inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #101 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Tue 3 Apr 12 18:57
    
I think music is a phenomenon that takes place at a peak of the union of the
irational and abstract minds.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #102 of 169: damage my pre-conceived views (chrys) Tue 3 Apr 12 20:50
    
<his books are largely a reaction against a single sentence of the
eminen evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker,>

Scott, Levitin just about says as much in that Google talk I posted
above. (#93)
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #103 of 169: Scott Underwood (esau) Tue 3 Apr 12 21:17
    
It's a dismissive, anger-inducing line, and I have to think that Pinker
is one of those people who just doesn't like music.

The centrality of music in primitive cultures and the existence of
musical instruments among the very oldest human artifacts would seem to
be enough to conclude that something very important is occurring that
goes well beyond entertainment. Music as aide memoire, music to relieve
the drudgery of physical labor, music as a part of sacred ritual...
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #104 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Tue 3 Apr 12 22:51
    
...as a way of bonding with a group... as a way of altering consciousness...
as a way of telling stories...
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #105 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 4 Apr 12 02:27
    
>if you've been reading about the last few decades of emergent brain
>research, it's pretty compelling to understand that, say, our sense
>of rhythm is engaged by the same neural network that controls
>walking.

I dunno. I've been reading about it, and writing about it too, for
awhile now, and I'm not sure how compelling most of it is. I mean that
kind of finding is interesting in a gee whiz sort of way, but I'm not
sure it adds all that much to my understanding of the phenomena in
question. More often than not, the neuro part of the story strikes me
as, to coin a phrase, exquisite confection, rather than the fundamental
explanation it is held out to be. 

I've read Levitin. His insights about listening to music, and his
speculation about its role in our species' cognitive development, are
fascinating. He's an excellent writer. I have an informal scale for
these kinds of what-a-piece-of-work-is-the-brain writers. AT one end
are DAvid Brooks,Malcolm Gladwell, and, now, Jonah Leherer, who magnify
and sanctify the holy brain (which just happens to be suited to their
ideological purposes; what a coincidence!)and at the other is Oliver
Sacks, no slouch himself when it comes to music, and who seems nearly
monk-like in his refusal to reach beyond the story at hand, or at least
his restraint in not using neuroscience to place whatever argument he
is making beyond contention. Pinker is down there near Brookweller,
Levitin is about 2/3 of the way from Brookweller to Sacks. His stories
about how we dont' adopt new music as we age are really well told. I'm
just not sure he needs all that neurotalk to make his point. 
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #106 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 4 Apr 12 02:37
    
AS I get older, I notice how much more slowly new (to my ears) music
makes its way into my brain. Even the new stuff of old friends--Dylan,
Paul Simon, etc.--is slow to stick. Used to be, when I was 14, one or
two listens and it seemed I knew all the lyrics and hooks. It would be
nice to blame this on the quality of the music (or to the lack of lyric
sheets now that music has become de-materialized) but it's more likely
the quality of the ears.

A strange exception. For reasons I can't explain, I never paid much
attention to DArk Side of the Moon. Recently, however, as I have fallen
ever more deeply in love with my Fender Rhodes (and learned how to
hook it up to my Leslie, which makes it sound delicious ), it has
occurred to me that Pink Floyd is just perfect for that instrument,
plus when I'm playing out with people who bust out a tune from that
album, they full well expect me to know it rather than to have to
figure it out as I go. So I have set out to learn the record, or at
least the songs on it. It only took about three karaoke listens to get
the first side of the album--complete with lyrics even though I wasn't
really listening to them and won't ever be singing them. This must be
because I've heard the thing so many times, so it was already installed
in my memory. But while I could barely ahve whistled the tunes or told
one song from another a couple of weeks ago, now it's as if I've known
them for forty years.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #107 of 169: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 4 Apr 12 02:47
    
Some of that may be all the media distractions that are part of our
daily lives now. How often do we sit down and only listen to music,
with nothing else going on? As was said earlier, when we were kids, I'd
buy the latest Dylan album and rush home to hear it, then have my
friends over for a listening party (we would have never called it that)
and we'd go on about it for hours. That and radio were the two ways we
communicated among our generation. The bandwidth has drastically
increased...multitasking and background ambience have watered down our
attention skills.

My kids have to have 4 or 5 things going on at once. The idea of
attending to only one media stream is foreign to them and they get
antsy with just one input.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #108 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 4 Apr 12 04:24
    
There's probably something to that. Although I was a pretty
distractable kid, and these days even when I try hard to attend to
music, it still doesn't stick like it used to.

There may be a talent component in here somewhere. I played the other
night with a guy who I haven't played with in years. He can hear
something once or twice and reproduce the bass or guitar line and
sometimes even the piano, or at least know exactly where and how he is
failing to reproduce it. He also has perfect pitch. He also can't read
music and even chord charts seem to confuse the bejesus out of him. I
have no doubt that he could hear the latest Bruno Mars or whatever and
nail it. I can play by ear, sort of, as long as you're not asking me to
pick up, say, augmented ninth chords or sudden key changes in real
time. 

