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The question has come up many times here as to what is music.

Isn't that questioned answered by what you compose?

Isn't what you write a reflection of what you believe music is

and/or should be. Or are you merely imitating the efforts and

precedents established by others. This is not to suggest that

imitation and following an established form is a bad thing.

Compared to the number of composers, revolutionary innovators

are few and far between from an historical perspective.

Regardless, there are certain elements of sound and sounds that

seem to separate music from 'noise', and acceptance can be

both individual and regional.

Is there any one common characteristic, across the globe, that

qualifies and separates music from noise?

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Serenity Laine said:


I am sure some people will tire of insulting each other, and eventually address some of the actual content HAVING TO DO with issues being brought up on this thread. I look forward to that.

I wouldn't be so sure anything relevant will ever be brought up in this thread. As is common in online forums, especially in pertaining to Certain Topics (and even more so when said topics aren't related, or are only marginally related, to the forum's stated subject of interest), the participants are (1) already fully convinced of their own opinions and isn't going to give them up anytime soon, and especially not online(!); (2) not interested in what the other parties have to say except (a) to pat each other's back when the opinion presented matches one's own, or (b) as an opportunity to mock, deride, or otherwise make fun of the opposing parties' obviously flawed and WRONG!!!!!!!!!111LOLROTFLMAOBBQ opinions, or person; and (3) for the most part, come here only for casual entertainment and thus isn't truly interested to engage in genuine discussion that might actually require exerting some mental effort to understand the opposing parties' viewpoint.

Call me jaded, or skeptical, or whatever, but I don't expect anything of value to come out of this so-called discussion, which is really just another version of grade school classroom politics.

Thanks Ingo, for the video on computer generated music, in the style of Bach, Mozart, or Cope.


What this suggests to me is the following:  Who needs more music written in the style of Bach?  Who needs more music written in the style of Mozart?  One might easily argue that Bach, Haydn and Mozart wrote TOO MUCH music in their own well-defined styles, and if we do it in our time, this is a simply gilding the rose.   Why did Beethoven, talented as he was, not simply write more music “like Haydn or Mozart,” which he could conceivably have done?  The reason should be obvious.


I wonder how the computer would have “created” new pieces in the style of Beethoven. It may be that the computer can create a sonata that sounds like a Mozart Sonata.  But could it create music that sounds like a Beethoven Orchestral Overture or a Beethoven Symphony?  I doubt it.


The ultimate question for a composer is never, can I imitate or create music that closely resembles that of predecessors.  The fact that a computer can do this now simply brings the point home.  But Schubert, Berlioz, Schumann and Brahms did not focus exclusively on the issue, how can I imitate X?


All this seems to indicate is that we need to be creative rather than formulaic.  We do well, I think, to study, discover and be inspired by so many modern and contemporary composers (while resisting the temptation to imitate them).   This seems to be best route towards freedom, spontaneity and creativity.  


It seemed to me that Cope, by his own account, lost the desire create, and sought instead, the ability to create a machine, which could manufacture derivative works.  It’s almost like the act of a forger in painting, and it’s surprising that he would bother, or anyone would bother to copyright or publish such works, who was once a “composer” in his own right.  But he’d lost the ability to tell when he should use this note or that note, he said.  I see the story as very sad.  He doesn’t seem to have achieved his own goal, which would be to discover whether the computer could compose “works in the style of Cope,” or at least, it isn’t indicated in the story.

Serenity, presumably you've never worked in applied music.....the ultimate question there is 'crap, if I don't get closer to the temp track and risk being sued, I'll loose the gig'. I understand your point though...

Dave Dexter said:

No it's not. Not unless you've verified this with every composer in the world, under every possible set of circumstances.

Serenity Laine said:

 The ultimate question for a composer is never, can I imitate or create music that closely resembles that of predecessors.

Who was it Fredrick??? 

Fredrick zinos said:

Heinrich Schutz  did everything possible to imitate and duplicate the sound of his teacher's music. His teacher was ...

Dave Dexter said:

No it's not. Not unless you've verified this with every composer in the world, under every possible set of circumstances.

Serenity Laine said:

 The ultimate question for a composer is never, can I imitate or create music that closely resembles that of predecessors.

Ah, I suppose we all imitate to start with but only a lucky few manage to emancipate themselves. Knowing you though, is there a story behind what you said, did Gabrielli sue him for ripping of one of his film scores?

Hey there Ray, even though I said I was pretty much done with this 'perverted' thread,

I have to ask, do you really believe there is such a thing as a 'real world'?

You hint at some generally accepted level of understanding and awareness.

Is that something they teach you in school?

