Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:

Subject: Re: CIMESP-Results Fwd:
From: Eliot Handelman (
Date: Sat Nov 05 2005 - 21:47:13 EST

bill thompson wrote:

>i wonder if the issue really is that ea, atleast in
>academic circles/world is now a genre, much as any
>other music style, and thus has its recognizable
>staple sounds/gestures/forms.
 Let's say that there's a rather static concept of what happens in a
"well-made piece
that gets 1st prizes at EA competitions." My gripe is that a new art
should reward vision,
not just "well-madedness" in a classic mould.

>good is recognized by
>how well someone's piece relates to those established
>paradigms, while still perhaps slipping a 'bit' of
>innovation in...but not so much that it is
Or threatening.

>in relation to other works that have
>become the ideal by which we judge them?

>on another topic though, you mentioned your theory:
>>>>Assuming the listener found that to be the
>best bit, then his map starts from that point
>actually, i think it's often the opposite...that a
>listener remembers the part they hated most! unless
>they're attempting to find something they liked etc.

True, which suggests that we remember thing in the order that they're
most meaningful.
As a composer it's meaningful to hate some pieces (less competition).
The interesting
problem is whether music you like reflects the structure of favorite"
first, in which case the "form" of
music (reflecting a cognitive order) is not anything like ABA at all.
This is sort of like saying that
we compose by coming up with good bits and deciding where to put them.
The problem of where to
put them (also in realtion to what they are) is about what a formal
theory of music has to deal with.

To put this even more crudely, the cognitve form of music I'm suggesting
is about the structure of its "hits."
The hits are not about "what lends the music deep structure," but
rather, "how pieces are made in
such a way that keep the listener involved."

eg one form is dum dum dum and then a big climax. What do we call a
piece with a climax at the end?
We don;t have names for these things. This is why we can't talk about
form, and tend to learn it byt
example rather than by actively inventing something new.

I was reading something interesting earlier, in Dennet's review of Pinker:

"In the 1950's, Albert Lord recorded the illiterate bards of Yugoslavia,
relic masters of ancient mnemonic arts of the oral tradition. When he
interviewed them about specific "words" and "lines" of their epic poems,
they were baffled. Rather like jazz musicians who "play by ear" without
the benefit of a standard musical education, these bards had a sense of
"sound groups" but their own productions were not readily analyzable /by
them/ into words, lines, sentences."

To my mind, all of music is in this sitiation. We have no language to
talk about music because
instead of analyzing music we apply empirically untested theortical
ideologies of very limited scope that
offer us no descriptive power at all.

>in other words, if a piece had a part that was really
>annoying to me, i'd tend to remember that part, and
>then in trying to be positive, recall 'well, it had a
>good ending' etc...still similar in concept to what
>you're saying but i think significantly different.

No, you're also describing a way of organizing the memory of a piece,
which is what (I think) this
theory-in-the-bud is all about.

-- eliot

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