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[P]
The music is getting quieter

By m0rzo in Culture
Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 07:56:36 AM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)
Humour

The 1960s was perhaps the decade in which music became a popular medium grabbing the hearts of millions worldwide. What with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few, music became firmly imbedded in popular culture. More recent years have seen such acts as Oasis, Radiohead, and the Stereophonics take the centre stage, alluring the masses with their melodies. Nevertheless, on the other side of the coin we see the hideous face of boy/girl bands and the like gain more and more eminence, to the extent of dominating much of the charts. The changing face of music? Or the death of music? This article examines the possibility that genuinely the world is, well.. running out of original music!


A bizarre statement at first, "The World is running out of music?" - What do I mean by that? Consider this, until the 1940s/50s the world had not discovered what we call rock music. Many hits of the 19th Century were still hits in the early 20th Century and of course at this time nobody owned cd players and most not even radios. Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc perhaps one of quite a few people that could now be called the first music celebrities. Music like everything in the 20th Century began to evolve at an alarming rate - bands like the Beatles churning out hit after hit after hit. Here we are in 2001, and 9 times out of 10 what you're hearing on the radio is a cover of one of those old classics. What the hell? Are these people incapable of writing original music?

Maybe so. Perhaps it's genuinely getting harder and harder to write new music. Now I'm far from a mathematician but think of a scale of notes as the numbers 1-1000. How many combinations can be put together that are unique - well quite a lot but how much longer can this go on? Music presumably isn't infinite, there must come a time when music writers begin to hit some sort of metaphorical brick wall where they just can't put anything together that sounds vaguely original. For all the covers that are coming out every year, granted there is a large amount of great original stuff being released at the same time. However, with the likes of even Radiohead beginning to abandon their guitars and instead turn to, in my opinion, mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring beats and sounds all in the name of "creativity" maybe my theory isn't so far out and ridiculous. Music snobbery at it's most extreme!

It's a dire situation when we, the world's population are subjected to crap like "The Tweenies" and "The Backstreet Boys".

Who knows how long it's going to be before music, like the dinosaurs, dies a sad, pitiful death. Our Great, great, great Grand children in their neon romper suits, and science-fictionesque silver, baker foil boots will telepathically no doubt, talk of those amazing melody makers of long ago whilst sitting in their rooms listening to a constant, dreary "BOOM BOOM BOOM!" coming from whatever sound devices they have...Wait, erm.. I guess history DOES repeat itself.

Hopefully we've got a few years left yet.

author's note: you shouldn't take this ridiculous scare mongering too seriously. I am totally insane, and my musings bare little relevence to real life (whatever reality is?)

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The music is getting quieter | 149 comments (140 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
music is doing fine (4.16 / 6) (#1)
by j1mmy on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 09:43:22 AM EST

Now I'm far from a mathematician but think of a scale of notes as the numbers 1-1000. How many combinations can be put together that are unique - well quite a lot but how much longer can this go on? Music presumably isn't infinite

Ah, but it is. You're forgetting that music can be produced with many different instruments, can vary over a wide dynamic range, and be set down in any rhythm imaginable.

I've thought about this sort of thing before, and I might agree that the number of original melodies may be dwindling, but I doubt we're going to run out in my lifetime. The only solution to this sort of a problem is experimental music that breaks out of the 12-note scale. This is also a very western problem as many eastern musical styles develop music through rhythm with less emphasis on pitch.

It's a dire situation when we, the world's population are subjected to crap like "The Tweenies" and "The Backstreet Boys".

I've never heard of the tweenies and I can't say I'm a big fan of the BSB either. If you think about it, the modern boy bands and the similar bands of decades past (the beatles, the monkees, etc.) have some similarities. The elders of the era generally desipse the music, but the hordes of screaming girls absolutely love it. To the Beatles credit, they at least wrote their own songs and could play their own music. I'd like to see the BSB try that.

Who knows how long it's going to be before music, like the dinosaurs, dies a sad, pitiful death.

It'll never happen. I listen mostly to electronic music myself, but I've also been known to enjoy some jazz from time to time.

Most electronic music is unoriginal. I can't deny that. It takes little effort to program some drum machines and wave synths to pump out an average dance track. The problem is that it caters to the masses, just as pop music tends to do. It's the artists who avoid falling into this trap that make great electronic music. Aphex Twin comes to mind.

And Jazz, well, jazz is eternal. It's got that whole improvisation thing going on, which you just don't see in any other musical style to any great degree.

author's note: you shouldn't take this ridiculous scare mongering too seriously. I am totally insane, and my musings bare little relevence to real life (whatever reality is?)

fair enough.



Ooh. Interesting points (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 09:53:25 AM EST

Like I sort of stated, the article is only semi-serious but that kind of thing, for whatever reason, does bug me. You raised some interesting points (alot I didn't know!!) - I happen to disagree on the finity of music, granted it's going to be a long time before we run out but still. What am I worrying about? At the rate we're going there's going to be no world left in a 100 or so years.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Ugh. Beatles != "boy band" (4.66 / 3) (#40)
by yosemite on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 01:13:22 AM EST

If you think about it, the modern boy bands and the similar bands of decades past (the beatles, the monkees, etc.)
OK, I need to respond to this (to be fair to j1mmy, this is not the first time I've seen the current crop of "boy bands" compared to the Beatles).

Maybe in the beginning, the Beatles bore some surface similarity to BSB &c. But:

  • The Beatles played their own instruments.
  • The Beatles composed most of the songs they recorded, including all of their hits
  • Even now, 30 years after their last significant new effort, they can still top the charts
  • VH1's "100 Greatest Albums of Rock And Roll" featured 5 Beatles albums (more than any other artist) with the lowest ranked showing up at number 11.
  • The Beatles went on to become one of the most profound musical influences of the 20th century.
I'd be willing to bet that in 30 years, the current crop of boy bands will be largely forgotton. And the Beatles will still be remembered and played, much as they are today.

--
[Signature redacted]

[ Parent ]
Refuting 'Beatles != "boy band"' in six (none / 0) (#108)
by LordEq on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 07:56:52 PM EST

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Difference is, they grew up before their careers ended.



--LordEq

"That's what K5's about. Hippies and narcs cavorting together." --panck
[ Parent ]
Creative, interesting music in great shape (4.60 / 5) (#3)
by Anatta on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:13:36 AM EST

While I'll give you that virtually all music on mainstream radio is awful, there is more great music now than there ever has been before. You just have to do a little looking.

If you have a college near you, find the radio station for that college. Listen to it at different times, and you'll probably hear a number of really interesting, creative music.

Now I'm far from a mathematician but think of a scale of notes as the numbers 1-1000. How many combinations can be put together that are unique - well quite a lot but how much longer can this go on?

There are infinite notes; there may be 1000 notes commonly used in the western spectrum of music, but think of them as integers, with infinite spaces between... in Indian music, for example, there are a bunch of "extra" notes, a note between C and C#, for example. Anyway, even sticking with 1,000 notes, you can get an infinite number of combinations of notes... so we're not running out of melodies.

If you'd like to check out some interesting music that I would guess you haven't heard before (but you may or may not like, this is a democracy you know!) check out a few of the following:

Galactic -- New Orleans killer funk
Autechre -- very bizarre British electronic music
Emperor -- Scandanavian extreme Black Metal
Coldcut -- Classic British funky DJs
Panacea -- Mad German Industrial Drum n Bass
I'd also suggest checking out the phenomenal Japanese group Denki Groove, but you'll have to use Gnutella or something to find them.

That should give you a good start. Mainstream radio won't play good music anymore (at least in the US) so stick to college stations... jump onto Live365 or any of those sites, and go to a genre you haven't heard much of... say gospel, or ambient... and start digging through there. Broaden your horizons a bit and my guess you'll find so much good music around that you won't know what to do with it.
My Music

CDNow links don't work, just use Gnutella... (1.00 / 1) (#4)
by Anatta on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:24:52 AM EST


My Music
[ Parent ]
Clearly, (none / 0) (#60)
by pallex on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:20:34 AM EST

he knows *nothing* about music. They never play any good music on the radio/tv.
People always talk about the stuff you hear there as if its the only music that was written. The 70`s, for example, is remembered for progressive rock and heavy metal, and then, towards the end, punk. You rarely hear about all the great reggae, early rap, classical, jazz/rock fusion and modern classical stuff.
Each decade has had great stuff (yes, even the 90`s) among the boy/girl groups, po faced goths, and soundalike gangsta rappers.


[ Parent ]
Sturgeon's Law (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by Bad Harmony on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:36:53 AM EST

Sturgeon's Law says that 90% of everything is crap. I think he was being optimistic.

Musical genres wax and wane. Nothing lasts forever, so why should Rock be exempt? There's been Ragtime, New Orleans Jazz, Hot Jazz, Swing, Big Bands, Bebop, Cool Jazz, Rockabilly, Rock, Motown, Country and Western, Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Disco, Latin Jazz, Punk, Techno, Reggae, Rap and many other varieties of music in the last century. Teen heartthrobs and manufactured musical groups are nothing new.

I don't think we are in any danger of running out of new melodies and rhythyms. There will alway be talented composers and musicians with new ideas. Whether you will hear them on your local radio station or a major record label is another issue.

5440' or Fight!

There was no popular music before the '60s? (4.00 / 5) (#6)
by maynard on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:42:43 AM EST

Bach, Vivaldi, Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schumann, Scott Joplin, Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie.... (in no particular order or exhaustive).

These were wildly popular musicians in their time and they radically affected their current popular culture. I certainly don't argue that "'N Sync" is even good music, just that the notion that good popular music came about after the 1960's is pure bunk.

As for your suggestion that music is a bound art form, I note that musical forms from China, Japan, and India used not the Western chromatic scale, but a wide range of pitch values that Western pop music has yet to really explore. And as others have pointed out, when you factor in the wide range of instruments, endless variability of duration, timbre, and intensity of any one note with any arbitrary instrument, and the ways in which these can all be combined -- you get a system of boundless expressive possibilities.

Your scope of musical history in this submission is limited to current popular forms, and as such doesn't support the assertion that humanity has run out of musical ideas. Therefore, the premise of the article is broken and doesn't deserve a +1 vote. Sorry.

Cheers,
--Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Famous composers (4.66 / 3) (#14)
by fremen on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 02:48:08 PM EST

Not all of the musicians you mentioned were popular in their time. Bach was popular, but not the same way he is now. It wasn't until Felix Mendelssohn revived Bach's St. Matthew's Passion in 1829 that Bach gained his well known status today.

Brahm's as well didn't gain his modern favor until several years after his death. He was known, he was popular, but he really wasn't a celebrity for a while.

Beethoven and Hayden were both huge celebrities, especially Hayden. But if I were to pick a classical celebrity reminiscent of today, I would pick Franz Liszt. Liszt was a very famous pianist in his day and quite handsome as well. He spent time adapting Paganini's virtuoso technique for the violin over to the piano, something that made him incredible to watch. He was the first to turn the piano around sideways so that the top could open and reflect the sound to the audience, which also made him more visible. Women would swoon as they watched his fingers move on the keyboard. He was quite good with women, and women were always fawning over him.

[ Parent ]

I've had similar.. (none / 0) (#26)
by sasseriansection on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:35:59 PM EST

The same thing happens to me when im whipping out documents on my keyboard. 100 Virtuoso words per minute, and the ladies keep lining up to see me pound the white ivory QWERTY.
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]
Liar (none / 0) (#34)
by suick on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 08:37:28 PM EST



order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
[ Parent ]
No...seriously. (none / 0) (#38)
by sasseriansection on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:41:54 PM EST

I really do type 100 wpm. Whats so hard to believe about that? Hold on a sec, my legion of biznatches needs servicin:)
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]
Biznatch? (none / 0) (#70)
by KoanMastah on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:37:48 AM EST

You watch your phraseology.

--rev


---
And if you quote the jargon file at me I'll come right through this monitor upside your head.

[ Parent ]

"Writer's block" (3.00 / 1) (#17)
by J'raxis on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 03:23:20 PM EST

Well, just because there are infinite combinations of sounds remaining to be explored does not mean that they will be, or that it'd be any good -- the author seemed to indicate that the music industry has run out of originality, out of ideas -- sort of like writer's block. A writer could string together all the several thousands words in the English language (not to mention the millions of words in other languages) in an infinite number of ways, but the result is not going to be anything remotely resembling a work of art.

-- The Raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

but... (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by cybin on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 08:01:42 PM EST

there are many languages which neither you nor i understand. they are just long strings of sound which we cannot "parse" and comprehend, but still appreciate as a method of communication. the job of the musician is to assemble a series of sounds that logically makes sense, and what is logical depends almost entirely on one's culture and particular mind. if you don't believe me, listen to the works of magnus lindberg or read some e.e. cummings. it's called serialism (not so much in cummings, but there are elements) and it's been around for 60+ years.