So I wonder if there is some kind of correlation between people with
that kind of ears (or approaching it on the spectrum of tone deaf -->
perfect pitch) and people who don't experience the decay of musical
absorption with age.

ANd speaking of Oliver Sacks, one thing he writes in his book on Music
(Musicophilia?) is that he thinks we're all born with perfect pitch,
so the question isn't why some people have it, it's why most people
lose it.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #109 of 169: Eric Rawlins (woodman) Wed 4 Apr 12 06:51
    
I think everything gets slower as we get older: my piano teacher tells
me a rule of thumb when trying to learn a tricky passage is you have
to play it as many times as the number of years old you are. And every
time I'm driving myself crazy trying to get this *simple little
passage* under my fingers I recall how my daughter at 15 could learn
those passages just like that.

And it's not just musical. I used to get over a cold in 3 days; now
it's 3 weeks. And so on.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #110 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 4 Apr 12 07:06
    
I find that I no longer have to slip and fall to get hurt. It's enough
just to slip.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #111 of 169: Scott Underwood (esau) Wed 4 Apr 12 07:35
    
On the difference between Sacks and, well, everyone else: after ten
or more books, Sacks has no need to establish his credibility as a
scientist. But his early books, like "Migraine" and "Awakenings,"
are much less friendly to a general reader than "Musicophilia." Also,
in defense of Levitin, when you see his work as a book-length answer to
Pinker's assertion, I'm certain he felt the need to bolster his argument
by gathering as many cites as possible.

One thing I remember from Levitin's books is the idea that musical
education for children helps feed their intellectual growth. At 50,
I think I was among the last people to have any kind of music as part
of a public school education, even if it was just banging on percussion
instruments in first grade. It's a deeply sad thing that not only are kids
kids not taught to consider music as a part of a balanced intellectual
life, but they are no longer exposed to music except what their parents
play. (Which reminds me of the weird "Mozart effect" effect: No, it
won't make your baby smarter, but at least they get to hear something
besides your CDs from high school.)
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #112 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Wed 4 Apr 12 07:54
    
Terrific posts since I last checked in -- thanks to all.

I was fascinated by the Fender Rhodes story, as I am the proud owner of a
Fender Rhodes 88. Pink Floyd does indeed sounds awesome on that keyboard.

When I was in college figured out how to play the whole album, which is fun,
especially "The Great Gig in the Sky."
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #113 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Wed 4 Apr 12 08:51
    
Rhodes + Lesie = wow!
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #114 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Wed 4 Apr 12 09:07
    

Neil Young trademarks new audio format:

<http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/neil-young-trademarks-new-audio-
format-20120403>
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #115 of 169: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Wed 4 Apr 12 09:20
    
>Rhodes + Lesie = wow!

YOu don't know the half of it. And it's simple. Turns out there is a
secret RCA input on the preamp of a Hammond B-3. Comes after everything
except the volume, so it bypasses percussion, etc., but it gives you
the ability to use the volume pedal of the organ for the Rhodes
(asssuming you can stretch like that). So you can just run your output
to the organ, adapt it to RCA, and plug and play. 
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #116 of 169: David Wilson (dlwilson) Wed 4 Apr 12 16:53
    
If you want to savor the Rhodes, this album will do the trick:

Hit the Rhodes Jack
<http://www.amazon.com/Hit-Rhodes-Jack-VARIOUS-ARTISTS/dp/B0009ND9X8/ref=sr_1_1
?ie=UTF8&qid=1333583503&sr=8-1>
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #117 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Thu 5 Apr 12 07:24
    
I've been thinking about this outlier thing, and I think what bothers me is
that I don't actually know anyone who fits the "great unwashed" profile.

Rather, I'm may be surrounded by those people, but would have no way of
knowing unless I did a pretty extensive interview.

<esau>'s Eddie Money/Beatles example was a good one, and I could probably 
produce similar anecdotes.

But how scientific is that side of Levitan's work, really? Did he interview 
thousands of people, or just go straight from his idea to supporting it 
with some neurophysiology?

My impression is that there is no unwashed middle, but rather a huge 
spectrum of reactions to music that are as varied as the human mind's 
reaction to anything (I think religion is a particularly good parallel, 
and I tend to reject generalizations about humans and religion for 
similar reasons. When someone claims to understand "your brain on 
religion," do you believe them?)

Everyone likes music, except the people who don't, and everyone likes the 
music of their youth, except for all the people who grow out of it. 

I think growing out of youthful musical tastes is at least as normal as 
fixating on them. It's very common for people to embrace classical music, 
for example, when they get older.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #118 of 169: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 5 Apr 12 10:07
    
Whew...I'm just putting together a decent classical section for my
music library.

