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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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Music is the more abstract language compared to words, I think.

A poem doesn't need a title necessarily, to convey what it is about.

A piece of music, without a reference,(title) may be interpreted in

a variety of ways, depending on the way the listeners process the

information they are fed.

With poetry, the objectivity is a given, but the emotional response

is individual.

With a work of music, individually interpreted, the objectivity remains

individual, unless the object is pre-defined by the composer.

Therefore, wouldn't the individuals psyche and personal experiences

dictate the objectivity of the piece and how they interpreted and might

'title' the composition?
 
Göran Kjellgren said:

Music is half of speech, the other half being literature.  Literature is the communication of thoughts without an emotional element, whereas music is communication of emotions without a concrete element.  For ex, a poem of a sunrise doesn't communicate emotion but describes, in more or less concrete ways, a scene that manifests itself as an image in the readers mind.  The reader then derives emotion from the image that the poem communicates.  Music works the other way around.  A piece that "describes" a sunrise communicates the emotions associated with the sunrise, and from the emotions the listener derives a picture of the scene.   

My works are indexed by serial number, e.g., A4m#6 for my (currently-unfinished) sonata.  :P

Fred, was it a title or a reference for their own personal filing system?

There have been works that gained a more unanimous title from the public

than the composer may have had in mind, but not many.

It has a lot to do with the power of suggestion as opposed to

individual interpretation- IMO.

Glen Miller called everyone in his band the same name… "Pops"…  which he also called his wife.. What's in a name?  :)

Fred, I dunno, let me guess... the same people that conjure up the word status

when they hear BMW?  The point, I think, is that titles can be very persuasive-

as if to pre-program the expectations and imagination of listeners.

Cage may title a piece, Butterflies in Spring. If I go to the performance

I would expect to hear something that reflects the suggested imagery

of the title. So I close my eyes and listen, and what I hear is, 'Pile of Crap'.

Because Cage is an 'intellectual' and a composer, should I feel that I am

a rube and out of the loop, or revel in the fact that I know, the king has no clothes on.

I was looking through an Aram Khachaturian score which had been performed by Leonard Bernstein.  Bernstein not only changed dynamics and tempo markings, he crossed out measures and tore whole pages from the score, which perturbed me as it was the only copy I could find.
 
Bob Porter said:

"Performers should do exactly what the composers specify in the score."

Fine, except that with the exception of metronome marks, very little in score marking has exact meaning.

How soft is piano? How much does rit slow down. How short is staccato? Half the note value? Why not write 8th notes instead of quarter notes? Just how fast is allegro? There are guidelines for all these terms, but not hard definitions. It seems to me that the very nature of notation is that there is a certain amount of interpretation built in. Otherwise, performances become hard and stagnant.  

On the John Cage piece, from good ole Wikipedia, which as you know is never wrong:

"In 1951, 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 absorb all sounds made in the room, rather than reflecting them as echoes. Such a chamber is also externally sound-proofed. Cage entered the chamber expecting to hear silence, but he wrote later, "I 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."[14] Cage had gone to a place where he expected total silence, and yet heard sound. "Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music."[15] The realization as he saw it of the impossibility of silence led to the composition of 4′33″.

Another cited influence[12] for this piece came from the field of the visual arts. Cage's friend and sometimes colleague Robert Rauschenberg had produced, in 1951, a series of white paintings, seemingly "blank" canvases (though painted with white house paint) that in fact change according to varying light conditions in the rooms in which they were hung, the shadows of people in the room and so on. This inspired Cage to use a similar idea, as he later stated, "Actually what pushed me into it was not guts but the example of Robert Rauschenberg. His white paintings [...] when I saw those, I said, 'Oh yes, I must. Otherwise I'm lagging, otherwise music is lagging'."[16] In an introduction to an article called On Robert Rauschenberg, Artist, and His Works, John Cage writes "To Whom It May Concern: The white paintings came first; my silent piece came later."[

Fredrick said,

 

" ... the idea of trying to compare the “value” one composition to the “value” of another is meaningless because those value determinations will be based on subjective preference.

