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How Do You Justify Composing / What Do You Want Out Of Your Music?


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the only justification for making actual music (if you're making it) is because its good enough to impress other people.

if it sucks, or there isn't a real audience (even in perspective, in the future), then there couldn't be enough reasons to justify a waste of time.

on the other hand, if you feel you have a real chance (of impressing a large audience) with your music, then you can't stop composing it even if you wish to, because you know it's one of your skills (and a rare one).

 

There aren't enough no's in the world for this nonsense.

 

Do what you do because you love it. If you base your self worth or the worth of something you create on what other people think you will never be your own man. You will never know your own voice.

 

You will never be an artist.

 

I can't think of a more unhealthy viewpoint for any creative.

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Bah, people waste time with things they aren't competitive with all the time.  Having been on both the hiring, and the being hired, side of the equation, I can tell you, it's often just about showing

For me, the fact that no one else has written this music before I do is good enough a reason.

I guess you want to have it both ways, but the whole "impressing a large audience = justified" is what gets me. Consider that Van Gogh sold only a single painting in his life - Only one! He didn't kee

There aren't enough no's in the world for this nonsense.

 

Do what you do because you love it. If you base your self worth or the worth of something you create on what other people think you will never be your own man. You will never know your own voice.

 

You will never be an artist.

 

I can't think of a more unhealthy viewpoint for any creative.

"because you love it" is a general reason. i was trying to go more in depth and figure out what is so beneficial that makes you "love it". its an exercise for me to try to understand how our minds work. all too often people (including me) don't know why they don't like some piece. after a lot of time of investigating one could find the "algorithm" that we use to analise that aspect of the music and pin-point exactly where its broken and how to fix it. this can be done, i'm sure of it. right now i need creativity for these investigations, not for music making.

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I used to compose simple piano solos just for the fun of it, because I enjoyed doing it.  More recently, I've pushed myself to start composing more elaborate, complex or intricate pieces designed for video games, so that covers the idea of your work being "useful" which has been brought up several times.  For me, the biggest motivation is the satisfaction of not only completing a song and having it be used for something, but also being able to then listen to and/or play it whenever I feel like it.

 

It also feels rewarding to make something and then get positive or constructive comments from friends, family, and others, and that encourages me to continue making bigger and better musical creations.

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all too often people (including me) don't know why they don't like some piece. after a lot of time of investigating one could find the "algorithm" that we use to analise that aspect of the music and pin-point exactly where its broken and how to fix it. this can be done, i'm sure of it. 

 

Using math to describe human bias  :huh:

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Frankie I really must say that you're insistence that there is a mathematical or scientific way of determining what people love goes against everything I believe. Humanity is more that algorithms and formulas. We aren't living in the Matrix. This is real life and not everything can be explained through empirical means.

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Although there is something to it… Why does minor feel like minor to all of us?  Why does a "cry break" resonate with all of us, regardless of our country of origin, as a nostalgic longing for home?  (There was a RadioLab episode about that, I believe…)  Why does something in 3 just beg to be waltzed to, even if you can't waltz?  (Raises hand sheepishly.)  

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I wasn't talking about 2nds, though.  There are plenty of examples of 2nds used in Western harmony to create beauty, excitement, ethereal peace as well…  I'm singing Whitacre's "Cloudburst" this season.  It's pretty much nothing but that sort of harmony and the effect is gorgeous.  Our director put it well last night:  "you are your own echo chamber."  

 

http://youtu.be/0Zqp0OpzMAI

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But can you find me something in 3 that doesn't suggest dancing?

but if 3/4 suggests dancing, then why isn't modern dance music done in 3/4? i tried once such a beat and it didn't begged to be waltzed to, but it probably didn't begged to be danced to either lol since i didn't continued it. http://www8.zippyshare.com/v/26261806/file.html

i thought that paul hindemith explained the minor chord but i'm in deep conflict here with people with what i understood it to be (i understood that it has a missing actual root).

yeah, even if we could explain some things (it may take a lot of succesive people to work on a theory) there will always be something missing until they find that "theory of everything" that started the universe and all it's modules that it aggregated into.

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Do you really believe that if there is a theory of everything (which we can't be sure there is), that it would explain even human thought? I mean if you do then I guess there's no reason I can give why it wouldn't. Still... I don't understand what you are trying to say by bringing all of that up... and I don't get what it has to do with what you had said here:

 

the only justification for making actual music (if you're making it) is because its good enough to impress other people.

if it sucks, or there isn't a real audience (even in perspective, in the future), then there couldn't be enough reasons to justify a waste of time.

on the other hand, if you feel you have a real chance (of impressing a large audience) with your music, then you can't stop composing it even if you wish to, because you know it's one of your skills (and a rare one).

