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larryace 03-22-2014 07:05 PM

When does sound become music
 
OK it's very subjective. Like perhaps my loved one's voice is music to my ear. Sometimes things that one doesn't normally consider music is considered as music by others. Taking that a step further, can all sounds be considered music?

mikel 03-22-2014 07:07 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
When people tap there feet.

porter 03-22-2014 07:15 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Tapping feet has nothing to do with this boundary. Many beautiful pieces of music are in free-time or at least in a time signature that does not fit well with foot tapping.

Personally, I don't see the point in distinguishing between the two. Art can be created in either 'category', and they go hand in hand.

Dre25 03-22-2014 07:17 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
You've been smoking, Larry :)

8Mile 03-22-2014 07:42 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
I don't know and I couldn't care less. If I like the sound of it, it's music to me. F*** the haters.

Dr_Watso 03-22-2014 07:47 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Awww. It's okay, Larry. Some day that noise you're making will graduate into real music!

WhoIsTony? 03-22-2014 07:48 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
I'm probably the worst person to answer this question because I hear music in washing machines , leaves blowing , trains going by , the traffic and horns of the NYC streets, car alarms, construction sites, .... pretty much everywhere

.... and music is only when people tap their feet ?

tell that to Ornette Coleman or Alexander Scriabin

...by the way uncle L... pass that this way you bone hog

uncle "L" ... the name has never been more appropriate

criz p. critter 03-22-2014 08:06 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
I think sounds can be musical. But music is more than sounds. There needs to be some information, some organized content, and possibly (but not necessarily) a rhythm or repeating pattern. There has to be a "this" versus "that" to communicate information. Ones and zeros. As opposed to a random or white noise content which has no information. There might be times where random or white noise is exactly what you want, but I'm just theorizing here. And I'm generalizing of course. But that, I think, is the main point to start this discussion from.

Here's an example. The percussionist in my band plays a guiro in our interpretation of Johnny Cash's "Big River". I keep telling him to play a repeating pattern, basically a zydeco washboard pattern. I'm playing a real simple one two one two thing, and the guiro fits nicely with that. But he tends to want to "solo" with it, where he starts playing on every sixteenth note. At that point, I think, what he's doing ceases to be a meaningful pattern of "information" and becomes noise. It clutters everything up, and doesn't add anything to the music. Problem is, as many times as I tell him this, he keeps going back to doing it. It totally bothers me, but bands are always a work in progress, so I'm dealing with it.

And now, telling that story makes me think of another question that fits into this discussion: when do sounds (music included) become noise? How's THAT for subjective?

IDDrummer 03-22-2014 08:10 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Personal take here, but I think sound has to be organized in SOME way to be classed as music. Not necessarily organized with intent, but still...

Hell, I don't know. :)

The SunDog 03-22-2014 08:42 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by IDDrummer (Post 1243387)
Personal take here, but I think sound has to be organized in SOME way to be classed as music. Not necessarily organized with intent, but still...

Hell, I don't know. :)

I was thinking the same thing. Organized and coordinated, but that can't apply for everyone. Every sound we hear has a note. For example, toss a pack of smokes on a table, and it will have a note. Some people can actually hear that note (not me, but some people). So the point at which it becomes music is subjective. I think it becomes music when the drummer arrives (that was too easy).

Magenta 03-22-2014 08:57 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
But what about tone-deaf people who enjoy listening to music? What do they hear? More than just rhythm, I think - but what exactly?

WhoIsTony? 03-22-2014 09:00 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Magenta (Post 1243401)
But what about tone-deaf people who enjoy listening to music? What do they hear? More than just rhythm, I think - but what exactly?


I'm pretty sure someone who is tone deaf hears notes the same way someone who is not tone deaf hears them but they are just unable to perceive the differences in those notes enough to reproduce the pitches accurately

JohnW 03-22-2014 09:20 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Someone had to post this. Might as well be me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTEFKFiXSx4

larryace 03-22-2014 09:55 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Of course I've been smoking, let's just always assume that OK? It's probably easier for me to say when I'm NOT smoking lol. How do you think I come up with this stuff lol?

But seriously...I love the sound of a bunch of seagulls on the beach, or even in a Wal Mart parking lot. (what is the deal with that?) No one is organizing anything, but yet it makes a sort of music to my ear. I think all sounds can be considered music by someone. Why does it have to be organized? We're talking sound waves here. They happen. Does it require somebody organizing them to be considered music? It shouldn't. Nature makes it's own style of music and to ignore that is dissing your Mom, IMO.

Magenta 03-22-2014 10:09 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
[quote=larryace;1243415 Nature makes it's own style of music and to ignore that is dissing your Mom, IMO.[/QUOTE]

In the words of the immortal Joyce Grenfell, "I like to think we take Nature's gifts and make them even better."

IDDrummer 03-22-2014 10:13 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 1243415)
No one is organizing anything, but yet it makes a sort of music to my ear. I think all sounds can be considered music by someone. Why does it have to be organized? We're talking sound waves here. They happen. Does it require somebody organizing them to be considered music? It shouldn't. Nature makes it's own style of music and to ignore that is dissing your Mom, IMO.

