#1
i think a lot about music, and i was kinda thinking, its all just organized sound right? so whats to determine what is considered music and what is random noise? when first learning theory, things seemed to make sense and always be done a certain way, but throughout it all, you learn more and more about how to do things differently (why this note is okay or that note is okay but never why a certain note is not okay) and in less common ways.

this is obvious...im sure u've all come to the realization years ago that if it sounds good, its good, and thats the best way to write music...but i just cant get passed these thoughts, they creep up on me at some point everyday. i was walking home from school today and listened to cars going by and birds chirping as if it was some sort of ambient section to a pink floyd album....for the 30 or 40 minutes it took me to get home, i just listened to what i considered "music" at the time.

i have NO IDEA how to ask this question, i dont know how to articulate the thoughts im thinking into the english language, but if i think of more details or better ways to say this ill post it...basically, do u ever just trip yourself out through this type of thinking?

i feel like a very immature musician for asking this, i know these things should be common sense and we know what sounds good and what doesnt and thats all there is to it, and some1 getting to a certain point in learning music should see all this and get passed it, but i've just been stuck in this cycle of thought for months now...damn when i was walking home today i had good words for it too haha this is the best i can do right now but every once in a while i get into really deep thought about it and then for like an hour i know what im talking about so i just hope im online next time lol
#2
Naaa you're not going insane. You're simply not thinking entirely for yourself, or at least that's what I think you're doing. What I mean is that you're letting other peoples opinions affect you too much. EG that Pink Floyd 'ambient section' you were talking about. You consider it music right? Others might rubbish it and say that's just crap. In the end it's all down to opinion. With almost EVERYTHING to do with music. If you think it sounds good then that's what it is.

In regards to note choice, sure certain notes sound good with other within a scale, but if you wanna do something else then go for it. Try composing a few pieces and you'll learn what I mean when I say you can choose any note.
#3
I tripped on realizing that we are (and everything is) actually nothing but phases of organised energy in a ever expanding universe of this 'energy' within 'nothing'. Time is so relative and irrelevant once fully realized this.
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#5
This is not a question for an immature musician at all, in fact all mature musicians (composers at least) ask themselves this all the time. The best answer I've come up with thus far is that music is sound for a purpose. It can be literally any sound, but as soon as you attach a purpose to it (be it moral or just for beauties sake or whatever) then it becomes music.
#6
dunno how familiar you are with 20th century compositional techniques, but check out some composers, a lot of the theories behind the music was based on stuff like this and is very interesting if your interested in that sort of thing and thing about music in this kinda self aware way
#7
I like the question, and have asked myself that after watching "August Rush".

I think what defines sound from music is two things, and you don't need both, it's an and/or situation.

1) The sound is organized in a time frame. You could take a recording of birds and put it in a 30 second time frame and now it's music. Ambient Music.

2) There's a purpose behind it. You could have a looping section of a Shephard's Tone and if you can say "I chose to do this because..." then it's music. Yeah, there will be people that really... push the limits, but music is music.

Odds are that the first will be the more prominent one.
#9
Quote by DiminishedFifth

1) The sound is organized in a time frame. You could take a recording of birds and put it in a 30 second time frame and now it's music. Ambient Music.


this just begs the question, is it music before it's recorded?
#10
Quote by gavk
this just begs the question, is it music before it's recorded?

if it wasn't then anything not recorded isn't music, regardless of how musical it actually is. so obviously, yes, its music before its recorded.

music is relative to the individual, if you percieve it as music then it is, if you don't then you're me listening to justin bieber
#11
Quote by z4twenny
if it wasn't then anything not recorded isn't music, regardless of how musical it actually is. so obviously, yes, its music before its recorded.

music is relative to the individual, if you percieve it as music then it is, if you don't then you're me listening to justin bieber
Bam. If you perceive birds chirping and wind rustling through the trees as music, then it sure as hell is music.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#12
TMVATDI have you ever smoked a ton of weed or done a psychedelic drug? If so, this experience makes sense. Often times on these drugs you'll find yourself appreciating the sights and sounds of everyday life as if they were something new and profound, and it's a door that, once opened, cannot be closed again.

