Saturday, November 5, 2011

Re: Sean's 'Importance of sound origin'

In one of his posts Sean ended with the question, "Does sound origin play a significant role in music?"

Like Sean and Hamilton stated the acousmatic thesis states that when listening to music we should divorce tones from their source. Yet, Hamilton later subjected to the two fold thesis which states that the musical experience should include focusing on the physical, literal, holistic and individual properties of the tones while also realizing the origin of the sounds. (pg 110).
I think that the sound origin does play a significant role in music. Knowing what instrument the timbre is coming from and knowing things about that instrument like the range or the fact that it may squeak from time to time gives a new appreciation to the experience. Take for example you are listening to a trumpet concerto and you hear notes that you know are at the top of that instruments range, you then can associate that the trumpet player is talented and spent many hours practicing that piece. Knowing other qualities about instruments like the fact that clarinets squeak, can make it easier to dismiss the error when it occurs in a performance. Being able to distinguish instruments by their timbre while listening to an ensemble makes the experience more pleasurable because you can focus in on one or more specific instruments and make a mental score. Anything is more enjoyable when you can understand it better.
Let's turn to vocalists. Knowing what band is playing a song you have never heard before is easy for most people to do when they listen to the vocalist's timbre. It is important to know who is singing what because you do not want to give credit or discredit the wrong artist. Typically when songs are covered we prefer the original sound source to the 'stolen' or 'copied' versions. (of course there are exception to this.) This raises the question of why.

Question: Why do we prefer the original sound origin, to the redone version? Do we choose which sound origin we prefer based on which sounds better or something else?