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How Can Music Be "Organic"?


Salemosophy
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Yeah because you totally made it 100% clear what you mean with "going somewhere" in music, eh? If I don't know what you mean, I can't either agree or disagree. I know I don't use that expression, so obviously I can't apply it to myself since to me it means nothing.

And if I'm in the minority for not knowing what you mean with your own expression, I guess everyone in the world except you is also in that minority until you explain it.

I'm sure there wasn't a more polite way to phrase that.

I have a hunch that, if someone else would like to step in, that music 'going somewhere' is fairly self-explanatory and mostly agreed upon.

I feel like you're telling me that honey can't be 'sweet' unless I explain what 'sweet' is to me, and that you won't accept any answer other than an explanation of the molecular makeup of honey.

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I have a hunch that, if someone else would like to step in, that music 'going somewhere' is fairly self-explanatory and mostly agreed upon.

And that's where you, and a lot of others, get tripped up. You could say that a V-I cadence goes somewhere and that a bII-xviiº7 doesn't; yet that's no more absolute nor correct to say than anything of similar "I feel" status.
I feel like you're telling me that honey can't be 'sweet' unless I explain what 'sweet' is to me, and that you won't accept any answer other than an explanation of the molecular makeup of honey.

But that's all the term "sweet" means -- how much sugar is perceived. How about we use a term like "savory" or even "umami" -- what then? Is it still so cut-and-dried?

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And that's where you, and a lot of others, get tripped up. You could say that a V-I cadence goes somewhere and that a bII-xviiº7 doesn't; yet that's no more absolute nor correct to say than anything of similar "I feel" status.

But that's all the term "sweet" means -- how much sugar is perceived. How about we use a term like "savory" or even "umami" -- what then? Is it still so cut-and-dried?

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. I am not making any universal claim about specifics in music. What I have said is that I THINK that most (not all) people generally feel that music should 'go somewhere', and that there are an infinite amount of variants and standards to which this concept may be held. There are so many factors to music that no one can make broad generalizations such as " V-I cadence goes somewhere and that a bII-xviiº7 doesn't" - and I am not attempting to either. I'm not looking for an absolute way to categorize music - but it seems that music tends to communicate to the audience better when they can relate to it, when it says something to them, when it goes somewhere.

It seems to me that it's the same with all art - either it says something or it doesn't. Much of this involves the perception of the individual.

Are you saying that when I say something is sweet that I am consciously referring to the molecular makeup of said object, and not referring to the generally understood connotation of 'sweet'?

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I have a hunch that, if someone else would like to step in, that music 'going somewhere' is fairly self-explanatory and mostly agreed upon.

I feel like you're telling me that honey can't be 'sweet' unless I explain what 'sweet' is to me, and that you won't accept any answer other than an explanation of the molecular makeup of honey.

First of all, how can something that has an infinite number of interpretations be "self-explanatory?" Isn't this a paradox? That's like saying a word that has no absolute meaning has an absolute meaning for everyone. Oh, you say that's not what you mean, but that's exactly what you're saying here.

Second, that's a really bad analogy considering perception of taste and the tie with the word "sweet" is cemented in a biological ground which is for the majority of us the same. HOWEVER, if you happen to not know English, you WOULD have to explain what "sweet" is, so indeed the word by itself means nothing if the people hearing it don't understand English in this case.

And third, you're claiming that, following your honey example, the word "honey" is self-explanatory and mostly agreed upon by everyone even those who DO NOT speak English. This is obviously not the case, even if the definition of honey and the phenomenon its attached to are much more concrete than a vague and loose expression that talks about perception of art. In the case for "going somewhere," it's only much worse since not even those who speak english can claim to understand directly what you mean with it, or what is meant with it altogether and must therefore forge their own interpretation which may be very different from yours rendering whatever degree of "agreed on" meaning impossible.

Honestly this isn't such a hard thing to grasp.

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First of all, how can something that has an infinite number of interpretations be "self-explanatory?" Isn't this a paradox? That's like saying a word that has no absolute meaning has an absolute meaning for everyone. Oh, you say that's not what you mean, but that's exactly what you're saying here.

Second, that's a really bad analogy considering perception of taste and the tie with the word "sweet" is cemented in a biological ground which is for the majority of us the same. HOWEVER, if you happen to not know English, you WOULD have to explain what "sweet" is, so indeed the word by itself means nothing if the people hearing it don't understand English in this case.

And third, you're claiming that, following your honey example, the word "honey" is self-explanatory and mostly agreed upon by everyone even those who DO NOT speak English. This is obviously not the case, even if the definition of honey and the phenomenon its attached to are much more concrete than a vague and loose expression that talks about perception of art. In the case for "going somewhere," it's only much worse since not even those who speak english can claim to understand directly what you mean with it, or what is meant with it altogether and must therefore forge their own interpretation which may be very different from yours rendering whatever degree of "agreed on" meaning impossible.

Honestly this isn't such a hard thing to grasp.

Seriously? Have you not read a single thing that I've said? I'm saying this is a subjective concept and you're saying that it can't exist because I haven't given it an absolute definition.

Honey is honey. You know what honey is because you speak English. I know what honey is because I speak English. The thing that we call honey is the thing that we call honey regardless of what it is called. However, I don't feel the need to clarify what I mean by 'honey' because I can reasonably assume that you're going to understand what I mean by honey because we both speak English. I'm not discussing honey with Ancient Greeks or Spanish Conquistadors.

Going somewhere = having direction. making sense. telling a story. evolving. saying something.

Oh wait.....those are all subjective terms? Look at that!

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Eesh.

There are so many factors to music that no one can make broad generalizations such as " V-I cadence goes somewhere and that a bII-xviiº7 doesn't" - and I am not attempting to either.

And I'm just extending that to include any instance of calling music crap that needs to be defined before it can be understood. After all if I told you your music "went somewhere," I could as well mean it went into the dumpster, or that it had a fast rhythm. How are you to know which? I might as well your music was "bear," or "hamburger." You'd understand just as much from any of these terms if I left it at that and didn't explain what I meant.

Likewise if someone told ME my music "goes somewhere," I'd ask what they mean since that alone tells me absolutely nothing and I rather not assume people mean something when I really have no way to know.

This is also why the comparison with the word "honey" is bad, since "honey" isn't a subjective thing: It's a word to describe a specific set of substances which we can define very clearly. In this case "going somewhere" is just a very vague term that can mean whatever you want it to mean.

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  • 11 years later...

I recently had my Music Teacher refer to me as an "organic composer". I'm not fully sure of what that means. But the way she was describing was that, through my vocal line I make it more organic. I usually have a set chordal structure and rhythm to go with it. But my voice never really has a set beat. It fits in a musical phrase properly. But during the bar or metre it doesn't fully align with the structural side in the accompaniment. Is that what organic music is? I'm not sure.

 

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