Years of studying music has done this to me as well. At a certain point, you manage to transcend your old perspective into one that is much wider. It's a beautiful thing to be able to look at the world a different way. I highly recommend considering new perspectives for everything in your life.
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#13
Quote by food1010
Bam. If you perceive birds chirping and wind rustling through the trees as music, then it sure as hell is music.


I'm not sure how much I buy that "what is music" is an individual thing. I agree with the fact that if one thinks something is music, then it is, but then you have to go the other way too, and say that if one doesn't think it's music, then it's not. It raises the question of whether a lack of appreciation for art means that it's not art. I've known people that don't consider Schoenberg music because they can't appreciate it, does that mean that his work isn't music? I don't know. It depends on how individual you believe music is, I guess.
#14
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
I'm not sure how much I buy that "what is music" is an individual thing. I agree with the fact that if one thinks something is music, then it is, but then you have to go the other way too, and say that if one doesn't think it's music, then it's not. It raises the question of whether a lack of appreciation for art means that it's not art. I've known people that don't consider Schoenberg music because they can't appreciate it, does that mean that his work isn't music? I don't know. It depends on how individual you believe music is, I guess.
I guess the point I was trying to make is that people appreciate certain sounds in different ways.

I don't think the word music can be objectively defined, although not necessarily because people experience it differently; there are just so many conditions and exceptions to account for. You can't say something like, music has to have a tonal center, because then atonal music isn't considered music. That's why I like to think that as long as someone can appreciate it as music, then it is.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#16
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Does its status as music depend on the appreciation of it?

Using what y'all are arguing, I think it's status as music depends on the individual listener's appreciation of it.

I, personally, don't follow this line of thought, but I can see it. It just seems a bit pretentious to me to say "so-and-so isn't music because I don't like it".
#17
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Does its status as music depend on the appreciation of it?
Good question.

No, I don't believe it does.

Personally, I appreciate music for being music even if I don't enjoy listening to it. So I guess now what I'm describing is less about preference and more about mere recognition/acknowledgement.

Quote by DiminishedFifth
Using what y'all are arguing, I think it's status as music depends on the individual listener's appreciation of it.

I, personally, don't follow this line of thought, but I can see it. It just seems a bit pretentious to me to say "so-and-so isn't music because I don't like it".
Yeah, well I certainly wouldn't contend that as the case. Like I just said, I don't enjoy certain music, but I acknowledge it as music.

Of course, this still doesn't give us any grounds on which to classify music as music. It's hard for me to objectively define what I acknowledge as music. I think that's the beauty of it, though. Few things about music are truly objective, and that's a great idea to acknowledge.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Apr 14, 2011,
#18
Quote by food1010
Good question.

No, I don't believe it does.

Personally, I appreciate music for being music even if I don't enjoy listening to it. So I guess now what I'm describing is less about preference and more about mere recognition/acknowledgement.


Now this, I can agree with!

Yeah, well I certainly wouldn't contend that as the case. Like I just said, I don't enjoy certain music, but I acknowledge it as music.

Of course, this still doesn't give us any grounds on which to classify music as music. It's hard for me to objectively define what I acknowledge as music. I think that's the beauty of it, though. Few things about music are truly objective, and that's a great idea to acknowledge.

Yes, but I know people like that.

And +1 to the last paragraph.
#19
Random noises can be music. Just look at EVERY one of Kerry Kings solos. whammy bar drenched, flurry of random notes.

Whetehr its good or not-- is a different question


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#20
Quote by Eastwinn
TMVATDI have you ever smoked a ton of weed or done a psychedelic drug? If so, this experience makes sense. Often times on these drugs you'll find yourself appreciating the sights and sounds of everyday life as if they were something new and profound, and it's a door that, once opened, cannot be closed again.

