RE: electroacoustics - rap to tap

Subject: RE: electroacoustics - rap to tap
From: Paulo Mouat (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 23:40:49 EDT

> > I believe the "something universal" in music is that it somehow
> > conveys the impression of purpose.
> If you are implying that music is universal in the sense that
> it appears to be music, that the sound's purpose is to be
> musical, I disagree. Plenty of people think much of what I
> enjoy to be anything but music.

I was not implying anything of the sort -- in fact, just the opposite,
precisely that what is music(al) is in the ear (or mind) of the beholder.
Other than that, the only commonality seems to me that one always looks at
art with the intent of discovering a/its purpose.
> > Music is always a cultural
> > practice (meaning, it is indelibly tied to a specific cultural
> > framework), and it is probably our natural interest in transcending
> > our own cultural boundaries (e.g. the search for novelty) that
> > transports it across cultures.
> I have to to disagree with that. Music tends to be similar
> amongst cultures not necessarily because the culture shapes
> the music, but because the music becomes ingrained in the
> culture. Its true that it works both ways, but I have to take
> issue with the amount of influence you suggest culture has on
> music. I don't think there's anything about Japanese culture
> that spawned noise music. Noise music just happened to
> originate there, and then later became part of the culture.
> (We can argue about where noise music originated, I'm just
> giving an example.) I also think that, for example, a painter
> like Pollock could've come from anywhere. He happened to come
> from America, but I think it would've been just as natural
> for him to come from Europe, Asia, of Africa.

You are reading it too literally, or applying your notions of culture too
rigidly to what I mean by that word. As a creator, you can't deny having
external influences or stimuli; after all, you don't live in a vacuum. It
is in that sense that culture (i.e. your upbringing, your background, your
experience, your concerns, etc) is the starting point for any of your
artistic endeavours.

The example of noise music seems to me misplaced. For one, it doesn't
strike me as particularly japanese, and second, its cultural "themes" are
other than purely geographically-determined. Culture is not necessarily

Music indeed becomes ingrained in the culture, but it didn't originate in a
void. Every genre and style came to life and evolved through the hands of
artists that carried their cultural fingerprint to their work.

It is obvious that sooner or later we could have a Pollock anywhere in the
world. But the fact is, at that point in time, the particular cultural
landscape caused Pollock to think and paint the way he did in America and
not anywhere else.


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