RE: A brief essay on development

Subject: RE: A brief essay on development
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Thu Aug 26 2004 - 20:49:52 EDT

Two ideas come to mind regarding the concept of 'direction'. The
first (again) is the nature of context. For those who lived with
tonality, traditional tonality provides (provided) 'direction' (goal
orientation). One of the complexities that overlays this with
tonality is that not only does the tonal listener know 'which
direction' the harmonic progression is going, they also know the
'tonal distance' (a multi-dimensional matrix) from the final goal.

Direction may be created by elements which reside outside the sounds
themselves. Consider the sense of 'direction' embedded in Ulysses --
the ubiquitous "Life in a Day". This has both the elaboration of
existing musics, and the continuous introduction of new elements.

At which turn one may consider what a 'new' element is. (An issue of
identity.) When there are five people on stage, it may be easy to
identify (and remember) the sixth person as 'the new one', but when
there are 73,469 people in the stadium, almost every 'new' face looks
like an 'old one'.

There are many terms / types of growth-decay words describing
gestures ... accretion, accumulation, amplification, compression,
contraction, convergence, disintegration, divergence, elaboration,
evaporation, incrementation,obliteration, scattering, (stasis!),
supercession, supplementation ... termination!!

For me an important aspect of sound is its temporality -- it cannot
be held, but it has been (somewhat) frozen. But I'm not sure that we
process information in a linear fashion. Information is received and
its 'meaning' / 'significance' may need to wait for its resolution. A
little bit like reading one of those 175 word sentences of Proust --
it is necessary to hold on to where the sentence began, and follow
the diversions and digressions, not matter how, when or where placed,
often, it might seem, placed there simply to amplify some minute
detail of some particular sub-clause, requiring the reader again and
again, and over and over, to hold onto a continuously classify the
line, and place the incoming text into the correct hierarchical level
(so as to be sure that they know when the peak has been reached), and
then to know that the sentence has ended. Yes?



At 10:23 -0400 2004/08/25, Eldad Sabari wrote:
>"an elaboration of existing music in the creation of new process
>that increases a sense of directional movement."
>A few questions:
>1) could a sense of direction be created without
>elaborating existing music (without development) - say, by
>introducing new elements continuously?
> 2) perhaps introducing new elements continuosly will create a sense
>of movement, but not of direction - is direction important for our
>listening experience?
>3) why?
>4) could music be non-linear? say, like a painting where all the
>elements are available for us at once and we choose to view the
>painting either by looking at its entirety or by examining
>individual elements.
>Eldad Tsabary
> >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: it
> >implies the idea of moving somewhere new by transforming something
> >old.
> >
> >One basic transformation is "heightening," often described as the
> >building of "tension." A prototypical development is that which
> >builds
> >towards a climax. In film music, we often hear accelerating motives
> >progressing upwards through a scale with sudden increases in the
> >density of the music as it lurches towards the climactic event. This
> >joins various ways of creatinmg a sense of "going up," by raising
> >the
> >pitch, increasing the tempo, creating greater rhythmic momentum or
> >density, getting louder, increasing harmonic density and dissonance
> >level, splintering into nultiple voices, etc.
> >
> >"Going up" could probably be generalized as "creating process."
> >Process is created when we sense patterns of transformation.
> >Heightening is one such pattern.
> >
> >
> >The sense of process is one that might translate
> >into a feeling of growing tension: but perhaps the word "tension"
> >merely stands for a sense of high-level affective or perceptive
> >directionality.
> >
> >Modifying my original statement, development might be described as
> >"an
> >elaboration of existing music in the creation of new process that
> >increases a sense of directional movement.
> >
> >
> >-- eliot
> >
> >
> >
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