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Thread: What Constitutes music.

  1. #31
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    Excluding the minority still gives us a valid consensus.
    No, it gives us a majority. My question is that since we are dealing with a multivalue definition (not a simple yes or no), what yardstick should we use to exclude people and get that majority?

    No culture would use dissonant intervals to create joyous feelings, a slow pace to create alert/excited feelings...
    Yours would. For instance, "Sweet Child in Time" uses a slow pace and almost dolorous melody to create a mood of alertness. Wait for the ricochet, and what have you. (And a most excellent song, by the way.)

    Come on, some nut who sees music in his cornflakes should not be given the power to single-handedly blow up 'what constitues music' out of all proportion. It may constitute music to him, but is it really music? You have to generalise, or else concepts will snowball into oblivion.
    Why should the nut not have that opportunity? If it constitutes music to him, why is it not music?

    And we have a valid power to do that by consensus.
    Oh, we can get a majority opinion that Brittney Spears is pretty. However, this would not make her so to someone who does not find her to be so.

    Well, to be honest, I am cheating and inserting a variable term there. "Music" is not a variable term. But what is it? It is a term that is used as an identifier post-knowledge. That is, after you experience something, you then label it as music (or not). You feel that we should all use the same rules when labeling something as music.

    I pretty much stopped agreeing or disagreeing with you on the fundamental point a few posts back. Now, I am genuinely curious why you feel that the term "music" should have a more definite definition than does, say, "table." (Try defining that one without being broad.)

    To be clear, you definition falls within mine. Anything you define as music would indeed fit my definition. However, there are things I'd allow to be called music which you would not. What is your reason for wanting the definition narrowed? What makes mine too broad? (Hint: I have boldfaced the only actual thing you need to respond to in this entire, bombastic post.)

    If we find that for a colourblind person, red constitutes green, do we say that 'red constitutes red and green'?
    No, we'd say that light frequency X is called 'red' by most, but called 'green' by a few others if in juxtaposition to light frequency Y because the frequency is objectively resolved as a different frequency - no decision is made. You're using a false equivalency here. The names of primary colors have objective definitions based on metrics. Math don't lie, and one cannot decide to see a color as a different color.
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  2. #32
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    Music... sound/s which inflames my emotion, my passion, my otherworldly. It does not matter how long it is, I can always replay it in my head. From the steady notes pouring from the rain to the complexities of the pieces of Minus the Bear to the roar of a train, I take in all of them. Music does not need to be objective - I think it must just be THERE, or rather, HERE. This is just my definition, my perception of what music really is.

    There should really be no argument about what music really is. I mean, people have different perceptions and definitions about it. Its like religion, only better.
    Last edited by Babsi; 02-02-2008 at 02:30 AM.

  3. #33
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    I really consider any sound to be music. From a burst of noise, to a squeak. It can all be used in a piece, it's limitless. I think music is a subjective experience, and your perception has a lot to do with it.

    In a similar way, John Cage's work (whether you like him or not) really opened the possiblities for what can be done in a musical setting.

  4. #34
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth
    I really consider any sound to be music. From a burst of noise, to a squeak.
    Here we are back to the beginning of the discussion.

    By the way, after watching the word "consensus" tossed around, I looked it up: it means general agreement, not unanimous agreement. A strong majority would be consensus, like a 4 to one ratio or greater, I would think.

    I like the definition someone gave: music is sound organized according to aesthetic principles. Anyone, even the cornflake nut, has a right to his own set of aesthetic principles. But one has to acknowledge that when a consensus of people share the same aesthetic principles (even if they can't name them), then they have achieved a codified definition that limits the parameters of the subject, i.e. music (a very broad subject I hasten to add). Maybe the inherent breadth of this subject is why we have trouble defining it. And maybe this isn't an argument about the definition of music as much as it is an argument about semantics.

    I respect the way everyone here has offered views while respecting others'. I felt it was a safe discussion to enter. Thank you.

    Jade
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  5. #35
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Sound that communicates feelings.

    Good music is music you carry with you.
    Last edited by ragasaraswati; 02-14-2008 at 08:11 PM.

  6. #36
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Please excuse me for joining this discussion so late.
    Music is vibration, ordered sounds. It is harmony of our souls with God.
    Everything is composed of vibrations therefore everything is music.
    Pythagoras had written extensively on the subject of 'The Harmony of the Spheres'.

  7. #37
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorningStar
    Please excuse me for joining this discussion so late.
    Music is vibration, ordered sounds. It is harmony of our souls with God.
    Everything is composed of vibrations therefore everything is music.
    Pythagoras had written extensively on the subject of 'The Harmony of the Spheres'.
    I like what you wrote. You added the spiritual element, which is a way to define it. "Ordered sounds." That's a clarification. Do you think that the sounds of the world are ordered by God? I wonder about that. Is there inherent sublime divine order in existence or is it chaotic. Or could it be both at the same time, like in chaos theory, about which I know so little I can't even write one sentence?
    Last edited by jade_bodhi; 02-17-2008 at 10:41 PM.
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  8. #38
    Sa Sekhem Sahu MorningStar's Avatar
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    Thank you Jade Bodhi,

    The Mother of God 'is' vibration!
    The science of Cymatics, which studies the effects of sound waves, has proven how vibrations create order out of chaos, the Egyptians called this principal Ma'at.

