Re: A brief essay on development

Subject: Re: A brief essay on development
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Thu Aug 26 2004 - 08:54:30 EDT

At 18:25 25/08/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>Richard Wentk wrote:
>>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:

Okay, but do you explicitly mean listener perception of same? If so, how is
that different to the various variation forms where themes are being
developed, but there may be no overall sense of direction within the suite
as a whole? And a given variation may even be simpler and slower than the
original? I think busyness or increased movement is still just one possible
example of development.

There's also reverse development. I can think of one piece which spends
half an hour playing around a theme, and only states it at the end - with
huge relief for all concerned.

>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.

The others are perhaps more interesting, because less familiar?

>>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?

There's sometimes a sense of evolution. But often the experience feels
circular and self-contained rather than linear.

I get a similar experience from a lot of algorthmic music - the sort that
mechanically explores a relational space without much aesthetic intelligence.

>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

Perhaps a more interesting question is why some processes and refinements
seem to give better results than others, and at what level can the 'better'
criterion be applied?

>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.

Entertainment is distraction. But sometimes thinking can be a distraction
too. :-)


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