Author Topic: How do you hear music?  (Read 4497 times)

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Offline some guy

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2017, 01:30:37 AM »
This wholesale resurrection of old threads seems not quite the thing, but what do I know? It's been done, and there's a statement in it that I hear a lot that seems impossibly odd and impertinent, so....

 
f a piece of music reaches me on some emotional level -- or if I've got a reason to believe that there's something going on there I want to know -- I'll listen to it again. If not, I'll let it go and get on with my life.

You see? Listening to music here is not a great pleasure, maybe even a necessity, it is an interruption. It might be a pleasant interruption, and if so then fine, but it's not really part of one's life. And what a life is suggested here. It is a thing to be got on with. Wow. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but isn't life something one simply does? Maybe one does it simply, too. But if music is not part of one's life, an addition to at best, an interruption or distraction from at worst, then why, at the very least, would one get involved with music-lovers in conversations about music.

Something seems to not quite add up, here.

Now posting to music discussion threads, that might be an interruption. In fact, I'm going to go now and "get on with" my life, a large part of which involves listening to music and sometimes even making some.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2017, 08:53:34 AM »
This wholesale resurrection of old threads seems not quite the thing, but what do I know? It's been done, and there's a statement in it that I hear a lot that seems impossibly odd and impertinent, so....
 
You see? Listening to music here is not a great pleasure, maybe even a necessity, it is an interruption. It might be a pleasant interruption, and if so then fine, but it's not really part of one's life. And what a life is suggested here. It is a thing to be got on with. Wow. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but isn't life something one simply does? Maybe one does it simply, too. But if music is not part of one's life, an addition to at best, an interruption or distraction from at worst, then why, at the very least, would one get involved with music-lovers in conversations about music.

Something seems to not quite add up, here.

Now posting to music discussion threads, that might be an interruption. In fact, I'm going to go now and "get on with" my life, a large part of which involves listening to music and sometimes even making some.

Thank you for this pleasant interruption.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2017, 04:27:20 AM »
I don't see anything wrong with the idea of listening to music as an agreable pastime, with little, if any, existential implications in, and consequences for, one's own life.

First, not everybody is fortunate enough to live the life, or have the job, of their dreams. What's wrong, I wonder,  if music provides a welcome and sought-after interruption in, and a pleasant distraction from, the daily drudgery, monotony and boredom which for some people is an inescapable part of their job / life? What's wrong, I wonder, with a person who after a hard day's work sits tranquil in his armchair, a glass of his favorite drink in hand, listening to music in order to forget the "toil and trouble" of the day? And what's wrong, I wonder, if this person finds this music enticing and wants more of it, and that music repulsive and wants none of it anymore? Is liking each and every piece of music one hears, or listening to it at least twice, mandatory?

Second, not everybody subscribes to the Romantic mysticism of music, which views it as a legitimate, and even better and more profound than the original, substitute for religion, philosophy, metaphysics or sex, and as an object of veneration bordering on idolatry. Some people have more "classical" notions about music and its functions. Again, I wonder what's wrong with that.

Third, some of the greatest music ever penned was written with exactly this purpose in mind, namely to provide an agreable pastime to people interested both in listening to, or playing, it. Some of the greatest composers, and  tons of others more or less famous, had no other goal in writing all, or part of, their music, than to please their audience, connoisseurs and amateurs alike. This time I wonder not --- I know there is nothing wrong with that.

Fourth, the very fact of someone's registering and posting on GMG is usually proof enough that s/he is actively interested in being involved in discussions and exchanges and sharings with other music lovers. It's the inescapable nature of music, as well as one of its most beneficial social functions, to bring together people with different education, taste and listening habits. Questioning their motives for participating in debates, or altogether dismissing their approach to music as invalid or inferior, is indeed "impossibly odd and impertinent".

Fifth, and last, not everybody can be counted in among those "best and brightest" for whom ordinary life is dispensable but music isn't, so I might perhaps be pardoned for this post.

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Offline Maestro267

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2017, 06:16:25 AM »
Through my ears, generally speaking.

Offline eljr

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2017, 06:34:30 AM »
How do you hear music?