    Watch how our Universe was created . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9GBf8y0lY0

  9. #39
    The first thing I do when I listen is to hear connections. Whatever name you give for my experence when I find them is cool. Whatever name you give for when I don't is cool also.

  10. #40
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jade_bodhi
    By the way, after watching the word "consensus" tossed around, I looked it up: it means general agreement, not unanimous agreement. A strong majority would be consensus, like a 4 to one ratio or greater, I would think.
    ...Anyone, even the cornflake nut, has a right to his own set of aesthetic principles. But one has to acknowledge that when a consensus of people share the same aesthetic principles (even if they can't name them), then they have achieved a codified definition that limits the parameters of the subject, i.e. music (a very broad subject I hasten to add).
    Jade, thanks for summing up so eloquently

  11. #41
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    I looked it up: it means general agreement, not unanimous agreement. A strong majority would be consensus, like a 4 to one ratio or greater, I would think.
    Is there a consensus on how much of a majority constitutes a consensus? If the task at hand is determining an objective identification of music, a "general agreement" is a pretty weak means of going about it.

    But one has to acknowledge that when a consensus of people share the same aesthetic principles (even if they can't name them), then they have achieved a codified definition that limits the parameters of the subject, i.e. music (a very broad subject I hasten to add).
    Why on Earth would I acknowledge that a codified definition has been created when your example consensus cannot name the principles? How will I know that the people share the same aesthetic principles, when no two people actually do share all the same principles.

    You mean to reduce the definition of music to "that set of principles which is shared among a majority of people?" That is the definition for "beauty" or any other variable term disguised as a noun. Alas, I now know only one or two beautiful people if I am contstrained by the limits of a poor attempt at a denotative definition.

    For "music," the connotative definition (which is just as valid for purposes of communication, by the way) allows one to engage in all the metaphor their bored little mind can muster.

    Grab the current consensus denotative definition for music (from, say, a dictionary). Now then... What is this thread about? Was JazzMick incapable of scaring up some denotative definition? Or was he fishing for out individual definitions?

    The fact that the overwhelming majority of people will cite their own definition for music (read this thread as a microcosm) when confronted with such a question, the majority of which will involve elements related to inspiration, pleasing sound, etc., is rather telling. You see... if a majority define it that way, the the "consensus" opinion is not the denotative model you and Jimc8p imagine it to be. Are you sure you want a simply majority opinion on the denotative definition?
    "If a child learns which is jay and which is sparrow, he'll no longer see birds nor hear them sing."

  12. #42
    Registered User jimc8p's Avatar
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    Does the sound of nature constitute music?

    The question requires definition of both 'music', and the effect of the sound of nature. Definition, as it literally implies, requires the cutting away of the hazy outlines of concepts, to reveal clear-cut and useful meanings to labels. Or a consensus of opinion/perception. For examples, see the dictionary!

    'Music' denotes an aesthetic organisation of sound with certain variables in pitch, time, volume etc.

    Although pseudo-musical effects can be experienced by some from other sound sources, they are, by definition, pseudo-musical effects.

    Musical experience is variable, but music is not.

  13. #43
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    Music does not exist until it is experienced, so that definition falls flat on its face. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there to hear it, it makes no sound, because sound is a perceptual phenomenon. Music has no existence of its own absent the mind and ear of the listener.

    The listener's mind, as much as any composer's intent, organizes sound into music, whether the sound is a Miles Davis recording or the clicking of a turn signal light.

    However, the aesthetic principles that the listener's mind applies to organize said sound are much more universal than our contrarian Blutwulf likes to pretend. We are all products of a culture and are much less individual than we like to think.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wonderdog
    Music does not exist until it is experienced, so that definition falls flat on its face. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's there to hear it, it makes no sound, because sound is a perceptual phenomenon.
    No. Sound is a physical phenomenon. Only its perception doesn't exist in the absence of a perceptor. Music is still music whilst noone is listening to it.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimc8p
    No. Sound is a physical phenomenon. Only its perception doesn't exist in the absence of a perceptor. Music is still music whilst noone is listening to it.
    We have physical adaptations that allow us to sense vibrations within a certain range of frequencies. Those vibrations are physical phenomena; sound is our experience of them through our sensory systems -- a product of the ear and mind. If you had different sensory organs for sensing vibrations -- such as a fish's lateral line -- you would not experience sound with them.

    The same holds for colour: "red" is the product of our perception, not a physical reality. The physical reality is the wavelength of the light. The vision of deer and fish extends into the ultraviolet range, allowing them to see "colours" for which we don't even have names.

    If "sound" is a physical phenomenon, what noun would you use to name "its perception?"

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