[ Parent ]
I don't think that's what he meant (none / 0) (#98)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:33:46 PM EST

by "popular". Classical performers of 19th and 18th century were making music for the elite, man! There was separate, simpler pub fiddler music. I think the 60s were not like any other time because they raised popular music to an art form, or, you could alternatively say that it made music-as-art accessible enough to be popular in general population. Through 70s, there was a lot of great stuff, but almost none of it was really new. By the end of 70s, the horrible sounds of new wave appeared, and then long hair metal, rap, metal-rap, 90s, electronica. Some people blame commercialisation and it probably played it's part.

Me, I don't know what exactly went wrong or where it went wrong, but my best guess right now is that it's a combination of commercialisation and the fact that all good rock tunes are already done (well, vast majority of 'em) and nothing new and worthy has popped up, because no new instruments were introduced (like electric/bass guitar combo that pushed rock into existance). Stuff that's worthy isn't new, and stuff that IS new just ain't worthy.

The best hope right now is either a good new instrument, OR an "electronica" instrument. You know how they hook up a guitar to sampling machine so that if you strike a string, it takes the frequency and sort of merges it with a sample? Or how you take a piano and make a synthesizer out of it? Well, that's what I mean, except that this guitar trick and synthesizer don't work very well, because these just aren't good combinations - if you play a complex melody like a classical melody on a synth, that just sounds horrible.. OTOH electric organ's been used to good effect in some rock music, e.g. procol harum, doors..
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Has always been this way (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by fluffy grue on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 11:54:29 AM EST

You have to remember that the reason the artists you mentioned are considered classics is because they were the good stuff of the time. We don't hear any of the utter dreck from the 1960s because it's already been filtered out - it was unmemorable pap, and so nobody worships it today.

It has always been this way. Even in the baroque period, for every Bach there were a dozen poseurs who weren't able to compose their way out of a bucket.

Fortunately, the current manufactured artists will become as obscure in 10 years as New Kids On The Block are now.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

60's and 70's pulp gone (none / 0) (#47)
by Pink Daisy on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 11:18:58 AM EST

That happened very recently in Toronto. Our "Oldies" station switched formats. I know because my father used to listen to them. Now they're a sports radio channel. Crap, to be sure, but less dated crap. I remember one of their jingles... something like "Old People Radio, 1050 CHUMp!!!"

[ Parent ]
Kinda like the '70s if you ask me... (4.16 / 6) (#9)
by atreides on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 12:10:41 PM EST

I think that music runs in cycles and we're in the high tide of it right now and it's beginning to ebb. Look at the last few decades. The 50s was a sort of low tide depending on how you look at it, but it still had some amazing music (Bird, Buddy Holly, Astrud Gilberto at al.) but for the most part, it was underground and outside the norm. For the most part there was no social conflict to inspire people (though notice that most of the great jazzmen were black and having their own social problems). The 60s social issues brought out a lot of new musicians and the cream rose to the top (Dylan, Beatles, a list FAR too long to continue). In the 70's there was less conflict socially and this big music tradition had evolved and anyone who could tried it and while the 70s get a bad rap for disco, there was some tremendous stuff (Zepp, ELO, CCR, Steely Dan) if you could push away the chaff. The 80s brings another contraction like the 50s because the social conflict wasn't there but in the underground, the punk movement and metal and rap were gathering steam. In the 90s, they came to fruition as economic inequity and political apathy became big in the American consciousness. That's when the grunge movement became big and the raver scene began to blossom. Now here we are in 2001 and, like the 70s, anyone who can make music is whether it's good or not, but since there are more ways to get music around to more people (MTV, MuchMusic, the Internet), it's much more likely that any music can be found by someone who likes it.

The point of all this is that it's cyclical. I think that by the end of the decade (or perhaps the middle since the speed at which culture moves has gotten faster) we will be back in the doldrums of the 50s and the 80s and an underground skein of thought and discontent (perhaps anti-corporatism) will begin to generate the next great musical idea and in the decade after it will capture the hearts and minds of the people. We just have to ride it out. N'Sync and NKotB and the Four Freshmen are all cyclical place holders for sounds and feelings yet to come.

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary doesn't crave stardom.

The 70's... (none / 0) (#48)
by ScottBrady on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 11:20:59 AM EST

I've heard it expressed many times that by the end of the 60's people were simply tired. They had just spent the last decade protesting "the establishment" and I think the collective masses simply ran out of energy.

Enter The Carpenters.

People wanted to put down the protest signs and relax a little and you couldn't do that listening to songs about Vietnam and Ken State. After a decade of listening to rebellion you could finally turn on the radio and relax. The music was soft. It was gushy. And for many people it was easily palatable.

Now, in my opinion the main stream music in the 70's was repulsive. I can easily say it is my most hated decade musically. Granted there were underground musicians such as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. but they certainly weren't the mainstream.

In the end I always find solace in knowing that the brighter the flash the quicker the flame will burn out. Disco was annoying and it went away. Swing was annoying and it went away. Heck, the Spice Girls disappeared far sooner than I even anticipated. Only time will tell who's the flash in the pan and who are real musicians.

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.
[ Parent ]

Interesting what lasts (none / 0) (#74)
by warpeightbot on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 11:10:00 AM EST

Now, in my opinion the main stream music in the 70's was repulsive. I can easily say it is my most hated decade musically. Granted there were underground musicians such as Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. but they certainly weren't the mainstream.
Yep. And now we have radio stations devoted to nothing but "classic rock"... all that underground stuff that came out of the Album Oriented Rock era.... the ones mentioned above, AC/DC, Floyd, Zep, etc. I own two rock CD's that were made by RIAA-associated bands that were made post-1990 and that get played on a regular basis: Fleetwood Mac's The Dance, and the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over. Notice that both of those outfits are ancient. Everything else I've bought post-1990 is alternative (i.e. not Top 40) in some form or fashion, and mostly indie artists.

Now the underground has several main streams as I see it... the whole Seattle grunge thing, another related but very different movement I call "girls with guitars" (both of which seem to have started in Athens, GA, with REM and the Indigo Girls, respectively... hmm...), the whole techno/goth/trance thing, and various takes on Celtic music (both traditional and modern... ever heard a bagpipe or a cello as a rock instrument? wow).

It will be interesting to see what lasts, especially with RIAA headed in the same general direction as Microsoft (i.e. about to control itself out of existience)...

Comments?

[ Parent ]

The Melancholy Elephants (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by SPrintF on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 12:23:12 PM EST

Spider Robinson wrote an interesting story on this topic some years ago. If you're interested, it's available online.

thanks (none / 0) (#11)
by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 12:44:02 PM EST

great link. just checking it out now, seems really interesting. thanks again
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Well that was interesting! (none / 0) (#54)
by dennis on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:54:40 PM EST

Robinson takes m0rzo's idea and works out its implications for copyright law...worth a read!

[ Parent ]
All sequences of 20 notes. (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by i on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 12:52:38 PM EST

There's exactly 3833759992447475122176 of them. If each of 10 billion Earth inhabitants will compose one new 20-note tune per minute, they won't exhaust all possibilities for about 700000 years. That's if we take 12 possible notes (one octave). There are much more, if you account for different lenghts, chords, pauses, and other weird stuff. Note that in 700000 years the mankind will be long dead.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

too bad.. (none / 0) (#96)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:13:48 PM EST

that 99.99999% of these combinations sound like white noise or worse. There's a reason why less talented bands rip off more talented ones - "any random combination of notes" just isn't good enough. Newsflash for you personally: it has to sound GOOD.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Did you try? (none / 0) (#126)
by i on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 02:52:30 AM EST

Generate some random sequences and listen. You'll discover you have too much nines in your percentage figure. Besides, no one knows what will sound good in 100 years. Could Mozart enjoy Schoenberg's music? I guess not.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
White noise? Not likely! (none / 0) (#132)
by phliar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 03:54:43 AM EST

Rainy writes, on random notes strung together:
too bad.. that 99.99999% of these combinations sound like white noise or worse.
I bet you that if I generate a random "melody", it's very very likely that you will find it pleasing. I can write a program that writes music that just stays in a major key, put it in 4/4 time, randomly make a few notes longer and shorter so that most notes are 1/4 or 1/8, make a few 1/16 and a few as long as 1/2.

If I wanted to make it a little more interesting, I fit random harmonies, selecting chord progressions like I-IV-V-VI-I-V-I or something. Start and end with I, put one or two V's in there, perhaps one IV and VI each. If I wanted to spend a little more time, I'd put two copies of all this, linked with a little bridge that modulates to a minor key.

You see, thousands of little advertising jingles are written this way every year. And they all sound pleasing enough. (And many popular bands will get a lot of publicity from one or two such songs they write that just happen to hit some chord in their audience.)

Now, a musician will be able to take this simple pleasing little theme and construct a cool composition from it. Ex tempore, or in real time. He or she will modulate, quote, invert, etc. etc. - use all those little tools - but in surprising and unexpected ways. All with only the instrument they've always played, using only the "western" (actually, ancient Greek) notions of 12 intervals to the octave and the various modes, without necessarily having to use micro-tones or new instruments.

Billy Taylor has this story he likes to tell about a friend who was saying something about how improvisation is bullshit or something like that. So Billy said "give me three notes, any three." The friend said "A, C, G." So Billy played a little piece based on the very simple melody C-A-G (all in the same octave). You should be able to find it on Napster or something, look for "C-A-G" by Billy Taylor.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Yeah, those jingles.. (none / 0) (#138)
by Rainy on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:47:07 AM EST

Too bad they all sound the same, eh? And too bad that after you hear a few, they don't sound pleasing any more. You don't think they're real music, do ya? What about Muzak (no wait, don't answer, I'm not sure I wanna know).
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Please, Rainy, stick to your point (none / 0) (#145)
by phliar on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:30:28 AM EST

Rainy: if you say A, and I say B, in your reply C you must rebut any points I may have made in B in response to your points in A. That is logic.

First, you said, in response to someone's combinatorial analysis of how many note sequences can exist:

too bad.. that 99.99999% of these combinations sound like white noise or worse.
To which I responded:
I bet you that if I generate a random "melody", it's very very likely that you will find it pleasing.
And then I went on to elaborate how I would go about constructing random music. (Incidentally there is a lot of work in this area already.) Your response was:
Too bad they all sound the same, eh?
Wait: your earlier point was that random music would "sound like white noise or worse". When I talked about how easy it is to randomly construct a little composition that would sound pleasing, you instantly switch your point to "they all sound the same". Now, I could demolish that little point too; but then you would instantly switch your viewpoint to something else.

Furthermore:

What about Muzak (no wait, don't answer, I'm not sure I wanna know).
Ah, yes! No argument is complete without a good old ad hominem attack! All that remains is for you to compare me to a Nazi.

Face it, Rainy: your sophomoric rants are just that. You need to learn abstract reasoning skills, along with some instruction on how to construct a logical and consistent argument. You also need to acknowledge the fact that on the Internet, you are likely to meet quite a few actual experts in their fields.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Context (none / 0) (#146)
by Rainy on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 06:32:11 PM EST

When I said they'll sound like white noise or worse, I was talking about music that sounds original, i.e. different from what's aleady out there. It's similar to how, if you ask "is it raining?" and someone replies "yes, it's raining in rome. Oh wait, did you mean, here?" I mean, let's talk about the Story. Story is the context here. The Story talked about original music. "Jingles" are not in the context of that story. What you've done is that you have taken my comment out of the context of this story and criticized it because *I* stuck to the context. Here's a lesson for you: logic is applied *after* you apply common sense. If you forgot what the original story was about (which is understandable and I don't mean to criticize you in that case), re-read it. And don't attack me personally, you were the one picking nits in a very childinsh manner, not me.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
the economy and music (3.66 / 6) (#13)
by rebelcool on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 01:19:05 PM EST

i was reading (i believe it was in newsweek) several months ago an article about the economy and presence of 'crap' manufactured music like n'sync, b-boys and so on.

Generally when the economy is good, there are lots of these bands. Mainly because the record companies can afford to throw amazing amounts of marketing money into them, to an audience of prosperous citizens.

When the economy is down (such as the early '90s) there are usually far fewer of these bands because people and companies watch their money closer. It's an interesting correlation, and makes perfect sense. Those bands only exist to generate money, and when theres less money floating around, there are less bands.

Music builds on music. Rock wasnt exactly original either. It was made from a combination of blues and songs popular with 19th century slaves, and just evolved.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

That don't fly (none / 0) (#101)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:42:47 PM EST

What about 70s and disco? What about great depression and... blues and jazz started out in roaring 20s (well, became really popular). I mean, it's a neat idea, it just doesn't withstand any scrutiny.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Plus (none / 0) (#128)
by Dissention on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 01:59:49 PM EST

In this time of economic prosperity of the 90s, most of the angriest, most disturbed music available was released. If you really get into heavy metal/hardcore music its amazing how angry the bands try to sound.

