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Re: the function of some music

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard Zvonar" <zvonar@zvonar.com>

> It seems to me that there are various interpretations of what 
> "ambient" music is, and in the end it probably doesn't make a whole 
> lot of difference. Still it's fun to debate and discuss nuances of 
> meaning.
> Part of Eno's observation could be construed as akin to what Pauline 
> Oliveros calls "deep listening" and even to the type of aural 
> awareness that John Cage called attention to (most famously in 
> 4'33"). One implication of this acute attention to all sounds, and 
> the rejection of the idea of hierarchical importance of deliberately 
> "musical" sounds over others, is that we should go through life with 
> ears wide open (again, as Cage said, "we have no ear lids"). But 
> another implication that is more composerly (and perhaps less 
> philosophical) is that we can compose and perform music that IS and 
> ambience. I think that despite Eno's observations much of the music 
> he created under the "ambient" banner is actually music to be 
> listened to for itself and not necessarily as a component of an 
> ambient environment. Take "Music for Airports." This can certainly be 
> used in a public environment and can function in a truly ambient 
> manner, but it can also be listened to as a musical foreground. In 
> such cases it certainly isn't ambient in the purist sense, but it is 
> a sort of ambience in the sense of something that sounds continuously 
> as a sonic environment. But I've also heard arrangements of this 
> music performed in concert by the Bang on a Can All Stars. In that 
> situation it was most definitely concert music.
> So in the end, the term "ambient music" no longer has one specific 
> meaning. It might be best for those who are intending to blend in 
> with the local ambience to simply revert to Satie's terminology and 
> call it "furniture music."

In Eno's original definition of Ambient Music, which appeared in early
copies of Music For Airports, he declared "Ambient Music must be able
to accomodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one
in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting."

This means that it may be listened to intently (as in concert music),
or may simply be treated as a sonic environment. While not too restrictive
a definition, it certainly states that the music must serve for both
functions and therefore, must not "demand" attention.

Scott M2