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electronic instrumentation question
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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Hmmm... I play a MIDI banjo. Where does that fit in?

(That was a rhetorical question - no need to answer.)

Anywho, but to the sorta topic. Bachus and I were discussing this last month. Well, sorta. Anyway, forget the instruments for a minute. It seems to me that there are two types of music - but maybe not purely.

One type (let's call it type 1) is music made with notes and rhythmic patterns. Most western music is in this category - classical, pop, folk, jazz, etc. This is usually made with voice and conventional instruments, but a lot of electronic music is in this type.

Another type (type 2) of music is something that I have trouble naming. This is sometimes called noise. The sources of this music can be synths (not patched to emulate melodic or chordal instruments), recorded sounds (musique concrete), conventional instruments played in very unconventional manners, and other creative instruments like metal placed on blocks of dry ice.


What about Claude Debussy's La Mer? It is neither pattern-based nor noise.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GovernorSilver wrote:
What about Claude Debussy's La Mer? It is neither pattern-based nor noise.


A great piece. Definitely type 1. It is notated. You can download MIDI files of it.

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play



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What about Iannis Xenakis? Is it type 1 if you create a new notation system? What about using acoustic instruments as grain generators?
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FLechdrop



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Interesting interview. I couldn't find the term 'sound art' in there at all.


The use of the term 'sound art' is my own initiative. I think it is a nicer term than 'noise', which seems to have a negative sound to it while some of the works in this category can be profoundly moving in their beauty.
That is not to say that I think this is necessarily the best term that could be used for 'type 2', but I wouldn't know a better one for now.

To 'play' and 'GovernorSilver':

I think it is of little use now to try and come up with examples of pieces that are hard to place in either of the two categories. Mosc himself indicated that a pure distinction may not be made.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

play wrote:
What about Iannis Xenakis? Is it type 1 if you create a new notation system? What about using acoustic instruments as grain generators?


Xenakis wrote music of both types, IMHO - sometimes in the same composition. A famous piece of his, Metastaseis, is one I'm thinking of. There are places where the orchestra is used as a massive texture generator - I think he called them sound masses or something like that. Every instrument playing individual glissandi. In other parts of that piece, there was more conventional type 1 stuff.

BTW, Xenakis and I studied with the same teacher at one point.

An acoustic instrument being used as source material for a granular synthesis system might likely be type 2. If the grains are unpitched. Alternatively, you can have grains that play only certain notes on the scale too. In this case grains can be like melody generators. It all depends on how it is done.

Like I said before, this isn't pure. But, I think type 1 and type 2 are better terms than old and new, or traditional and creative, or sound and music, etc. But maybe 1 and 2 imply some implicit hierarchy.

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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

play wrote:
Quote:
I'm rather prone to call the second type 'sound art' rather than music, nowadays. I found the conclusions reached by Schaeffer in this interview rather appropriate. I.e. there is no music outside of 'do-re-mi'. The rest can be magnificent sound; it can be very nice, pleasant and beautiful - but not music. I think that if anyone was ever in a position to make such a distinction, it was Schaeffer - after having spend his entire life trying to invent a 'new' music. Though, of course, this doesn't make his opinion certain truth. I hope I'm making no one angry now.


words.

I've always been fond of the definition of music found in high school music theory text books, "Time and sound". That's about as accurate as you can get without being subjective. Music is really in the mind of the listener.

I think that's the most important thing.
Quote:
Have you ever sat in nature or even on a busy street and suddenly experienced the beauty of these "random" sounds?

See my post of last tuesday...
Quote:
What is so different about what humans do with sound than cicadas or even wind in the trees? So many pointless distinctions that only serve to distract us from actually experiencing music. I too I hope I'm not making anyone angry now =)

Well, I'm not angry. Why should I be?

Wout
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Anyway, why not use real violins instead of a machine using samples?

What about the intension of music?

Wout
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
Anyway, why not use real violins instead of a machine using samples?


If you aren't rich then you may be concerned that a real string orchestra could cost $10,000 per hour... Shocked

If you are a perfectionist you can get it to sound just right.

You can play things that are too difficult for real players. If you live out in the country you don't have to travel to where the string players are. If you are socially challenged you don't have to deal with the violin players. If you are insecure you don't risk rejection by the players. If you are psychotic you avoid a situation where you might be forced to kill someone.

If you are rich and well-adjusted, get the orchestra, Yanni.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Would a snare drum solo be "Type 1" or "Type 2"?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Snare drum, and most other drums, are usually type 1. Drums usually play note events, but you can play them in more experimental ways.

MIDI is generally type 1, but they tried to add CC messages and such to make it more flexible.

So, back to the topic, if you are interested in type 1 music, you'll be more motivated to get a synth that plays notes. Romplers, samplers, GM. PM and such will be the most useful. If you are more interested in type 2, then you will also be interested in modulars and such, which may not be so great at synthesizing a clarinet or sax.

Since the most popular musical styles are type 1, that's probably why most people use synthesizers to play more traditional instrument sounds.

More interesting to me is that there are music theory elements that apply to both types of music.

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bachus



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

If you are rich and well-adjusted, get the orchestra, Yanni.


Wow! Look at the hair on that dude! I wish I had his violins. I could throw them at those blue haired ladies!

