Page 1 of 2
#1
Lots of people insist that music is a language and that learning theory is equivalent to learning grammar or some such thing. If so, what role do musicians have?

The trumpet is a persona dressed as a trumpet. The appearance of a trumpet playing C is met with an understanding by the audience of the connotations of the trumpet before the C. I'm sure some of you understand a number of things in this kind of way (intervals, tempo, accent etc)

Music understood and composed in this way can be thought of as prosaic. The music presents a number of culturally understood word-objects (sounds) and the piece is merely a succession of these.

With analogy to painting, we see the prosaic in works that deal with resemblance and signs. By contrast, in abstract painting we see forms that without exterior indicators demand to signify in themselves and express the totality of their 'signal'.

What do we mean by 'poetic'? Well, hopefully we agree that a succession of signs successfully understood is not poetic. Michaux described the poetic as when "words are directed away from their author's flock", and the poet organizes everything for this betrayal.

I guess in short the question is whether musicians are journalists or poets?
#4
Lol who is this OP guy.

+1 to
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#5
In a way both.

Musicians often write songs about what's currently going on in the world, therefore being 'journalists'. News are often written/told in a kinda boring way following rules very strictly, thus musicians should not be strictly 'journalistic'.

Poets however do not always follow every grammar rule and might use slang words or switch up the order of some words to make it more interesting. This is where the art comes in making it poetry. Musicians strictly following all rules of music theory would end up being very repetitive and not very interesting. You have to sometimes use a not from outside the scale or add some dissonance by utilizing the tritone. This is what makes music an art form instead of just news with a backing track.
Quote by Anthropocentric
Your balls. You lost the right to them. Hand them over.


Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
What kind of person needs to have a Flying V shoved up their vagina?



Join The 7-String Legion! Now!
#7
Musicians don't have the primary function of reporting on events in the world, so they aren't journalists. They are more akin to someone opening their diary to the world.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
Quote by AlanHB
Musicians don't have the primary function of reporting on events in the world, so they aren't journalists. They are more akin to someone opening their diary to the world.

A diary is a journal.

But did you read the post?
#9
Quote by henrihell
In a way both.

Musicians often write songs about what's currently going on in the world, therefore being 'journalists'. News are often written/told in a kinda boring way following rules very strictly, thus musicians should not be strictly 'journalistic'.

Poets however do not always follow every grammar rule and might use slang words or switch up the order of some words to make it more interesting. This is where the art comes in making it poetry. Musicians strictly following all rules of music theory would end up being very repetitive and not very interesting. You have to sometimes use a not from outside the scale or add some dissonance by utilizing the tritone. This is what makes music an art form instead of just news with a backing track.

I'd argue that violations such as using 'notes outside the scale' and the like is a continuation of the rules with a negative relation. It is as much an understood sign as proper use is.
#10
Quote by welvendagreat
A diary is a journal.

But did you read the post?


But a jounalist isn't a person who reads from their diary, so that point is moot.

I read the first post, it doesn't redefine the word "journalist".

I'll ask you something. If a musician plays guitar but doesn't write any lyrics, or songs with any lyrics, would you consider them a poet or a journalist?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
Last edited by AlanHB at Jul 30, 2015,
#11
I think generally, I would say more of a poet, because that is more an art form, whereas journalism can be poetic and can be artfully delivered, is more just reporting facts.

But music is music, musicians are musicians, and they can use music to tell any story any way they want, no matter how abstract or clear they want it to be.

So, the answer to your question is, yes.
#13
Quote by AlanHB
But a jounalist isn't a person who reads from their diary, so that point is moot.

I read the first post, it doesn't redefine the word "journalist".
I think you're taking the word journalist a bit too literally (you're a journalistic reader). Reading from a journal is just a succession of word-signs isn't it? So it is journalistic as explained in the first post.

I'll ask you something. If a musician plays guitar but doesn't write any lyrics, or songs with any lyrics, would you consider them a poet or a journalist?

The guitar is entirely journalistic imo

But this is the whole question the OP asks, why don't you give me your answer?
#14
this guy's funny can we keep him pa
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#15
Quote by welvendagreat
I think you're taking the word journalist a bit too literally (you're a journalistic reader). Reading from a journal is just a succession of word-signs isn't it? So it is journalistic as explained in the first post.


The guitar is entirely journalistic imo

But this is the whole question the OP asks, why don't you give me your answer?


Sorry I don't take enough drugs to give you the answer you are seeking.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#16
Can't decide where I fit this guy in relation to Will.

The entire premise of this thread is insane.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#17
Quote by Jet Penguin
Can't decide where I fit this guy in relation to Will.