Oh, and I am not a fan of hardcore, heavy metal to a degree but mostly hard rock.

[ Parent ]
Too UK-centric (3.00 / 7) (#16)
by kmon on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 03:05:04 PM EST

What with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix to name but a few, music became firmly imbedded in popular culture. More recent years have seen such acts as Oasis, Radiohead, and the Stereophonics take the centre stage, alluring the masses with their melodies.
Every musician you named was from the UK, except for Jimi, but even he got big there before the US. Maybe its just because I'm not a UKian, but could you please revise the article to reflect some bands from other countries like Aerosmith and Journey? Remember, everyone on K5 isn't a UKian.
ad hoc, ad hominem, ad infinitum!
Ahahaha.. (none / 0) (#104)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:03:12 PM EST

The guy names 2 uk bands and one American, and that's too uk-centric? Hey, you ever heard of british invasion? Okay, here's americans for ya: bob dylan, doors, lou reed. Happy?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
err.. (none / 0) (#106)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:04:59 PM EST

Sorry, I missed those other bands he mentioned.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
What amazes me (3.66 / 3) (#18)
by spacejack on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 03:25:18 PM EST

Is how little candy boy/girl bands have changed over the past decade or so. New Kids on the Block, Menudo, NSync, Backdoor boys... I mean what's the difference? I can't tell the difference, can you tell the difference? OTOH, you can certainly tell the difference between the Osmonds, the Monkeys or the Archies.

Hmmm... (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by Signal 11 on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 05:07:51 PM EST

To answer your question, if we assume each song is 1,800 notes long, and there are 1,800 possible sounds for each note, then there are 6.12^5108 possible songs out there.

Unless I forgot to place the decimal point in the right spot again, that is. I'd say, then, that we are in no danger of exhausting the song namespace. :^)


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Not quite.. (none / 0) (#23)
by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 05:26:26 PM EST

The song may be 1,800 beats long but think how many times those same notes are used over and over in the song? I think you have beats mixed up with notes though, in which case nevermind.
My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
Musical combinatorics: a quasilegal perspective (none / 0) (#80)
by pin0cchio on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:54:47 PM EST

if we assume each song is 1,800 notes long

We can't assume this. Lawsuits have happened over four notes. I'll assume the shortest copyrightable melody is 8 notes long.

there are 1,800 possible sounds for each note

There are only seven notes in the tonal and modal scales. Assuming a melody starts on C, and there are no adjacent repetitions, there are only 68 - 1 = 279936 eight-note melodies. Read this writeup for more information on musical combinatorics.

we are in no danger of exhausting the song namespace.

When all the melodies are used up, there will still be new music released re-using the old melodies, but it will all be controlled by the big music publishing companies and record companies because they can bring out a decades-old copyright against any independent artist. THIS is part of why perpetual copyright must be stopped.

Disclaimer: All the armchair lawyers on kuro5hin are full of shit.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Seems to me that.... (3.16 / 6) (#21)
by discodeathrace on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 05:17:55 PM EST

You just can't handle electronic music. Electronic music is now(or was 10 years ago) what rock was back in the day. If you can't adapt to the new sound that's your problem.

At least electronic music for the most part has escaped the horrible things the music industry does.


Life is too short to be me.
ahh. you mean "electronic noise" eh?n/m (1.33 / 3) (#22)
by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 05:22:29 PM EST


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]
No... (5.00 / 2) (#36)
by discodeathrace on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 09:19:45 PM EST

I mean electronic music.

The only electronic noise that I know of is senseless posting like this.


Life is too short to be me.
[ Parent ]
horrible things (none / 0) (#28)
by dr k on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:44:51 PM EST

At least electronic music for the most part has escaped the horrible things the music industry does.

What, payola? Hype? Outrageous prices? Lack of artistic control?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Electronic music (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by Lance on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 10:58:35 PM EST

It doesn't take a lot of talent to produce most electronic music. It's all done with drum machines and synths. It's all about mixing different samples together. Or perhaps I've just been listening to the wrong electronic music?

[ Parent ]
Talent (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Anatta on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 12:42:11 AM EST

Electronic music can get extremely complicated. There's no question in my mind that the most complex, expressive music being produced today is electronic (I am an electronic musician).

Have you ever used a synth? Not one that you find at K-Mart, but a real one... one with 20 or 30 knobs or sliders on it, each controlling a different parameter of the sound? My guess is you haven't, if you just dismiss music made on synths as talentless. I would suggest you haven't listened to the right stuff... check out Orbital, Autechre, Squarepusher, Aphex Twin, or Coldcut.

Electronic music is not just about mixing samples together; I was just listening to a symphony made by taking like 20 dot matrix printers on old Apple computers, and printing text files. Creschendos were made by using extensive strings of letters... the carriage returns were percussive notes... periods and commas were soft notes... if you've heard a dot matrix printer before, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Samples can be used to rip off Police songs, or they can be used in very very expressive ways (see Coldcut). Synthesizers are very very powerful tools, capable of creating basically any sound possible. Drum machines by themselves can be boring, but when processed through synthesizers, become very very expressive instruments as well.

There's a lot to electronic music... you should check out those artists above to get a good feel for the groundbreaking electronic musicians. Ylou mgiht also rent "Modulations", a documentary on electronic music, if you want to learn more about it.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Ignorance (4.50 / 2) (#62)
by spiralx on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 07:47:08 AM EST

It doesn't take a lot of talent to produce most electronic music.

Try doing it sometime. Even the most formulaeic stuff in the charts requires more understanding than you'd expect. Remember, the actual production on these songs is done by studio professionals with years of experiance in their craft and their equipment.

It's all done with drum machines and synths.

You've never used a synth right? Getting to the point where you can produce a sound you want quickly requires practice and an understanding of how sound is made up - the effects of different types of oscillators, how various envelopes work on them, different filters, effects such as compression, gating, ring modulation, flanges, reverb, echo, gappers, snippers, brightness enhancers, distortion, EQ, delay, chorus and a million others I can't think of right now. Having used several synths I can tell you that even getting the right sound takes a hell of a lot of effort and skill.

It's all about mixing different samples together.

Rarely. Most electronic music uses sounds created from scratch, with maybe a smattering of samples on top. And even then, those samples are often manipulated by the same effects as above.

Or perhaps I've just been listening to the wrong electronic music?

Maybe. Or maybe it's just that like most music, it always seems simpler than it actually is, as a lot of the detail doesn't consciously come through. In structure though, most electronic music is closer to classical than rock or pop music.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

And programming. (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by pallex on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 08:51:19 AM EST

You just hit a bunch of keys and a program comes out. After all, its all just 0`s and 1`s at the end of the day. How hard can it be to write a web browser, for example. You just download the page and display it.

And so on.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#83)
by Luke Francl on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 02:11:14 PM EST

You're not a programmer, are you? There's a lot more it than that.

[ Parent ]
Hrm (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by Langley on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:04:04 PM EST

The sarcasm is lost on this one...



A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. -Abraham Lincoln (Sixteenth President of the United States of America)
[ Parent ]
Yes! (1.00 / 1) (#133)
by phliar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:05:44 AM EST

It doesn't take a lot of talent to produce most electronic music. It's all done with drum machines and synths. It's all about mixing different samples together. Or perhaps I've just been listening to the wrong electronic music?
Yes, you have.

Start with the loopers from the 60s. Pauline Oliveros, Steve Reich, and... aahh! I can't remember the other guy's name!


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

It's not the same (1.00 / 1) (#102)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:54:14 PM EST

And, unlike you, I won't say "it's not the same because i think it's not the same, so there!". I'll give you a very tangible difference: rock in it's golden years was universally popular, and that same rock carried cultural and social message and was *art*, at it's best. Right now, whether you think electronica is poop on a stick or quite nifty, the 100% cold-cut fact is that stuff that is mainstream (nsync, BSB) is _not_ art by any stretch of imagination, while stuff that is experimentative and serious is obscure and underground. The reason is not that people got stupider but that this 'serious' stuff got worse. The bottomless pit of neat rock tunes got depleted (it was a bummer when we realized that nobody cares if it's bottomless or not, but how much good stuff is in it!). Okay, I lost my train of thought here. I should stop these parenthesized digressions.. Anyhoo, there is another issue here - trance only sounds good when you're on e, otherwize it sounds like shit. You really have to be clueless to listen trance or electronica while not on drugs. Rock was different cause it sounds good either way.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
oh and another thing.. (1.00 / 1) (#103)
by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:59:37 PM EST

Music is not something you either "handle" or "not handle". You're not fighting a boxing round. You're not running a 55 mile race. You're not taking on Chuck Norris with your trusty nunchakis. You're not competeing in a fucking tour de france. No, it's totally different. You're just sitting in a chair or lying down or, if you're into experimental acid jazz, standing on your head *but*, you're relaxed and you're listening to gentle sounds of music that make you feel better. So, the point is, it's not something you 'can or can not' handle. It's not. Okay? Remember that.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Ok, some problems here... (3.66 / 3) (#24)
by thetasine on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:08:02 PM EST

  • Many hits of the 19th Century were still hits in the early 20th Century and of course at this time nobody owned cd players and most not even radios.

    Well, gee... audio recording technology was still in its infant stages, and thus most music was played live. Musicians would perform when there was no such thing as electronic instruments or electrical amplification. Of course Rock and Roll would not be discovered!

  • Are these people incapable of writing original music?

    Unfortunatly you are witnessing the inherent failings of mass-communication and the "dumbing down" of most society to please the lowest common denominator. Just as modern TV is no longer like Shakespere. Only the most generic of bands and musicians get played on the radio.

  • Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, etc perhaps one of quite a few people that could now be called the first music celebrities.

    Any notable composer from ANY of the previous centuries would have been considered a celebrity of their time.

  • However, with the likes of even Radiohead beginning to abandon their guitars and instead turn to, in my opinion, mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring beats and sounds all in the name of "creativity" maybe my theory isn't so far out and ridiculous.

    How easy it would have been to quote the entire paragraph. Three words for you: Four Four Beat. Which coincidentally, is the most popular.

  • author's note: you shouldn't take this ridiculous scare mongering too seriously. I am totally insane, and my musings bare little relevence to real life (whatever reality is?)

    Is this Op-Ed? You make good points, but obviously your musical experience is limited to the public airwaves and nightclubs. This is a rant, and not a single thing you say is factually based. Its all opinion.
    Repeat after me: expand your listening habits, expand your musical catalog, find something strange and beautiful to listen to, don't follow the crowd.

  • Music snobbery at it's most extreme!

    Music snobbery requires that you understand and appreciate the many inventions, styles, and influences of music. Until you do your article strikes me as uninformed.


    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law." - Claude Debussy


  • Without being rude... (3.50 / 2) (#31)
    by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 07:00:53 PM EST

    you epitimise my idea of a "music snob" - you claim that I have minimal knowledge of music, and that I need to research.

    I'm certainly not misinformed, and your reason for stating this _is_...? I didn't deny that there is lots of good music coming out, and I'm hardly mainstream. I listen to alot of good music, and I bare as much contempt for commercial music as you. Like I said in a previous post, I believe that in many cases quality get's put on the back burner in exchange for originality and false creativity. You remind me of the art critic who states that the paint splashed randomly onto canvas by a 3 year old, is the work of a genius.

    Anyone can chuck a few noises together, and even more people will pay good money to listen to it - that certainly doesn't mean it is any good. Music to me, isn't something you have to listen to days on end before you "understand it". I'm starting to rant now, I'm tired.. just thought i'd give you a suitable response.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]

    The reason... (4.00 / 2) (#32)
    by thetasine on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 07:48:35 PM EST

    The reason that I state that you need to "do more research" (as you put it) is in fact my way of saying that you are discounting a lot of what you don't know (by what your article described). It's not snobbery, unless you define snobbery as being closed minded, which is exactly the opposite of what I'm trying to convey.

    I was just hoping you would NOT discount the possibility of something that you don't like is original, creative, and inspiring. Thus the reason for my original post. Since there is a lot more music out there than what you described in your post, thus, your argument that music will end is bad. That's my whole point. I just tend to be extra diligent when commenting on an article (if that makes me a snob, so be it).

    "There is no theory. You have only to listen. Pleasure is the law." - Claude Debussy


    [ Parent ]
    In other news... (4.33 / 6) (#25)
    by dennis on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:13:45 PM EST

    ...literature is dying. There are only about 100,000 English words, and if you stick with words in common Western usage you're down to maybe 10,000. How many combinations of words are there? Considering the restrictions of grammar, and the fact that presumably they have to string together in some sort of remotely meaningful way, probably less than you'd think. It's getting harder and harder to say something original, and soon we'll be stuck with advertising slogans and weird experimental poetry.