"The problem with listening, of course, is that we don't. There's too much noise going on in our heads, so we never hear anything." Philip Glass
You practice and you get better. It's very simple.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2017, 06:37:57 AM »
One of the executives within BBC radio has claimed this week that men predominately listen to the technicalities of music, whilst women have a predominantly emotional response.

I don't relate to this generalisation, but wondered if it holds any truth for the people here.

Mike

Almost exclusively from an emotional-response point of view.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2017, 07:13:19 AM »
Through my ears, generally speaking.

+1
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2017, 09:34:38 AM »
Almost exclusively from an emotional-response point of view.

+ 1

I have absolutely no need, nor any use, for any music without a "concept, object or purpose".

« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:20:14 AM by Florestan »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2017, 09:45:42 AM »
I have absolutely no need, nor any use, for any music without a "concept, object or purpose".

Examples, please?
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2017, 10:15:00 AM »
Examples, please?

For I consider that music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all, whether a feeling, an attitude of mind, a psychological mood, a phenomenon of nature, etc. ---  Petrushka;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 10:21:14 AM by Florestan »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2017, 10:33:47 AM »
Are you claiming that Petrushka is music without a "concept, object or purpose"?  Claiming that anything of Stravinsky's is, on the strength of that horse you're beating (which must be dead by now)?

Anyway, I was asking, for the very reason that I doubt that I know of any music without a "concept, object or purpose."  So if you did know of such a piece, I wanted to consider if there really is such a thing.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2017, 02:04:29 PM »
It is a strange idea to me that a composer would write something without a purpose. It would probably end up being a very thoughtless procedure. Not at all interesting to anyone.

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #52 on: May 09, 2017, 12:19:54 AM »
Are you claiming that Petrushka is music without a "concept, object or purpose"?

Absolutely not. I chose it as being a perfect counter example for Stravinsky's theory about the non-expressiveness of music.

Quote
Anyway, I was asking, for the very reason that I doubt that I know of any music without a "concept, object or purpose."  So if you did know of such a piece, I wanted to consider if there really is such a thing.

Well, I don't either, and I even doubt there is any such music. The notion was proposed by Carl Dahlhaus in relation to "absolute music". With all due respect to him I think it's plain stupid.
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Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #53 on: May 09, 2017, 12:21:14 AM »
It is a strange idea to me that a composer would write something without a purpose. It would probably end up being a very thoughtless procedure. Not at all interesting to anyone.

Precisely.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2017, 01:11:45 AM »
Well, I don't either, and I even doubt there is any such music.

Thanks; we agree, and now I understand your original post.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2017, 02:51:09 PM »
I don't think music is inherently expressive, but human beings can perform music in am expressive way and certainly feel emotions from listening to it.

My theory is that saying 'music is expressive' or 'music is emotional' is similar to someone with synaesthesia  (who perhaps understands certain pitches to be certain colours) saying 'music has colour.' It's part of the human experience of music, not part of the actual sound or music itself. 

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #56 on: May 10, 2017, 01:20:05 AM »
I don't think music is inherently expressive, but human beings can perform music in am expressive way and certainly feel emotions from listening to it.

My theory is that saying 'music is expressive' or 'music is emotional' is similar to someone with synaesthesia  (who perhaps understands certain pitches to be certain colours) saying 'music has colour.' It's part of the human experience of music, not part of the actual sound or music itself.

But how can you separate "the human experience of music" from "the music itself"? This musical Kantianism is an impossibility: music is what humans do, whether as composers, performers or listeners. There is no "music in itself", devoid of, and divorced from, any human context (ie, experience) any more than there is "literature in itself" (as opposed to the human experience of literature) or "painting in itself" (as opposed to the human experience of painting).

The notion of "music in itself" implies logically that music is something independent from the composer who writes it down on paper (and his human experience) and who is simply a vessel through which "die Musik an sich" makes itself known to the world. This is as absurd as it sounds. There is no "Beethoven's music in itself" as opposed to "Beethoven's human experience of music"; there is only "Beethoven's music", product of a specific and particular human experience from which it can't be abstracted and outside of which its very existence can't even be explained. Paraphrasing Buffon, "La musique c'est l'homme même".

