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Re: [ARSCLIST] Are we at the end of the road musically??

On 06/10/06, Steven Barr wrote:
> Two thoughts (after deleting the long message)...
> First...any new forms of, or new developments in, music (be it
> "popular" or "classical") will only become part of the "body of
> music" if enough of those who hear these novel ideas respond by
> becoming paying "fans" thereof! I wonder how many musicians tried
> new inventions/ideas/etc. only to find out that they couldn't
> attract audiences, and then abandoned them!
> Second...I have been reading a serious work on the relationship
> between sound (as a physical entity) and music. It postulates that
> a fair amount of what determines "music" is actually, or at least
> seems to be, "hard wired" into our brains! It suggests that there
> is a minimum degree of frequency difference that can be perceived
> by humans as different notes...and that what we think of as harmony.
> thus chords (and dischords) is dependent on the "beat notes" which
> are created by frequency differences. Thus, if we hear two tones
> a "half-tone" apart, our instinctive reaction is to find that
> unpleasant...while many standard musical intervals are perceived
> (again, naturally) as pleasant. Thus, while technology (or slide
> guitar, or "bent" notes on a harmonica...) can create an infinite
> range of frequencies, our perceptions of them are "built in" to
> our human brains!

There are a number of books that try to prove that standard western
music is fundamentally correct, and any music the author doesn't like is
unnatural. I think Ernest Ansermet even proved (to his own satisfaction) that
atonal or serial music were not music.

I don't think either the ear or the brain are anywhere near to being
well enough understood for anyone to relate them to musical styles; and
it seems to me that civilisation advances by getting brains to do
things the human brain was _not_ evolved to do.

And many of these arguments fall down because so many instruments today
are tuned in equal temperament, so that almost all chords are slightly
> Finally, considering the list membership, and their educations
> and experiences...as well as the fact that "recorded sound" is
> probably 95% or more "music"...I think this list is an ideal
> facility for this discussion!

Don Cox

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