Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

  • Music:

Short Debussy

I recently read, courtesy of a post by Mohammad Ali Abtahi, that BushJr gave public support to reformist parties in Iran, which is believed to have invoked the standard (and well-justified, imo) anger of the Iranian public against America in order to hurt the cause of reform politics in that countries. *cringe* ... but at the same time, it is an unfortunate situation when one cannot speak of change one (relatively speaking) approves of without one's approval hurting them. It is very unfortunate that the United States and Britain have not done much towards apology for their abuse of that nation.

Recently I realised that a lot of the musical motifs used by Debussy and Gershwin are the same, and did a bit of reading up on Gershwin's past (I might swing by the library to read up a bit more) - Gershwin never recieved enough musical training to produce masterpieces (Rhapsody in Blue is nontheless an awesome piece of work), but he was exposed to a lot of Debussy (and others) in his "formative years" as a musician (amusing to think of formative years for some things being far after the psychological term). After listening to what I have of Debussy and Gershwin for a few hours, came back to old reflection: difference between "high" music and "popular" music (of course a fuzzy/relative matter). "High" music: very low literal repetativeness, with instead elaboration/variation on themes, higher-order patterns. Popular music: closer to literal repetativeness. Enjoyment of music of each type: (high music : more artistic and intellectually engaging), (popular music : more catchy). This is largely independent of genre - in many genres of music, improvisation is a tradition that raises the level of a song, like a new arrangement of the basic material in a song. Suspicion: catchiness in music is more approachable because it fits more easily into a musical "working memory" - it compresses well. All the pattern that's there in an Avril Lavigne song (a popular musician whom I've come to like) up to roughly Gershwin's level is not particularly hard to accidentally memorise after a few listens (for me, at least), and that's the sort of thing that leads to the "music playing in one's head accidentally", while for Debussy, Brahms, or other musicians, it's much more difficult to recall the nuances of an arrangement of their works accidentally because the patterns are more complex.

I've been playing a bit with "programming" notions for music - start with laying out sheet music, remove the bar size tradition (based on my possibly faulty perspective that absolute notes in music don't matter - it's the pitch relations that are the important bits), and mark a return to a relatively literal portion of music by its relation to the previous playing of that portion, noting differences using various means (the part I'm particularly playing with), later branching back out to seperate portions as needed (drum solo!). Amusing idea: measure simple complexity of a piece of music by metrics on this representation. It's simple complexity, of course, because it'd be difficult to notice higher-order patterns that are possible (is the basic idea of high music that it compresses poorly but looks like it should compress well? - latter nuance needed to avoid classifying a straight-shot piece of music as high despite no leitmotifs/themes/etc).

I wish I had an 8-track (in theory, I should be able to do this on a computer, but sound drivers generally suck too much to make this practical). Also, I'm happy to hear that the second album by the Persian-American group Niyaz will be released soon - I loved their first album but was worried that, like with a fair amount of good indie music I have, they wouldn't make it to a second album. I particularly like how they put Rumi to sound - I'm thinking about picking up some books to learn classic Persian so I can better link the basic flow of the words (sentence structure, at least) to the music.

Recently was disappointed that a job application was rejected. It's hard to apply for jobs where one doesn't live though.

Nana tea is quite excellent.

Tags: music

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