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
mosc wrote:

If you are rich and well-adjusted, get the orchestra, Yanni.


Wow! Look at the hair on that dude!


Any decent armpit can produce the same result. So .. there..

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bachus



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
Anyway, why not use real violins instead of a machine using samples?


One might feel that music created by a troop of monkey's er people, carries the smell of group-speak-authority that one finds inappropriate for one's work.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:

Any decent armpit can produce the same result. So .. there..


Oooo! Can I have my armpits transplanted to my head?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, I´m sure you can. Yanni obviously did that already. Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A new age spicy hairdo!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bachus wrote:
Wout Blommers wrote:
Anyway, why not use real violins instead of a machine using samples?


One might feel that music created by a troop of monkey's er people, carries the smell of group-speak-authority that one finds inappropriate for one's work.


Or you don't want violins but something that is close enough to be slightly unsettling or comical, etc.


Quote:
Like I said before, this isn't pure. But, I think type 1 and type 2 are better terms than old and new, or traditional and creative, or sound and music, etc. But maybe 1 and 2 imply some implicit hierarchy.


I'm still wondering why we need this distinction? I think it's clear from all of the gray area examples that the world of music is a continuum. I just don't get what purpose is served by saying this is old or this is type1. (note: actual curiosity, not being dismissive)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wout Blommers wrote:
Anyway, why not use real violins instead of a machine using samples?


The ability to manipulate volume independent of energy input can produce aesthetic effects unavailable to the pure acoustic instrument. Note the entry of the second voice in my fugato. The piano comes in playing pianissimo but it easily glides over the string section playing the counter subject. This stunning and beautiful effect* is the kind of thing that makes hyper-orchestral music so interesting.


*Gag! Barf! Puke!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

play wrote:
I'm still wondering why we need this distinction? I think it's clear from all of the gray area examples that the world of music is a continuum. I just don't get what purpose is served by saying this is old or this is type1. (note: actual curiosity, not being dismissive)


Well, we were talking about people who use electronic instruments to make sounds that were similar to conventional instruments vs. different sounds that could only be made on electronic instruments. I was trying to point out that I have observed two strong streams of work in electro-music that helps explain the different uses for the instruments. There is no need for this distinction, but I think it can help us communicate if we develop a vocabulary with which to describe concepts we come across.

More than that, like I said before, I'm interested in developing some theory that can be applied across both types of music. I think that would be of value to those who are working with type 2 to further develop their music and it would help type 1 musicians better appreciate type 2. Thus, my interest is not to divide by articulating this distinction, to to unite.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mmm...interesting. Say more of this theory.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm just starting to gather my thoughts about this theory thing. I might have something to present at electro-music 2007. Don't mean to dodge the issue, but I'd rather not start something like this half baked.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
OK, let me play devil's advocate here... Twisted Evil ... my own view is more nuanced than this.

I always wondered why people think that writing music (or painting or sculpting etc.) in a certain way (as opposed to another) has the inherent power to topple or at least counteract fascistic tendencies (or more generally authoritarian structures). It never worked in the past; why would it start working now, just because some self-indulgent avant-gardist has written yet another politico-aesthetic manifesto?

Where are those factory workers singing Nono's tone rows?

I sometimes wonder if we want to accrue political import to our work out of fear of irrelevance. That is an entirely rational fear given modern culture as it is (a few minutes' glance at American Idol is sufficient to justify it). But I don't believe in making up significance out of thin air.

At the same time I am well aware of fascistic music. Today the one that scares me the most is (pseudo-)Christian "praise music." Sieg heil Jesus indeed.

James



Have you forgotten the bad old days before December 1910? This is the moment cited by Virginia Woolf which seemed to her to be the point at which everything changed, the "birth of modernism". I trace it back ultimately to Manet's Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe of 1863. The art that fights the power of arbitrary Authority most effectively is the master of the use of politics, not its slave. Manet didn't go around shouting "Down with the doctrinaire painters!" in the Place de la Concorde. He merely depicted a rather earthy picnic scene with forthright woman nudely gazing at the spectator. As if to say, look me in the eye, so that you may know my inner soul, if you dare. The influence of this painting echoes through the decades still. Believe it. Art has the power to challenge fascism. And by challenge I mean affect the thinking of a certain rather large section of the populace. Look at the effect of the Armory Show. It took two World Wars to cripple the dreams of the cultural left of the 1880-1939 period, and a third Cold one to scuttle the echoes of this epochal upheaval in the postwar period. If it happened once, it can happen again. It was their watchwords, that whatever doesn't serve the needs of the revolution, serves the needs of the reaction, which powered this set of movements along so robust a trajectory.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Like I said before, this isn't pure. But, I think type 1 and type 2 are better terms than old and new, or traditional and creative, or sound and music, etc. But maybe 1 and 2 imply some implicit hierarchy.


How about the mathematical terms discrete and linear/nonlinear for type 1 and type2 respectively? Discrete is all about defined intervals, value sets and computer logic. Maybe "real" would be a better word than nonlinear.

/Stefan

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

David Westling: You scare me. Shocked
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Wout Blommers



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

FLechdrop wrote:
David Westling: You scare me. Shocked

Not really, because in the extreme some thoughts become more clearer then in other situations. The extreme is always simple, although black and white only...

Wout
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