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RE: means to an end (was "the diatonic-chromatic-noise paradigm")

Title: RE: means to an end (was "the diatonic-chromatic-noise paradigm")

>>Personally I find it really annoying when I can identify particular
patches or equipment sounds in other peoples music (you'd think I'd be
over DX-7 bell sounds by now but no, everytime I hear one its a
pavlovian kind of response and not a good one).  This is a sure fire way
to be ejected from any actual appreciation of the music and into a
completely different head space.<<

I hear ya.... this raises a whole different issue for me though: I think similar responses to an over-used (& hence over-familiar) sound are evoked in non-technical listeners aswell. they might not be aware of the reason.... they might even prefer the familiar to the strange.... the more my band sounds like a certain german outfit from the 70s, the more some people seem to like it...

bear with me. this has ramifications for loop-based composition aswell.
repetition apparently without variation has a certain merit as an artistic effect.
repetition with subtle variation is different.

I suspect, & propose, that the reason is some sort of aural fingerprinting. the same sort of thing that enables seasoned listeners to identify the source of a single sample (like, for example, bonzo's bass-drum from the beginning of "when the levee breaks", which a great many people would recognise instantly even though it's barely a second long).

(it's just resurfaced, along with the equally unmistakeable snare part & a synthesized version of the bassline, in a UK TV commercial; I forget what for.)

I think, furthermore, that this same effect is behind my preference for vinyl over cd. the cd is exactly the same every time you play it, while there are minute variations in the sound of the vinyl, preventing the brain from knowing exactly what's coming next.

the closer the match between what's heard & the pre-existing "fingerprint", the less exciting the experience (for me, anyway).

but ymmv- after all, some listeners might get their jollies from the reassurance that all is the same as last time.

how does this relate to live vs recorded music, or composition vs improv? or more importantly, our original question about how much or how little a listener needs/wants to know of the process behind the music? how much of the listener's expectations of a musical experience is innate or instinctive, & how much learned?

I'd like to do a research paper on this, & start interviewing audience members & cd-buyers.... I wish I had the time. but maybe on an informal basis, us loopers could gather some raw data..

I know of software that exploits energy spectrum fingerprinting. the philips electronics giant sent a researcher graduate to see me about this in connection with my work here at mtv; it was impressive but had no business application for mtv. now (in the UK) you can dial a service called shazam from a mobile 'phone & have it tell you what the track is you're listening to.... I would at least like to develop this theory about audio fingerprinting in the human brain.

any or all of the above could be extrapolated to cover not just the sounds but also the structure of the music; formulaic compositional methods (so-called classical music, ABACAB pop-songs &c) through to apparently unstructured free jazz, improv, musique concrete.... again, with varying degrees of audience satisfaction & produced by methods holding different degrees of fascination in their own right for those audiences.

any thoughts, anyone?



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