    If my argument is flawed.... (2.00 / 1) (#29)
    by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:50:00 PM EST

    then your argument is equally flawed. The reason for this is like music, language is infinite in that you can string any nonsense together. True, there's "only about 100,000 words" and true you can string them together any way you want, but what I'm saying is that QUALITY is neglected for the sake of ORIGINALITY. Sure, go find your 10,000 words and "string them together" any old how, and come back to me with er.."War and Peace" or perhaps "Dante's Inferno". Similarly, I challenge anyone to go string any old notes together, sure they'll call it creativity, and sure they'll claim that anyone that thinks it's junk "doesnt understand music" but there you go.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    Also.. (2.00 / 1) (#30)
    by m0rzo on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:52:26 PM EST

    "It's getting harder and harder to say something original, and soon we'll be stuck with advertising slogans and weird experimental poetry." - you might not be that far from the truth there. Heard of cliche? There's not much you can say these days without being accused of using cliches. This same argument can pertain to ideas. Who can deny that the world is running out of ideas? Like Japanese "innovation" most peoples *new* ideas today, are rehashes of ideas past.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    Maybe in the US! (3.00 / 1) (#71)
    by RiotNrrd on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:48:33 AM EST

    Last time I looked into this, English had over 1.000.000 words in use (that doesn't mean everyday usage, just that they're not archaic) and nearly as many more in the vocabularies of various technical specializations - I'm assuming that on K5 of all places I won't have to persuade too many people of that factoid!
    -- There is a rational explanation for everything. Unfortunately there is also an irrational one.
    [ Parent ]
    You're missing it (3.33 / 3) (#95)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:08:19 PM EST

    Think for a second: have you ever heard a song that was *very* similar to some other song? You're talking about bits here, and of course, if you take a track off a cd, then make a 256kbps mp3, then a 128kbps mp3, then an ogg, then a .rm file, they'll all be very different if you look at the bits and very much the same if you *LISTEN* to them. Yeah, there's effectively infinite combinations of notes. That's irrelevant to this story, though, cause we're not talking about running out of random combinations of notes. We're talking about running out of good music. (Perhaps you can't tell one from the other, but plenty of people can).

    OH, and since we're talking about literature.. same shit, man. You wanna do a story about some dude who realizes that once he understood the mechanism of morality, how it came to be and where it comes from, he can step right out of it and be free, and then he tries to and fails? Dostoevsky wrote something like that. You can't just go and write a book that takes a fresh look at this without being derivative to some extent. Look at shakespeare - he took several motives that cut into the essence of human nature, and made his plays, and you probably think, hey, star wars is about talking robots and slimey aliens, that's totally different, huh? Masterpieces are rare as hell and the more time passes, the rarer they get. Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of brilliant plays, Orwell wrote animal farm and 1984, and that guy who wrote catcher in the rye, (DAMN, i can *never* remember his name), he just wrote catcher in the rye and several good short stories. It's getting harder, eh? Doh, and there's still so many random combinations of words! I guess it's that random combinations aren't all that interesting to read.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    Masterpieces, you're right (none / 0) (#114)
    by dennis on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:25:27 AM EST

    You'd probably enjoy the Spider Robinson story that someone else linked to. He makes the same point, refers to several real cases in which writers sued others for writing "derivative" stories, and postulates a perpetual copyright law that brings an end to all art.

    Plenty of classical pieces are built on themes by prior composers, and some rock songs do the same. West Side Story retells Romeo and Juliet. As Robinson suggests, we recycle our art. Which in my opinion makes it all the more silly when "intellectual property" holders act as if they have absolute rights to what they created, as if they themselves didn't draw from the works of others.

    In fact, this whole discussion started a few thousand years ago with Solomon: "There's nothing new under the sun."

    But to reuse yet another theme: "The devil's in the details." And I think artists will come up with plenty of ways to play for a very long time to come.

    [ Parent ]

    combinatoric (3.40 / 5) (#27)
    by dr k on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 06:39:40 PM EST

    Proclaiming the imminent death of music is misguided, and best reserved for long cross-country drives and class reunions. Music may be dead for you, or you may be fundamentally out of Sync with pop culture, but this is usually a complaint of the spoon-fed.

    There is no useful combinatoric enumeration of music. A musical note is not the atom of music. You'd have to zoom in a couple thousand times to find a meaningful unit, and even then you would miss the concept that music is 90% perceptive.

    Things have changed since Mozart's day - we are bombarded by noise from every direction, coming from telephones, car speakers, digital watches. A valid comment would be to say that we are disappointed in the quality of music to which we are constantly subjected. And yet, the "new" music that I might recommend to you is in part derived from this ambient noise.

    But I feel myself veering into an art discussion, and I made a promise to myself to never attempt to discuss art on k5 again. So....
    Destroy all trusted users!

    So don't. (2.33 / 3) (#99)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:38:25 PM EST

    You think anyone haven't heard the "it's all perception, dude" adage? We considered it and decided it's just not true, and that's why we're having a discussion here. Thanks for watching.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    +1, insightful (none / 0) (#120)
    by dr k on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 06:00:02 AM EST

    You're a regular Stone Phillips, what an insightful comment! With a mere waving of your hands, you say "We've considered it..." and all of my trite observations vanish into the sanitary void where they keep the opinions of those who dared too much.

    Try not to cut yourself on that sharp wit.
    Destroy all trusted users!
    [ Parent ]

    *what* trite observations? (1.00 / 1) (#124)
    by Rainy on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 01:05:17 PM EST

    That's the problem - you didn't say anything new. You said 'hey, it's all opinions, everybody got one, so we might as well not talk about it'. Did I miss any of your uh.. "observations"?
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    would you like something to bite on... (none / 0) (#125)
    by dr k on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 05:45:25 PM EST

    ... while I pull that stick out of your ass?

    I said: "There is no useful combinatoric enumeration of music."

    I said: "... this is usually a complaint of the spoon-fed."

    I said "music is 90% perceptive."

    I did not say, as you so eloquently misparaphrased, "it's all perception, dude." [emphasis mine].

    While I may not have made any "original" comments, I like to think I have some minimal skills in comprehension and composition. You, however, seem to need some remedial education. Have you tried looking at all the letters in a word before you try to pronounce it?
    Destroy all trusted users!
    [ Parent ]

    Let's dissect it, shall we? (2.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Rainy on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 12:39:32 PM EST

    Here's your original article:

    Proclaiming the imminent death of music is misguided, and best reserved for long cross-country drives and class reunions. Music may be dead for you, or you may be fundamentally out of Sync with pop culture, but this is usually a complaint of the spoon-fed. There is no useful combinatoric enumeration of music. A musical note is not the atom of music. You'd have to zoom in a couple thousand times to find a meaningful unit, and even then you would miss the concept that music is 90% perceptive. Things have changed since Mozart's day - we are bombarded by noise from every direction, coming from telephones, car speakers, digital watches. A valid comment would be to say that we are disappointed in the quality of music to which we are constantly subjected. And yet, the "new" music that I might recommend to you is in part derived from this ambient noise. But I feel myself veering into an art discussion, and I made a promise to myself to never attempt to discuss art on k5 again. So....

    First sentence goes "Proclaiming the imminent death of music is misguided, and best reserved for long cross-country drives and class reunions."

    If I were to understand your post literally, I'd have to withdraw my assertion that you said "it's all perception, dude". You never said it. However, if I were to understand your post literally, I'd have to conclude that it's off-topic, as the Story you were replying to is not about "imminent death of music". So, since we're both out of kindergarten, why don't we cut the literal bullshit?

    Here's a paste out of the Story, to refresh your waning memories: The changing face of music? Or the death of music? This article examines the possibility that genuinely the world is, well.. running out of original music!

    Clearly, the poster meant that quality of the music is diminishing.

    But on to the next sentence of your immaculate post!

    Music may be dead for you, or you may be fundamentally out of Sync with pop culture, but this is usually a complaint of the spoon-fed.

    So, there is no even remote possibility that quality of music is going down? You give two choices here, in an either/or fashion, excluding the one that Story is suggesting.

    Next one is a gem in its own right:

    There is no useful combinatoric enumeration of music.

    Whee! Lots of big words here. It doesn't seem to make any sense at first look, so let's look to the dictionary for help, we're playing with big people who use big words here.

    Okay, combinatoric isn't in dictionary.com. We're too big to use the words out of the dictionary. We're thinking outside the box. Next one is enumeration; luckily, it's in the dictionary: <pre> enumeration n 1: a numbered list [syn: {numbering}] 2: the act of counting [syn: {count}, {counting}, {numeration}, {reckoning}, {tally}] </pre>

    So, let's make a wild guess here: you mean it's impossible to consider all possible combinations of notes? That is, of course, absolutely true and I'd be very impressed if not for two facts: first, it's got nothing to do with the story, second, it's so obviously true that it's not worth stating.

    Several other posts said the same thing and number of people answered, including me. I won't go into detail here.

    A musical note is not the atom of music. You'd have to zoom in a couple thousand times to find a meaningful unit, and even then you would miss the concept that music is 90% perceptive.

    What is "the atom of music"? Zoom in? Playing with your polaroid again? Consider that the same melody, whether it is done on drums, guitars, or by a full symphonic orchestra, is still the same melody. You take some good song, say Spirit's Taurus.. It's melody was ripped off by LedZep for "stairway to heaven" and it can be ripped off a billion or a hundred billion times, each time making a different "useful combinatoric enumeration" but at the same time being completely derivative! (Of course, in case of "stairway" I mean the quiet part of melody, not the later anthemic part, but that's 'cause Plant knew he had to add *something* of his own, unlike your Limp Bizkit or whoever!). I'd also like to see the formula you used to get that 90% figure.. I suspect you forgot to carry a sign or something, it looks way off.

    Things have changed since Mozart's day - we are bombarded by noise from every direction, coming from telephones, car speakers, digital watches.

    So, the sound of rain falling on the roof, sound of thunder, of carpenter's saw, smith's hammer, farm animals - all that isn't noise? Man, I just love Mozart's awesome Mooing cows concerto. What the hell is your point?

    A valid comment would be to say that we are disappointed in the quality of music to which we are constantly subjected.

    No shit sherlock!

    And yet, the "new" music that I might recommend to you is in part derived from this ambient noise.

    Wisely forgetting to make the recommendation here.. Much appreciated. See, you can do well if you try a bit!

    But I feel myself veering into an art discussion, and I made a promise to myself to never attempt to discuss art on k5 again. So....

    **EXCELLENT**. That's a _verrrry_ healthy instinct on your part. You know, if that theory about right side angel, left side deamon talking into your ears is true, I totally know where this one comes from.. (alas, I also know where the rest of your post came from..). Eternal truths, #37: if you don't know squat about art, don't talk about it!

    P.S., thanks for little help with that stick. You don't have to try so hard licking it up next time. Regards.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    re: (none / 0) (#130)
    by dr k on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:11:46 AM EST

    Hey, looks like you spent more than 10 seconds on that response. That makes me so happy.

    So, there is no even remote possibility that quality of music is going down?

    The whole concept of "measurable quality" is nonsense to begin with. The burden was on you (or on the article) to provide this measure, and it did a miserable job of it. It should be clear that music has a cultural function, and if we measure quality based on cultural value, then as long as we make new music, the quality of music will always improve - the quality relative to culture.

    Man, I just love Mozart's awesome Mooing cows concerto.

    You seem to know a lot about the 18th century.

    Wisely forgetting to make the recommendation here..

    Pearls before swine.
    Destroy all trusted users!
    [ Parent ]

    Re: burden.. (none / 0) (#136)
    by Rainy on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:23:05 AM EST

    Hey, looks like you spent more than 10 seconds on that response. That makes me so happy. I figure, as long as I reply, might as well do it right.. The whole concept of "measurable quality" is nonsense to begin with. There's "it's all perception" bullshit goes again.. I thought you said you *don't* believe in it? What about 90% perceptive, then 10% *IS* measurable? The burden was on you (or on the article) to provide this measure, and it did a miserable job of it. We didn't do it cause it's obvious to anybody who has appreciation for music and compared carefully today's music and the 60s/70s bands who invented rock, ambient, etc. Aphex twin ain't no Eno or Gabriel, y'know.. But since you asked nicely now, I'll give you a hint. Look at how fragmented and split the industry now - you have some artsy-up-ther-ass acid jazz or ambient funk bands that are virtually unknown in popular culture and you have 100% produced calculated unoriginal commercialized pop acts that ARE the pop culture now. Is there another "white rabbit" getting airplay today? "Strange days"? Your position is that of a blind man who says "the burden of proof is on *you* people to prove me that sun exists. I don't see anything of the sort. Bugger off".

