Re: art music/pop music

Subject: Re: art music/pop music
From: Scott Wilson (
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 11:21:33 EDT

On 19 May 2004, at 14:59, wrote:

> Quoting Kevin Austin <>:
>> And, IMV, the impact of ea (in the broadest sense) is present in all
>> of these. The capturing and crystallization of sound changed the
>> dynamic of what music "is". The 'music' moved from being "the
>> performance of the piece" to some form of "object" -- much as the
>> 'writing down' of Beowulf or Le Cid created an 'ur' version against
>> which others could be compared.
> In an essay Henry Cowell suggests something similar. I.e., that the
> transcription of folk music in a sense destroys it, Heisenberg-like.
> The kind
> of local variation, imprecise tonality and rhythms that exist in a
> strictly
> aural tradition get lost when the notes and rhythm were locked in
> place on
> paper, so that, Cowell says, a lot of the "authentic" folk music
> recorded in
> the 40s and 50s is not so authentic.
> Similarly, the scale frequencies of gamelon music varies from locale
> to locale.
> The tuning of the instruments in a given gamelon orchestra are
> self-referential. So while the same scale names are used in different
> regions,
> they don't sound quite the same. You can't mix the instruments of
> different
> gamelon orchestras.
Gamelan is a classical music however, and I would imagine that the
differences in tuning arose originally for the same reasons that
differences in organ tuning did: The stationary nature of the
instruments. That being said, there are philosophies and styles of
gamelan tuning, an idea that also appears in various guises in Western
art music, needless to say. They are thus not really,



Scott Wilson
Lecturer in Music
Music Department
University of Birmingham

+44 (0)121 414 5767

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