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View Diary: Godel, Escher, Bach series:  Introduction and three part invention (170 comments)

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  •  I think it would be great for books (4+ / 0-)

    on music to be 'illustrated' with excerpts played by experts.

    Many books on music have written music in them, but for those who listen and don't play, this isn't ideal.

    •  Well, it depends... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      algebrateacher, plf515, FrugalGranny

      ...a lot on cultural perspective.  There is a powerful argument that when the acoustical content is subtracted from the complete performance context, so much data is lost that the recorded artifact is meaningless.

      This is less true in musical cultures that have already "artifactualized" their music to a great extent; once "knowing a piece of music" became equivalent to "having a prior acquaintance with the instructions on a sheet of paper" it immediately made it possible to posit a Platonic ideal of a given piece.  One of my teachers disliked going to concerts; he preferred sitting at home with an orchestral score, listening to the music in his head -- he could adjust all the details so it was just the way he liked it.  This type of behavior is totally meaningless and impossible in many other musical cultures, including some I've spent my life studying.

      Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

      by WarrenS on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 07:21:24 AM PST

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      •  Sounds a bit like the eternal debate... (5+ / 0-)

        ...between Theatre & English departments about Shakespeare.  Sometimes English professors ponder about the deep meanings of certain matters in "the text" when a knowledge of performance and stagecraft would explain a great deal.

        •  Our revels now are ended. (4+ / 0-)

          These our actors,
          As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
          Are melted into air, into thin air:
          And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
          The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
          The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
          Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
          And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
          Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
          As dreams are made of; and our little life
          Is rounded with a sleep.

          Hows that for Tempest in a teapot?
          Greensleeves anybody?

           title=

          For an earworm from Bach, how about Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire?

          This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

          by MT Spaces on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 08:58:55 AM PST

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    •  Today, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, FrugalGranny

      many books about music come with CDs of musical examples that are designed to be played while reading the text.

      "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Nespolo on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 08:06:45 AM PST

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      •  I wonder if any such books (or web pages) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515

        deal with the issue that I keep slamming into when I try to learn about music. For lack of a better word, I'll call it perspective. As a non-musician who loves music, I find I keep running into maddening instances where the perspective is left unclear, and as a result I can't discern what the words are really talking about.

        For example: Suppose I'm reading something that describes key changes. It refers to a specific key change in a symphony that I know well. But what's left unsaid (and I've seen this in any number of writings) is that a key change doesn't have a specific beginning or ending -- it happens gradually, kind of like the way a country's system of government might change from democratic to fascist over time, or the way that a comment's topic might meander into degenerative systems of government instead of music.

        But I digress.

        I'd love to see a multimedia presentation that  bridges the music and narrative in a meaningful way. For example, when the key change is starting to manifest itself in the music, the text that describes it begins to be subtly highlighted; the highlighting is increased as the key change becomes more pronounced; then the highlighting fades as the new key becomes established -- but the font for that passage is now Arial instead of Times New Roman.

        Or something like that :-)

        Be the change that you wish to see in the White House.

        by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 11:07:45 AM PST

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        •  Your question about key changes depends (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          plf515

          on the style/time period of the music that you have in mind.  Sometimes a key change is only obvious in retrospect: you know you're in the new key when you get there.  But there are often signs along the way, especially in music of the Classical period, like the appearance of accidentals (usually sharps or naturals) that point you towards a new key.

          I'm not going to venture any further, since I don't fancy myself a theory teacher ;-)

          "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

          by Nespolo on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:20:51 PM PST

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          •  It's not just about key changes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plf515

            I get what you're saying, but it's not really the point.

            Imagine trying to describe color to someone who can see color perfectly well but has never learned names for colors. Would you willingly limit yourself to words, when you could just as easily point out each of the colors you're talking about?

            When it comes to learning music theory, I feel like I'm on the receiving end of such a dialog. I believe that computer technologies should allow for better pedagogical approaches than the ones I've encountered thus far.

            Be the change that you wish to see in the White House.

            by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 28, 2008 at 01:36:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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