The entire premise of this thread is insane.


now now jet...it seems that for quite a while this forum is becoming more of an expanding sociology/psychology space..where we explore and discover that musicians that play guitar are some of the most anti-social and dis-functional people on the planet..but they are also nice people..who may or may not be talented..who understand the inner workings of music via analytical theory and appreciate that you can understand the secrets of the universe if you would only practice an hour more a day
play well

wolf
#18
Quote by Jet Penguin
Can't decide where I fit this guy in relation to Will.

The entire premise of this thread is insane.

Why?

Is it not a necessary question for the people that insist music is a language?
#19
Quote by AlanHB
Sorry I don't take enough drugs to give you the answer you are seeking.

What is it that you're not understanding? Maybe I could clear it up for you.
#20
Nah Wolf, it's not that.

You're trying to ascribe meaning where there is none; fitting us into the arbitrary definition of journalist or poet. We are neither. There is a word for what we do. That word is musician.

You don't need a new word to apply to what it is we do, because there is already a perfect word whose definition in broad terms already encompasses the facets of our field. Musician. Square peg, round hole.

Even in the sense that OP means, a 'musical journalist', or a 'musical poet'. I don't see myself as either. I'm just a musician.

You can argue that maybe one of those three words means something with that label. But I don't think it does, not for me anyways.

I just interact with people by rearranging noises. People can interpret that however they want, and label it whatever they want.

But that doesn't change the fact that I'm a musician, a person who does music, and all that that implies. Nothing more, nothing less, no deeper holy grail epiphany meaning necessary.

TLDR: Journalist or Poet? Both and neither.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#21
Quote by wolflen
now now jet...it seems that for quite a while this forum is becoming more of an expanding sociology/psychology space..where we explore and discover that musicians that play guitar are some of the most anti-social and dis-functional people on the planet..but they are also nice people..who may or may not be talented..

this has no relation to sociology, psychology, or analysis. it's a completely arbitrary and pretentious question that has nothing to do with music, and is a pointless exercise whereby people randomly assign nonmusical labels to music and achieve nothing in doing so. there's no clarity or insight to be gained from this.
Quote by wolflen
who understand the inner workings of music via analytical theory and appreciate that you can understand the secrets of the universe if you would only practice an hour more a day

while we're on the "pointless pretension" kick, this takes the cake

hey speaking of cake, we can create a great sociological discussion from this too: do you guys think that musicians are black forest cakes or cheesecakes? i'd really love to know!
Last edited by :-D at Jul 31, 2015,
#22
Quote by :-D
it's a completely arbitrary and pretentious question that has nothing to do with music, and is a pointless exercise whereby people randomly assign nonmusical labels to music and achieve nothing in doing so. there's no clarity or insight to be gained from this.

I'm very sorry, but this whole question begins by accepting the "music is a language" idea that so many people on this board bring up. If we had it my way we wouldn't have to talk about it at all. I'm not the one who begun this.

But for those of you that insist music is a language this is a necessary question, isn't it?

edit: @jet

If you feel that way, you would have to admit that learning theory doesn't help one make music then?
Last edited by welvendagreat at Jul 31, 2015,
#23
lol why is this a thing

music is a form of art. art is a form of whatever you want it to be.

sorted
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
#24
Quote by Baby Joel
lol why is this a thing

music is a form of art. art is a form of whatever you want it to be.

sorted

It's a thing that is a necessary continuation of the "music is a language" mindset. I don't want to have to do this, but I do.

There's a number of steps I'm trying to get people to walk through with this but for some reason when you ask these people questions that are grounded in what they themselves say, they all of a sudden don't think music is a language at all and it's absurd of me to even pretend it is.

It's all very confusing
#25
this in general just is weird.

music is not a language. it's an expression
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
#26
Quote by Baby Joel
this in general just is weird.

music is not a language. it's an expression

Well tell them that, you're preaching to the choir with me osty

#28
There's alleged semiotics in here, or so I'm, uh, told.


People who claim the 'music is a language' deal don't usually mean it rigorously, I imagine. Even if you take the Wynton Marsalis-y or Victor Wooten-y 'music is a language' spiel, it doesn't really come across in an academic or even cognitively stimulating way -- it's dudes trying to explain their experience of their music and using somewhat inapt terminology. Even around here, what with the linguistics that sometimes crops up, it's never to back up an assertion that music is a language in a dogmatic way.

Also, even if you accept that music is a language, with all that language implies, there's not an automatic logical conclusion that music theory would not help one make music, nor would there be an automatic necessity to categorize those who use the language of music as 'poets' or 'journalists' or any other similar class. Unless a family talking casually over Jeopardy! during dinner can be considered metastable performance artists who by virtue of their licit ignorance of their intersubjective performativity transcend the hierarchic-syntactic shackles which would otherwise overbear them, and unless two naïve and untalented friends goofing around on a keyboard back and forth can be considered the same, then I don't see the connection. Even then.