    See, I don't really mind if you remain ignorant. Frankly, you don't deserve good music. Man, I just love Mozart's awesome Mooing cows concerto. You seem to know a lot about the 18th century. What do you think I meant? I'm almost afraid to find out..
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    core argument (none / 0) (#142)
    by dr k on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:35:48 PM EST

    You have summarized the absurdity of this story right here:

    We didn't do it cause it's obvious to anybody who has appreciation for music and compared carefully today's music and the 60s/70s bands who invented rock, ambient, etc. Aphex twin ain't no Eno or Gabriel, y'know.. But since you asked nicely now, I'll give you a hint. Look at how fragmented and split the industry now - you have some artsy-up-ther-ass acid jazz or ambient funk bands that are virtually unknown in popular culture and you have 100% produced calculated unoriginal commercialized pop acts that ARE the pop culture now.

    On the one hand, you have nothing but praise for the [dubious] pioneers of popular music - those brave English-speaking souls who found new sounds and new venues and who invented record companies. On the other hand, you have preemptively shunned all future seekers of new sounds, venues, and record labels; you do so without trace of irony or shred of criticism, because you are a zealot and an idol worshipper for fucking freedom rock. Go renew your subscription to Rolling Stone, crank up "Revolution 9", and keep this channel clear for people who have something to say.

    But let's review that comment once again: "it's obvious to anybody who has appreciation for music...." Critics from 50, 100, even 200 years ago share your feelings on this issue. It is truly, genuninely OBVIOUS that 'N Sync is a crappy band. And since 'N Sync is clearly the epitome of talent, sophistication, and production values at the present and in all forseeable futures, perhaps we should all gather in the National Mall for a wake to mourn the death of all that was once rockin'.
    Destroy all trusted users!
    [ Parent ]

    Heh (none / 0) (#143)
    by Rainy on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:12:59 AM EST

    On the other hand, you have preemptively shunned all future seekers of new sounds, venues, and record labels; Huh? Where did I say that? you do so without trace of irony or shred of criticism, Without trace of irony or shred of criticism? Are you stoned? because you are a zealot and an idol worshipper for fucking freedom rock. Yeah, but am I right or not? Go renew your subscription to Rolling Stone, crank up "Revolution 9", Never liked either, and that's the precise problem with you people - you don't know what you critisize, but you must insult the viewpoint without even know what it's all about. Luckily, fate is not without a sense of irony and your lack of insight is conviniently punished by the crap you have to listen to cause you know no better ;-). God I love fate, it's the best thing on earth. and keep this channel clear for people who have something to say. I haven't heard a single sensible argument out of you, unlike some other people who criticized the story. And here's an observation: the person with no arguments will always be the first to start insulting opponents. Always been true, always will be, whether it's IRC or usenet or web boards.. You just can't help it, can you you poor sap? But let's review that comment once again: "it's obvious to anybody who has appreciation for music...." Critics from 50, 100, even 200 years ago share your feelings on this issue. Interesting, how can a critic from 200 years back agree with me that popular music peaked in 60s of 20th century? You either read *way* too much sci-fi or, as I said earlier, you're stoned out of what little mind you had. It is truly, genuninely OBVIOUS that 'N Sync is a crappy band. And since 'N Sync is clearly the epitome of talent, sophistication, and production values at the present and in all forseeable futures, perhaps we should all gather in the National Mall for a wake to mourn the death of all that was once rockin'. Now you're getting it. Look up epitome, tho' and stop using words you don't understand. And, didn't you say you promised yourself not to argue about art on k5 any more? How 'bout keeping your promises, hm?
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    The explanation is simple: (4.16 / 6) (#35)
    by smallstepforman on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 09:14:33 PM EST

    You're getting older. No conspiracy, universal lack of 20-beat tunes or any crap like that. You're just getting older, and the night club music is too loud, the clubs too dark, the kids taller than ever and not appretiative of core values your generation grew up with. Thats life. Moving right along...

    Er.. (none / 0) (#45)
    by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:17:42 AM EST

    I'm 17 years old mate. I know plenty of people that abhor electronic music, instead opting for rock, metal etc like myself. Rather than saying I'm like my parents generation, accept the fact that I believe just because it's changing it doesn't mean it's a good thing. Read my other posts for my thoughts on this.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    So Heavy Metal is talent, electronic is not? (none / 0) (#77)
    by botono9 on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 11:42:43 AM EST

    You say that electronic artists have no talent, but you listen to heavy metal? What is your standard for "talent"? I'm not saying that heavy metal is bad (I like it), but how much "talent" does it take to play 3 chords over and over while screaming at the top of your lungs? And how is today's metal more ground-breaking than yester-years'? (that's not rhetorical.. i want to know).

    You probably know of a lot of underground metal artists that are really pushing the envelope, but you seem to be scoffing at electronic artists based on an opinion formed from listening to the stuff near the mainstream. Also, if you're from the states (US), your access to electronic artists is much more limited than over in Europe. In the US, you've got to spend time looking for great artists.

    Out of curiosity, what do you listen to besides metal and rock?

    "Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
    --Robert Anton Wilson
    [ Parent ]

    Who is this directed at.,. me? (none / 0) (#79)
    by m0rzo on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:31:16 PM EST

    I didnt say I liked heavy metal.. but I do. I have very wide musical tastes - I like heavy metal, classic rock, modern rock, alot of alternative stuff and classical. I live in England and have electronic music rammed down my throat 24/7 where i work. It's not all bad, it's just it sounds so repetitive.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    Yes, it was for you... (none / 0) (#81)
    by botono9 on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 01:31:54 PM EST

    I didnt say I liked heavy metal.. but I do.
    I'm being kind of anal, but this is from the previous message: "I know plenty of people that abhor electronic music, instead opting for rock, metal etc like myself." That's where I got the impression you liked heavy metal. (I use the term "heavy metal" to describe all the sub-genres like death metal, speed metal, etc. because I don't know enough about it to tell the difference.)

    I live in England and have electronic music rammed down my throat 24/7 where i work. It's not all bad, it's just it sounds so repetitive.
    If it's house music you're talking about, I hear you. I'm a huge fan of electronic music, but a house artist has got to really have something going on for me to be interested. So much of it seems like what I call "cookie-cutter" house. It's really formulaic.

    Recently I've been getting into dub/lounge/downtempo/trip hop (Kruder & Dorfmeister, Peace Orchestra, Tosca, Massive Attack, Portishead, Orb, The Cinematic Orchestra, Coldcut, Nightmares on Wax, etc.).


    "Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
    --Robert Anton Wilson
    [ Parent ]

    Perhaps this perception comes (4.00 / 3) (#41)
    by plastik55 on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 02:22:56 AM EST

    from the over-commercialization of radio. Back in the day, radio stations were able to play songs the DJ's liked, rather than songs the record companies wanted to sell.

    I guess a lot of people's exposure to new musical styles comes mainly from radio (or from people with overloud car stereos). But there certainly isn't a lack of innovation in music.(Amon Tobin invented a completely new style of jazz a couple years ago, give it a listen, eh?)
    w00t!

    One Word (3.50 / 2) (#42)
    by YesNoCancel on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 04:53:17 AM EST

    Heavy Metal.

    Oops. That's two words.

    Two Words (3.33 / 3) (#78)
    by xdroop on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:08:01 PM EST

    Beavis and Butthead. heheheheheheheheheheheheheheh.

    oops, that's three words.
    ---
    xhost +
    [ Parent ]

    electronica (4.50 / 6) (#43)
    by YelM3 on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 06:16:30 AM EST

    However, with the likes of even Radiohead beginning to abandon their guitars and instead turn to, in my opinion, mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring beats and sounds all in the name of "creativity" maybe my theory isn't so far out and ridiculous. Music snobbery at it's most extreme!

    I'm sorry to have to state the obvious like this, but you're really setting yourself up for it: You just don't get it. I mean that in exactly the same way as you meant it when your parents weren't nearly as excited about OK Computer as you had hoped they would be. These scary new sounds that you just can't accept are the future of music.

    Radiohead's latest efforts have certainly been controversial, but I think they represent the very tip of the iceberg of what we'll be seeing more and more of in the near future. Electronic music has been alive and well for over two decades now, and has managed to stay mostly seperate from popular music until recently. Just as Radiohead is blending their rock with electronic beats and sounds, mainstream rock and pop will begin to merge with electronica to form the next big genre.

    I suggest anyone who holds the opinion that music is dead or dying check out some of the truly original and progressive electronic names out there. Try Orbital, Underworld, BT, The Chemical Brothers, William Orbit, DJ Tiesto, or any one of the popular trance and club DJs out there. I guarantee you will find all the "new" sounds you can handle.

    Also, give Amnesiac a few more listens, it really is a beautiful album. ;)

    you DONT get it (1.00 / 4) (#44)
    by m0rzo on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 07:13:47 AM EST

    You're missing my point over and over. I don't give a damn whether electronic music is the "next genre" my point is, that electronic music is a load of sh*te. There is no talent whatsoever in electronic music and that it precisely the reason I don't listen to those artists(?) you recommended. Just because times change doesn't mean I have to rant and rave about the change - the world is falling down around us.. and thats why I don't rant about that either.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    talent schmalent (3.00 / 1) (#51)
    by dnuoforp on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 05:06:03 PM EST

    hahaha. the no talent argument. you sound like everyone's parents when they blasted their latest record, tape, or cd. times change, and the old-schoolers always insist that the new people have no talent. talent schmalent, it's just music. listen to what you like.

    [ Parent ]
    Exactly. (none / 0) (#53)
    by dnos on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 05:46:06 PM EST

    Why don't we compare apples to oranges while we're at it too: I think apples are better because you can use them in more food dishes than you can oranges...and they taste better. You know what that automatically means? Apples are the shit, oranges are the lowest, filthiest, crummiest fruit in the world. "only idiots eat oranges"... :P M0rzo, I bet you only like oranges though, considering how much harder they are to grow...takes more talent, I guess they might be superior to apples. I'll ponder on that one. :P~

    Seriously though, if there was one ultimate form of music, don't you think everyone would listen to the same cds? NO. Music isn't just about how much talent or creativity it took to make the song...its different for everybody. Everything from listening to the music to get awed by the talent/creativity all the way to social reasons.

    [ Parent ]
    No talent in electronic music? (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by istevens on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 05:25:01 PM EST

    People like Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Pete Namlook, Richard D. James and groups like Autechre and Kraftwerk have more talent in their pinky fingers than most rock musicians have in their entire body. Some of these people have been creating whole electronic worlds and vast cascading arrays of music for almost THIRTY YEARS. Many of them do not simply create music as much as explore new sounds and even create their own instruments with which to do so. To say that "electronic music is a load of sh*te" is like saying jazz is crap based on listening to the likes of Kenny G.

    ian.
    --
    ian
    Weblog archives
    [ Parent ]

    This just in! (3.00 / 1) (#59)
    by pallex on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:16:16 AM EST

    "I don't give a damn whether electronic music is the "next genre" my point is, that electronic music is a load of sh*te."

    Scientists (in white coats and everything) have just proved that Rock music, played on Real Instruments, is up to 47% better than electronic music.

    [ Parent ]
    The sad thing is... (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by spiralx on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 07:52:58 AM EST

    ... I used to believe the same when I was 17 as well. And then I actually opened my eyes and discovered that dance music goes a whole lot further than any of the stuff you hear in the charts and on the radio. And whilst I still listen to my death and black metal CDs, dance music is now what I listen to and appreciate the skill that goes into producing such great music.

    Your age really does show here though, in your complete lack of tolerance for any other form of music other than what you limit yourself to.

    You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
    [ Parent ]

    Classically trained artists (none / 0) (#140)
    by Version5 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:42:28 PM EST

    There are a large number of classically trained musicians in electronic music. Prodigy's Liam Howlett, for example, Kruder & Dorfmeister, the two remaining guys in Underworld.

    Are you saying that these artists, with more training and experience in music than most people ever have, are creating shit. Surely, as trained musicians, they must be aware that they are creating shit? Did they leave behind their life of "good" music in favor of dedicating their life to creating shit?

    I believe the truth lies in your ability to grasp and appreciate good electronic music, hence your assertion that it is all shit. Personally, I have a hard time appreciating most hip-hop. I'm dead certain that its because I'm biased. I like music with strong melodic content, which hiphop is very short on much of the time. But I watched a documentary on the history of hiphop and went to Seattle's Experimental Music Project and looked at their hiphop section, and I feel like I'm warming up to it. Maybe you and electronic music are the same?