 

" ...  statements such as “Brahms is more valuable than Sousa” may have the effect of demeaning or at least marginalizing the subjective preferences of individuals who are genuinely moved by Sousa and left cold by Brahms. Souza lovers may be just as sincere, educated, sophisticated and emotionally involved with their choice as is the Brahms lover."

 

What are we to make of people who speak very highly of Schrödinger's equation,  

 

Suppose many people love Schrödinger's equation. Assume that an individual says solving it is more beautiful, more complex, more wondrous and more worthy of contemplation than solving for X here:

 

1 + X = 2

 

Are such individuals marginalizing "the subjective preferences of people who are genuinely moved by simple algebra, and who are left cold by the second order differential equations in calculus and subatomic physics?"

Does your statement mean people who assert the value of Darwin's Origin of the Species over the value of the Book of Genesis, for explaining the evolution of life on Earth, "are marginalizing the subjective preferences of people who are genuinely moved by the Biblical story, and who are left cold by the study of fossil remains, geology, paleontology and carbon dating?

 

One might ask also:  if someone says a painting by Rafael is more valuable than a simple petroglyph, (from a purely aesthetic point of view) what are they really doing?  Are they "marginalizing the preferences of someone who is genuinely moved by petroglyphs, and who doesn't yet have the sophistication to examine the most highly regarded works of the Italian Renaissance?"

 

Then we get back to the question:  does "twinkle, twinkle little star" possess the same aesthetic value as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony?  You may as well argue about whether the number 2 has the same magnitude as the number 512.  The facts of arithmetic may offend the sensibilities of some children who are really in love with the number 2, but what can we do about that?

 

 

Serenity you mention:

""twinkle, twinkle little star" possess the same aesthetic value as Beethoven's Seventh Symphony?"

well it Was written by Mozart you know.

unequivocally - that answers your question :)

From the journals of Tso Tsume;

'when complexities reach the point of simplicity

 and one equally reflects the other, there we have beauty'

Such is the structure of the universe. As above, so below.

FWIW, the only thing I like about Beethoven's 7th is the finale. The 1st mvmt is passable, but I expected better from someone of Beethoven's stature. The scherzo is OK, but being based on the tones of an ascending major triad arpeggio isn't exactly inspiring. The slow movement I find utterly boring, repetitious, and artificially-sentimental (especially because people seem to like it so much for reasons incomprehensible to me). The finale, OTOH, redeems the rest of the symphony by its pure exuberant excellence. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, OTOH, saw some of the most amazing variations by Mozart, and if I were to speak by the standard of my own preferences, it would rank higher than Beethoven's 7th, were it not for the redeeming finale of the latter.

(Yes, I expect the rotten tomatoes to fly now in my direction for daring to criticize Beethoven. So be it. :-P )

No rotten tomatoes are warranted here.

We should save up our rotten tomatoes and throw them at any conductor who plays Beethoven's Seventh, without omitting the first, second and third movements.  (The scherzo is repetitious, too).

Twinkle, twinkle little star, in it's simplest version (put the Mozart variations to the side for a moment) is obviously superior to almost anything Beethoven wrote.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk4KHNJjpjQ

Of course we must criticize Beethoven, and not be afraid to do so.

If we don't we may fall prey to those who are advocating a complete and total aesthetic relativism.

That's what the enemies of composers everywhere want us to do.



H. S. Teoh said:

FWIW, the only thing I like about Beethoven's 7th is the finale. The 1st mvmt is passable, but I expected better from someone of Beethoven's stature. The scherzo is OK, but being based on the tones of an ascending major triad arpeggio isn't exactly inspiring. The slow movement I find utterly boring, repetitious, and artificially-sentimental (especially because people seem to like it so much for reasons incomprehensible to me). The finale, OTOH, redeems the rest of the symphony by its pure exuberant excellence. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, OTOH, saw some of the most amazing variations by Mozart, and if I were to speak by the standard of my own preferences, it would rank higher than Beethoven's 7th, were it not for the redeeming finale of the latter.

(Yes, I expect the rotten tomatoes to fly now in my direction for daring to criticize Beethoven. So be it. :-P )

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