I didn't say someONE, but I did say organized. Nature IS organizing those sounds, the seagulls are organizing them.

Think of that as opposed to unchanging white noise. I can't imagine someone thinking that's music. Maybe they do, but I disagree with them. You can name a turd a steak, but it's still a turd.

larryace 03-22-2014 10:22 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
OK then is there any such thing as an unorganized sound? If nature is organizing sounds and man is organizing sounds and producing them as a byproduct of living life, then everything is organized so therefore meets the criteria for music. Is that a valid statement? Not questioning you ID, your input just raises more questions.

larryace 03-22-2014 10:27 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? (Post 1243377)
I'm probably the worst person to answer this question because I hear music in washing machines , leaves blowing , trains going by , the traffic and horns of the NYC streets, car alarms, construction sites, .... pretty much everywhere

No see this is what I mean. This makes you the best person to answer this question. Because you hear the music. I've heard you say that before, and I believe the really great musicians can hear the music in random sounds. Like imagine sitting down at an instrument and trying to convey what a Manhattan street sounds like at noon on a Tuesday. Those random sounds can be an inspiration to attempt capture what life sounds like in NYC in 2014 for instance.

rythymhack 03-22-2014 10:50 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
The short version of my view. If a sound gives you an emotional response, it is music.Yes, by that definition the sound of a lawnmower that wakes you up angry is, for that moment, music.

JimFiore 03-22-2014 11:26 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 1243428)
OK then is there any such thing as an unorganized sound? If nature is organizing sounds and man is organizing sounds and producing them as a byproduct of living life, then everything is organized so therefore meets the criteria for music. Is that a valid statement?

I would argue that nature is not organizing sounds, at least not using any typical definition of the word, something like: to arrange in a coherent form or purposeful structure. Certainly, that implies agency and intent. And I think that intent is at the root of art. I don't think it's possible to have art without intent. We can experience beauty without intent (a sunset, for example) but let's not forget that art doesn't have to be beautiful. We can also experience organization (a crystal lattice, for example), but there is no agency behind it and therefore no intent. Seagulls might "intend" to make a noise, but where is the organizational intent? Are they orchestrating their calls together for something other than a utilitarian purpose? If not, then I don't see organization.

I believe Zappa had the best take on this, mainly that art is all about the frame. The act of putting a figurative frame around something is what makes that something art. My point being that the "act of framing" is intent and there is no intent without agency.


Thus, if someone organizes noise and calls it music, then it's music. You and I might hate it, but it's music in its most basic definition. This includes a person who "hears something" regarding a washing machine. In this instance, the listener is the composer/artist. Consider it to be part of the Dada School.

dazzlez 03-22-2014 11:32 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Check this great ted talk out if you haven't already:

https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_apple...ntist_of_music

Jeff Almeyda 03-22-2014 11:35 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimFiore (Post 1243442)
I would argue that nature is not organizing sounds, at least not using any typical definition of the word, something like: to arrange in a coherent form or purposeful structure. Certainly, that implies agency and intent. And I think that intent is at the root of art. I don't think it's possible to have art without intent. We can experience beauty without intent (a sunset, for example) but let's not forget that art doesn't have to be beautiful. We can also experience organization (a crystal lattice, for example), but there is no agency behind it and therefore no intent. Seagulls might "intend" to make a noise, but where is the organizational intent? Are they orchestrating their calls together for something other than a utilitarian purpose? If not, then I don't see organization.

I believe Zappa had the best take on this, mainly that art is all about the frame. The act of putting a figurative frame around something is what makes that something art. My point being that the "act of framing" is intent and there is no intent without agency.


Thus, if someone organizes noise and calls it music, then it's music. You and I might hate it, but it's music in its most basic definition.

Excellent post. I'd never heard that Zappa quote before, do you have any idea where I might be able to read it in context?

JimFiore 03-22-2014 11:43 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda (Post 1243448)
Excellent post. I'd never heard that Zappa quote before, do you have any idea where I might be able to read it in context?

I don't remember for sure but it's probably in his autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book. This is one of a few books that I think every musician should read, the others being Bill Bruford's autobio and the two Inside the Music titles by Dave Stewart.

FZ's book is hilarious and a great read for anyone.

http://books.google.com/books?id=FB0...20book&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=R4i...ruford&f=false

http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=lgBKxnbpvyIC

New Tricks 03-23-2014 12:21 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Too deep for me but, I dig the sounds of bowling alleys. I think the acoustics has a lot to do with it.

The ball drops with a thud and you can hear it rolling and changing pitch as it move away. When it hits the target, it has a nice full sound of a strike or the single plink of a single pin spare. Maybe even a flam or triplet spare.

IDDrummer 03-23-2014 12:23 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 1243428)
OK then is there any such thing as an unorganized sound? If nature is organizing sounds and man is organizing sounds and producing them as a byproduct of living life, then everything is organized so therefore meets the criteria for music. Is that a valid statement? Not questioning you ID, your input just raises more questions.

Yeah, I have mostly questions myself! lol Sound is a wave, so I guess we could say it is organized already, but I really meant more "organized" than a simple wave.

