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Music - an interactive art

28 Sep 2017Arts Essays

I consider music to be an interactive art, like a dialogue. Interactive in the sense that I would receive and respond to it subjectively and actively, in various different manners, depending on my moods and values, my taste and my cultural background, but most of all depending on my sensibility. I am very selective, but also very eclectic in my musical tastes: I cannot say I have a favorite genre or band. But there is a sum of elements that touch me in particular. Objectively, music is known to combine "vocal or instrumental sounds for beauty of form or emotional expression, usually according to cultural standards of rhythm, melody, and, in most Western music, harmony".

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What touches me first and foremost is the rhythm. In this sense, I am a beat maniac and the sound of drums, battery, or base, or any underlying cadence or tempo caused by percussion, even in random patterns (like atonal music or street sounds) makes a visceral echo in my blood and humors. I remember a quote from Richard Baker, stating that rhythm is intrinsic to human condition, that "the discovery of song (...) owed its origin to a human impulse which lies much deeper than conscious intention: the need for rhythm in life..." In this sense I am especially moved by genres like African or Gypsy tribal music, Trip hop, downtempo, bolero ("the most popular lyric tradition in Latin America", according to Morales) which give me an existential experience by the way the rhythm waves a story.

Following the concept of rhythm, there is the pitch coded by the audio frequency. I am touched by low or bass frequencies, like Sergei Prokofiev's Op. 64 Romeo and Juliet, where the bass pitches give depth and momentous significance to the piece. I know that "low frequencies make the sound powerful and warm, while midrange frequencies give sound its energy", rendering a great emotional and narrative power to the pitch. Such type of music can essentially become therapeutic, I believe. What I call "sound therapy" is a therapy of sturdy rhythm and deep tones, which works in a cathartic way, almost like an external catalyst for the emotions and even creative drive.

Finally, acoustics sets the spatial dimension of music. Essentially, I feel that music is globally immersive for the human being, itself lead by pulse, order and rhythm. I have selected this minimal, but essential list: a strong rhythm (the more unpredictable the better), a lower pitch and a surround-system type of acoustics. I also need it to be authentic, plural, capricious on the intellectual side. This makes music an irreplaceable significant other for me.

References:

  • Baker, Richard, Quotegarden, October 3, 2007 http://www.quotegarden.com/music.html .Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia
  • Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.
  • Britannica, Inc., 2006. Answers.com 03 Oct. 2007. http://www.answers.com/ .
  • Morales, Ed. The Latin Beat. Cambridge : Da Capo Press, 2003.
  • Owen, Harold. Music Theory Resource Book. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Stambler, Irwin. The Encyclopedia of Rock, Pop, and Soul. Rev. ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989.

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