0 How much imperfection should we allow in "perfect" music? Posted by Bill Ricci on September 12, 2010 at 11:43pm in The Art of Composition Just a simple question. With all of the software capabilities, music has evolved to a precision that, in my opinion, could go to far. What are your thoughts on this? Views: 10 You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments! Join Composers' Forum Email me when people reply – Follow
A melody is a melody, but the performance of it can make a huge difference. It's all those small nuances and shiftings in timing that makes a melody come alive. If you record it in a sequencer and quantize it, you will flatten it to various degrees. By forcing the notes into the technically right position you loose all the rhythmic deviations that lets the music breath. But that effect will be more or less noticeable depending on where the melody belong in the arrangement. It will be less obvious in the bass than in the lead.
A sequencer is a nothing more than a glorified tape recorder. You can record a melody and it can be just as alive as when you played it - just don't quantize it! If you make mistakes record it again until it sits. If you have to quantize it, just quantize the notes that are actually too much off beat and leave the rest. If a piece of sequenced music sounds too stiff, it's my fault - not the computers!
Jerry Gerber said:
"Can a being be omniscient? A hypothetically omniscient consciousness would, by definition, never know the experience of not knowing. Similarly, one can only arrive at the conclusion that "not knowing" is not a part of knowledge, but rather of "not-knowledge", or that omniscience is a logically invalid concept."
That's a very clever analogy:
But I would like to go back to Doug's point, in that perfection is measured in the correctness of timing (and tuning of course). Whilst the real life conductor will strive to make all instruments correspond to near perfect precision, a midi artist will look for ways to humanise the performance of his mock-up by introducing very slightly mis-timed entries and some instruments very slightly de-tuned.
As far as perfectly composed music is concerned, one only needs to listen to the first movement of Shostakovich's 2nd Piano Concerto. Every single note is perfect.
Kristofer Emerig said:
What is perfect in one case might not be perfect in another.
Jerry Gerber said:
I've struggled with this in my electronic compositions. I find that perfectly quantized music is easy to edit and work with in general, i.e. you can copy it around to various tracks, stretch it, shrink it, etc.. (I'm talking about MIDI here). I've recently started incorporating non-quantized MIDI captured from my noodlings on the keyboard (still after some tweaking -- but not quantizing), and find that make for more interesting music when it's mixed in with quantized MIDI.
That's excellent advice Lennart. I think I'm going to try that in the near future.
Lennart Östman said: