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Composition: Is theory without technique possible?
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seraph
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Stanley Pain wrote:
i find it helpful to break music/sound into these 6 elements

pitch
duration (time on a small scale)
structure (time on a larger scale)
dynamics (amplitude)
timbre
silence

is there any particular technique to learn about silence Question

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The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils; the motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted. - W. Shakespeare
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dmosc



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I found that list funny tbh. Mostly because it's very different that the similar one you get a a trumpet player

-Embiture
-Breath
-Attack
-Tone
-Fingers
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:

is there any particular technique to learn about silence :?:


To not be affraid of it ... pretty hard to master ...

Jan.
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Stanley Pain



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
Stanley Pain wrote:
i find it helpful to break music/sound into these 6 elements

pitch
duration (time on a small scale)
structure (time on a larger scale)
dynamics (amplitude)
timbre
silence

is there any particular technique to learn about silence Question


In 1948, John Cage joined the faculty of the Black Mountain College, where he regularly worked on collaborations with Merce Cunningham.

Around this time, Cage visited the anechoic chamber at Harvard University. An anechoic chamber is a room designed in such a way that the walls, ceiling and floor will absorb all sounds made in the room, rather than bouncing them back as echoes.

They are also generally soundproofed. Cage entered the chamber expecting to hear silence, but as he wrote later, he "heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation."

Whatever the truth of these explanations, Cage had gone to a place where he expected there to be no sound, and yet there was some. "Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music." The realisation as he saw it of the impossibility of silence led to the composition of his most notorious piece, 4′ 33″.

from Wikipedia.
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orczy



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When I started music school at University, I couldn't read music, by the end I could read, write and understand early 20th C chromatic harmony. I know that all that work has been helpful in both listening and composing.
BUT
I don't think technique in playing an instrument is important. As part of the degree, I had to be able to sight read a String Quartet on the piano. Very difficult. I fought learning the correct fingerings etc for the keyboard, for the very reason that I liked the places they went before I went to Uni. As I was self taught keyboardist, I was made to unlearn my dodgy technique. It took ages to get back, but it there now! The thing that shocked me was that there were these wondeful pianists who could play Mozart, bach etc, but could not improvise! How does that happen?
The best thing about a music education, I think, is the training of the ear, in a tonal sense. Certain notes want to go to certain places. Whether you take them there is, of course, your choice.
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seraph
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mustel wrote:
The thing that shocked me was that there were these wondeful pianists who could play Mozart, bach etc, but could not improvise! How does that happen?

I once told a classically trained piano player that when I was 15 I used to turn the light off and go wild on my upright piano. She looked at me in awe. She had never thought about something like that nor anyone had suggested this "training" to her but she could sightread anything you threw at her. what a shame Rolling Eyes

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The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils; the motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted. - W. Shakespeare
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Stanley Pain



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
seraph wrote:

is there any particular technique to learn about silence Question


To not be affraid of it ... pretty hard to master ...

Jan.


for sure. be very careful HOW you use silence as well... for legal reasons.

Mike Batt (who wrote Bright Eyes and the theme tune to The Wombles, a popular British Kids TV programme in the 80s) was sued to the tune of 6 figures (undisclosed sum) by John Cage's estate when he credited a silent track on one of his albums, to John Cage.

you're fine if you use silence, just don't credit it without permission...

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/23/uk.silence/
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

stanley, are you aware of Cage´s work in the field of mushrooms? I think he was once on Italian television speaking about those. I could look up the details if you want; it´s in the Microsound archives.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I met John Cage a couple of times. He was MUCH more interested in mushrooms than in music.
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Stanley Pain



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Yes, I met John Cage a couple of times. He was MUCH more interested in mushrooms than in music.


they're a hell of a lot easier to explain. funny thing is that when i met Richard Dawkins after a recent lecture in my town - whilst not strictly a mycologist (for that is what Cage aspired to be) he is biologist of some note - he was far more interested in talking about the new Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy film than memes and evolutionary theory.

Shocked Confused
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astroid power-up!



