Music Composers Unite!
A couple of years ago, a scientific investigator of unusual phenomena claimed some of the crop circles found in the UK were "musical messages."
Not long after that, I was looking through some photos of crop circles and noticed this one, taken near 168 Wickham Green North, along the M4 in Berkshire, in July, 2010.
(See photo below: 168 Wickham Green...jpg)
It looked to me like a staff with notes on it. Going along with that assumption, I tried to turn it into music, so to speak. It was a bit hard to "read," at first, so I had to posit some additional assumptions. (I won't go into all the details).
I transformed it into a "piano roll," late in 2010, using Garageband and then turned it into an MP3.
See link below, entitled 171 Wickham Green...mp3
It's short, of course. How much music can you write in giant notes on a giant staff across a field, anyway? It's only seven seconds long. I did not plan for it to sound the way it did. I just tried to record the "notes" as faithfully as I could, and let the "music" speak for itself. I don't know what to say about the result. It's not what I expected. It's definitely not "my composition." Whether you believe crop circles are created by mischievous human beings, by inexplicable silver balls of light, by aliens, by angels, or fairies, the result is a bit puzzling.
Your feeling about this musical fragment may be connected with your overall opinion about the significance of crop circles. Anyway, here it is.
What does it mean? Who "composed" this, and why?
I am curious to know what people think of it.
Just for kicks, I will assume that the picture you linked is of a message to us from aliens. Next, I will assume that it is indeed a musical message and you have interpreted it correctly. My conclusion, based on accepting these assumptions, is that these aliens write sucky music by human standards. I hope they weren't attempting to win us over or lead us to them like the pied piper.
Who composed it? What I really think is that you did, you took these patterns and interpreted them as pitched information. From the sounds of it, you didn't let your ear or a concern for an audience get in the way, still a choice on your part though. Why isn't this under music dissection or Humor ad nauseum?
I don't disagree with anything you have said.
You can look at the photo and see how I interpreted it.
You would have to turn it sideways and reverse the order from right to left to look at it as I did orginally (This particular photo was reversed for reasons unknown)
The staff lines are clear enough.
The "notes" are clearly on a line, just as in traditional notation. (Though in this case, there are no notes between staff lines, which gives the sequence its distinctive tonal quality, one that is decidedly NOT post-modern).
The size of the note may indicate loudness: I interpreted it that way, though that is perhaps wrong.
"you took these patterns and interpreted them as pitched information. From the sounds of it, you didn't let your ear or a concern for an audience get in the way, still a choice on your part though. "
You are correct. I followed the assumptions of the author of a book on crop circles who said many such phenomena are indeed "musical messages." I did not alter it, or try to make it any less or more palatable than it was, using my own ear. I left it as it was.
I was not concerned here about an "audience," as such, because I don't think it offers much in the way of performance possibilities, certainly not in this form.
But I invite people to look very carefully at the crop circles in the photograph.
It sure looks like music to me.
As to who "composed it"? I don't know. That depends on who you think makes crop circles. Someone composed it, which is why I put it under the composition thread. It seems to raise questions that were raised in the discussion about "codes" and music, DNA codes and the like.
I didn't put it under music dissection, because that is where people put music that they have actually written. I didn't actually "write" it.
This is too short to call a "piece of music." It's only a brief fragment, or a melody, if even that.
Others who are interested in this sort of thing might want to try to "transcribe it another way."
I don't think it will sound very different. You can change the mode, depending on how you interpret the meaning of the staff lines. You can change the speed of the piece. But I don't think that will radically alter how it sounds.
Is it a "sucky piece of music"? I don't know how to qualify it. I would require an objective set of criteria to determine its value. Any initial impression is bound to be very subjective, given whatever preconceptions we have. Also, it's very short. Like the first seven seconds of a prelude for keyboard. There might be something there that needs development.
My impression is neither overwhelming positive or negative. I do find it odd, though, that it has a sort of sound that is not chaotic or totally arbitrary, which I thought might be the case before it was fully transcribed.
It does, like a piece of music, have a beginning, a middle and an end (a culmination) along with harmony and a rhythm.
