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#1
02-22-2012
Default What constitutes music?

On my walk home today, while listening to (what else but) Modest Mouse, a question arose that has been troubling me ever since.

If I were to play back the song "Make Everyone Happy / Mechanical Birds" (a song six minutes and four seconds long) to you utilizing my phone's speakers, surely you would agree with me that the song, the sounds you are hearing from my phone's speakers during that six minutes and four seconds, is "music".

Imagine: after the song ended, you hear police sirens in the distance. Surely you would not consider these sounds to be music (or perhaps you might, in which case, I am interested in reading why). Then what is the difference between the two sounds that the former are, as a collective, considered music and the latter are not? What is it about the sounds heard during the first six minutes and four seconds that gives them the quality of being music?

Perhaps you may say (as I thought at first) that it is the fact that the former is a collective of sounds produced by instruments that were played with the intention of producing a harmony in accordance to the other instruments, and that this is why the sounds heard during that time interval constitute music and the sounds heard thereafter did not.

Now, imagine that I form a band, and my band is capable of replicating the very notes contained in the song mentioned. Imagine that we perform the song, but during our performance, I make a mistake and produce a singular wrong note. Is the song we played still "Make Everyone Happy / Mechanical Birds"? How much of a difference is needed to say that the two are not the same song? And, moreover, is it a song? Are the sounds we produced music?
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#2
02-22-2012
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Mind = Blown.

No seriously though, some people call this music:


but to be honest I don't really know. I think it's the way of creating a certain positive emotion/mental state by only using audio. Whether that is an uptempo House/Dance song that makes you want to dance or the sound of rain against a car roof to make you feel relaxed it's still music to our ears. I think that sounds that make us feel in a bad way, like getting stressed or worried is not music and is what we refer to as "noise".

Last edited by Lynx; 02-22-2012 at 03:02 PM.
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#3
02-22-2012
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Music: The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

I always think that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," so music can be anything you like.

Last edited by Theoryyy; 02-22-2012 at 03:35 PM.
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#4
02-22-2012
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There is no limit. Change is what made the world today. I can't imagine dogs barking in a song though. hahah.. except who let the dogs out..


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#5
02-22-2012
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Organization plays a big part in determining what is music (imo obviously). You could remix those police sirens and make "music" but by themselves they're just sounds. I mean, you could go all August Rush and take in all the sounds of the city and turn it into a symphony in your mind, but when you've done that, you've organized the sounds.
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#6
02-22-2012
Default

As an aside, I want you to consider this question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PMblaneH8NATION View Post
Now, imagine that I form a band, and my band is capable of replicating the very notes contained in the song mentioned. Imagine that we perform the song, but during our performance, I make a mistake and produce a singular wrong note. Is the song we played still "Make Everyone Happy / Mechanical Birds"? How much of a difference is needed to say that the two are not the same song? And, moreover, is it a song? Are the sounds we produced music?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoryyy View Post
Music: The art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

I always think that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," so music can be anything you like.
A combination of sounds, wherein the sounds were combined in order to produce "beauty" (which is itself subject to its observer) is what you consider to be music?

"Beauty" to those producing the sounds? "Beauty" to those combining the sounds in some other fashion? "Beauty" to those listening to the sounds?

This is a confused and ultimately useless definition of what music is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XYOX View Post
Organization plays a big part in determining what is music (imo obviously). You could remix those police sirens and make "music" but by themselves they're just sounds. I mean, you could go all August Rush and take in all the sounds of the city and turn it into a symphony in your mind, but when you've done that, you've organized the sounds.
This seems to be more or less in agreement with my early thoughts. Now, consider what "organization" really means. To organize something is to arrange its constituents with intent.

I now want you to consider the fact that Lynx believes the sound of rain falling onto a car to be music. There are many other, similar, instances in which some compilation of sounds is deemed "music" although its constituent parts (notes, dogs barking, rain falling, or any other given sound) is not arranged with intent. Surely the recording of rainfall is not organized beyond its sounds being constrained to a specific time interval.

I argue now that music is nothing more than the sounds heard within a given time interval.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post
I'm not very good with philosophy and stuff but I think this helps answer your question slightly or help you think more about it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox
This was, of course, the point I was hoping to make through my question.
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Last edited by PM; 02-22-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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#7
02-22-2012
Default

Life is the greatest piece of music ever created.

What constitutes music? 02-22-2012 04:22 PM like your existence, that statement is meaningless -pm

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What constitutes music? 02-22-2012 05:14 PM tired of bitching about reps

That's not bitching.. needless flaming by the limited mind of PM.

Last edited by Eamonn; 02-22-2012 at 05:17 PM.
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#8
02-22-2012
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PMblaneH8NATION View Post
As an aside, I want you to consider this question:


(To be edited soon).
I'm not very good with philosophy and stuff but I think this helps answer your question slightly or help you think more about it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox
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#9
02-22-2012
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Edited the response.
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#10
02-22-2012
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PMblaneH8NATION View Post
A combination of sounds, wherein the sounds were combined in order to produce "beauty" (which is itself subject to its observer) is what you consider to be music?

"Beauty" to those producing the sounds? "Beauty" to those combining the sounds in some other fashion? "Beauty" to those listening to the sounds?

This is a confused and ultimately useless definition of what music is.
That's the actual definition of music according to a dictionary, so I don't really see how you can call it useless.

It really seems like you're just trying to complicate things. All music comes down to is a combination of sounds that are pleasing to the musician and his/her listeners.
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