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CLASSICAL  October 2006

CLASSICAL October 2006

Subject:

Re: Music as Language

From:

William Hong <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 26 Oct 2006 17:01:46 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

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Many thanks to Karl Miller for this thread, who recently wrote:

>Thinking about your post I am also reminded of the attempts to represent
>in music, the visual arts...many of which are based upon the works of
>Klee, an artist who was, conversely, influenced by music.  And then
>we have everything from Disney's artists providing us with an abstract
>representation of Bach to the graphic displays many computer audio players
>offer.  I wonder if any of us look at those.

While I can't say I've studied those audio player visual morphings
very much, Karl's point reminds me of something that happened in my
high school physics class way back in the 70s.  Our teacher hooked up
an oscilloscope to a record player, on which sat a "Switched-on Bach"
LP.  The two stereo channels were each hooked into the x and y axes of
the scope's display.  By playing Wendy Carlos' realizations of selected
Two Part Inventions, the scope would display some wonderful geometric
shapes in sync with the music, including circles, diamonds etc., all of
which would come and go in an instant.  To this day I don't know what
kinds of settings my teacher made to create these visual effects, but I
do wonder of today's audio displays do a similar function.

On the wider topic at hand, there's one "experiment" whose results
I would wish greatly to see, but which probably none of us ever will. 
That would be to see the reaction of some extraterrestrial being who
came upon the Voyager spacecraft that are streaming away from the solar
system, and who played the analog sound records that are lashed to them.
These are the records which carry a number of Western classical and other
types of art music, world musics, sounds of the earth, animals, people
etc.  Would they associate a "language" to the music, in the same way
they might analyze the human speech or bird call samples?

Bill H.

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