It is suggestive of something, but I am not sure what. I was hoping to find out if others thought it sounded familiar in any way, like a mode or rhythm, in a combination that people have heard elsewhere.
If it is "bad music" then I am still interested to know, how it is bad. Is it bad in the way that a particular pop, new age, rock or "kid banging on the piano" piece is bad? It's a bit hard to categorize, I think.
I don't have the score handy. I could find it, if someone wanted to look at it, but maybe the photograph is enough. (It's on a back-up external drive somewhere)
Perhaps the crop circle collection is meant to convey something beyond the mere raw sound of the chords. Perhaps it states the basic premises of a more complex system.
Some crop circles are said to represent new expressions of significant geometric principles, even new theorems, which have not been discovered before.
You don't see or hear anything of interest in this sequence. Maybe there is nothing very valuable there. Maybe someone else will see something different. I am just interested in people's reactions.
I listened to this and found it wondrous! I perceived a continuous echo and a powerful development of intervals leaning towards a melodic development.
A modernist analysis would suggest that this "echo" could form a chrysalis of a framework. But it is not an impassive anaesthesis, it is not a machinated and arbitrated repetition. The sound appears to diverge from a common unity of direction into several different voices and Selves... each reiterating their presence as individual identities, with a binding rhythmic cell that pronounces a common originary trace.
What came into my mind after several analyses was the notion of a "hive mind." Each note appears to have within it entire historicometaphysical sagas and narratives.
Despite myself typically choosing to lean towards anti-foundationalist trends, I would share your opinion on the lack of postmodernity in this piece.
It's interesting! Can you post the score?
See and hear "The Clavier of Pure Reason" by Rytis Mazulis on youtube.
Frederick - why? How is that related to this thread?
Gav, why don't you listen to the piece and see if you can figure it out what the relationship might be?
I did before I posted. It is a dense piece, (overlayered sounds) as was Ondib's piece, perhaps that was your point?
That the two have similarites. In both it seems there are two ideas slightly out of phase with each other that sooner or later, as with Charles Ives father's experiment with marching bands playting different tunes and marching towards each other, colloide with amusing ( in the case of Mazulis)results.
To me it looks more like strings of discs hung in a doorway to separate rooms. In which case, they are a stop sign. "Don't bother us".
Sounds for me like an Angel´s wings .
After all this time, I think I know what this might be. I would have to go back and find the score, which was put together a few years ago.
Recently I was experimenting with a melody, just performing standard transpositions, inversions, creating retrogrades and inverted retrogrades.
I wondered what would happen if I took a melody, about 20 notes long or so, and superimposed simultaneously a transposition, inversion, regrade and inverted retrograde -- all of these-- on the melody itself.
What came out, as a result, was something that sounded, much to my surprise, very similar in harmonic texture to the "crop circle" musical sequence.
People who are interested might want to try to perform that, or a similar experiment.
Take a melody. Transpose it up a perfect fifth, then create an inversion, create a regrade version, and finally create an inverted retrograde; and place everything on top of the original melody.
I don't think there is anything odd or original in this procedure; in fact, I'm sure it is perfectly in keeping with derivations of the rules set out in Bach's four part harmony.
But for some reason, although it does not sound like "baroque" music at all, or even like modern contrapuntal music, it has some unique and definable harmonic feel to it.
I'll post the sequence later, if anyone expresses interest in the notion, and wishes to compare the two.
Does anyone know, or has anyone here composed a musical sequence in which this or a similar procedure was performed? It's something I imagine Hindemith might do, though I don't know enough of his work to say that he actually did that.
Those who study the more complex crop circles say they often possess well defined mathematical or geometric properties, expressing algorithms or geometric theorems, some of which are new.
If this "piece of music" contains a melody superimposed upon its own transposition, inversion, retrograde and inverted retrograde, one would have to go through and identify what the original melody was, in order to verify the structure of the "composition." But with such a short sequence, that might be difficult to do. I don't know.
Having listened to it again (the crop circle piece MP3), I wonder if it sounds "ugly" in a way, because of the loudness of certain notes. That may be a misinterpretation on my part, but the I assumed that the large circles were "louder notes," when perhaps largeness signifies something else (duration, for instance). Or perhaps it has something to do with timbre.