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The "Unsettling Ambiences" thread reminded me of a passage in one of my old
theory books, so I went back into the archives and found it. It's from
Coker's book "Improvising Jazz" (copyright 1964), page 15, and, I think,
applicable to the disscussion at hand. It's a quote from Richmond Browne
the time a jazz pianist and theory instructor at Yale University):
"The listener is constantly making predictions; actual infinitesimal
predictions as to whether the next event will be a repetition of something,
or something different. The player is constantly either confirming or
the predictions in the listerner's mind. As nearly as we can tell
(Krachenbuehl at Yale and I) the listerner must come out right 50% of the
time-if he is too successful in predicting, he will be bored; if he is too
unsuccessful, he will give up and call the music "disorganized."
Thus if a player starts a repetative pattern, the listener's
drops away as soon as he has successfully predicted that it is going to
continue. Then, if the thing keeps going, the attention curve comes back
and the listerner becomes interested in just how long the pattern is going
continue. Similarly, if the player never repeats anything, no matter how
tremendous an imagination he has, the listerner will decide that the game
not worth playing, that he is not going to be able to make any predictions
right, and also stops listening. Too much difference is sameness: boring.
much sameness is boring-but also different once in a while."
Food for thought?--Paul (Mindscape Explorer/Chapman Stick