Years of studying music has done this to me as well. At a certain point, you manage to transcend your old perspective into one that is much wider. It's a beautiful thing to be able to look at the world a different way. I highly recommend considering new perspectives for everything in your life.

haha umm...well last saturday i tried weed for the first time...i probly smoked waaayyy too much cuz i was like "i dont feel anything!" and just kept going, i guess that makes sense with the amount of people who tell me they dont get high the first time. so i felt kinda sick up until like noon yesterday. i also ate a....very ill-prepaired pot cupcake...basically the person making it didnt know shit about what she was doing and just dumped pure pot right into the cupcake-stuff...

haha but i had these thoughts before that and i still have them now and i havent smoked since then, so its definitely not pot-induced thinking
#21
When I was a teenager or in my early twenties my mind could wander in that way - and I didn't use any drugs! I miss that, but the pressures and routines of life take away some of the shine. I'd like to get it back - again - free-floating imagination - without drugs.
#22
Quote by Jehannum
When I was a teenager or in my early twenties my mind could wander in that way - and I didn't use any drugs! I miss that, but the pressures and routines of life take away some of the shine. I'd like to get it back - again - free-floating imagination - without drugs.

yeah, weed's the only drug i support recreational use of...but let's not get into that conversation haha

aw so is my mind gonna go dull when i'm older
#23
As a musicology student I like this discussion, because this, along with the discussion about 'authenticity' (the most feared word to musicology students) is one of the most lasting and (imho) more interesting discussions. If you look to a lot of music from the first half of the 20th century, you're going to find this reflected in the music as well. The most infamous of which is undoubtedly John Cage's piece called 4'33'', but is also seen in lots of other composer's work (Hiller, Schoenberg, Xenakis etc.)
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#24
4'33" is interesting to me. First germane to this specific discussion, I personally believe it is music, because it plays with the natural sounds of the room (whether or not that was the intention with Cage, I don't know, but that's what I talk away from it) and it's really funny to hear it live, when people cough and shift at all the movement breaks, but are dead silent during the "playing," just like a typical classical concert.

What's interesting about it, is that it's probably the purest example of satire in practise with music, and I take it as this huge fuck you to everyone, basically saying that silence is better than the shit you're coming up with.

It surprises me when people don't appreciate the piece and call it self-indulgent or pretentious. Sure, it is both of those things, but all satires are, at their core.
#25
haha im trying to listen to 4'33" and either its completely silent or there's too much noise where i am to hear anything, ill try again later. or is it just silence the whole time?

now i remember how i was going to say something in my first post, but since this has become a topic on what counts as music, i'm gonna make another thread for the other discussion.
#27
4'33" is, to me, music at it's core. It follows both of my previous rules for what is music. Having said that... I would never pay for it or listen to it. I don't go somewhere to listen to nothing (take that however you will), but to something. And, to me, 4'33" is the essence of nothing in aural form. Which is probably the only way to have nothing "physically" (I use that term loosely). Even space itself is peppered with random ions and protons, etc.

It is what it is, and it was only a matter of time before someone brought it up in this discussion!
#29
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
4'33" is interesting to me. First germane to this specific discussion, I personally believe it is music, because it plays with the natural sounds of the room (whether or not that was the intention with Cage, I don't know, but that's what I talk away from it) and it's really funny to hear it live, when people cough and shift at all the movement breaks, but are dead silent during the "playing," just like a typical classical concert.

What's interesting about it, is that it's probably the purest example of satire in practise with music, and I take it as this huge fuck you to everyone, basically saying that silence is better than the shit you're coming up with.

It surprises me when people don't appreciate the piece and call it self-indulgent or pretentious. Sure, it is both of those things, but all satires are, at their core.


It is an interesting experiment and a funny joke but it's not music; unless you consider coughing to be pleasing percussion, chair creaking to be highly melodic and the entire audience to be musicians. It's like saying a movie that is only pitch blackness and complete silence for 90 minutes is the most pure in existence. Completely pretentious because it is literally devoid of any stimulus whatsoever. There is NOTHING there.
#30
This ^

It's insulting to the great works of the past 500 years to classify in it the same category of 'music'.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Apr 17, 2011,
#31
Music plays with the contrast of sound and silence. I think we can all agree that music without any break or breath, just constant sound would be (although perhaps annoying to some) still music. So why not in the other direction? Complete silence is the living end, just like complete sound. However, ust as there can never really be "complete" sound, there can never be "complete" silence, it's always a mix of the two and that's the idea. It's a concept that is put forth through sound (or lack thereof), and to not consider music is baffling to me.

