Monday, May 30, 2005

Readings for today

Why smart people defend bad ideas.

The Changing Scale : A look at the development of temperament with emphasis on the Renaissance.


At 10:38 PM, Blogger Angela said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Angela said...

Methinks there would appear to be some kind of link between the social organisation of people around a bad idea and the idea of temperament. If a bad idea is argued long and hard enough by an otherwise intelligent individual, people quite often feel compelled to attune themselves to its logic because, for all intents and purposes, it seems to work. Only later, when a better idea comes along do they realize there's a howling (re: wolf tone) great hole in the original conception.
Here's a couple of random thoughts:
- it would seem to take a nice, wise man like Bach with an egalitarian sensibility to rearrange everything according to a lovely consensus so that it functions well, sounds beautiful and lasts the test of time to boot.
- I find the last part of the tuning essay rather interesting for the rearrangement of the traditional scale (why should things come packaged in octaves?), but also because the sole distinction the author makes between 'music' and 'noise' is that the former evinces a certain level of 'control'. Here are two points related to this:
- Can an absence of control be the basis for self-expression in music? Or will this merely be heard as noise, simply because people are not attuned to hearing it as a musical expression of something? I'm particularly reminded of my dear old dad, a lifelong devotee of the classical composers, kindly informing me that all the rock music he heard coming out of my stereo was just noise to his ears. Well, I did manage to get him to appreciate Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in the end. Oh, and Cold Chisel's 'When the War is Over' on a less enthusiastic level.
- Recently, a school in Cabramatta had a partnership with the Australian Chamber Orchestra where members of the ACO tutored the students in the school orchestra to play Vivaldi. It wasn't in tune, it was a bit all over the place, and not that great to listen to - but does that make it noise? Or was the effort at control, or at least the controlled backdrop of the score, enough to elevate it to the level of music?
- And my final random thought of the day is this:
All this tuning talk reminds me of a particularly bad piano lesson, where I hadn't practised and knew I should've. My teacher had often asked me to stick my sheet music in a book. Instead, I had opted for the more effortless folder with plastic sleeves alternative. Blundering my way through a piece, and desperately trying to hide my laziness, I coolly informed my teacher that the reason I couldn't play was because his lamp was at a very bad angle, causing light to reflect off my plastic covered sheet music. His even cooler response: 'No, my lamp has nothing to do with it. The point is, you've put your music in plastic sleeves, when I explicitly requested that you glue it to a notebook. That's why you're having trouble playing today.' Well, bad ideas remained defenceless as a result. Meanwhile, the real root of the problem - the fact I hadn't touched a piano for a whole week since my last lesson - was miraculously avoided. And despite the dissolution of my poor attempt at convincing logic, no one was really any the wiser in the end.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Angela said...

BTW the reason I deleted the first post (which was almost exactly the same as the second post) is because I used the word 'diffusion in the last sentence of the original, instead of what I really meant, which was 'dissolution'. So, in an effort to be transparent and explain why it says I deleted the first comment, I've now just completely defeated the purpose of deleting the first comment to begin with. Because now you know that I mistakenly used the wrong word, which is why I deleted the first comment, which makes one question why I bothered getting rid of it in the first place, when my error is now plain for all to see. So not only did I fall victim to malapropism, but I'm now an embarrassed malapropist as well! Fork!!


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