What is music?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
kirolak
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What is music?

Post by kirolak » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:44 am

If I may ramble for a paragraph or two. . do you ever step back from humanity, & see us as planetary species who are evolving, all the while producing all manner of abstractions & concepts not directly necessary for physical survival?

Music, more than pure maths, seems to me to be something that was discovered, rather than invented. But what is the true meaning, if I can put it like that, of the ever-greater refinement of musical instruments over centuries, & the ever greater demand for human virtuosic abilities in performing on them?

We crawled out of the water, or climbed down from trees, only a matter of cosmic minutes ago, & yet we developed a method for performing on the piano, the guitar, the organ etc,, all of which we invented ourselves; we did not find them growing organically, requiring our minds to decipher their functions.

We made them ourselves, & then demanded that we develop musical muscles & minds, & ever more demanding techniques in order to play them. I suppose one could drive oneself daft trying to find the reasons behind the original need to make rythmic sounds with a rock on a hollow tree .. .
Interesting article below:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles. ... usicality/

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rojarosguitar
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Re: What is music?

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:42 am

Well, that's a question for musicians, for sure ... what came to my mind first is that one maybe needs a distinction between music as a sound energy patterning phenomenon and all the social ramifications, which has more to do with the role of the musician in the different societies, because music exists across many kinds of societies, but what it means to be a musician, what is being virtuoso, all the 'refinment' aspects can be/are very different from society to society...
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

kirolak
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Re: What is music?

Post by kirolak » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:34 pm

Thank you for reading & replying! Yes, I agree with your first point, & wonder if it is perhaps all conditioning :( , yet I suspect NOT. I for one can appreciate, though not to the extent of an eastern musician, the beauty & subtlety of Japanese Gagaku music, or Indian classical ragas. And at what point does music become cliche? When I lived in the east, I was struck by how all sorts of western pulp music was consumed along with "real" music, no distinction being made, although admittedly I did not know any serious musicians there. I remember Richard Clayderman being revered as a Great Virtuoso (

What does it mean to be a musician today, though? Is the virtuoso a dying breed? Will the so-called culture of mass production be the yardstidk by which everything is reduced to the easily consumable

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: What is music?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:13 pm

Humans are notorious for makinhg tools. Also, humans respond really well to music regardless of mental state. For example, music therapy for all my psych patients - they may not be able to form a sentence, but will start dancing when music is played. Humans are also notoriously competitive. Another thing is that music seems to have a physiological effect, and hits us in the emotions, but can also appeal to our intellect. But when music gets too academic and lofty, it looses broader appeal.

Adding all this up, music appeals to everyone from tiny children to psychotic people to lofty academics. Music can be performed by rank beginners to maestros. Pushing the limits of human capability in terms of building instruments and virtuous performances are due to our competitive nature.

My vote is to create music that simultaneously appeals to people's emotions, and provides intellectual stimulation - covering both bases.

What is music? An abstract human creation.
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tyke
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Re: What is music?

Post by tyke » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:31 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:What is music? An abstract human creation.
Tell that to a nightingale :wink:

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Re: What is music?

Post by Mr Kite » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:16 pm

kirolak wrote: ...I agree with your first point, & wonder if it is perhaps all conditioning :( , yet I suspect NOT. I for one can appreciate, though not to the extent of an eastern musician, the beauty & subtlety of Japanese Gagaku music, or Indian classical ragas.
I for one am sure that it is not all conditioning. Just as there is a universal grammar underlying all human languages, I think there is a universal musical logic that all human musics tap into. In the context of language this can be demonstrated by looking at how (and how fast) children pick up their mother tongue, but in the context of music I think it is going to be a matter of conviction for some time to come.

I say I'm sure - I have to admit that though that some Gamelan music occasionally makes me doubt this...

Andrew Pohlman
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Re: What is music?

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:17 pm

tyke wrote:
Andrew Pohlman wrote:What is music? An abstract human creation.
Tell that to a nightingale :wink:
That is anthropomorphizing. To a bird, their calls are communication: attracting mates, warning of danger, announcing their presence, etc. Humans may consider bird calls a beautiful natural form of music, but the bird knows nothing of this.

That's where the term "parroting" came from. The parrot can reproduce all manner of sounds and "music". But it is not the same as music composed and performed by humans.