    [ Parent ]
    Better examples. (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by isotoxin on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:08:15 AM EST

    DJ Tiesto and BT are the best examples you can provide of talented, innovative artists producing electronic music? For those that aren't familiar with those names, they write extremely formulaic anthemic trance that's not even especially danceable. Stay away. (Although BT's older stuff, particularly Ima, is quite good). Better examples of quality electronic music:
    • Amon Tobin, Permutation
    • Jimmy Van M, Bedrock
    • Danny Howells, Nocturnal Frequencies series
    • Moby, Move EP
    • Kevin Yost, Small Town Underground
    • Roni Size & Reprazent, New Forms
    • Tosca, Suzuki


    [ Parent ]
    let me plug (none / 0) (#76)
    by alprazolam on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 11:38:28 AM EST

    dj shadow (endtroducing) and daft punk (homework).

    [ Parent ]
    I listened to all of that stuff.. (2.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 01:33:46 PM EST

    Well, okay, not all, but alot of Orbital, some Chem brothers, Radiohead, Oakenfold, Photek, Dubtribe sound system. And to be honest, it's all bullshit. It's still kraftwerk, man, same old crap that wasn't as popular as rock in its heyday precisely because it wasn't 1/10th as good as rock in its heyday. Half the appeal is that it's undreground - even though as far as musical ideas go, it's not any better than limp bizkit or n'sync. IMHO, *you* don't get it. There's no bands now that are comparable to best stuff of Doors or PF or PG's Genesis or Stones, Dylan, Beatles, Who, Kinks, et al. I'm sure I missed a few - I definitely missed King Crimson!

    My personal theory is that a new instrument or several instruments have to appear to create a new genre of high quality music. Violins and pianos and what-not made Classical. Clarinet and Saxomophone and so on made Jazz. Electric guitar and bass guitar made Rock. What's missing in electronica? They don't have a new instrument! I mean instrument you can *play*, in real time, not a bunch of knobs and buttons that you apply to wave-forms! The crucial difference is non-liveness of the whole process. Even when they play "live", they use presets and samples, of course. I think it's akin to the difference between swimming and creating a diagram with captions that say "at this stage you have to throw your right hand ahead and push the water behind you as these arrows show". Keep listening to this shit, suckers, and your soul will die :P. Okay, scratch that last one, I'm being too melodramatic..
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    Our tools become us (none / 0) (#89)
    by Duke Machesne on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:25:14 PM EST

    Have you ever been driving in your car and suddenly realized that you could almost feel the tires against the street, the engine sucking air like your own lungs, as if these knobs and levers had become a part of your natural bio-feedback process so complete that the car literally became a part of your body?

    The best musicians have always fallen so in tune with their instruments that they played them as naturally as you and I bend our vocal chords... whether or not we realize that what we are doing "is" bending wave-forms to match preset samples pre-inserted into our brains for later use.

    When, for example, Orbital plays live, they are using different and more complex tools, and ones which it is probably more difficult for the average person to identify themselves with than a guitar at this point simply because the mental agility required to operate the tones, samples, and loops in a sustainable, organic way is... well, not more, I'd say, but of a different type.

    We are a technological generation, and we are learning to use our environment in basically the same ways that every other generation has adapted uses for their environment. The difference between us and them is that for us the immediate world has changed so rapidly that we seem to have basically been totally mystified all this time, in an operating mode of continual hyper-survival adaptation. We are only beginning to develop, on personal and social levels, the internal equipment to get back on top of the technological world, and reclaim it as our own.

    Within the next decade, we may very likely to see (at the end of a somewhat dismal time for culture, from my perspective) the beginnings of the next great cultural explosion (including music I probably (hopefully) can't even imagine today) as a direct result of our socio-biological catch-up with our own self-created blazing technological world.

    It's a friendly, friendly world.

    __________________________________________________
    arts schoolsweight loss
    [ Parent ]

    Perfect analogy.. (2.00 / 2) (#92)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:39:52 PM EST

    The analogy with car is just perfect.. Consider this: there are people, professional racers, who have a great feel for their car, they can hog a turn or drive on just two wheels or turn the car 180 at high speed - quite impressive, isn't it? Well, actually, no, if you compare to how you can train your *body*. Remember that commercial set to the Who's Baba O'Riley song where people play polo with their cars? That's just a commercial, it's not real. People play polo on horses, or play football or tennis, or they can masterfully use a sword like li mu bai (if i got that right) in CTHD - you just don't get to that level of control, power and elegance with a car. There is a great number of such analogies, e.g. book plots vs. computer game plots, etc that you can make and it's all very similar with playing a "real" instrument like a guitar or a piano vs. sampling. Thanks, you really hit the nail on the head here..
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    Car drivers (1.00 / 1) (#135)
    by phliar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:36:10 AM EST

    there are people, professional racers, who have a great feel for their car ...quite impressive, isn't it? Well, actually, no, if you compare to how you can train your *body*.
    So you think car racing is just a skill anyone can learn, eh? Why then do so many fail, and the same people seem to keep winning?

    One other thing that might surprise you: in bicycle races, it's not just the strongest person who wins. Bike racing is as much - no, more - art than strength. It's a delicate feeling about the other riders, the course, the wind, ... knowing when to let a break go, when to chase; when to work on a break, when to allow yourself to be reeled in. And that's not easily learned. Some can do it; others cannot.

    I'm really sorry for you; you seem stuck in a very constrained and limiting world. (If I were feeling uncharitable I might have said you seem to have your head stuck up your ass, but I feel benevolent, so I won't.)


    Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
    [ Parent ]

    On Virtuosity and Creativity (none / 0) (#141)
    by Version5 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 02:01:20 PM EST

    Some musicians are able to master their instrument completely. This is certainly fantastic and impressive and all, but it doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the music they create. I believe Berlioz (one of my favorite classical composers) was not all that skilled in the actual playing of instruments, but he was an extremely powerful and passionate composer.

    Virtuosity and creativity are two separate things. Musicians value both, although I strongly dislike 80s (and 90s) rock bands that drop in lead guitar parts that consist of the pentatonic scale played at lightning speed. Its all show, and no substance or emotion. Sadly, when I was 17, this was my highest aspiration.

    [ Parent ]
    What's an instrument? (none / 0) (#134)
    by phliar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 04:28:12 AM EST

    electronica[doesn't] have a new instrument! I mean instrument you can *play*, in real time, not a bunch of knobs and buttons that you apply to wave-forms!
    Er... how is twisting a few knobs and pressing a pedal any different from me depressing valves 1 and three and making my lips a certain way? And you haven't seen electronic artists play their instruments in real-time? I certainly have. The thing is: they don't think of it as "twist the thing! and that other thing!" any more than I'm thinking "now I need to release valve 3 and press valve 2, while using the tip of my tongue to block the air; and also relax the cheeks, open the lips a little more, move the tongue back and down."

    If anything, electronic instruments are harder to play. I only have three valves to think about! (Why do trumpets have three valves? Because trumpet players can't count any higher.)


    Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
    [ Parent ]

    Hard != instruments. (none / 0) (#137)
    by Rainy on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 11:44:01 AM EST

    That's precisely the point.. They're hard to play, I mean *really* play, just as it's hard to play soccer using a car to 'kick' the ball. It's hard, it's very impressive if anyone does it, even if it's lousy and awkward (and you can bet it will be!), but if you look at the result, music that is alive is much better. It's the same thing with painting a picture like rembrandt did it, and applying a bunch of Gimp filters. If you do the latter, you may end up with something that looks interesting even if you don't have much experience and just play with it for half an hour - and there you go, a neat-looking texture and some abstract forms floating around. A real artist will spend several weeks to paint something, because he knows the trade-off - and he won't forego the absolute control for ease of creation. After all, them overgimped logo's all look the same.. (Note: I don't mean to insult real artists who use tablets to create art using photoshop or gimp. But then again, they know what I'm talking about.)
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    Straight and Crooked Thinking (none / 0) (#144)
    by phliar on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 12:13:09 AM EST

    Rainy, you don't how to construct a logical argument; you just throw out knee-jerk emotional responses.

    First, you said:

    electronica[doesn't] have a new instrument! I mean instrument you can *play*, in real time, not a bunch of knobs and buttons that you apply to wave-forms!
    And then when I compared it to my trumpet - where instead of twisting knobs I push valves, to control a vibrating air-column instead of a vibrating electrical circuit, your response is:
    That's precisely the point.. They're hard to play, I mean *really* play,
    What!!! You obviously don't have a point; you keep blithering on about some sort of "alive music" and garbage words and phrases which seem to only mean "what Rainy is thinking of at this instant".


    Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
    [ Parent ]

    I gave you a good example and you ignored it. (none / 0) (#147)
    by Rainy on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 06:46:47 PM EST

    But if you want your example analyzed, here goes: if you are playing a trumpet, you have access to all its, for a lack of a better word, "functionality" at the same time. That's the essential difference with a non-real-time music production system like a techno synth (I can't call it an instrument, you understand). You play a trumpet for 5 seconds and 5 seconds of music comes out. You play with knobs for 10 minutes, then apply this effect and that effect, create this wave-form and that one, and in the end, creation of that 5 second will be distributed over the long range of time.

    Of course, you can play on a synth in real-time, not using any prepared pre-sets, but that's not how that type of music is done, but if you look at how it's *typically* done, it's not real-time. If you are doing it live, you're simply doing it to prove that "hey, you can do it like that, too!", but let's face it, it's not going to be as good as the best music of that kind, not even close to Eno or Gabriel, for instance (two of the artists are respect the most who experimented with ambient).

    And you can say that while there are, indeed, such differencies, you still maintain that you like ambient just as much (or more). But to me, the simple fact that you missed such an obvious difference, means that you haven't thought about this seriously. I urge you to do so before you respond to this post.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    This post is just so wrong (none / 0) (#139)
    by Version5 on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 01:28:38 PM EST

    On your first point: Just because the Doors, Dylan, the Beatles, etc. particularly resonates with you doesn't make a different kind of music shit.

    On your second point: Music consists of sound. The exact mechanics of how these sounds are created are completely irrelevant to the value or lack of value that a genre has. And your crucial difference theory: Maybe you've seen knobs on guitars, amps and effects pedals. Guitarists also have presets, particular combinations of (often electronic) effects and amp settings that give them their favorite sounds.

    Here's something that happened to me that might interest you concerning "live" music that is oh so much better: One day my neighbor looked in through a window and saw me playing guitar (pretty loudly). He later commented on how great I sounded this time, as opposed to other times he had overheard me. Now, I keep a pretty close watch on my guitar skills, and I can guarantee you that he couldn't have noticed any significant difference in my playing, especially as he was a non-musician. My theory is that the sight of my somewhat energetic performance greatly enhanced his experience of the music. The music sounded better to him, or maybe he had an improved experience, even though to me, it was basically identical.

    [ Parent ]
    If I have a problem with current music... (2.50 / 2) (#49)
    by Rasvar on Sun Aug 05, 2001 at 12:16:42 PM EST

    it just seems to me that no one knows how to properly mix music anymore. Especially in live concerts that I rarely go to anymore. It seems that most of these "musicians" need so much tweaking in the studio that they can not come near duplicating the sound live. Especially egregious to me is when they try to hide bad vocals behind loud music. Of course, I have never been able to understand why you need a Subwoofer in your car trunk that would be louder then most communities Tornado sirens.

    Subwoofers (none / 0) (#67)
    by ronin212 on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 09:31:48 AM EST

    Don't you know *anything*? The loud subwoofer is so the thumpin' bass will drown out the ridiculous crack-induced rambling vocals and the sterile, so-repetitive-it's-like-listening-to-Chinese-water-torture "beatz" that we would otherwise have to hear. As an added bonus, this equipment is usually loud enough to cover up the smooth, pleasing melody of that basketball-sized hole in your '88 Honda's muffler. Werd!

    --
    Now is the time... get on the right side! You'll be godlike.
    [ Parent ]
    Nope (3.00 / 1) (#85)
    by joto on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 02:20:46 PM EST

    Nope, it's there to attract girls. I don't know if it works, since I haven't tried it myself, but judging from what I see, it's quite effective in attracting girls between 14 and 16.

    [ Parent ]
    the link between the two (none / 0) (#118)
    by strlen on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:05:34 PM EST

    yeah, there's definately a link between riceboys and sub-woofer-kiddies. i guess the two 15" subs in the back of their integras and civics let out enough air to use their spoiler for down force ad added 20 horse powers as their spoiler proceeds to function as a sail.

    --
    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    one point (none / 0) (#119)
    by strlen on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 09:08:10 PM EST

    yes, two 15's are not justified, but having an inward pointed 10" or 8" on a compact car will definately make music more enjoyable, as long as you don't distort the bass levels. the reason you use a subwoofer is due to the fact normal speakers can't reproduce bass normally, forcing you to twist up the bass knob and thus distort to the music to hear any. but in no way, does having proper bass require you to have several humungous subwoofers pointed outwards at the traffic.

