Re: [rumori] just abstraction (not Bumble Cheeking)

From: Steev Hise (
Date: Mon Sep 17 2001 - 19:05:43 PDT

Mon, 17 Sep 2001 found Chris Stecker writing:

>The moral of the story: If Composer R were a GENIUS, his approach would have
>been undoudtedly superior to Composer A's. R would have come up with
>artistic connections that far exceeded the capabilities of the listeners'
>pathetic little minds, and hence produced a work to boggle art historians for
>millenia. If not, well...

i know you probably dont mean this, but it sounds like
you're saying randomness is a good crutch to replace talent
and vision. dont get me wrong, i like to use randomness for,
as you said, a 'seed', but for me that is only a very first
tiny step. actually randomness is more like a little water
sprinkled on the seed which is the idea for the piece. if
there's no idea you just have a small puddle. and without
talent/skill you just have a wet seed that never becomes a

>No. Music is not "the most abstract art form there is." Music's "meaning"
>is more often tied to emotion than other flavors of thought. That's not the
>same as abstraction. Listen to most classical music, for instance, and the
>emotional reference is extremely clear. Add lyrics in popular music and it

 obviously music can suggest emotions, which proves my
point. the abstract is the lack of particular instance.
you can make music that is "sad" or "happy" but you'll never
make a piece of music that is undoubtedly about a particular
specific moment of sadness or happiness. music is severely
underdetermined, especially compared to other forms.
relatively speaking, other forms are much more determined,
or at least have more potential to be. they are able to
directly refer to an object, which by definition is absent
from the abstract.

  writing, film, painting, even sculpture, even dance, have
much more inherent power to represent something. you can't
make a piece of music and automatically have everyone say
what it's a simulation of. but other forms all have the
power to more or less exactly *depict* sensory input.
unless you're just imitating bird calls, music can't directy
depict anything. it can CONNOTE, but it can't DENOTE. that's
what i mean by abstraction.

(btw, lyrics arent really music. they are writing. a song
with lyrics is really a hybrid of 2 forms, music and

HOWEVER, so far I refer to "traditional" music. collage, and
especially sampling, breaks music out of that prison,
because now we literally have sonic simulacra that we can
play with. we have sounds that actually represent something
real, even tho those things are other sounds. it's like
goign from abstract expressionism to photorealism.

> On the other hand, you may have meant that YOUR
>music may be "the most abstract art form." Having heard your music, I won't
>attempt to argure that point, though I will point out that you might have
>some competition out there somewhere. ;-)

god no, i'd never make a claim that arrogant. plus, do you
really think i'd call my work abstract right after saying
that abstraction is equivaent to masturbation? on the
contrary, my aim is to get better and better at getting
further and further from abstraction.


Steev Hise, Automagickal Adept
*Recycled Culture:
*Watching power flow:
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