Re: Aural Training

Subject: Re: Aural Training
From: Prof Malone (
Date: Mon Aug 22 2005 - 09:52:01 EDT

on 8.21.05 10:48 PM, Kevin Austin at wrote:

> Hmmm ... I don't think there is such a thing as an "auditory object"
> independent of perception and context. If the object only exists
> through the perception and interpretation, then it could be
> understood that 'the object' (itself) doesn't exist, only an
> individual's (re)creation of the 'object / concept'.
How does that differ from the perception of any other "object"?
> I don't think that 'music' offers anything, and even less so anything
> 'obvious'. I would propose that it is the way which the mind
> structures the stimulus rather than the stimulus itself. It is my
> understanding, partly from Eliot, that the brain has no way of
> knowing the 'source' of the stimulus.
So any thing the brain garners from a piece in order to order it becomes a
kind of temporary (pun intended) object.
> There was an article by Oliver Sachs on how the blind "see" (New
> Yorker about July 2003?) and the proposition that areas of the brain
> can be reallocated to different functions if they are not used (eg
> visual cortex areas are taken over by sound, tactile etc.
Excellent point.
I believe that musicians usurp brain space for sound.
> The "theme" is for me a 'higher level' concept, and is both an object
> in the specific instance, and a process if the general sense. For
> example an examination of western music from (say) 1650 to 1900 and
> beyond reveals a group of musical ideas that in a general sense allow
> for certain processes, including repetition, 'variation', distortions
> and fragmentations etc etc, and that a large percentage of the pieces
> from the concert literature of this period will show one or many of
> these attributes. Specific cases may show various levels and amounts.
> A cursory examination of Handel tends to show little 'thematic
> process' compared to (say) JS Bach, but this could be because the
> nature and 'depth' of the processes in Handel are more subtle and
> "deeper", not having so much surface recognizability.
> (An examination of the Minuet [fifth movement] from the Water Music
> will reveal the pervasive influence of the three-note ascending scale
> pattern. This could be one of the reasons that Handel was Beethoven's
> favorite composer.)
> Identity cannot be separated from 'object', and 'process'. The
> proposed example of the violin glissando, in my view, cannot be dealt
> without its context. A glissando could be a simple portamento of the
> Philadelphia Orchestra playing Chaikovsky under Stokowski in 1931
> (where it is a stylistic, ornamental process), or it could be from an
> orchestral (or chamber) work by Xenakis, where it may be a
> fundamental element with an irreducible identity.
How does this differ from the ascending three note "theme"?
Sometimes three ascending notes are just ornamental.
> The glissando could be a set of 128 oscillators descending over a
> range of about 4 octaves in 40 minutes. The glissando is the process,
> and the object. [SUN].
This reminds me of one of the first computer pieces we made: 24 hour sweep
of the audio range.
I think that in EA (and other contemporary art), themes are sometimes what
we would have previously called ornamentation, orchestration or even

happy tunes
don malone

it takes all of us

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