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?

Music in life and Life in Music

This past chapter of Aesthetics & Music, has made me think about how music and life are interfused in not only by rhythmic activities but also the process of learning and performing music mirrors life.

The other day when I was practicing I began to think about the process of learning music is much like carrying out life goals. When you first get a piece it is intimidating, especially when it is outside your comfort zone. It seems impossible, and it may seem like you cannot do it but with patience and a calm approach you soon reach your goal. By slowing it down, viciously repeating it, chunking it together, and increasing the tempo gradually each day your impossible goal doesn't seem so impossible anymore. This relates to life. There is a great quote that I received in a fortune cookie one time it stated, "Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible." Although fortune cookies are not a reliant source, I have to give the validity of this statement some credit. Like with learning a new piece, when we break down our goals into individual steps and take one step at a time, and take precision and care in each step we soon reach our goals. Of course not every goal is carried out this way, that would be unrealistic, yet a great deal are. Sometimes we may just wing it, but even that improvisation has somewhat of a plan involved, it there was not a plan how would you know if you carried out all of the steps.

Another relation between music and life is performing. The hardest thing for me, and the number one rule of performing is to keep going even if you make a mistake. Like music performance, life is spaced over time, time travel does not exist (at least yet anyways) there is no going back and fixing a mistake you made or taking back something that you said. In life you have to keep going.

Question: Other than rhythmic activities, performing, and practicing, how else is music intertwined with life and what other activities have musical qualities?