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Offline jessop

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #57 on: May 10, 2017, 01:48:12 AM »
But how can you separate "the human experience of music" from "the music itself"? This musical Kantianism is an impossibility: music is what humans do, whether as composers, performers or listeners. There is no "music in itself", devoid of, and divorced from, any human context (ie, experience) any more than there is "literature in itself" (as opposed to the human experience of literature) or "painting in itself" (as opposed to the human experience of painting).

The notion of "music in itself" implies logically that music is something independent from the composer who writes it down on paper (and his human experience) and who is simply a vessel through which "die Musik an sich" makes itself known to the world. This is as absurd as it sounds. There is no "Beethoven's music in itself" as opposed to "Beethoven's human experience of music"; there is only "Beethoven's music", product of a specific and particular human experience from which it can't be abstracted and outside of which its very existence can't even be explained. Paraphrasing Buffon, "La musique c'est l'homme même".


Well yes exactly, I don't believe there is any real life situation where music can exist in and of itself. It's how we human beings have experimented with the way we hear sounds that we create music. It's a mistake to say 'music is expressive' in my view because I really think that only sentient beings can be or perceive expressivity.

I believe that music is created when someone listens to sound and considers it to be music. I can hear the cars on the road outside my house and I can choose to focus on different sounds my ears pick up to create my own musical experience expressive to me, but when I'm not listening to it as music then the musical/expressive element of sound ceases to exist for me. Someone, say, Paul Lansky, might record these traffic sounds because they believe there is potential in creating some kind of fixed media composition using these sounds in a musical way....that takes the idea of simply and purposefully listening to sound for its musical experience to the next level. Then this becomes 'Paul Lansky's Music' as opposed to my own.

On the next level of complexity in creating sounds as music, people start building instruments to create specific sounds they particularly enjoy and people start to instruct musicians on what they want them to do on these instruments. This has way more human involvement and thus there are many more experiences of how the same musical piece can sound....but then again, it's only music if someone believes it to be music, and how 'expressive' the sounds are is dependant on how we perceive them when we hear them. Now that I think about it like this, I certainly agree with you. :)

Offline Florestan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #58 on: May 10, 2017, 02:20:38 AM »
I don't believe there is any real life situation where music can exist in and of itself.

Iow, you don't believe there is such a thing as "music in itself". Good, so far we are in perfect agreement.  :)


Quote
It's a mistake to say 'music is expressive' in my view because I really think that only sentient beings can be or perceive expressivity.

Now, that's a little linguistical trick.   ;D

When someone says "music is expressive", that person does not mean, or imply, that music is a sentient being. S/he simply means, or implies, that music, just like any other art, is a vehicle for expressivity, that it can, and does, convey expressive content. "Music is expressive" is not in the same linguistic category as "John is emotional" or "Jane is cerebral".

Quote
I believe that music is created when someone listens to sound and considers it to be music. I can hear the cars on the road outside my house and I can choose to focus on different sounds my ears pick up to create my own musical experience expressive to me, but when I'm not listening to it as music then the musical/expressive element of sound ceases to exist for me. Someone, say, Paul Lansky, might record these traffic sounds because they believe there is potential in creating some kind of fixed media composition using these sounds in a musical way....that takes the idea of simply and purposefully listening to sound for its musical experience to the next level. Then this becomes 'Paul Lansky's Music' as opposed to my own.

Yes, agreed. This is actually the key distinction between "sounds" and "music" and the very reason why we have two different words for two different things and that is also why saying "music is just sounds and nothing else but sounds" is wrong. Sounds are a natural phenomenon (or in the case of cars an unintended byproduct of their way of functioning), music is something people do purposefully, thus investing it ab initio with meaning. Sounds are indeed just sounds, music is sounds plus the meaning we intentionally invest them with. No purpose or meaning, no music, it's that simple, or more general, no intention, no art.

Quote
I certainly agree with you. :)

Excellent.  :)

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Offline jochanaan

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Re: How do you hear music?
« Reply #59 on: May 11, 2017, 03:19:20 PM »
...But most people would agree that Bach is mostly an harmonic composer...
Actually, most people would not agree.  Bach's music is very melodic, but the melody is very often organized into counterpoint.  The harmony is almost incidental.
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