Friday, November 11, 2011

Re: Peter Mitchell: Acousmatic Principle and Music Videos

In one of Peter's latest blog posts he ends with the question: "Do music videos truly change our perceptions of a song?"

This is an interesting question and I'm glad to get off the topic of computer generated music.
There are different types of music video's, some go for a literal interpretation, others make no sense whatsoever and have nothing to do with the lyrics, some take a song that would otherwise have ambiguous meaning and give it one, others do not add a meaning or interpretation to a song, etc. If one were to say that music videos tamper with one's interpretation than we would have to apply that same theory to ballets. I watched a few music videos of songs that I have heard many times and have never seen the music videos for. My perception did not change, the songs still mean the same thing to me, yet my I might have been persuaded by the interpretation of the visuals if I had never heard any of the songs before. I'm not sure how the music industry runs music videos, if the musicians themselves choose the story line of their music video or if it is some management position that decides. Yet, if it is the musicians that decide the story line they have every right to put their interpretation of their song into the visual aspect. It may change one's perception but what does all that matter? Why does a song need to be interpreted on one's own terms? Even if the directors, producers or whoever wrote the plot for a song, it is part of the art and adds quality to a song rather than takes it away.
As for ballets, one of the differences is that the music originally did not have words (at least for most ballets I can think of). So in this case, the music was very open for interpretation, yet what other interpretation can you take from a programmatic piece without a visual other than , "that sounds beautiful"? Ballet also is an interdisciplinary art, it is meant to be presented aurally and visually-- one does not distort the perception of the other, rather they work together to give one full aesthetic perception.

Question: Does watching a music video distort your perception of a piece? Should songs leave room for interpretation?