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Do you really believe that if there is a theory of everything (which we can't be sure there is), that it would explain even human thought? I mean if you do then I guess there's no reason I can give why it wouldn't. Still... I don't understand what you are trying to say by bringing all of that up... and I don't get what it has to do with what you had said here:

i think our minds work in modules just like the universe, just like simple elements fusing to form more complex ones. life was reproduced from scratch from pure chemicals (they reproduced a simple virus, and as soon as they ansembled it's elements it started to reproduce and ..live),  so there's nothing special about life. it's just another (more complex) "element" or module as i call it. it too can fuse with itself to form something more complex like mankind, and it too cand fuse to form the (almighty) human spirit. the human psyche must be a product of human society (a prior module). our music cannot be a simple plesure unrelated/uncreated by society (like a physical one, "invented" by the time of simple animals. it would be way too low in the order of modules).  that's why i put music making in the social context (made from the "society" module - somewhere as an ancestor). competition in the life context, with it's natural selection, etc this is how i relate our music to ..the universe.

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I have never understood how "dead" matter is somehow supposed to spontaneously have become "living" matter with no apparent reason (hell, we need a ton of faith to actually buy that!). But that's another topic. What really interests us is that music, as any form of art and thought, can't just be explained away as pure chemical reactions inside a brain. I'd bet there's a lot more on it than just that.

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I agree with Austenite. There is more to humanity and art than chemistry. I have always understood there to be a spiritual aspect to my art that fuels my passion for it and gives it purpose. There may be some truth to what Frankie is saying, but probable only some. Matters of the spirit can't be explained in scientific terms.

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I've been reading Wilde's De Profundis lately, and found some passages worth sharing and which here might be relevant:

 

'Modern life is complex and relative. Those are its two distinguishing notes. To render the first we require atmosphere with its subtleties and nuances, of suggestion, of strange perspectives: as for the second we require background. That is why Sculpture has ceased to be a representative art; and why Music is a representative art; and why Literature is, and has been, and always will remain the supreme representative art' (pg 50).

 

'[in] the prose-poem of the man who from the bronze of the image of the 'Pleasure that liveth for a Moment' has to make the image of the 'Sorrow that abideth for Ever' it is incarnate. It could not have been otherwise. At every single moment of one's life one is what one is going to be no less than what one has been. Art is a symbol, because man is a symbol. / It is... the ultimate realization of the artistic life. For the artistic life is simple self-development. Humility in the artist is his frank acceptance of all experiences, just as Love in the artist is simply that sense of Beauty that reveals to the world its body and soul' (pg 71).

 

No matter Wilde's predispositions, and what accounts he gives here that may be more autobiographical than exactly true, I think these two passages are worth considering. With this in mind, I'll give one more quote, by Nietzsche:

 

'Gradually it has become clear to me what every great philosophy so far has been [and we may think of music likewise]: namely, the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir.... do not believe that a "drive to knowledge" is the father of philosophy [or maybe a drive to beauty for music]; but rather that another drive has, here as elsewhere, employed understanding (and misunderstanding) as a mere instrument. But anyone who considers the basic drives of man to see to what extent they may have been at play just here as inspiring spirits (or demons or kobolds) will find that all of them [all of the philosopher's drives] have done philosophy at some time [!] - and that every single one of them would like only too well to represent just itself as the ultimate purpose of existence and the legitimate master of all the other drives. For every drive wants to be master - and it attempts to philosophize in that spirit.... In the philosopher... there is nothing whatever that is impersonal; and above all, his morality bears decided and decisive witness to who he is - that is, in what order of rank the innermost drives of his nature stand in relation to each other' (Beyond Good and Evil, pgs 203-204, Part 1, s 6, BW). (Walter Kaufmann's note about this section: 'Nietzsche is thinking about the "great" philosophers. Now that there are literally thousands of "philosophers", these tend to be more akin to their colleagues in other departments than to the men discussed here'.)

 

It seems to me, in any case, that music, along with every mode of expression, is dependent, firstly, on its expresser, who may be an artist; and, secondly, on the means of the expresser's inherited knowledge: his education, being didactic or autodidactic, by which he attained his particular quality of expression. Both of these, and maybe others, rendered in synthesis, account the prejudices of the expresser, which are the limitations that lately describe his individualization and his force as an expressing thing.

 

What makes the expresser express himself, it seems to me, can't strictly be figured, because there are numberless things that may either singularly or plurally focus his ambitions and passions and whatever all drives him; the expression, and even its interpretation, may, therefore, only be taken subject to subject. Nor can the quality of his expression, I think, be exactly judged, since the thing being judged is principally object within its emanating subject and then only ever migrated into other subjects (or even re-migrated into its original subject), who may be fellow-expressers of similar or whatever kinds and with similar means of expression. Outside the subject, humanly expressions become objects without humanly content; which is to say, further, that music, or any other kind of humanly expression, is derived from the human subject, and is therefore only understandable as a content-full human expression by the human subject (though that may not always be the case, as it may be said that people very often read meaning or non-meaning into things that may, without them, have had meaning or non-meaning, or which weren't intended to have meaning or were intended to have meaning; you may take of inference what you like).

