Which is a “greater quantity?”  (1) The number of “musical events” that have occurred?  Or (2) the number of musical events that have not occurred?

 

The term musical “event” can be defined in the same way that composition software defines it.  A musical event, in a midi file, for example, can just be thought of as one “event,” such as a single note (whether that note is short or long, high or low, steady or vibrato or sliding). 

 

Now the question,

 

(1) “how many musical events” have occurred in music history may appear to be a difficult one to answer, but the number must be a real quantity, even if it is not precisely known.   And the task of quantifying

 

(2) the number of musical events that have NOT occurred, could be guessed at.

 

We should be able to determine which is greater, shouldn’t we?  Both are finite numbers, are they not?

 

{m1, m2, m3, ….}  where m is an event that has actually occurred,

 

and { –m1, –m2, –m3 …} where –m = an event that has not occurred.

 

Are these two sets of events both like integers on a line of points, or like the integers plus numbers between the integers, on a line?  That needs to be determined.

 

Or we might ask instead,

 

Which is greater,

 

(3)  The number of musical events that can occur in the future,  versus

(4)  The number of musical events that can CANNOT occur in the future.

 

These would both be infinite sets of notes, I think, which could be defined as countably infinite (aleph-0), or an uncountably infinite set (aleph-1), according to modern set theory.

 

[The number of integers is of a lower cardinality than the number of total points on a line, according to Cantor’s theory of orders of infinity.  The first infinite set he designated aleph-0, the second, aleph-1].

 

 If one is of a higher cardinality of infinity than the other, then we can say one is greater than the other.

 

 

 

 

 

Or, we may ask which is greater,

 

(5) The number of musical events that should occur, versus

(6) The number of musical events that should NOT occur (from a moral perspective or aesthetic perspective).

 

Since this involves a moral question, difficult to answer, we might not be able to make this computation.

 

Finally, we could ask, which is greater,

 

(7)  The number of musical events which will occur, versus

(8)  The number of musical events which will NOT occur, just as a matter of physical or mathematical possibility.

 

Assuming an infinite amount of time in the future, these quantities would also have to be described in terms of infinite sets, but these sets could also be determined as belonging to certain orders of infinity and therefore, one set could be of a higher cardinality than the other.

 

 

 

 

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Replies

  • what if the entire infinite universe is made up of nothing but

    musical notes ? would your question have any validity then?

    and just as importantly, How many trucks can a tow truck tow

    if a tow truck could tow trucks?    RS

  • Roger (roger stancill) asked,  “what if the entire infinite universe is made up of nothing but musical notes ?”

     

    If so-called “String Theory” is true, then the constituent elements of all subatomic particles, down to the smallest level of the Planck constant, would indeed be tiny vibrating strings, that “play notes,” metaphorically speaking.

     

    In that case, it would be true, in a sense, that the entire universe is made up of nothing but musical notes.  (Unless you include key signatures, tempo markings and rests).

     

    “ … would your question have any validity then?”

     

     

    I don’t think logicians speak of a question as being valid or invalid.  Only an argument (a series of propositions put together so that a conclusion may be inferred) can be valid or invalid.  Furthermore, even if one of the premises in the logical argument is false, the argument may still be valid, if the argument is in the correct form.  If an argument were based on a false premise, then the argument would be said to be unsound.

     

    “ . . . and just as importantly, How many trucks can a tow truck tow

    if a tow truck could tow trucks?”

     

    “Just as importantly?”  I am not sure this question is as important to composers as the question about the number of musical events, since this is not a “Tow Truck Forum.”  Perhaps you could say why this is an important question, from a musicological point of view.

     

    Susan (Susan Partlan) said,

     

    ‘Assuming "The number of musical events that can occur in the future" is an infinite set, then the number of musical events that have not occurred in history should also be infinite, because at any point in time past, an infinite number of musical events could have occurred in the future.’

     

    This statement appears to me to be absolutely true.  If it were not true, then how would I be able to speculate that it might be true in one future, and not true in another future, as viewed from past; and how could I also conceive of the act of making the statement as an event that had already happened in the future?

     

    A problem may still remain in trying to describe at least one musical event that has not happened and that also never will happen in all of eternity.   I can’t think of what that musical event might be.

     

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  • O K  Mr. Fancy Formulas,  altho' once again the crux of the message

    was not the literal Tow Truck, it was the actual value of such a discussion.

    but here you are, "How many times would a windchime chime if a windchine the time?"

  • Why, oh why do you revive a dead ogre...

  • Greg, for the sport of it.... ieeieeieeieeieieei

    Greg Brus said:

    Why, oh why do you revive a dead ogre...

    Which is greater? The number of musical "events" that have occurred, or the number of musical "eve…
    Which is a “greater quantity?”  (1) The number of “musical events” that have occurred?  Or (2) the number of musical events that have not occurred?  …
  • Music is the silence between the notes.
    Claude Debussy
  • My apologies OO, that should have read, 'How many times would a windchime chime, 

    if a windchime could chime the time.' (some things just can't be expressed in fewer words- ay)  RS
     
    roger stancill said:

    O K  Mr. Fancy Formulas,  altho' once again the crux of the message

    was not the literal Tow Truck, it was the actual value of such a discussion.

    but here you are, "How many times would a windchime chime if a windchine the time?"

    Which is greater? The number of musical "events" that have occurred, or the number of musical "eve…
    Which is a “greater quantity?”  (1) The number of “musical events” that have occurred?  Or (2) the number of musical events that have not occurred?  …
  •    In defense of music, I think Mr. De bussy should have been slapped for such a slur.

    I rest my case.   RS


     
    Susan Partlan said:

    I love that quote!

    Which is greater? The number of musical "events" that have occurred, or the number of musical "eve…
    Which is a “greater quantity?”  (1) The number of “musical events” that have occurred?  Or (2) the number of musical events that have not occurred?  …
  •  “how many musical events” have occurred in music history may appear to be a difficult one to answer, but the number must be a real quantity, even if it is not precisely known.   

    How do we know that what has occurred isn't also infinite?  Just sayin'.

     

  • I think I would interpret this as 'The Greatest Rest'.
    If I was to have a tombstone, I think I would have it inscribed

    with- 'It's Always Something'   lol  (a pet saying of mine)   RS 

    ps  I really like the unconventional, creative cleverness of his tho'.


    Susan Partlan said:

    The empty set of musical events may consist of silence. It might look something like the gravestone of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (image courtesy of http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Schnittke). On the other hand, there's the problem of the fortississimo. Is it merely an illogical articulation meant as a joke? Or does it mean to convey very loud silence, sort of like an eternal silent scream? If silence can be articulated, it is a musical event. In this case the empty set of musical events would have to be described more specifically as unarticulated silence, or if articulated, only so in ways that can be perceived through other senses, not aurally.

    Which is greater? The number of musical "events" that have occurred, or the number of musical "eve…
    Which is a “greater quantity?”  (1) The number of “musical events” that have occurred?  Or (2) the number of musical events that have not occurred?  …
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