Re: A brief essay on development

Subject: Re: A brief essay on development
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Wed Aug 25 2004 - 21:25:54 EDT

Richard Wentk wrote:

> At 01:44 25/08/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>> This appears to have been the only thing I did today. I'm posting
>> this so that I don't trash it. I hope someone gets something out of it.
>> What is development?
>> Development is that which creates the sense that the music is mutating
>> and progressing towards a felt goal, which may itself change:
> I think you could be confusing the how and the why here. There's a
> difference between intent and technique.

But note that I mostly talk about the "sense" of something -- let's go on:

> I'm not convinced the intent of all development is goal-oriented.

I agree -- that's why I removed the word from my final statement and
instead talked
about process and the sense of increase of movement brought about.
Goal-orientedness is one such process. Linear movement is one kind of
movement. But clearly there are others.

> E.g. What about aleatoric techniques, or pieces which use development
> to reveal new facets of relationship within/around musical objects
> rather than assuming a linear process?

Do you have the sense these pieces are developing?


>> it implies the idea of moving somewhere new by transforming something
>> old.
> That's probably all you can say meaningfully about development.
> Everything else is particular to specific techniques rather than
> general to the principle.

This is part of paper about a program I'm working on that's supposed to
analyze processes of development,
 so I'm just trying to be clear about what I mean by that. I'm
concluding that a huge amount of music
relies on a microlevel taxonmony of process, with refinements up to a
macrolevel. Obviously I need another
30 or 40 years on this.

> It's to me interesting that one of the things that distinguishes pop
> from non-pop is a relative poverty of development in the former.
> Academic/art music seems much more interested in exploring different
> techniques for their own sake, while pop hardly seems interested in
> development at all.
Development obviously makes listening to music more complicated. I was
reading a review of "seven" (the movie) on the net
about how the movie required too much thinking and therefore failed as
good entertainment.

-- eliot

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