Are you sure your objectives here are s-w-e-e-t-a-n-d-p-r-o-p-e-r?
You might could use some double modals.
#29
My objectives are just to find out what these lot mean when they say music is a language and do the whole "uh if you were learning english you'd learn grammar wouldn't you?????" thing, you know the talk. In my experience they mean it quite seriously and will argue it at length. And then by extension find out whether they are happy to accept what that would mean, which don't seem to be.

And no, it wouldn't mean music theory isn't helpful in making any music. But I'm not sure they'd accept where they themselves put their work. I just wanted to see them go through the steps but now they won't play with me.
#30
"while we're on the "pointless pretension" kick, this takes the cake-- hey speaking of cake, we can create a great sociological discussion from this too: do you guys think that musicians are black forest cakes or cheesecakes? i'd really love to know!"


thanks for the notice..I try...make mine cherry cheesecake..in Eb..
__________________
play well

wolf
#32
Quote by welvendagreat
What is it that you're not understanding? Maybe I could clear it up for you.


Sure, if you do want the conversation to go somewhere, start by defining jounalist, then define poet. Explain why you rhink a musician is both of these and ask whether the forum agrees with you.

Unfortunately your original post doesn't do this, so don't bother directing people up there.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#33
Quote by AlanHB
Sure, if you do want the conversation to go somewhere, start by defining jounalist, then define poet. Explain why you rhink a musician is both of these and ask whether the forum agrees with you.

Unfortunately your original post doesn't do this, so don't bother directing people up there.

Journalist was used to mean someone who deals completely in prose and successions of signs. I think that was in there.

The poet deals in the betrayal of those signs or in presenting objects without their signs. That was in there too, I think.

I don't think the musician is either because music isn't a language. You'd have to think that for this to come up, and in my experience plenty of people here say that that they do. So really the heart of the question is whether working with, say, 12 notes is prosaic or poetic.

Are we getting closer to an understanding?
#34
music as a language is a means of communication and understanding, but it does not limit you with an immediate sense of syntax that must be adhered to

that's where you fall on your head, as there are not rules to limit you in music as would be for a spoken language

for this comparison to work, there has to be a direct correlation between an abstract description of a language to break down the means by which a topic is understood and a heavily weathered means of communication

you're stretching the analogy too far, in this sense. if you were trying to make an educational point to emphasize an approach, sure, i understand where you're going, but all this didactic stuff is just arbitrary fluff
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#35
I have no problems with language analogies. I think many times they work pretty well. For example songwriting is a bit like writing a book and improvisation is a bit like a conversation. I think those are good analogies and they may give somebody who's lost (and just moving their fingers inside a scale shape) a new approach to songwriting or improvisation or whatever.

I think you are taking the analogies too literally.


Also, I don't remember when somebody here has said that music is a language. I do remember seeing the Victor Wooten video here, but that was like three years ago.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#36
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I have no problems with language analogies. I think many times they work pretty well. For example songwriting is a bit like writing a book

Right, and I'm just asking what type of book?
#37
The point is that when you start writing a book, you need an idea. The type of the book doesn't matter. You start writing a book about something, you don't just randomly write words on paper. When you write songs, you need a musical idea (it doesn't need to be about anything concrete, it can just be music, but you kind of need an idea, for example hear a melody in your head or whatever). You don't just randomly noodle around inside a scale shape and hope for good riffs to come out of it. Also, a song needs to be coherent, just like a book. You can't just randomly jump from one topic to another. You can't just put random riffs together and hope for it to sound good. There needs to be some kind of a connection between the different sections.

It's just one analogy. You could compare songwriting to something else, it doesn't need to be a book. Analogies are not 100% accurate. They are not meant to be.

Analogies are there to make you understand something easier. They are not meant to be taken literally. Also, it doesn't need to be about anything language related. You could compare learning to play an instrument to learning to drive a car or whatever. Does that make you ask "what's the gearbox of guitar?" That's just not the point.


Also, the songwriting/book analogy was just an example. It may not be the best analogy ever, but it may help somebody. I think the main point in it is what I said in the beginning of my post - to write a book you need an idea, and the same applies to writing a song.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Aug 1, 2015,
#38
is music prosaic or poetic?

i don't know how many ways i can ask before one of you actually answers the question.
#39
I change my answer to it depends. I think some music is prosaic (uses a common sound set and seeks to arrange those sounds to express something with no thoughts of the dismantling, deconstructing or pushing forward of the sound set) and some music is poetic (seeks to expand the sound set and deconstruct and subvert our expectations of it). So if music is a language then just like with language there are people writing prose and people writing poetry. I don't think journalism is a fair characterization though.
#40
i change my answer to stfu jrf
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
Page 1 of 2