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A paper on an abstract musical idea. Cary Angell

The following is a paper I wrote for an Eng101 course at school.
It's kind of pieced together but has some cool ideas. enjoy!!

The Abstract Note (Anti-note)

When we look into the stars, our minds tend to open up to a complex universe that is filled with seemingly unexplainable phenomena. Reaching for answers as far as humanly possible into the wonderments of nature seems to be an eternal task. Yet through the bewilderment of human kind we have broken ground into the discovery of some existing patterns in nature that strengthen our fundamental ideas of existence. The instrument that leads us to these discoveries is the creative application of the universal language, Mathematics. Applying the fundamental mathematics found on a macroscopic scale to a more primary idea, such as music, can help us gain new perspective on how music can and does effect an individual being. My ideas will try to tighten the relationship between physical stimuli and their psychological affects that exist in everything from science to religious beliefs. This theory focuses solely on music by examining an abstract perspective on how music can affect human reaction. I will also demonstrate the use of dissonance as a design concept for creating aesthetic beauty in music.
Just as the interconnectivity of social order has fundamental ideas that govern the direction of growth within that order through time, the applied mathematics that exist in physics also describe similar fundamental phenomena, principal waves. These waves, or vibrations, are a starting point for better understanding the physical root elements that cause existence to move in a specific direction through time. The existence of such waves helps define the laws of physical movement of many rudiments of nature including air and water. Through the study and comparison of wave propagation we can better understand the laws of motion which, in effect, govern more than just the movement of physical objects.
A plethora of genre in music has given rise to social segregation through musical diversity. This is amazing to me because the root of all perfectly aesthetic music is the mathematical symmetry of whole number ratios that exist in all musical intervals. This opinion can be concluded as common ground for all musicians. Why can random people from different backgrounds enjoy the same music, while people from the same background posses such variant tastes in music? Is there a common ground for all music to be judged as tasteful or tasteless, or is the use of sentimentality in critiquing music still the socially-accepted norm? What physical stimuli cause different people to connect to the musical content? How do these connections blossom into social change, or movements? These are all interesting questions that I feel can be rationalized through the use of some kind of vibration connectivity theory.
Why is it so important to find such connections? As the connection of vibrations to a changing social order seems to be an insignificant connection, I believe that this connection has a monumental effect on the most important orders of humanity such as government, economics, and religion. To establish an understanding of the principal laws of this connection could mean greater control, or predictability, of many social demographics. I anticipate a significant isolated connection in terms of vibrations affecting change within social order, however, I'm sure there are mutual disturbances that each incurs that I have yet to realize.
Beginning to justify such a theory as plausible requires two independent yet still mutual connections to be realized. The first is the relationship between vibrations and the brains ability to perceive sound as musical. The second is the connection of music with the direction of change within any social order. Since the general idea of this paper is to essentially accomplish tightening the relationship between otherwise unrelated subjects, I will begin to explain a connection that links a modern social order change and vibrations (tone) through the use of musical aesthetics.
Developing a basic understanding of vibration is critical to understanding the elements of music which could physically affect humans. The most accessible waves for study are the vibrations that occur from the movement of elastic bodies, compression and rarefaction, which create sonorous tremors. This would include waves with frequencies within the range of human tonal recognition that are observable as sound by the ear (i.e. 20,000Hz-20Hz). Included as well are other waves that can propagate at slower rates, sometimes below the audible range, yet are still comprehensible within a visual spectrum (i.e. water waves). The most useful tremors for study are those that give rise to direct sensation. (The visual spectrum also includes extremely high frequencies which give rise to the sensation of color, another interesting point to examine.) Most of my observations and hypotheses have been developed strictly from my experience with the audible range of sonorous tremors.
Physiological acoustics verifies that the human brain interprets tone because it is comprised of periodic waves. On the other hand, a sound with an irregular wave pattern is called a noise. The periodic waves from which tones are created contain wavelengths which are equal distance. The activation of the eardrum due to the agent, a regular periodic sonorous tremor, or cycle, creates the sensation of tone within the human brain. The pitch number of the wave is determined by the number of cycles per second from a peak or trough. The unusual key concept that exists within the study of tone is that all human ears sense the exact same tone in accordance with the tone’s pitch number. This means that the physical reaction to a sonorous tremor that is vibrating at 440Hz (440 vibrations per second), will be activation of the brain's sense of a’ tone. This interpretation by the brain is caused by an involuntary reaction from vibration stimulation and will remain a critical and essential foundation for the establishment of any vibration/social order theory. So which combinational tones render the musical aesthetics that cause emotional content to transpire? How are emotional content and social change linked? I have a rather bizarre idea to answer these questions. The following discussion may seem a bit superfluous from the start but it is my key to understanding the connection between tonality and music’s affecting substance.