Honestly, my idea is purely arbitrary and subjective. Static on the radio, the tinnitus in my right ear - NOT music. Waves on the beach, washing machine, etc might be perceived as music. One hing those have in common, vs tinnitus or static, is some sort of change over time. Maybe that's a key? Who knows? I'm just free-flowing my thoughts here, Larry.

poekoelan 03-23-2014 12:28 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
To me, sound becomes music when it grabs something inside me, when it moves me emotionally and grabs my attention. This usually happens when I can sense that the musicians are making this "sound" with feeling and I can relate to their feeling on some level.

IDDrummer 03-23-2014 12:43 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JimFiore (Post 1243442)
I would argue that nature is not organizing sounds, at least not using any typical definition of the word, something like: to arrange in a coherent form or purposeful structure. Certainly, that implies agency and intent. And I think that intent is at the root of art. I don't think it's possible to have art without intent. We can experience beauty without intent (a sunset, for example) but let's not forget that art doesn't have to be beautiful. We can also experience organization (a crystal lattice, for example), but there is no agency behind it and therefore no intent. Seagulls might "intend" to make a noise, but where is the organizational intent? Are they orchestrating their calls together for something other than a utilitarian purpose? If not, then I don't see organization.

I believe Zappa had the best take on this, mainly that art is all about the frame. The act of putting a figurative frame around something is what makes that something art. My point being that the "act of framing" is intent and there is no intent without agency.


Thus, if someone organizes noise and calls it music, then it's music. You and I might hate it, but it's music in its most basic definition. This includes a person who "hears something" regarding a washing machine. In this instance, the listener is the composer/artist. Consider it to be part of the Dada School.

This is a great post. It does assume that music is art, but probably most of us here would agree. The last part, where the person listening to the washing machine being composer/artist - would that not also apply to the person whose mind found organization in seagull's cries? Clearly, the person who designed the washing machine had no musical intent.

Interesting stuff! Keep smokin', Uncle Larry. lol

JimFiore 03-23-2014 02:11 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by IDDrummer (Post 1243467)
The last part, where the person listening to the washing machine being composer/artist - would that not also apply to the person whose mind found organization in seagull's cries? Clearly, the person who designed the washing machine had no musical intent.

Right. The point being that "nature" doesn't organize these sounds with musical intent. It's the framing. That's the intent of the person/artist. The person on the beach hears something about the gulls' cries and declares it to be art. But it's not all gulls' cries or just any gulls' cries, just the one(s) so framed.

John Cage. 4'33". It's all about the frame.

Of course, we can start arguing about whether or not all music is art. My foregoing argument is really about art as I tend to think that not all music is art (some of it is product). Now if we wish to define music as "that which a large portion of the population will consume" then the foregoing argument is not germane.

adamosmianski 03-23-2014 02:18 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? (Post 1243377)
...I hear music in washing machines....

One of my earliest memories is dancing to the dish washer with my Grandma.

Anon La Ply 03-23-2014 02:42 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Jim, I'll pile on as a fan of your post. This passage puts it perfectly:

"I believe Zappa had the best take on this, mainly that art is all about the frame. The act of putting a figurative frame around something is what makes that something art. My point being that the "act of framing" is intent and there is no intent without agency."

If you intend a work to be music, then that's what it is. The quality of that music is a whole other matter, partially subjective and partially objective.

GRUNTERSDAD 03-23-2014 03:15 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
when it varies in tone.

MrInsanePolack 03-23-2014 06:16 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larryace (Post 1243362)
perhaps my loved one's voice is music to my ear

This...

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? (Post 1243377)
I'm probably the worst person to answer this question because I hear music in washing machines , leaves blowing , trains going by , the traffic and horns of the NYC streets, car alarms, construction sites, .... pretty much everywhere

...and these as well...

Quote:

Originally Posted by adamosmianski (Post 1243480)
...the dish washer...

...as well as this. My dishwasher actually plays a really cool gallop while it is working.


Some of my other favorites are nighttime crickets, the squeaking hinges on a swing set, and gunfire. Hearing a line of people firing in disorganized simultaneity puts a huge smile on my face. It sounds like a drunk drum line just going for it. Love it.

dazzlez 03-23-2014 06:44 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
This topic is really deep.
Sound become music when it reach a higher level, just like when words becomes poetry.

You should check out "The unanswered question" by Harvard Professor Leonard Bernstein. You can find episode 2-6 on youtube but number one is muted for whatever reason and you would need to get it from piratebay or somewhere else...

It's 6 lectures about what music is and he draws parallels to language and how music and poetry is on the same level.

Here is lecture 2 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_fx...=RDU3HLqCHO08s

Happy watching

mikel 03-23-2014 11:39 AM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Oooooo, I seem to have upset some sensitive souls by saying when people tap there feet. I did not suggest foot tapping as being the only sign, just one of them. Lighten up.
And I agree, almost any sound can become music, and if someone taps there foot to it its a "visual"sign.

dazzlez 03-23-2014 09:48 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
more scientific views on this subject:
http://whatismusic.info/download.html

mjtug 03-23-2014 10:18 PM

Re: When does sound become music
 
Music is simply measured sound and silence.


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