 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:12 pm

LoneBear wrote:Interesting that the upcoming generations have lost painting, sculpture, music and who knows how much more of the arts... perhaps that is something that we need to work to preserve, as well. Not just photos or music sheets--but what went into making them.
I couldn't agree more. Even though I take an active interest in ratio tuning systems, the Debussy piece you shared is using the equal temperament system. Quite frankly, the other tuning systems I've explored have beautiful sounds contained within them but so far I haven't heard any actual compositions written with ratios that can match the beauty of a Claire de Lune. I also suggest the Russian composers for deep feeling. If anyone wants to take the time (about a half hour), Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 is another gift to the soul of humanity. You may recognize part of the melody from a 70s pop song -- Eric Carmen's "All By Myself" (at about 20:10). I still have the 45 RPM.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMGnfiavN8c

So even though I've made a number of posts advocating ratio tuning (I still think there are healing applications to explore with ratios and somehow I think color can be expressed as ratios as well), when it comes to the power of music coming from the human soul the tuning system doesn't matter. Substance over form. A lot of the current popularity of alternate tuning systems may turn out to be misdirection from what really matters, the beauty that has been expressed out of human suffering.
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