The development of technology through the digital revolution has quarantined certain genres of music into categories that are inescapably void of all humanistic qualities. The lack of these driving humanistic qualities is sterilizing “electronic” music and is simultaneously furthering its development. With the use of external clocks (sequencers) we are eliminating the imperfections in timing that are incurred within music from human musicians. Sequencers also allow for perfectly synchronized note series development through written compositions. Finding beauty in the inhuman realm of nearly perfectly written musical structure seems to be a tough task for most average musicians; however, as the potential to have sequencers perform perfectly scored music increases, the standards for musical composition increase accordingly. Reaching and surpassing this elevated standard of musical composition is the ultimate goal of electronic music composers of the new millennia. The use of sequencers has driven all music to the brink of aesthetic perfection and yet has simultaneously become the biggest obstruction for modern music. What makes the music humanistic besides the fact that it may have been conceived by the use of brain synapses? Is there emotional draw to music that is so predictable and inhuman?
I believe that creating affective emotional conflict and resolve in electronic music can done by writing the perfectly scored music and then detracting elements from the music's marvelous perfection. This idea is a bit backward in essence but somehow has developed truth. For example, if a listener goes to a concert to hear their favorite band, they usually prefer to see the musicians playing a composition as perfectly as humanly possible. Musicians struggle with practice so they can play their music perfectly. So if we write the music perfectly, with sequencers, why does it lose its attractiveness to so many people of the audience?
The imperfections incurred while playing the music live draws from the listener two fundamental characteristics, expectancy and anticipation. The listener expects imperfections and when the musician fails, and contributes a flawless part, the listener's anticipation for perfection is satisfied. The phenomenon of human imperfection in music is thus the underlying draw. So applying this somewhat backward approach to my own experimentations in electronic music has increased my ability to provide a more acceptable substance for listeners, through the humanization of otherwise perfectly aesthetic pieces. Encouragingly, I have found that these compositions are the most widely accepted musical compositions that I have written. So how does this idea fit into the overall picture of vibration/social order theory?
The idea that the human imperfections within music draws out the emotional content, and this emotional content stimulates a connection to the listener, forces a new approach to the study of psychoacoustics. No longer can the musical aesthetics of whole number ratios, or intervals that are based upon whole number ratios, be the foundations of compelling music. Musical composition now requires a deeper understanding of dissonance within pitch and time. If the imperfections, or conflict, are what a listener subconsciously yearns for, than a slight imperfection in tone might also satisfy their expectancy. This inflection in tone may be referred to as the anti-note.
Now that we have a general understanding of how to musically satisfy a person’s subconscious desires, we can start to determine how these desires can be manipulated into a uniform opinion that can be extended to engage important social issues. These opinions, if uniformly changed, would have a direct effect on any demographic for which the audience belongs. So how would a musician go about creating a message to influence a person’s standing on a particular issue? One way would be to create a musical composition, unaided by any outside influences, which satisfies anticipation and expectancy from timing and tone alone. A musician could then imprint the music with a lyrical message while maintaining the physically attractive attributes of the original composition. The humanism that occurs from lyricism contributes to the overall acceptance of the piece by the audience. This has been done countless times in the illustrious world of Hip/Hop, Rap and R&B. Using an older and popular song in a new production, to capture the attention of a larger audience, is called remixing. While creating new lyrics that engage the audience with a new message, the original composition provides the foundation for wider acceptance via the element of nostalgia. This technique has been proven to be an effective tool in gathering an audience’s acceptance for a new artist and relaying the artist point of view. This technique also displays the controversial power of aesthetic beauty in music. By delivering a beautifully aesthetic composition, any message can be delivered to any audience. Redundancy of the message in the music imprints a subliminal desire upon the listener. How the listener deals with this desire is not a known fact, but the probability of certain behavior can be calculated. This probability of behavior can be an important tool for orchestrating modern civilization’s positive advancement. The misuse of this tool, in comparison, could just as easily result in greedy contrive absolutism fueled by the all-to-common lust for power.
Many obvious examples can be compiled of how music affects social change. The most widely musically effected areas within social order are the media, fashion and commodities industries. Although these industries are a far cry from religious beliefs or government, it is quite clear that the power of controlling any market, especially the media, can subsequently affect social order. These are minimal but relatively clear examples of emotional content transpiring change in social order.
So I have used examples to link emotional content and social change through musical aesthetics. I have linked musical aesthetics with the infamous anti-note. I have linked the anti-note with the brain’s ability to perceive vibrations as desirable tone. Thus we can conclude that a social order change can be directly linked to vibration. With knowledge of this crazy and exciting idea, will we use this newly discussed wisdom to affect social change for the positive or negative? As wise man once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” I hope that we will be able to yield only positive circumstances from further development of such a grand connectivity theory. I am continuing to lay the ground work for a vibration/social order theory, hoping that my efforts to deliver a more adequate summary of this theory will soon enlighten others to the dynamic power of tonality.
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