Monday, September 26, 2011

Q and A, 2

     The problem with defining music as merely organized sound, is that it is too broad a definition, just as "The Philosophy of Music" article states.  That definition encompasses sounds that are not musical, like poetry, speech, sound art, and machine and animal sounds.  I think my definition is a working start, to find a way to simply define music, but as I am not a professional philosopher, I am sure it is lacking in some way: notes intentionally joined together in an organized and meaningful way.  Is it enough to say notes instead of sound?  I am not sure.  I think Becky-Jo's idea of a musical toolkit is interesting, in that perhaps we need to be explicit in the parameters we set to define what makes sounds musical.  Perhaps the definition cannot be as simple as we want it to be.
     Some of the philosophers outlined in the article suggest that what makes sounds music is that its intention is to create an experience through engaging with the sounds, or to suggest that only pure music can be music.  I find these suggestions problematic, since I don't think either of these things need be true for something to be musical.  A song is surely music, and certainly something can be music without there being an audience to hear it.  As well, it cannot be sound that is merely expressive, as there are other expressive sounds that are not musical.
    The only prospect I find in defining music as simply organized sound, is that this definition ensures that no music will be left out, such as song, or pot-banging, or as the article mentions, untuned symphonic percussion.

Is it really this complicated, to define music, or are we just getting lost in the words and the thinking? 
Do we intrinsically know music, and how to create it?

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