How to Listen to Ambient Music

Musical technology Vocabularies and Purposes

Years ago, I had a college or university friend who was an evangelizing devotee of the abstract painter Marc Rothko. I remember her full over a catalog of Rothko’s work, while My spouse and i was convinced that My spouse and i must be aesthetically questioned; I just didn’t “get” it. After all, almost all of the paintings were little or nothing but large rectangles of color, with slight bumpiness and a contrasting edge or stripe. All the familiar reference points of range and shape, perspective and shadow, were gone. I really could appreciate them as “design, ” but not as “art. ” While they were pleasing enough, My spouse and i couldn’t understand why anyone would rhapsodize during these abstractions… until I first saw them for me personally in person–a completely different experience! When I found them at the Memorial of Modern Art, they literally stopped me in my tracks, subverting mindful thought and plunging me personally immediately into an improved state. They were not merely flat canvases on a wall, but seemed more like living things, pulsing and throbbing in reverberation to a wavelength that had a fundamental interconnection to the origin of things. I was stunned. They will didn’t “express” a feeling–they were more like emotions themselves, and they looked like like nothing personal to me, or Rothko, or anyone. When I later looked at the will not be Rothko’s works in catalogs, they reverted to level swatches of color. Presently there was a recollection, but no recreation of my experience. This is an experience that depended on the occurrence of the original artifact (art: a fact). PROTO PRODUCTIONS

A Tune is Not really a Strengthen

I spent my early musical life working mostly with music that used-like representational art–some arranged of familiar musical events to create its impact. There are many terms of melody, counterpoint, beat, harmony, and structure that place music in a context of form that makes it comprehensible to listeners. “Comprehensible” is not precisely what I mean–it suggests that music conveys only intellectual ideas, while actually it conveys and expresses a whole range of ideas, feelings, sounds and associations. But there is an aspect of “intelligibility” to conventional kinds of music that will depend on a shared formal vocabulary of expression. There are familiar elements that listeners use to anchor their current experience of a make up, formal or sonic elements that are borrowed from other pieces created and listened to in the past. When I find myself humming a beat from a Beethoven symphony, or invoking one of its characteristic rhythms (dit-dit-dit-DAH), I reduce an organic sonic tapestry for an abstraction, a shorthand that is easily recognizable to others knowledgeable about the music. I may be able to reveal a musical idea to musicians using the être of notation. But a “tune” is not a “tone, ” and a “note” is not a “sound. ” It is an idea, even a powerful idea, but when I find myself whistling the tune, I know that I have in some manner “consumed” the music, reduced it to a subsection, subdivision, subgroup, subcategory, subclass of its conventions, deconstructed and reconstructed it for my very own purposes.

Ambient music, specifically, the sort of ambient music Let me refer to as “soundscape, ” abandons, or at least becomes looser, several conventions. There is, in general, usually no hummable melody, often no recurrent rhythmic pattern, and if there is a larger “form, ” it is more commonly absolutely nothing familiar or identifiable, even to astute musicologists-it might be completely idiosyncratic to the composer. However, language of “instruments” is substance and too vast to hold in mind. With the profusion of appears that are electronically-generated or sourced and manipulated from field recordings, it is rare that separable and recognizable instruments or appears can be identified-that is, “named. ” Late nineteenth and early twentieth 100 years classical composers worked hard to try to get rid of the familiar boundaries of individual instruments, using strange instrumental combinations and expanded instrumental methods to blur chevy sonic lines. Ambient music requires this even farther. The sound palette of environmental composers is more diverse and less subject to “naming” than that of composers who use whole suit of traditional instruments to present their compositions. Even though the savant may be able to identify an audio source as owned by a particular method of generation (analog, FM, design manipulation, and so out ), diffuse mixing and morphing of sounds can confound even experts.

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