OTOH, I heard something over the airwaves at the gym yesterday. I
gather this is what passes for new music...it was a remix and sampling
of about 20 hooks...technologically brilliant...have no idea what the
singer was singing about and on the whole, it was just good ear candy.

What do you all think about the remix culture? I've heard some that
are good.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #119 of 169: Susan Sarandon, tractors, etc. (rocket) Thu 5 Apr 12 10:17
    
Remixes are toally valid. I'm less convinced that mashups are, but when they
are good they are great. Check this guy, Mark Vidler:

Go Home Productions "This Was Pop (2002-2007)"
A handy-warhol compilation of older Go Home Productions mixes that have
gained popularity over the years.
Download Here 108Mb (right click/save target as)
Tracklisting:
01 Making Plans For Vinyl (Tweet / XTC)
02 The Weather Episode (original version) (Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg / Crowded
House)
03 Work It Out With A Foxy Lady (Beyonce / The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
04 Turn Out The Light Slave (Nelly Furtado / Grace Jones)
05 Backstab Me One More Time (Britney Spears / The O'Jays)
06 Ray of Gob (original version) (Madonna / The Sex Pistols)
07 Shannon Stone (Shannon / Rolling Stones)
08 Karma In The Life (Beatles / Radiohead)
09 Jacko Under Pressure (original version) (Michael Jackson / Queen & David
Bowie)
10 Paperback Believer (Beatles / Monkees)
11 Abba & The Bunnymen (Echo & The Bunnymen / Abba)
12 Rapture Riders (original version) (Blondie vs The Doors)
13 Essex Doves (David Essex / Doves)
14 Wrapped Detective (Police / Elvis Costello / Lionel Richie etc)
15 Girl Wants (To Say Goodbye To) Rock And Roll (Christina Aguilera / The
Velvet Underground)
16 Rock In Black (Queen / ACDC)
17 Velvet Sugar (The Archies / The Velvet Underground)
18 Bus Stop Runner (The Hollies / Kasabian / Sweet)
19 Time Outside (George Michael / Culture Club)
20 Nightbeatle (The Beatles / Daft Punk)

http://www.gohomeproductions.co.uk/downloads.html
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #120 of 169: damage my pre-conceived views (chrys) Thu 5 Apr 12 10:36
    
< It's very common for people to embrace classical music, for example,
when they get older.>


No matter how old my relatives are getting, I don't see them drawn to
classical music.  I suspect what you are observing has more to do with
wealth accumulation than age.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #121 of 169: David Gans (tnf) Thu 5 Apr 12 11:07
    

>  10 Paperback Believer (Beatles / Monkees)

I've seen that one and I love it!

BTW I made a mashup before that term was well-known.  I shuffled "Just
Another Brick in the Wall" and "Shakedown Street" together like a deck of
cards.  it's called "Brickshake #7" and you can hear it, along with some
other digital audio art, at <http://dgans.com/mutilaudio/>

"Skelvis" might also be of interest.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #122 of 169: Scott Underwood (esau) Thu 5 Apr 12 11:10
    
On classical music: my former father-in-law enjoyed only the lightest of
classical music, at a low volume. Whenever I attempted to play something I
thought he'd like, he generally thought it was a) too loud and b) too busy.
That is, he liked classical as a non-intrusive aural wallpaper, something
"above" elevator music, but not really as a new genre to embrace.

On remix culture: many years ago, I had one of those "intellectual
awakenings" I mentioned earlier, in which music I didn't really care for was
recast as something worth appreciating. In this case, it was the Beatie Boys
album "Paul's Boutique," which is now seen as a landmark album that -- due
to arguably overzealous copyright protection -- is unlikely to ever be
repeated.

Visit this website, a labor of love created by a fan, to get an idea of the
number of samples and pop culture references and allusions thrown together
in the remix blender to create a new work of art.

<http://www.paulsboutique.info/>

For example, the song "Shake Your Rump" contains 14 sound sources. It might
not be your cuppa, but it's definitely worth respecting.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #123 of 169: damage my pre-conceived views (chrys) Thu 5 Apr 12 11:15
    
<but it's definitely worth respecting.>

Not to be provocative, I am just curious....why is it worth
respecting?  Because it employs 14 sounds sources?
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #124 of 169: Eric Rawlins (woodman) Thu 5 Apr 12 11:35
    
>he liked classical as a non-intrusive aural wallpaper

A lot of people like it that way. Which is kind of a shame, I think --
it's like somebody telling you they love Shakespeare because when they
put on an audio of it it helps them get to sleep. 

If you listen to most classical radio stations, you soon realize that
the playlist is aimed straight at dentists' waiting rooms.
  
inkwell.vue.438 : Making (and discovering) Music in the 21st Century
permalink #125 of 169: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Thu 5 Apr 12 11:35
    
I think "classical" is just too inclusive to be meaningful to some of
us.  It covers something like 400 years of music, from Bach to
Gerswhin to Stravinski to Bartok.  History might lump Phillip Glass
and Brian Eno in as well as the New Age crowd.
  

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