Monday, October 31, 2011

Computer Generated Sounds as Music

In a paper that I wrote recently, I argued that we should not consider computer generated sounds as music because they lack artistic intention, at least when the sounds are created purely artificially and lack substantive human input. I realize that there are vague terms here, such as "substantive". At what point is there enough human input that we can consider computer generated sound music? That was a question that I could not answer thoroughly. However, I believe I should change "we should not consider [it] music" to "we should not consider it music as a fine art" because of the proposed idea that it is on a continuum. Perhaps because there is always some level of human input, such as requiring humans to build the computer and make the programs. I would still rate it very low, however. As I stated in class, I think that just programming the rules of music theory and a few common examples into a writing program and calling the output music is doing a disservice to Hamilton's theory of, "requires skill or craft". However, as there is always the minimal human input required to make such "music" exist, it would still fit our author's theory, so I would then have to just place it very low on the scale of what defines "skill or craft".

Do you feel computer generated sounds should or should not count as music, or perhaps that there is more to the argument than that?

Importance of Sound Origin

For the draconian acousmatic thesis, one would completely ignore the origin of a tone when deciding what is and is not music. This is because the acousmatic thesis is concerned with the thought process one experiences when listening to music, divorcing it entirely from its physical origin. We discussed how this is problematic, as a listener could be deceived, such as the case of an acousmatic listener presented with purely artificial electronic music and led to believe that it was actually composed by a person; the problem arising in an acousmatic listener having no discernible criteria for distinguishing the two.
This led me to agree with Hamilton that there is more to music than purely our thoughts on the tonal construction. The instrumentation, the sight of the performance, simply knowing truthfully what it is we are listening to plays a role. The importance of this role is questionable, but nonetheless, we look for a specific timbre in the music we like, and we feel deceived when we are told it is otherwise. I believe Nietzsche had it right when he began associating performance ("drunken emotion") with other qualifying terms of music as an art. The very human imperfection that is prone in all human performance, that can make different renditions of the same composition different experiences entirely, is at least something we look for in music we appreciate.

Does sound origin play a significant role in music?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Computer Generated Sounds

Purely artificially computer generated sounds do not seem as though they would count as music. There are programs that can simulate music creation through algorithms and programming, but can they actually create music that can be considered art? It seems as though we have defined music to need some sort of artistic intention, and that our authors seem to think there is much more to music that just arranging a series of tones. So what is to be said about computers than can be taught the rules of music theory, shown a bunch of examples of music that is considered well-written, and then produce creations that are so alike the original that it is hard for listeners to tell the difference?
I think that, because the computers cannot do anything more than imitate and recreate what they have learned, that the music they create would not be considered "music" in the same regards as they composers they learned from. Unlike human composers, who try to find new and interesting ways to combine sounds and rhythm and create new concepts, the computer composer will only ever understand music so far as it has progressed at its current level, and has no ability to invent for itself.
I would maintain that the sounds created by machines are not art (unless specifically inputted as such by a human composer), but I am not entirely certain if this is a correct assumption.

Do you think computers can create music?