Alternatively, the humpback whale creates unique and lengthy audio dissertations. Humans call them "songs". But what is the whale's intent, thinking, and motivation? It may or may not be a musical composition. To be sure, it could be music composed and performed by the whale.

Anthropomorphizing is a slippery slope of analysis and logic. However, if you want to expand the definition of music to include everything that sounds pretty and pleasing, I'm good with that.
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Luuttuaja
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Re: What is music?

Post by Luuttuaja » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:04 pm

I'm not a pet owner myself, but I know there are dogs (and perhaps cats too?) who like to sing over what's played on radio or records. Do they enjoy it as some sort of music?

tyke
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Re: What is music?

Post by tyke » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:56 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
tyke wrote:
Andrew Pohlman wrote:What is music? An abstract human creation.
Tell that to a nightingale :wink:
That is anthropomorphizing. To a bird, their calls are communication: attracting mates, warning of danger, announcing their presence, etc. Humans may consider bird calls a beautiful natural form of music, but the bird knows nothing of this.

That's where the term "parroting" came from. The parrot can reproduce all manner of sounds and "music". But it is not the same as music composed and performed by humans.

Alternatively, the humpback whale creates unique and lengthy audio dissertations. Humans call them "songs". But what is the whale's intent, thinking, and motivation? It may or may not be a musical composition. To be sure, it could be music composed and performed by the whale.

Anthropomorphizing is a slippery slope of analysis and logic. However, if you want to expand the definition of music to include everything that sounds pretty and pleasing, I'm good with that.
Fair play. It just hadn't occurred to me that one could restrict the term 'music' to a be human construct, but of course it is (like all our words).

But to think that the sounds of (non-human) nature can't be musical feels an uncomfortable restriction on experience, to me at least. I must admit to valuing experience over analysis and logic.

As for the nightingale, he's just trying to keep his genes in the gene pool, unlike me as I play my guitar :D .

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Denian Arcoleo
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Re: What is music?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:39 am

tyke wrote: Fair play. It just hadn't occurred to me that one could restrict the term 'music' to a be human construct, but of course it is (like all our words).
You haven't thought very much then! :lol:

tyke
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Re: What is music?

Post by tyke » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:41 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
tyke wrote: Fair play. It just hadn't occurred to me that one could restrict the term 'music' to a be human construct, but of course it is (like all our words).
You haven't thought very much then! :lol:
I try not to these days, life becomes so much simpler 8)

alfaalex101
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Re: What is music?

Post by alfaalex101 » Sun May 28, 2017 11:43 pm

Music to me ... is so amazing, I feel that it was something created by God. Absolutely amazing, just like sex.

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Anthony Campanella
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Re: What is music?

Post by Anthony Campanella » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:17 am

Music is not a human construct - sound creates its own logic - the overtone series - rhythmic divisions - all exist in nature without us - its a never ending symphony - we excel at observing and manipulating them -

The claims of "anthropomorphizing" are disturbing because it presupposes that the attributes in question are strictly human. Many animals actually experience / participate in what we describe as "appearing to act human like"

ddray
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Re: What is music?

Post by ddray » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:31 am

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:17 pm
tyke wrote:
Andrew Pohlman wrote:What is music? An abstract human creation.
Tell that to a nightingale :wink:
That is anthropomorphizing. To a bird, their calls are communication: attracting mates, warning of danger, announcing their presence, etc. Humans may consider bird calls a beautiful natural form of music, but the bird knows nothing of this.
But it is still music; the human element is simply applying language to identify it and categorize it and to build instruments to produce it independent of our vocal chords, but often in imitation of them. After all, the human voice can produce music as well, and it can be similarly "functional" as in lullabies or funeral dirges. We didn't "create" music as a "thing" any more than we created gravity. It was already there, pre-created. Or so I believe. :)

Jeffrey Armbruster
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Re: What is music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:49 am

"Music, more than pure maths, seems to me to be something that was discovered, rather than invented. "

Of course the implications of this (more apparent for math) are profound, one way or the other. I tend to think that both are discovered too, but in our spirit, not in nature. Remember, Plato had us recalling math from a previous existence where we knew the Forms; it was a knowledge that could be called up from within memory.

I love bird song. Birds can't compose, at least in the sense that one nightingale will invent a song in a style that's completely different from another. Bird species can be recognized by ear; the songs of any one species are very very similar.
Last edited by Jeffrey Armbruster on Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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