Category Archives for: Philosophy of Music

Philosophy of Music

09 June 2016

[this is a drafty mess transcribed from paper. Really need some kind of bluetooth flexible keyboard to use with a smartphone…]

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[todo: Taiwan culture and streets, clingy relationships, social world of locality]

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I finally got some cheap, yet amazingly good, headphones. Listening to them reminds me of a past time of my life — programming for capital in VA [Virginia, USA], commuting to college, doing chore-like work at home (repetitive organizing on the computer); Now I’m able to see that the way I survived the suburbs is because I abused music.

Using technology is not normal. It is much slower to communicate through technology than it is to simply talk — within one’s head, out loud, or through writing. Technology distracts thinking and communicating.
Music interrupts, blocks thinking and communicating. To blog, for instance, I may need to connect to the internet, charge my digital device. Looking at my blog may distract further, directing thought toward design — trying to make it more readable, increasing interaction. It [technology] distracts from the content, from the act of writing, the act of thought expression.
Music blocks thinking. It’s the only way to act, it seems. To take an action that is not communication nor survival, one must drug onelsef with more ot push one’s body to act.

With more, people organize, over-organize, over-work, over-accumulate capital. They forget to talk. Asia talks; America works. In Taiwan, reading is common (though likely passively), a common way to communicate. In America, new arts are created to communicate which all require more work (game-making!) to communicate the message compared to human language. Why not just communicate via human language? (Maybe music blocks people from expressing through human language.)
It also may block thought of the environment. It helps people focus on something — media, art, material, “work”, but rarely does it lead to talking to people nearby, to thinking about how the environemnt came to be, history, others, social problems, etc. It is a mind-altering drug, one that inhibits verbal expression.

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I believe I was at a point of only acting to communicate. I didn’t do anything else. I’d talk to the people around me, then, to books, then run out of energy and collapse, partly because my body had become fail, partly because capitalism doesn’t allow that kind of life of mind. It prefers a life of bodily action, of movement of commodity. The movement of commodity is the opposite of the movement of meanings (communication). It is detestable, a chore, it provokes humans to abuse music; whereas communication is enjoyable, not requiring music.

If joy comes from the creation of communication, then the creation of commoidity requires a kind of drug to make-up for the lack of enjoyment. It is ideal to creat ecommodity whilst creating communicationl but that isn’t always possible (though, technology helps immensely here, with eBook listening, audio-recording, telephones, etc.). Eventually, either from habit of work, habit of listening to music, one nearly forgets to communicate. That’s frightening, because that’s the difference between a person who expresses and one that doesn’t, the difference between a free mind and a restricted mind. [A free person and restricted person {slave}?] America is full of restricted minds. Asia is full of free minds.

The West prioritizes media, the communication through mediums. The East prioritizes [direct] communication, even in it’s simply a conversation with a friend. There is much widsom in the people as opposed to media. It doesn’t distribute well, but it’s a healthy lifestyle. The West begins with (Plato and) Aristotle. The East relies on the oral world which retains the culture. Culture is not distributed through media; It is through human interaction, direct communication. That is opposite of the culture industry of America. [todo: should continue*****].

[todo: epistemology of music]

[todo: action and music]

Without music I only act toward survival and communication — the socio-political expressions. Music allows me to live unsocially. It gives energy without people. I needed people during my time in Asia. I was dependent on people. I strived to do everything with people [todo: need anchor to Taiwan section]. I tried to socio-politically cooperate to strive toward ideals (civic, social, design). I didn’t work, I just communicated.

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America has been running on music at least since slaves worked to their own creative folk tunes; Now, white brokers on Wall street work while listening to hip-hop. Maybe the creation of music is skewed toward the working class because they need it to get by, influenced and inspired by it, mimic the creation of it, listening to raps about wage-labor whilst laboring for wage. I sure did — through game, film, and fine arts / new media. That expression, anti-capitalism in America is perhaps the strongest emotion in American culture, perhaps even more-so than love (all forms of it). And it [the creation capitalism-influenced art] probably has not been broken since capitalism has existed.

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That is why the East lacks art through mediums — most is expression through oral communication, then to written communication, then lastly to other mediums. The history of the complex part of Eastern art is perhaps solely literature. It is because America listens to music that they [tend to] communicate through mediums.

digression: How is communication prioritized? I guess that’s left to attention. Communication is just information.

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[todo: American culture and music -> media]

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Music is awful. It blocks thinking. Gives energy, for physical exercise, but actions are not thought of, just taken. It blocks thinking before taking an action. The decision-making phase is skipped. Is this action? Is this life? How can such mindlessness be? How wild the affects of music are.