I guess it goes back to appreciation, and whether your lack of appreciation for it, gives you the right to discredit it as music.
#33
Quote by Sóknardalr
unless you consider coughing to be pleasing percussion, chair creaking to be highly melodic and the entire audience to be musicians.

When I read what John Cage sayes about the piece, I get the feeling that the above is exactly how he was thinking (especially the bolded)

That kinda seems the point of it to me.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Apr 17, 2011,
#34
Quote by griffRG7321
This ^

It's insulting to the great works of the past 500 years to classify in it the same category of 'music'.


I've slowly gained an appreciation of it because it makes me think about the definition of music, and for other reasons. Maybe it's in the category of 'meta music'.
#35
Quote by griffRG7321
This ^

It's insulting to the great works of the past 500 years to classify in it the same category of 'music'.

Why? I thought artistic things have their own merit. If so, then why would the simple classification of some piece in the same category insult others? We are not placing a value judgement, such as "it is the greatest piece yet written" (for if we were doing so, I would hold that you are justified in the above statement), but we are only attempting to categorize it, and music is the category of artistic creation it fits into.

Why do you consider the classification itself a value judgment, when the value we place on various types of music is seperate from the classification of music itself? For example, we may claim that both that Bach's Mass in B minor and "Hey, Hey, We're the Monkeys" as music, and no value has been added to either work in doing so, or if it has, I say it is so vague as to not really convey any practical amount of value at all.

Instead, it is the value judgments we place after categorizing it that determine worth and value, so again, the classification of 4"33' as music does absolutely nothing to the value of other examples of music.
Last edited by nmitchell076 at Apr 18, 2011,
#36
Quote by TMVATDI
haha umm...well last saturday i tried weed for the first time...i probly smoked waaayyy too much cuz i was like "i dont feel anything!" and just kept going, i guess that makes sense with the amount of people who tell me they dont get high the first time. so i felt kinda sick up until like noon yesterday. i also ate a....very ill-prepaired pot cupcake...basically the person making it didnt know shit about what she was doing and just dumped pure pot right into the cupcake-stuff...

haha but i had these thoughts before that and i still have them now and i havent smoked since then, so its definitely not pot-induced thinking


Your judgement was in question, I bet the chick who made the brownies had huge breasts. Normally smart dudes know enough not to do weed because they have seen the damage it can do. Real Musicians may have messed up at a young age but they will all tell you that they are better musicians after they got off drugs.

Anyway, my Dad saw the damage drugs did to his older son and he made me sign a document swearing I would never do drugs. I told him I never would but he made me sign the promise document anyway. He said that some day a woman with large breasts will mess with your mind and that I would do anything for her. She eventually scewed around with someone else and BAMM, I learned my lesson quick.

I'm just telling you this because I don't want more kids to end up in real trouble either because of dope, or loose women! Take heed, only dopes mess with dope.
#37
Your judgement was in question, I bet the chick who made the brownies had huge breasts. Normally smart dudes know enough not to do weed because they have seen the damage it can do. Real Musicians may have messed up at a young age but they will all tell you that they are better musicians after they got off drugs.

Anyway, my Dad saw the damage drugs did to his older son and he made me sign a document swearing I would never do drugs. I told him I never would but he made me sign the promise document anyway. He said that some day a woman with large breasts will mess with your mind and that I would do anything for her. She eventually scewed around with someone else and BAMM, I learned my lesson quick.

I'm just telling you this because I don't want more kids to end up in real trouble either because of dope, or loose women! Take heed, only dopes mess with dope.
#38
Quote by Dude Sweet


I'm just telling you this because I don't want more kids to end up in real trouble either because of dope, or loose women! Take heed, only dopes mess with dope.

well dopes and overachievers.... bill gates, steve jobs, bill clinton, barack obama and an endless trove of actors, artists and musicians. but this is really a discussion for the pit.