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hi everyone. just checking in to sound off.

more important, I think, than learning western theory of music and harmony, especially for those wanting to produce glitch and IDM, is an overarching theory of the math of music, including how ratio matches up to pitch, and how strong/weak beats work. You don't need music theory, at best it will help you understand music you want to understand. Music theory aside, it's essential to learn your means of production inside and out. Learn the music you love and imitate it as accurately as possible. Every great composer started out under the Aegis of another composer's technique/style.

A problem is with what people mean by the name "music theory". It has long since been outgrown by current means of production, and relates mostly to specialized forms of music, like classical music, serial music, etc. Studies of those things can be either rich or a straight-jacket, dependant upon your approach. Too often, people teach tonal classical theory as if it is MUSIC THEORY, like an framework through which all music must pass. when you start to study other forms, you see it's limitations. like someone said earlier, you can't understand musique concret through tonality.

and, in my opinion, the best thing to do for your ear is to get seduced by as many forms of music as possible, trying to imitate them in any way you can. if you can work with actual masters of the forms, that's even richer, and you'll grow the most from that.

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orczy



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Learn the music you love and imitate it as accurately as possible

I'm not to sure about this. I think in the end the music you you love will come through without having to study or imitate it.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Astroid, I feel your notes here are vey insightfull but one thing that´s unclear to me is why you think this aplies to IDM particularly, can I ask you to go a little deeper into that? Are you talking about aplying a hearing psychology, math and music theory based aesthetic to outwardly chaotic and technology based forms such as noise, IDM, microsound and lowercase sound in general or is it that you feel is speciffically imortant to IDM? How is it more relavant there then to -say- techno or even trance?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think the "rules" for IDM involve more of an exploratory/non-dance approach. whereas, with techno and trance, you must have a pumping four on the floor kick, in IDM, you could very well program the fibonacci sequence into your beat and have noone blink an eye. a four on the floor, mathematically, is counting. a polymeter is algebra. if you pitch shift something up an octave, it runs twice as fast. If you make this transformation audible (as is done often in IDM and glitch), you are in the realm of calculus. Mapping platonic solids into tonal/time content yields, to my ear something which can sound like serial music, music concret, minimalism, or IDM.

and mustel, that's specifically the problem. Unless you confess your influences and exorcise them, you can end up doing second rate knockoffs for the rest of your life. best to go for the throat. I'm not talking about mere "influences", I mean the sonic reasons why you compose-for me it's bach and coltrane. I find that the more i try to exactly imitate them, the closer i get to my own sound, paradoxically.

here's my real point about the math. the very exploratory composers have all done great deals of work with math and music-bach, bartok, shoenberg, xenakis, just to name a few. the math in their music runs to the core of their technique. I want what they had.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

astroid power-up! wrote:
and mustel, that's specifically the problem. Unless you confess your influences and exorcise them, you can end up doing second rate knockoffs for the rest of your life. best to go for the throat. I'm not talking about mere "influences", I mean the sonic reasons why you compose-for me it's bach and coltrane. I find that the more i try to exactly imitate them, the closer i get to my own sound, paradoxically.
Very true! No one performs in a vacuum. No one exists without influence from others. Even attempting to recreate a song patch-by-patch and note-for-note teaches one more about sound design and song structure than the complainers are willing to admit or understand.
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No one performs in a vacuum. No one exists without influence from others. Even attempting to recreate a song patch-by-patch and note-for-note teaches one more about sound design and song structure than the complainers are willing to admit or understand.

Yes. If you don't have the technique to re-produce what you can hear... how can you hope to produce what is in your head. Well... one could live a life of 'happy mistakes' but frankly I feel its the hope of most listeners that the makers of music (composers and performers) have some intention of what they want to put forth, and are willing to put a bit of effort in it.

All ideas are the sum total of things that have come before us. Copying won't polute your mind, or your creativity. Its a good way to learn. A step ladder to the shoulders of those giants that Newton was talking about.

(Just don't try to pass it off as your own)

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seraph
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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Yes, I met John Cage a couple of times. He was MUCH more interested in mushrooms than in music.

while reading "Electric Sound" by Joel Chadabe (a great book deserving a place on the shelves of every electro-musician) I found out that during the summer of 1958 Cage was in Milan, Italy at the local center for electronic music. In the meantime he was featured on an Italian television quiz show where won more than 6000 USD answering questions about mushrooms Shocked

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The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils; the motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted. - W. Shakespeare
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