 

Because humanity, being of individuals or groups of people, amounts a plurality of interpretations toward its own expressions; and because interpreting oneself, as, for instance, interpreting one's own thoughts, is the hard problem that augments prejudices toward more prejudices to understand itself: I find it hard to believe that expressions are exactly or at all understandable and therefore strictly and rightly judicable, that being if adjudication attempts to attain truth from what it's adjudicating, and because there is more of a chance (if we believe that there is an absolute and objective nature within the intersubjective plurality for each expression) to be wrong, there being more wrong answers than right answers to choose from in one's own judgments and its reason (that reason, furthermore, being a reason that was largely inherited from other reasoners who dealt with the same or similar issues, and ever on in regress), and since we know so little about our reason and the answers it figures to begin with. And it may even be admitted that there may not be any right or wrong answers, or any answers at all, if we believe that any concepts invented by man, like subject and object, are essentially false or otherwise absolutely can't be known in a meaningful way, given the limited capacities of our experiencing, knowing, and conceptualizing edifices. 

 

For this, I may say that there are an incredible number of reasons why a person may decide to express themselves, whether for emotive reasons or more practical reasons, a combination of the two, or for whatever reasons elsewise; and that once they have expressed themselves (this may depend on their mode of expression), there may be an equal or similar or greater number of interpretations by which to either understand or misunderstand (or therein, too, to understand) the expression; and that, therefore, adjudicating something, especially something that isn't explicit with fact-bearing claims or any evident truths, or isn't discovered to be absolutely true, is impossible to do, if the intent of the adjudication is, again, to render itself truth and honesty. That's not, however, to say that there isn't an absolute truth within the intersubjective sphere of an expression's existence; but that given the enormity and endless diversity of it and its interpretations, its potential vagueness and even its implicit meaninglessness, if that could be the case, it may not be possible to say anything truthful or exact about it, and that may even be the case for the original expresser. The value of adjudication is, I believe, to learn from the accumulated prejudices of others, to refine one's own prejudices, and maybe then to attain something more than what has been prejudiced and prejudiced against; and I believe, furthermore, that there is likely something to be learned from anybody, unless it's in redundancy, or maybe even then, too, whether they're more learned or less learned than was hoped or imagined.     

 

This may not be the nicest thing to read, but it seems to me to be, possibly, the most honest. And in any case, people may decide their own reasons for doing anything, in whatever mode of reasoning they may attain to; and others will counter-reason them if they find it wrong; and they, too, will be counter-reasoned; and so on, and so forth; and people will forget and people will learn - until either nothing is gained, or everything is gained, or something significant of both is gained, though we may all be entirely defunct before the attainment of any great truth or significance is had, or whatever variable that may be imagined.

 

The point of art is, I believe, what Wilde said above, 'self-development', which may be self-understanding or any other kind of personal growth - and not just as a 'correspondence between the essential idea of the accidental existence; it is not the resemblance of shape into shadow, or of the form mirrored in the crystal to the form itself: it is no Echo coming from a hollow hill, any more than it is the well of silver water in the valley that shows the Moon to the Moon and Narcissus to Narcissus. Truth in Art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward...' (ibid, pg 67) - which is to say, self-realization, or self-becoming, and everything that that may infer.

 

However it is, I find much of the issue difficult to deal with, especially in this extreme mode of skepticism. My head feels properly muddled for it.

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Of course the human brain, being composed entirely of organized energy in certain forms can be quantizable.

 

Certainly there are scientists working on this as we speak, to differing degrees.

 

You're not one of those scientists, and most of the concepts that are involved are most likely so incredibly beyond your comprehension that it would take your entire lifetime to even get to a point to begin to understand how to utilize whatever knowledge you could gain from this.

 

Right now, you are making ignorant generalizations on the assumption that the genuises whose backs you make them on were correct. In reality, you have no idea what you are talking about.

 

Just because you know that some scientist determined that the mind is made up of atoms and electricity, and some other scientist determined that matter and electricity and everything else are all the same thing, does not mean you know what that means.

 

And it certainly means it is impossible for you to make practical use of being able to quantify the human experience.

 

What you can make practical use of is the instruction and texts available tailored specifically for the layperson.

 

So, go read a theory book. And an orchestration book. And a book on musical form. And there are probably hundreds of books concerning how humans perceive music and attempt to explain bias and how to account for it.

 

Because, smoking pot is cool, but just because it sounds deep when you're high doesn't mean you should try to base your life on it.

 

Frankie.

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U238. i believe anyone can discover a part of the "mysteries of the universe", especially if they're theory inclined. there's much to be discovered, and lots of viewpoints. 

 

You can believe whatever you want. The world is full of deluded people.

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  • 8 months later...

Interesting question. If this was a forum about painting or drawing with charcoal pencils, nobody would ask why we draw pictures. They wouldn't say, "There are already so many good paintings out there, why do we need any more?" I think people need to realize just how much of an art composing really is.

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I'm potter.  Visual artists DEFINITELY ask why we draw pictures.  We just had the big national potters' conference this spring, and a main topic of discussion over lunch was "why do we do this when the world has tons of beautiful pottery by the masters already, China can make the everyday stuff cheaper and faster than I can by hand, and joining Doctors Without Borders might be more 'useful.'"  At yet, there we all were, not just making our own works, but actively trying to recruit new students to the glories of playing in the mud all day.  

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  • 1 month later...

For me, It's simply because I've listened to music previously and it made me feel wonderful on the inside. My ultimate goal is to produce music that has a similar effect on other people. It's as simple as that for me :)

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