What is music?

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
User avatar
Denian Arcoleo
Composer
Posts: 6065
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:39 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: What is music?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:55 am

Contrary to Anthony I believe, based on what I've observed, that what we call music is a purely human activity. Birdsong, whalesong etc etc are territorial and calling behaviours. We are alone in our solipsistic musical activity as far as I can see.

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2461
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: What is music?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:26 am

kirolak wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:44 am
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?
Every now and then I like to step back from the philosophical ramblings of this site and just listen to music. Lol.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

User avatar
Jacek A. Rochacki
Posts: 1246
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:44 pm
Location: Bydgoszcz, Poland, Europe.

Re: What is music?

Post by Jacek A. Rochacki » Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:52 am

Music - being a discipline or field of art may serve as mean/tool of communication. As we know, man has named/chosen the intellect as the main means of cognition and communication. But on the way to the cognition of absolute truth and telling about it rationalistic means of cognition sometime fails, and then the more we put trust in non-rational cognition and means of communication. Like art. And here is beautiful place for music.
Antonio Picado, model 60, 2015, Cedar/IRW. Scale 640 mm.
Kenny Hill, model Madrid, 2002, No. 2019, Cedar/IRW. Scale 650 mm.

pmiklitz
Posts: 666
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:50 pm
Location: Oxford, UK

Re: What is music?

Post by pmiklitz » Sat Jun 10, 2017 11:26 am

According to Edgar Varese, music is organised sound, which is a pretty good and simple definition in my opinion.

Peter
Dringt durch des Aberglaubens Nacht, die Euch zu finstern Köpfen macht. Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715 - 1769)

User avatar
guitareleven
Posts: 695
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:48 pm

Re: What is music?

Post by guitareleven » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:28 pm

Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:55 am
Contrary to Anthony I believe, based on what I've observed, that what we call music is a purely human activity. Birdsong, whalesong etc etc are territorial and calling behaviours. We are alone in our solipsistic musical activity as far as I can see.
You draw a distinction between the human behavior we call music, and the animal's territorial and calling behaviors. By that distinction, you say the latter is not music; music is purely human. Does it follow that human musical behavior is not territorial and calling?

Jeffrey Armbruster
Posts: 1528
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:16 am
Location: Berkeley, California

Re: What is music?

Post by Jeffrey Armbruster » Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:52 pm

As far as I know, birds can't compose original songs. An individual nightingale can't suddenly go all Cole Porter on the other birds, and then do a little something 'in the manner of a shrike' etc. True, mockingbirds can patch together a string of sounds that it's imitated from those around him or her, including car alarms. But that's pure imitation. It may be that whales can compose new songs--I'm not sure. But humans are far, far freer to develop musical ideas in structured ways than any other animal. A simple cannon, a two part harmony, is beyond other animals. (well a cannon is beyond me too...). Again, some bird songs are beautiful, structured and have several, even many parts. They're to be admired. But they're not free to open into, explore, new musical terrain. Human's are.
Paul Weaver spruce 2014
Takamine C132S

User avatar
Denian Arcoleo
Composer
Posts: 6065
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:39 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: What is music?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:51 pm

guitareleven wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:28 pm
Denian Arcoleo wrote:
Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:55 am
Contrary to Anthony I believe, based on what I've observed, that what we call music is a purely human activity. Birdsong, whalesong etc etc are territorial and calling behaviours. We are alone in our solipsistic musical activity as far as I can see.
You draw a distinction between the human behavior we call music, and the animal's territorial and calling behaviors. By that distinction, you say the latter is not music; music is purely human. Does it follow that human musical behavior is not territorial and calling?
i'm aware of the various theories that suggest human music-making is territorial and sexual in origin, and I have no doubt that this is the case. What I'm talking about is the hugely complex relationship that we have with music today. Today the art of music, with its enormous and varied vocabulary of sound, is constructed to evoke emotions and (hopefully) stimulate the intellect. Man's music is now vastly removed from its territorial and mating origins and stands apart as a very characteristically and exclusively human preoccupation.
Another and pithier way of putting it is that non-human animals, even those very close to us on the evolutionary tree like chimpanzees, do not give a damn about human music.

dory
Posts: 1748
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: What is music?