    --
    [T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
    [ Parent ]
    Music isn't quieter.. It's just everywhere (4.00 / 1) (#56)
    by turtleshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 12:37:21 AM EST

    The worst thing about the RIAA machine is that music is pushed into every corner of the human world.
    In my corner I have to go at least 60 miles deep into the Rocky Mountains and reject nearly 50 years of progress to avoid the oversaturation of radio, tv, CDs & Tapes.

    American Music is a machine and as such it tends to deafen the operator to its monotonous sounds.

    I used to work in a retail store that pounded in music. They held a contest once and I won my choice of music. Did I pick something worthwhile? NO! after that programming I recieved 8 hours a day for weeks I chose Martika simply based on the "promo" I heard over and over and over....
    Music of youth rarely is of the same taste as their parents generation. The marketing machines know this and gear music to its audiance, hence the phenomona of the shrinkwrap boy/girl bands
    I had to suffer my passage with Menudo!!!


    Mozart was a genius, 99.99999% couldn't write an original tune if our lives depended on it. We're still the only species on the planet that can do that. Other animals can but not at the pace we do. Asking a 16 year old from the suburbs, the ghetto or anywhere to come up with socially provocative, earth shaking new hits on a monthly basis is asking a lot.

    The world still sees fits and spurts of musical genius.. I vote for Charlotte Church as I sing like a frog and she's an infant compared to my age.
    If anything music is harder to hear through the noise of the world.
    Turtleshadow

    possibilities infinite, today's music sucks (3.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Ender Ryan on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 08:42:29 AM EST

    I believe your argument is completely flawed, in that there really is no limit to how much original music can be created. I guess, mathematically, you will eventually run out of different sounding music, but there is no way your brain will be able to contain enough information for that to be a problem.

    No, the problem is, music today just sucks, in your opinion, and mine too for that matter. It's simply a matter of taste, people today are asking for the same boring crud over and over.

    There is hope. There is good music, and it's not too hard to find. Stop listening to the radio, first of all. Go to some local clubs, if your local music scene sucks, go somewhere else.

    If you like heavy metal, there is a ton of new very original sounding stuff. No, not the crap that's been getting so much radio play, most of that sounds like boy bands trying to play heavy music. If you like metal, check out Nothingface, they are truly original metal. They've worked their asses off for the last 6 years and they've finally started getting some serious recognition. I'd have to say, they are hands down the best metal band around today.

    For some really psychotic metal, check out Mudvayne, and for something very original, check out Ultraspank(I heard they broke up recently, such a shame).


    -
    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!


    omg yes, Nothingface is awesome (none / 0) (#121)
    by Dissention on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 11:57:22 AM EST

    I have been listening to them for a long time now, and I still can't believe they have not gotten huge. Hopefully a 4th CD will get them some true recognition.

    [ Parent ]
    Simple maths (3.50 / 2) (#66)
    by NotZen on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 09:06:54 AM EST

    Leaving aside the fact that there has always been middle of the road music - because it's popular - even a small amount of maths would have shown you that music isn't running out. Take just the piano. In fact, take just one octave on the piano. That's 8 notes. Assume 4 notes in a second. That's 4096 combinations of notes possible in that second. So taking 10 seconds of piano music (played only in one octave) that's 1.3 x 10 to the power of 36 possible combinations. now, there's a lot more than one octave on a piano, and there chords, different keys and the possibility of playing with two hands. And all this is just with one instrument playing by itself. Throw in 4 instruments, each of which can have effects added to it, and we're nowehere even near contemplating the rich depths we have to explore.

    Not so simple (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by joto on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 02:15:58 PM EST

    Actually, if you are going to do something like this, you should do it properly.

    The chromatic scale contains 12 notes, not 7. Most melodies can be played inside one octave if transposed properly, almost all inside two octaves, which gives us 24 keys + silence to play with. Most popular music only uses the following note-lengths: 32th., 16th., 8th., 4th., half-note, whole-note, punctuated 16th., punctuated 8th., punctuated 4th., punctuated half-notes, triplets of 8th., and triplets of 16th.

    For music in 3/4 beat, there will then be 322296236441639616198782642128858 possible ways to play one measure. For 4/4 beat, there will be 49178502892421880735183203960948393852284610 possible ways of playing one measure. Dividing by beats per measure, and adding these together, we get 12294625723212902262609680862303359343780771 ways to play one beat of a melody.

    Assuming something close to 60bpm, that's quite a bit more than your initial calculation of 4096 different ways to play one second of a melody. Most of it will come from the added notes, but even with only one note in use (as well as silence), you will get 765273084 different ways to play one beat of a melody.

    However you can not increase this number by playing chords, or adding more instruments. All popular music (except that which only goes boom-boom without a melody) is based on the melody. Sometimes the chord-progression matter, but usually not, anything that makes the melody sound nice is usually ok. And the key you play in, or the number of instruments is certainly not important, you can certainly recognize a melody as the same, whether it is played by a tuba-player, a pianist, or three cellos.

    [ Parent ]

    You didn't compute the humanity into it (none / 0) (#109)
    by turtleshadow on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:11:20 PM EST

    While mathematically there are alot of possiblities you forget the humanity in the equation. Humans can at will change tempo, chords, chop, stop, bend, delay, pause and inflect the activity and action of their instruments.
    While an equation could forsee the Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner or Madonna's rather trite re-rendition of American Pie. Its like finding out that your birthdate is in PI.

    Sure its there but how could you ever know till someone told you it was?
    A Hammond b3 has only a limited number keys but get someone that can jam on it like Jimmy McGriff and you got a whole different thing that I say can't be computed unless your saying all notes exists for alltime like they say all number pairs exist in PI.
    Turtleshadow

    [ Parent ]
    Digitization? (none / 0) (#129)
    by Mad Hughagi on Thu Aug 09, 2001 at 03:18:17 PM EST

    It's funny when one views music as being composed of these mathematical entities.

    I'm of the belief that music (and more generally sound) is an analog waveform of energy that travels through pressure differences in matter.

    If you really wanted to get down to it all, you would have to include all sorts of other factors into your "equation of music".

    Our perception of what makes music artistic, pleasing, or whatever is based on our psychology. It's interesting to see how big the number is, but I don't think it's that important really, the degree of complexity with which most of our endeavors progress quickly shames a view based on simplification.

    As for this article, I think it is complete shit, and naively egocentric. But then again, the same can be said about most of what comes out of my mouth.
    HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

    We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
    [ Parent ]

    Music today doesn't suck... (3.00 / 1) (#69)
    by t3chie on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:13:53 AM EST

    Popular music sucks.

    Even some of the popular bands are quite good. You want original? Try Dave Matthews. I'm not saying you'll like it, but it is quite original, esp. his older work.

    How about U2? They are still producing original work.

    Check out your local music too. I have found a number of new sounds around town. Problem is that music is promoted by the likes of MTV. They need something which is a guarenteed win. They stick with what works.

    U2 and original work (none / 0) (#149)
    by mattmcp on Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 02:34:02 PM EST

    While I like U2 and do agree that their stuff is, for the most part, original, even they don't agree with the songs that become their hits. The band was surprised that "Beautiful Day" climbed the charts because it was a very simple song and not one that they would have chosen. As was mentioned earlier, the record companies decide what they want you to hear and push that to the radio stations and MTV (MuchMusic here).

    [ Parent ]
    Change is on the way (3.50 / 2) (#72)
    by dorinda on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 10:52:45 AM EST

    I think its silly to say that we are running out of music to make. Yes, there was a large musical revolution in the 60's. Just as with any revolution, a musical revolution comes at a time when things seem monotonous and boring. The sixties exploded with guitars and new thoughts. People were six of the mainstream thought and it was time for an extreme change. Recently more and more people are sick of the pop world and are branching out to find as much new music as they can. Napster and other free music exchange programs have allowed people to learn about music at an extremely quick rate. Although the pop world is strong, so is the music industry in general. As more people become interested in music, there is more demand for change. Instead of being stuck in a period of unchange, I think we are on the verge of change. Musical possibilities are limitless. The guitar changed the world in the 20th century, now its time for something new. Whether it is electronic or comes from a new instrument entirely, music is a constant evolution. It is just a matter of time and public desire, before we have another radical revolution of music in store.

    Why is pop music considered bad music? (4.33 / 3) (#73)
    by threshold on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 11:01:05 AM EST

    Why is Backstreet Boys and Nsync MUSIC considered bad music? Its well produced, and catchy. The melodies and beats are fairly decent and singing is average and in some cases good. Its pre-packaged to appeal to a certain demographic, like how Rage Against the Machine was, but its good music. The fact that they don't write the music is part of the reason I don't really listen to it regularly or buy it. The other part is of course image, I wouldn't want to be caught dead listening to that. And that is really what music is about, image. At least most of the teenage girls are honest about it.




    Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
    Obsolescence (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by John Miles on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 03:27:07 PM EST

    Why is Backstreet Boys and Nsync MUSIC considered bad music?

    Will people still be listening to the Backdoor Boys and Britney decades from now? Even the kids who are currently growing up listening to them? I doubt it. The places occupied by these overproduced teenybopper acts in the hearts and minds of their audience will eventually be entirely overrun by whatever the Next Thing turns out to be. They'll be forgotten faster than you can say "Debbie Gibson."

    Bad music is actually quite trivial to identify objectively. All you have to do is come back in twenty or thirty years and see if anyone's still listening to it. If so, the music had at least some merit. If not, it was bad music. Case closed.

    Art, unlike pure craft, never becomes obsolete. Out of fashion, yes; but not obsolete. (I'm defining 'obsolete' as 'having been replaced adequately and completely by a successor.') You can't replace Beethoven, or Mozart, or Count Basie, or Prince. Hell, you can't even replace Duran Duran. But the music world can damned sure hot-swap N'Sync and Christina Aguilera without missing a beat. Just wait and watch... it'll happen.

    For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
    [ Parent ]

    On the other hand (none / 0) (#90)
    by kworces on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:31:06 PM EST

    On the other hand, the Beatles put out plenty of "pop trash" early on. The didn't start writing "real music" until later. So Britney and Backstreet may always be Pop Music, but they may one day suprise everyone with something fresh. Time will tell.

    [ Parent ]
    Will never happen... (none / 0) (#91)
    by m0rzo on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:38:32 PM EST

    why? because whatever pop trash the beatles thumped out back in the early days, they wrote it themselves. The Britney Spears' and N-SYNCS' out there don't write any of their own stuff.
    My last sig was just plain offensive.
    [ Parent ]
    A valid point (none / 0) (#97)
    by kworces on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:30:10 PM EST

    That's a point I hadn't considered, and a very good one. I don't know about some of the other pop acts but (since you specifically mentioned them) I remember hearing that N'Sync started writing some of their own music. At any rate, I'm not saying boy/girl bands are musical geniuses in the making. I'm just saying, don't write them off until while they're still in the business.

    [ Parent ]
    Rage is not a packaged band... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by zztzed on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:08:08 PM EST

    ...and whenever someone says they are it makes me cringe.

    Yeah, they were signed to a major record label, and many people consider this to be a shining example of their poseurdom. But all along, they wanted to get a message across, and signing with Epic allowed them to get their message out to a wider audience than an indie label would have. And they signed with Epic because they were the only label who didn't treat the message as just a gimmick.

    And Rage actually supported the causes they believed in. Not in the typical celebrity "just throw some money at a charity" way, either (though they did do some of that, donating proceeds from the Battle of Los Angeles tour to homeless shelters in each of the cities they played in); Zack de la Rocha, Rage's singer, has frequently visited Chiapas, Mexico to help the EZLN (the Zapatistas, a group of Mexican freedom fighters). They've protested numerous companies for using sweatshop labor. They've fought to get Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier fair trials. They've fought for free speech. For women's rights. They support Refuse and Resist, an organization that opposes "the meanspirited, openly racist, misogynist, homophobic, Christian fundamentalist demands for 'family values.'".

    If Rage had existed solely to make money and sell records, you'd (or would have, since they're broken up now) see and hear a lot more of them on eMpTyV or the radio. Rage rarely got any exposure on eMpTyV (except when they released new videos, and even then it generally dropped off after a few days as the Backdoor Boys and 'NSuck edged them off the charts) or radio (again, except when new singles were released, but of course, other, more popular and marketable bands would take their place).



    [ Parent ]
    You're right, somewhat... (none / 0) (#111)
    by threshold on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 07:36:22 AM EST

    Yes, they formed by themselves and write their own music, so they're better then Backstreet and Nsync in that sense. But Epic saw that there was a huge demographic rebeling against their parents and going though their "teen angst" phase so they signed them and off they went to make some albums and some mega money. What? Say it ain't so say, they care, they support their causes and don't believe in capitalism or globalization they sold over-priced records and were marketed worldwide.


    Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
    [ Parent ]
    hmm.. (none / 0) (#93)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:48:59 PM EST

    So, teenage girls are more honest than you because you both like the stuff but *you* wouldn't get caught listening to it! And now you post here and say, hey people, you're all as fake as me, you all enjoy this music but then you go and say it's bullshit because the image of it doesn't fit you. Only teenage girls are "supposed" to like it. Well, I hate to crash your plane like that, but most music listeners care more about *music* than image. I listen what I like and I like what I listen, and I'm not going to hide it because it's not in vogue. And if you like it, well, don't fucking *hide* it. If someone thinks you've got a terrible taste if you like n'sync, well, it's not the end of the world. There are two possibilities here, boy bands may indeed be good music, or not. If they are good, why are you hiding your superior taste from those who don't get it? The only reason to hide it would be if you're, indeed, ashamed of your own taste in music, but that's not the case, is it?
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    Not quite... (none / 0) (#112)
    by threshold on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 07:49:40 AM EST

    What I'm saying is as far as music goes, Nsync, Backstreet Boys isn't bad music, nor is it great music. Its univerisally said especially around here that all they ever hear is that terrible music by Nsync and Backstreet Boys. But frankly it isn't bad, its alright. The same amount of effort goes in to producing one of Moby's tracks or any punk song as one of Backstreet Boy's or Nsync's songs. Niether band deserve the amount of attention they recieve because they don't write the songs. The people who do write the songs simply aren't marketable enough to sell to the demographic that buys the most music and merchandise, teen girls. So they get someone with the right image to sing it. And that is what modern day music is about. Selling an image, why are punk bands typically teenagers or 20 somethings with a message of this sucks (exceptions exist, NoFx for one I guess) or rap with their jewerally and blink blinking cars, alternative. I'm saying that music is about image.


    Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
    [ Parent ]
    But *should* it be? (none / 0) (#115)
    by Rainy on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 11:44:50 AM EST

    I don't know about moby or nofx.. but some modern music is clearly much better than other modern music, and not all of it is just about image. These serious songwriters and performers are obscure and little known, and that's how modern musical landscape is different.

    I maintain that if a song is only about image, even if it is "catchy" as you put it, it's still trash. There's real music that is not done for money, at least *tries* to say something new and is not about projecting an image. It may not be catchy, in fact it may suck terribly but it's still better than manufactured calculated generic "produce", for a lack of a better word, that is beamed upon unsuspecting crowds. You're probably right about BSB not being better than moby or whoever, but what's this got to do with what I said? Did I say moby is god of pure musical genius or something? And, it's not that image is immediately bad, take doors for instance, they were about an image of a sort, but it was *their* image, unique image they created. The problem is not that modern music is about image, but that it recycles the same dumbwitted image over and over.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    Well no, but... (none / 0) (#116)
    by threshold on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 12:02:27 PM EST

    the Olympics shouldn't be about commericals either. Its a fact of life I suppose. Saying that one piece of music is better then another piece is completely of opinion. Music is just a series of tones that someone finds pleasing, a jackhammer could be music to someone (I guess demented). I proposed that the opinion of whether one likes a certain piece of music is larely made up of what image you want to project or to aspire to. My roommate wanted to appear smart so he always listened to classic music and alternative. I think image is only part though, others would probably upbringing and just a randomness just like any other 'like' or 'dislike'. I suppose its a bit like food tastes, which are largely not 'judged' by people. No one will really judge if you like pickles and whipped cream.


    Open Source, Open Standards, Open Minds
    [ Parent ]
    Not a fact (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by Rainy on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 01:02:33 PM EST

    Olympics are not just about ads - you're thinking of WWF. The difference with music is that it's not obvious how to measure it - you can say that this dude jumped 5 meters, and the other one, 6 meters so he's better. With music, you can say that white noise is easier to create than the who's love reign o'er me, and that's a very tangible, hard difference, it's not like preferring salami over bologna. As with any other endeavor, there are people who seek the best of the flock, and the majority that listens to KTU-900 while driving to work. As a matter of fact, with food it's the same - people who are *into* it tend to pick different things than others. Don't make the mistake of equating _taste_ with _random choice_.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    bad and good (none / 0) (#148)
    by nakrman on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 11:27:24 PM EST

    Regardless of what music you define as 'good' or 'bad', it's just that YOUR definition. There will always be boy bands and big-breasted teenage girls as long as it sells. The problem is in the capitalistic Record Companies who push the latest craze until it's so inflated and cloned that no one can stand it. Don't bitch about popular music, just listen to what you like and screw the rest. As consumers we have a bigger voice than as music critics.

    [ Parent ]
    You call for new music, then turn your back to it (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by botono9 on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 11:25:29 AM EST

    However, with the likes of even Radiohead beginning to abandon their guitars and instead turn to, in my opinion, mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring beats and sounds all in the name of "creativity" maybe my theory isn't so far out and ridiculous. Music snobbery at it's most extreme!
    Many people have already commented about how this statement is merely opinion. I don't know if it's been said yet, but this statement also contradicts the the message of your entire piece. You say that we might be running out of new things to do with music, and then scoff at the new things a great band is doing. It almost seems as if you want new music to sound just like the music you already like!

    I used to be very judgemental when it came to music. I thought I knew what was "good" and what was "bad". Well, then my musical pallette started to expand as I got older, and I began to appreciate music I have previously labeled as junk. I started to realize that the music wasn't bad, I just wasn't getting it. I wasn't tuning in correctly.

    I used to think dance music was crap. I can see how you could still formulate an opinion like that based on the drivel (see, I'm still making judements) MTV tries to pass of as a watermark of electronic music (while using freaking beautiful pieces as segues to commercials). There is an entire world of music that isn't heavily marketed, but that is wonderful. Listen to some Kruder & Dorfmeister some time. These guys take something as simple as an analog delay and turn it into an instrument all its own. Nothing in their songs is done by accident. Keyboards, beats, basslines and samples all flow together as one cohesive unit. These are classically trained musicians exploring the far reaches of music theory, beat theory, harmony, you name it.

    What it really comes down to is that our opinions about music are just that: opinions. They can be changed at will. There is nothing about them that makes them permanent or immutable. Sometimes all it takes is patience to appreciate a new style of music.

    "Guns are real. Blue uniforms are real. Cops are social fiction."
    --Robert Anton Wilson

    Robert Normandeau (none / 0) (#87)
    by kimbly on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 03:58:18 PM EST

    I generally don't buy music, since I prefer to just listen to the Boston College radio station, WZBC. They never have commercials, they have a very wide range of music styles, and I only rarely hear the same song twice. Anyway, one night I was listening and I heard an amazing piece. It was composed entirely of recorded sounds, like trains, crickets, voices, etc. It was arranged incredibly artfully. I listened, entranced, and waited for them to announce the artist's name. It was Robert Normandeau. It made such an impression on me that even though I never heard anything by him on the radio again, I remembered his name. I remembered his name for a full year before I finally got around to buying the album I had heard an excerpt from, Tangrams. It's as amazing as I remembered it. It's as intricate as a classical symphony. The sounds somehow create a whole world inside my head. As if I'm peeking out from inside a flower, or walking through a dank dungeon, or being run over by a train.

    you know, there was crap in the 60's, too (none / 0) (#94)
    by mckwant on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 04:52:32 PM EST

    Lots of people seem to have this idea that (insert your favorite musical period) music was all about (insert influential bands from that period), and it's just not true. Nobody goes back and remembers all that junk that keeps getting recycled in "Freedom Rock, vol. MCMDVII". For instance:
    • Strawberry Alarm Clock: Pure dreck. I've got your "Incense and Peppermints" right here.
    • The Monkees: Talk about your manufactured bands...
    • Leif Garrett/Shaun Cassidy: 'nuff said
    The list could, of course, go on (and on, and on), but I think you see the point.

    Hey.. (1.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 06:06:49 PM EST

    That goes without saying, the problem is that no really good stuff is done anymore at all.
    --
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    I used to agree (none / 0) (#100)
    by MicroBerto on Mon Aug 06, 2001 at 05:41:52 PM EST

    I used to agree with you, and still do as far as mainstream music goes. Any band/musician that makes its FAME by ripping off others REALLY makes me mad. Orgy, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, Alien Ant Farm... to name a few.

    Well, anyway, I used to agree with you, that is, until I found all of these killer metal bands that put out very original music.

    I love metal!

    Berto
    - GAIM: MicroBerto
    Bertoline - My comic strip

    you must be kidding (none / 0) (#110)
    by gordopolis on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 02:12:58 AM EST

    Charles Duelle said, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Err... that was in 1899. I'm sure you've heard it quoted before. To say that, "'The World is running out of music,'" is no less ridiculous. The human ability of innovation is infinite, so even if it were mathematically possible to "run out" of combinations of musical notes-- which i'm not sure it is-- there are other things for which you must account: instrumentation, implementation of instrumentation, tempo, transitions, length, harmonization, etc., etc., etc. The number of variables is itself infinite, thus the musical possibilities are also infinite.

    You should also keep in mind that the "mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring" music is valued by certain listeners (myself included) just as you value your rock 'n' roll. And that at one point, an older **wiser** generation thought rock music was absolute shit. Just some food for thought, old-timer. ;)

    Pop music is good these days (none / 0) (#113)
    by pyramid termite on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 08:28:55 AM EST

    Yes. I'm serious. Some people have mentioned electronica as the new kind of music that's worth listening to, and I agree. It would seem that today's pop acts are mixing Latin, African, Reggae, Hip-hop, House and Techno into a new commercialized form of this. There's been a lot of playing around with the beats, a lot of experimenting with how far out one can take some things and still be pop. I think it's one of the most interesting periods for "Top 40" radio in a long time. I think we could be seeing a period of innovation that may be equal to 1967-68 - and, yes, I'm old enough to remember that.

    They're hiding the real underground where everyone can hear it, folks ...
    On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
    Not that surprising... (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by taruntius on Tue Aug 07, 2001 at 02:07:44 PM EST

    Hollywood can't seem to make an original movie anymore, and yet they still rake in billions of dollars, so why should the music industry feel motivated to release anything but covers of previous pop songs with a proven sales record?

    The problem is not that the world is running out of music. The problem is that the commercial music distribution machinery has forgotten how to (or chosen not to) distribute interesting new material.




    --Believing I had supernatural powers I slammed into a brick wall.
    The problem here is... (none / 0) (#122)
    by Dissention on Wed Aug 08, 2001 at 12:21:17 PM EST

    That we are looking at top 40 to make these claims. If you want original music, find an underground website or go to clubs that cator to your type of music.

    Personally I like heavy metal and hard rock, some of my favorite bands that may not be widely known:

    Nothingface
    From Zero
    Machine Head
    Fear Factory
    Align
    Nonpoint
    Cold
    Dry Kill Logic
    Slaves on Dope

    Others that are more known:
    Incubus
    Deftones
    Godsmack
    StainD
    KoRn
    Weezer
    Tool
    Rammstein

    You are also overlooking that human nature wants familiarity. This leads to a person liking the same basic sounds with just a bit of a change.

    Also: quality of musicianship is highly overrated. The ability of a band to portray some sort of emotion or paint a picture is much more important than how technical their playing is. This human ability (not instrumental) is what I believe keeps the possibility of original music alive.

    Nonsense!! (3.00 / 3) (#131)
    by phliar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 03:23:17 AM EST

    Running out of music? I'm worried that life is going to be too short for me to even get an idea of kinds of music out there!

    Now I'm far from a mathematician but think of a scale of notes as the numbers 1-1000. How many combinations can be put together that are unique
    Honestly, I smiled when I read this. I am a mathematician. Think of this: there are only 26 letters, and a few punctuation marks. Are we running out of prose and poetry? Of intelligent conversation?
    However, with the likes of even Radiohead beginning to abandon their guitars and instead turn to, in my opinion, mind-numbing, monotonous, and incredibly boring beats and sounds all in the name of "creativity"
    Yes, your opinion - of right now! I think it sounds... interesting. I don't quite like Radiohead's Amnesiac (yet), but it does make me think and concentrate. I think that in a while I will like it.

    In the arena of rock: in the last month I've been listening to the latest albums by two amazing talented artists: P J Harvey and David Byrne. Phenomenal! In the academic musical tradition ("classical") I've been listening to Steve Reich. Amazing! And there are the other musicians I hang out with - it is amazing music, and what's more amazing is that I'm part of it!

    Of course there will always be plenty of "crap" to go around. There always has been. The cool thing about being a jazz musician is - I can explore and develop some small cool thing I see in some popular "crap"... so I hesitate to call it crap. Perhaps just a little harder for me to find interesting things in?


    Faster, faster, until the thrill of...

    The music is getting quieter | 149 comments (140 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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