Please don't take it personally, It's an objective question.

...and what sets the bar for this so called 'reality'?,

some old man named General Consensus. 

No drama (please) ... just curious        RS

Really Dave, black or white?

Fredrick zinos said:

Bach's craftsmanship is unparalleled and worthy of imitation. Occasionally someone of incredible gifts will come pretty close (Mozart or Stravinsky for example). what no one can duplicate is Bach's appeal to both emotion and intellect in about equal measure.

Amen to that Frederick.



'the much less gifted occasionally try to "sound like Bach" '


What's the point? The computer can now produce music that sounds like Bach.  Why can't a person say, "I will produce music that sounds as if I had created it?" It has nothing to do with being "more gifted” or “less gifted," does it?


Bach, Haydn and Mozart have performed their tasks, and finished.  The belief about oneself -- that one is "gifted," or the belief that one is "not gifted," according to modern psychology -- comes from the "fixed mindset." We have been told exactly what we are capable of,  or we have told ourselves, and we believe the assessment as if it were incontrovertible truth.  This is not a criticism of anyone's musical style, or works composed.  I am not making any judgment about that at all.  However, research shows that the fixed mindset restricts creativity and limits the ability to advance, improve and mature. The “growth mindset” does not begin with assumptions, such as "I am gifted" or "I am not gifted."  Nor does it begin with assumptions about what one can or cannot achieve in the abstract.  Still less, if the art or task to be performed is to be unique, or creative in the artistic sense, there are no assumptions having to do with "imitation" or such mechanical matters.


Imitation as an exercise is one thing.  But what happens over time?  One can commit oneself to saying, "I will imitate X, because I had rather produce an average imitation of X, than a bad expression of 'me.' "  That latter constitutes an idea of failure, while the former shows that "I can at least imitate."  One takes little or no risk, and then the achievement becomes "safe."  This is certainly a choice one can make, to adhere to the fixed mindset, take no risk, have no sense of adventure, and then remain in safe and well-travelled waters.  This is what Psychologist Carol Dweck means by the “fixed mind set,” as opposed to the “growth mindset.”


One can console oneself, by saying, "I am no Prokofiev, I am no Stravinsky, or no X."  Only “they” could do something new.  This is belittling of the self, and simply the same as the fixed mindset.  The growth mindset involves the willingness NOT to imitate, but actually to create. 


One choice may not be better or worse than the other, in theory.  But the research done on the fixed mindset (versus the growth mind set) indicates the following:  those with the growth mindset tend to be happier with their work, and that they tend not to be fearful of the new or the unusual. 



for a cursory summary of the notion of "mindset."


Ferd, isn't that basically the same  question I was asking Ray? Yep, that's right, I was asking Ray.

ps- your 'real world' is about to experience a smackdown in the near future. Just a heads up, but are

you following the global exponential uptick in earthquakes? No fear, just be prepared.      RS
Fredrick zinos said:

Roger, How do you know the "real world" to which you refer, is real?

No thanks to your input. You can't seem to even grasp what I was really asking.

The initial idea was that we 'can't' define music simply by words.

 Music is , or at least can be, a different level of communication than words.

Old man Webster defines a word as a sound, or combination of sounds, used

to express an idea... a shared conveyance of meaning and understanding.

This idea, parallels a definition of music, but on a different level of human

consciousness. The language of music is not the same as the language of words,

and yet music can communicate and convey feelings and emotions as well or better than words.

That is one reason I was interested in drawing a line, so to speak, between the art of music

and the art of noise. Obviously that is too shallow for your enormous intellect.

So, as you've said to other's at least twice, get lost. You have no genuine interest in a

discussion of this sort. That would apparently make you a troll.     bye bye               RS

Kristofer Emerig said:

I'm sure there is a real world, somewhere. It's just in some difficult to spot place along with the one true definition of music, far, far away from this thread.

How do we define music. . . I think it is personal to any individual you ask. 

For me, 'music' needs three very simple things, listed in order of importance:

Music is:




I list melody as the most important aspect for the following analogy: 

Without these elements, you have, well. . .noise. A group of galloping horses has a rhythm. . .is it music though? Not quite.

Striking a glass bowl has a harmony if you consider its overtones. . . Is it music? Not yet

Striking a glass bowl over the rhythm of galloping horses and humming a melody relevant to the pitch you are getting from the bowl, and now you have musical piece. (Whilst it may be a strange one)

We, as composers, manipulate these elements to appeal to the ears of our listeners. We are constantly looking for ways to manipulate as no others have before. We borrow manipulations from a tree of musical history and proven concept, and forever expand from there.  

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