Post by dory » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:46 am

I don't exactly know what music is. I do know that all human societies have music and love music. Humans seem to have a musical instinct although obviously some of us (like everyone on this forum) love it more than others.i have also noticed that a lot of dogs seem to like music. Until he went deaf my okder dog used to "sing" with us whenever we made music. My husband plays the flute and he just loved singing along, but he would also accompany me singing. (He loved soprano voices and dudn't love my husband's bass voice the same way.) His pleasure in singing was obvious. Our younger dog, sadly, does not sing or love singing. I don't know why dogs respond differently to music any more than I know why humans do. I also don't know if dogs are experiencing the same feelings when they hear music as we,do. However, packs of wolves and dogs do sing with each other.
Dory

dory
Posts: 1748
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: What is music?

Post by dory » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:47 am

I don't exactly know what music is. I do know that all human societies have music and love music. Humans seem to have a musical instinct although obviously some of us (like everyone on this forum) love it more than others.i have also noticed that a lot of dogs seem to like music. Until he went deaf my okder dog used to "sing" with us whenever we made music. My husband plays the flute and he just loved singing along, but he would also accompany me singing. (He loved soprano voices and dudn't love my husband's bass voice the same way.) His pleasure in singing was obvious. Our younger dog, sadly, does not sing or love singing. I don't know why dogs respond differently to music any more than I know why humans do. I also don't know if dogs are experiencing the same feelings when they hear music as we,do. However, packs of wolves and dogs do sing with each other.
Dory

User avatar
Anthony Campanella
Posts: 2375
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:29 pm

Re: What is music?

Post by Anthony Campanella » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:17 am

I don't understand the solipsistic reference
It would seem that other animals have to be far more self obsessed than even people are - their survival depends on it

Yes the complexities that music is capable may be beyond the understanding of many animals including some humans (this is not meant to be insulting but I think we all know people that can't appreciate "complex" music)

Especially today -for many people music starts and ends with a beat - add some spoken or sung words and you've got a shot at a billboard top 50

My feeling is that if you've got a heartbeat, a pulse, respiration, rhythmic movement, locomotion, linear thought, you've got a sense of music in you, human or otherwise. It's up to the individual to determine if it's something that needs to be observed, analysed, developed, ignored or denied
These attributes which we share with many animals are not music but may be the basis for it

dory
Posts: 1748
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:29 am
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Re: What is music?

Post by dory » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:35 am

I do not want to imply that dogs understand music the same way we do. I imagine that when dogs "sing" either with humans or with each other they are feeing something, and they are enjoying themselves. They also make up original "melodies," although again they are not the same as human melodies. All animals have the ability to communicate to a greater or leser degree, but none have a communication system as elaborate as humans. I imagine it is the same thing with music. Some animals enjoy the sound of their own voices and the voices of others, but human music is complex and mysterious. I don't know what it is, or why we enjoy particular sequences of sounds and not others. I have often wondered why I find particular melodies enchanting. They are just sounds but they can feel magical.
Dory

User avatar
Denian Arcoleo
Composer
Posts: 6065
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2006 3:39 pm
Location: Somerset, England

Re: What is music?

Post by Denian Arcoleo » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:57 am

Anthony Campanella wrote:
Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:17 am
I don't understand the solipsistic reference
Solipsistic in the sense that music is a closed, self-referential system, produced by and for humans without reference or relevance to non-humans.

User avatar
Andrew Fryer
Posts: 2461
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:13 pm
Location: London SE5

Re: What is music?

Post by Andrew Fryer » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:35 am

If anyone is seriously interested in this question, then the answer probably lies in studying anthropology. There's a book called Ethnomusicology, A Very Short Introduction which heads in that direction, but I found it too boring to read, as at the time I was interested in World Music, not the anthropology of music.
1975 Calatayud y Gisbert, Yamaha CG131S.

wchymeus
Posts: 196
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:49 am

Re: What is music?

Post by wchymeus » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:41 am

I'd postulate that Music is a subset of Communication solely focused on emotions.
AS in Communication (from an Aristotle perspective or a Shannon perspective), there is a source, a destination and a message
In Music there is a source, destination and emotions
Emotions may not be easy to describe and the palette ranges form not horrible to beautiful, subtle to loud, pleasing to discomforting etc. so many dimensions.
Harmony for example on top of Music would drive one or more emotional dimensions.

So not surprisingly in my model, as Music is a subset of Communication, there is a lexicon, a grammar, etc.

Just trying to be smart here... but I really think that Music is for us 'humans' and we use it to trigger chemical reactions in our brain and body. And that's probably why some animals are not sensitive to our music and others are (as they come close to our chemical response)...
Field 2014, Oberg 2013, Vincente Sachis Badia 1977

User avatar
Anthony Campanella
Posts: 2375
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:29 pm

Re: What is music?

Post by Anthony Campanella » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:50 am

In its origins music may be more related to dance - physical expression - than intellectually driven

Return to “The Café”