NationStates Jolt Archive

This music is by whom?

Santa Barbara
28-07-2004, 21:31
An interesting site on algorithmic composition poses this philosophical dilemma:

"A composer travels to the nearest algorithmic composition store and purchases a machine that beats on piano keys more or less randomly, as well as a nice tape deck for recording and editing the session. He takes the machine home, records a session, and edits it down to a piece he calls Rhapsody in absentia. Whose music is this? To whom can we attribute the results? To the piano-punching machine? To the designer of the machine? To the user of the machine who recognized that certain passages were viable compositions? Or is the Rhapsody merely non-music, sounds that do not count as music because no human actually envisioned them before they were heard--although this definition would seem to be a categorical cop-out."

Any thoughts?

Or is this too abstract for this forum? ;)
28-07-2004, 21:33
The original "music" belongs to nobody. It's (more or less, whatever that is meant to infer) random sounds, as one might also hear in nature. As of this stage, it's just sound. The edited piece belongs to whomever edited it. They took the sounds and arranged them in to a musical piece, much as one might while playing a piano itself.
Opal Isle
28-07-2004, 21:34
Well, the musician did edit and arrange it, which still requires a great deal of creativity...
28-07-2004, 21:39
Without hearing it, it is impossible to say it isn't music. But the unedited music would belong to the designer (imo), but after editing it is whoever did the editing.

Put it another way. Say someone owns an orchard. Plants some apple trees. When the grow, he sell an apple tree to someone else. Who takes the apples from the tree to make cider. Who's cider is it?

I hope this makes sense, never good at this sort of thing.
28-07-2004, 22:01
"music is organised noise"

In it's un-arranged state it would IMO not BE music at all. Once edited etc it would be the "music" of the owner of the machine
Santa Barbara
28-07-2004, 22:05
Hmm so not only does it need to be organized, you feel it needs to be organized by conscious effort?
Cannot think of a name
28-07-2004, 22:36
Chance operations are the core of John Cage's work, and this falls under the heading of chance operations. It is the composer that makes the final decisions, places the frame on the work so to speak, that is the author in this case. While the mathmatician/engineer designed the machine that did the work, at best he crafted the instrument, it is the composer that chose the asthetic. That is not to diminish the role of the instrument maker, they are artisans as well, just not composers.

As far as melodiousness goes, it is unimportant. Part of Cage's crusade was to accentuate that music is what we decided it was and we can decide anything is music. (Which is where pieces such as New York City and 4'33", challenging the notion of what we consider music)
Bodies Without Organs
28-07-2004, 22:59
"music is organised noise"

Nah, not just noise, but silence as well - the spaces between the tones are as important as the tones themselves