The Composition of things : LUSENET : Professional Music Design : One Thread

Interested in the composition of things. The multitude of individual aspects which constitute the whole (Leibniz). The notion that a single phrase/melody can sufficiently define a moment/thing seems ludicrous.

Recently, I read a paper on 'The Mind & the Brain'. In it was put forward the apparently controversial argument that there was no such thing as the mind, nor had there ever been. Much of the subsequent outcry was based largely on the predicament of Romanticism: wasn't it awfully unromantic to be denied the possibility of a mind, as opposed to the mere tissuey organ that is the brain. Surely, if one is open-brained enough to accept that they are one-in-the-same, then romanticism is simply part of the brain, rather than part of the mindit is still whole-heartedly romantic.

In a similar vein, I believe it is possible to explain all aspects of music, in terms of mathematics! Contrary to popular belief, I fail to see how this detracts from the emotional content. Almost the opposite in fact: although I believe it to be impossible, if one were able to display their emotions purely within a mathematical framework, able to express their deepest feelings on the page, then surely this would be far superior to the vague, representational form which we all so 'familiar' with today?

After listening to a recording of a beautiful piece of music does one not think, 'wasn't that a truly wonderful piece of music'? One does not think, 'wasn't that simply a mathematical rendition of the music, expressed purely in terms of a system of on/off switches. Imagine the look of disgust, and doubtless contempt, if one were to produce screeds of printed documentation consisting of nothing other than a seemingly endless blackness of binary numbers. How can such beauty be expressed by merely two single numbers, 0 and 1? Rather than reject this unromantic notion, in favour of 'mother nature's own content', get your head around the reality that science is nature.

Let us concentrate on the real beauty in music: the creativity, for within the structurally sound rendition of a beautiful 'work of art' there lies nothing more cold, abstract and mathematical than the theories which attempt to underpin music as we know it. Music, given its popular definition, is banal. Just as maths is universally accepted - within the popular domain - to be a strict set or rules, giving rise to the 'one answer only' myth, it, like music, glories in its own way. Over and above all this lies true creativity and, like any great art form, unites both subjectivity and objectivity for, without one, there can be neither: for this reason, commercial music, or maths, is worthless.

Many visual artists would state, quite categorically, that their skill is derived from the ability to interpret 3 dimensional observation into the 2 dimensional form, often necessary for its artistic impression. Without denying, at any level, any creative input within this process, the system is purely that: a process of reduction. All lengths, widths, hues etc. are systematically represented on the page, using identical models to those used by an architectthey are very rarely as accurate and precise, and one must be extremely careful never to interpret this inaccuracy as deliberate 'creativity', the artists own deep and underlying impression of the image. This is to belittle, both the artists and the Arts, once again. It is merely an inaccuracy, however beautiful and wondrous the outcome. To quote Keats, once more: "a work of beauty is a joy forever". This may be true but, for those who doubt the creativity and beauty of the sciences, we must consider what is meant by the term beauty and, perhaps more importantly, our own expectations and definitions of it. If we were to consider an internationally acclaimed piece of music, classical or otherwise. Surely we, as the general listening public, are more likely to have established our appreciation and understanding of this 'work of beauty', by means of the recognisable patterns and textures within, and it is thus that structure and form have their effect. Rather, we are less likely to have maintained a similar appreciation over time, through our shared experiences and bondage with the underlying creativity and subject matter. Structures, theories etc., by their very nature, tend to remain more established and continuous throughout the ages, whereas the creative element has traditionally been accepted as to some extreme, entirely individual, but certainly always affected by social-political events which, as we all know, alter frequently. I suggest that as an integral, and inherent, part of any artistic criticism, when we refer to beauty, we are considering merely the formal and structural beauty of the pieceand not the creative idea, subject matter, or any other 'indefinable' aspect. While I accept that this presents absolutely nothing new; it does shift the balance of the argument away from notion of the indefinable and creative element, toward the rational conclusion that our current notion of 'what is beauty, what is art' must therefore be wrong. In this sense, the arts are still very much like Religion: one cannot be rational with matters of belief, if all that is indefinable is simply swept to the realms of faith. We must move away from this hypocritical and intellectual snobbery and either begin to question what we mean by 'true art and creativity', or cease to consider them at alland where would the 'social elite' be without their 'objects of beauty'?

And, if I dare return to the question of what constitutes an artist and what constitutes a scientist, who would consider the likes of Leonardo De Vinci, or Albert Einstein, as being exclusive to either 'category'?

-- Jude Andreas (, October 22, 2000

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