Re: art not music

Subject: Re: art not music
Date: Thu Feb 24 2005 - 14:47:21 EST

Musical craft, or electroacoustic or acousmatic craft, indeed artistic
craft in general, is designed to make it easier for the audience to
experience what the artist intends to convey. To begin with, that consists
of clarity.

To some extent, this depends on cultural conditioning, and to some extent
it depends on human biology -- generally true principles of how people
perceive things (such as colors or octaves or geometric proportions).

Hence in music the rules of "traditional" music theory are, to some extent,
heuristic principles designed to make it easier for the audience to
experience what the composer intends to convey. To some extent, these
principles are based on cultural tradition and conditioning, and to some
extent, they are based on the biology and psychology of hearing (octaves,
overlapping partials, time resolution, that sort of thing). I believe that
many if not most of the "rules" have been chosen, sometimes by trial and
error, sometimes more scientifically, so as make it CLEARER and EASIER to
hear all the various and complex things that the composer has making
sounds, and to exclude things that for cultural, psychological, and even
biological reasons most people find distracting, irritating, or muddy to
hear (e.g. parallel fifths).

Consequently, I think that in new styles and fields of music and sound art,
if there don't exist "rules" or you need to make new ones, it's generally
helpful to identify principles that make what one hears clearer and easier
to follow... this is just a starting point, clarity is hardly the only
purpose of craft but it is certainly a fundamental one.

More recent examples of "rules" for contemporary music making would be
arranging recorded tracks not to overlap in critical frequency bands, or in
beats, and to somewhat compress the dynamic range of the recording as a
whole and the leading tracks in particular, thus leading to a CLEARER
separatiaon of the tracks. There's a certain similarity here to traditional
principles of orchestration....

Original Message:
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 13:48:32 -0500
Subject: Re: art not music

Quoting Rick <>:

> They sound musical. There are places where rhythm and harmony exist,
> yet no strict adherence to a particular system. The systems from which
> the work derives does show through, but I hope are sufficiently
> subverted to fit the new form. It is still very much a bottom-up
> approach at the studio level.
> The sources however were traditional musical types, ie. blues,
> baroque, and some free-improv; all guitar.

Thansk that is a clear explanation/analysis.
> But then again, do all "musical" works adhere to an "explicit" rhythm
> and harmony? When you say "rhythm" do you mean tempo? There are many
> rhythms, and variations of those rhythms recur at different tempos at
> different (or simultaneous) moments in the work.

tempo, meter, underlying structural grid

> This work in particular is an example of what I said about dot music
> being just another subset of the ways to organize sound.

The organization of sound, is sort of the key to all of this, my premise
that an organization of sound does not neccessarily mean music is created.

> When you say "academic based", how is that different from how I
> composed prior to academe when I used drums and tape and bass guitar?
> Or disembodied organ pipes and swimming pool drains?

I made this statement so as to qualify soem of the standpoints I am taking,
the current academic (student) situation I find myself in, I wonder about
validity of half of my degree courses being based on music (theory,
ear training) in a traditional sense, with very little effort made (in the
majority though not all) in these music courses to address issues that
be realteable to ea/sonic art, or sound as seperate entity from music.

> What exactly is your current situation? Is it that subset? Some kind
> of dot music or some other system filtered through keyboard layouts?
> Is it voice based? And the patterns you speak of, are they repetitive,
> or complex?

I don't want to imply that these courses have no use to me, nor do I want
come across as though my expectations for the classes are thhe only ones
count. It is just in my mind the study of music (dot, or otherwise
traditional) leaves gaps in the education of one intersted in
electroacoustics, and I wonder whether we have classified EA into a corner
to a close allegiance with music.

If ea is classified as a subset of time based art instead of a subset of
would there be any difference in it.... probably not, though it might be
taught differently (or from a different stand point).

just questions really


> On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 11:02:35 -0500,
> <> wrote:
> > I would ask your Rick if your "musical" work has ingrained in it a
> > adherence to explict rhythm and harmony. Is the rhythm the backbone that
> > everything is laid on, does it function so that the harmonic structure
> comes
> > back to realign itself with the rhythm after (possibly) straying away
> the
> >
> > tempo, pulse, accentatuion pattern?
> >
> > Or maybe I should just ask how you come to call your latest work
> >
> > andrew

Andrew McCallum

-------------------------------------------------------------------- mail2web - Check your email from the web at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:06 EST