Re: Solo ea and "tick"ing

Subject: Re: Solo ea and "tick"ing
From: miriam clinton (iriXx) (
Date: Sat Feb 19 2005 - 05:11:09 EST

actually i think this is where the subject starts to get interesting
again... at least for me (as psychoacoustics / perception / psychology
of music is where i do 'tick'...)

i'm already of the opinion that personality profiles are of more use in
determining one's reception of music or 'tickiness' than whether the
music itself is 'good' or 'bad'... how many of us here, for example,
enjoyed 'i'm a Barbie girl'... i think its hilarious and a rather fun
song. it probably irritates the hell out of most of the list. but i'm
weird... and a rare personality type according to the Myers-Briggs scale
(3% of the population).

cultural roles may have a strong factor too but i believe this is only
insofar as what we are accustomed to - what feels comfortable to our ears.

after all - i enjoy Georgian folk music, with 31 tones to the octave.
why then, would not a Georgian, or an Indonesian, not enjoy Bach?

as far as 'the new music' goes - its also a question of sociology.
Georgian and Indonesian music can be just as complex to fathom -
especially the rather strange historical (hysterical!) songs of Georgia
with the yodel-countertenor improvisations way off in another key
altogether. but it is rooted, grounded in social history, grounded in a
solid society. something of this is what makes it 'tick' for me... (i
have to admit a personal interest in palaentology (sp?) and the
migration of ancient cultures though, which may bias the argument
somewhat). but Georgian music is rooted around the family home, around
traditional culture and living - and this can be heard in the music.

whereas in the new music i personally perceive the breakdown of society.
one cannot help but write music influenced by one's environment. and
that includes myself - but i am deliberately aware of it and include
this in the psychology and psychoacoustics of my work.

so much new music to me is a void, it is empty... it reflects this
breakdown so transparently. this i believe is why young listeners are
reluctant to discover it, in opposition to Beethoven, Bach, Stravinsky -
all of whom were considered 'radical' 'revolutionary', and most
importantly 'difficult to listen to' in their day. i havent yet heard
the same said of Boulez, 50 years on - but 50 years after the Rite of
Spring, or after Messiaen, such music was accepted as 'easy to listen
to'. my students have said the same - Messiaen and Stravinsky, while
difficult, are listenable - post 1950s, the degree of listenability
becomes less, the degree of academic focus to the detriment of music
itself increases, but most importantly, the emotional void increases.
academic focus was rigid in Bach, but his society was rooted - as
opposed to the void of modern life.

its getting worse. the music i hear from a large percentage of composers
today - particularly students, and those who were my fellow
contemporaries in London (a city i find very dead - sorry londoners, but
it is an empty, competetive but soulless, dark place for me) seems to be
reflecting this soullessness in an ever increasing spiral.

whereas alternative pop music is recognising it, attempting to
understand it and addressing the issue: Eminem, Radiohead, Marilyn
Manson, Trent Reznor. but these composers are acutely aware in a
personal sense of experiencing the breakdown of society and write
directly of their own experiences of it - they address it, rather than
let it seep into their subconscious and become part of the system,
imitating everyone else.

the difficulty is to remain objective, to - as Nietzsche would say -
rise above it, and not become one of the sheep.

to know and address seems to be part of the solution - we will not solve
society, but we can certainly avoid becoming part of the void that
contemporary music seems to be falling into.

(flameshield on).

Kevin Austin wrote:

> I don't know if we need to go to non-western cultures to find out what
> happens when 'unexposed' ears are exposed to new sounds. Western music
> history is full of examples of people "not getting" the 'new' music
> ... Beethoven late quartets and bagatelles, Mahler, Schoenberg,
> Cowell, Partch, Cage, Stockhausen ...
> If the "tickness" is largely learned then it may be found that
> cultural influences have a large role to play, which could be seen as
> younger minds being in general more flexible and adaptable to learning
> the languages involved.
> I am not convinced about opinions where things are "clearly" and
> others are "impossible" ... but I may be an old fuddy-duddy about what
> is really real, having little faith in "common sense".
> Best
> Kevin
> At 16:17 +0000 2005/02/18, Richard Wentk wrote:
>> At 16:04 18/02/2005, you wrote:
>>> I take this comment to be somewhat supportive of the theme that the
>>> "tickness" of the 'music' is (more) in the individual than in the
>>> stream of information received.
>> Perhaps. Has anyone tried to find out what aboriginal cultures hear
>> when they (e.g.) listen to Bach? I think until someone does the
>> question remains open.
>> Also, tickness is clearly shared to an extent that would be
>> impossible if it were *exclusively* an individual phenomenon.
>> Richard

99% of aliens prefer Earth

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