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Early Music Criticism

23 December 2009

jazz – very improvisational, not as fun to listen to as rock/pop, and hard to listen to long solos. sure it’s original (because it’s improvisational), but it sounds more like doodling. i have more fun listening to new sounds found in indie rock, i especially enjoy how indie music arranges all of it’s sounds together (the vocals and sounds, lyrics, album, concepts, etc.) into harmony. pop is pop because it evokes emotions with a few simples notes and melodies, but i like to have emotions in my music. maybe jazz is so alien to me, that it requires more listens to evoke my emotions? i’ll keep trying…
– Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective took 4 listens before i felt the entire CD was amazing. in animal collective, the sounds and structure were new, you have to get used to the prevalent noise to really listen, just like you do for japandriods. at this time, i’m not sure why grizzly bear took soo many listens, i don’t recall it having really foreign sounds, the tracks just didn’t stand out, other than the single track “two weeks”. i listened to that track many times before moving on, and i did the same thing with animal collective’s single “my girls”. after that, other tracks started to appear, along with new sounds and melodies that weren’t apparent at first, my mind wasn’t listening to these tunes before. this happens with each listen, until i appreciate the entire album. after the 4th listen, i’m enveloped in it so much, that it makes my hair stand. to me, this is my WATCHMEN of music, it’s that good.
– which leads me to beleive that music is indeed a preference. sure it takes intelligence, or i’d argue experience. experience, because the more experience you have, the more original music you’ve heard, assuming you always strive to listen to new music. with experiece, you can easily criticize pop music and anything simple. i imagine those who can criticize classical music, are people who know the details of written music very well. one who, upon listening, are going through all of the sounds in written form [in structure] in their head, annotating how original/clever a syncopation in one of the sounds [one melodic voice of a polyphony] are. i’m not sure how you can criticize jazz, as it’s so improvisational…or again i may not have “got it”…
– but this would imply that i share a lot of similar tastes with the reviewers at pitchfork. what lead me to pitchfork was how much i agreed with their numbers on metacritic. maybe there are some people who also started with metacritic, but found rolling stone’s numbers agreed with their opinion. everyone goes to into their own group (clique). is pitchfork mine? i hope i’m able to progress to classical…
– still, criticizing music should exist. it’s easy to see point out why a band is trash. a publication needs to exist to keep the 7.0s and less in the garbage, away from public view and encouragement.

classical – some can be improvisational, it’s not based on it, in fact it has a lot of repitition. sure it has a ton of original melodies, but i think it more about how well the entirety is composed. i enjoy strings and woodwinds, but do not like brass nearly as much. i don’t like marching band music. i really enjoy darker (minor) music. Vivaldi’s Winter or Bach’s Toccata and Fugue or any Mozart. seung pointed out that strings are the most sentimental, and he loves them/knows they are the best.

lesser genetic make-up [this thought occured earlier today, and is one of those reoccuring ones] – this is one thing i don’t think of. i even have a fear of the “handicapped”, i would be frightened at a mental hospital. i just can’t beleive how fragile human genes are. there’s such a high chance that you’ll have some sort of disease. i can’t imagine that x% of people have disease y, and so on. so many people are suffering. i wouldn’t want to live if i even had one serious one, i’m spoiled. the fear extends with thoughts of my child having chances of disease, and i’m not sure what i would do if i had a child with a serious syndrome. i wish there was a way to tell if the the child is fine within the first trimester, so the female could just abort the fetus. i think i would want a very mentally handicapped baby killed [yep, i’m evil]. sure the baby has emotions and feelings, but so do animals. if the baby is suffering [in pain] from a disease, i would want to kill the baby ASAP.

it seems i’ve missed my creativity, and instead went for knowledge whoring. i really need to research creativity, to find a method to induce creativity.

an update on the jazz from seung – he likes jams (“straight up playing, no songs or plan”). hearing people jam or improvise is like hearing an extension of the musician. he also just liked the sound of saxophones, and feels it has teh range of violins.
maybe what makes jazz good is because only the musician who played their songs can play it again. it’s very hard from someone else to read it, and play it. no wait, that’s dumb. maybe my personality just doesn’t match with jazz.

indie rock is mostly about sound. if the band has an original sound, and the music is fun to listen to (even after 5 tries), then it’s good. if the band does this, avoiding all of the cliches, then it’s great!

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Humanities, Music, Philosophy of Music