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Re: xenakis quote source


> It is a totally different set of concerns.  And even then you can't say that
> failure and crashes are devoid of "intelligence".  For one, there's the
> "intelligence" (read, the groundwork, justification, stance, whatever) of
> the composer/musician that consciously opted to do things that way. 

i don't think that the first time someone had their computer crashing
and heard sounds s/he was deliberately provoking it. maybe the second
time around... 

casuality then might be transformed in modus operandi. 

the fact that one gives an explanation *after*, really makes it no more
intelligent. the intelligence of the sounds is given by the musician
who values whether the sounds and the procedure might have future

it's their personal taste which will determine what will happen
of their epiphany. 

>> the stuff was analyzed and understood after (at least for the
>> majority of the people doing music). 
> While this may apply to most pre-20th century music (of the "erudite" genre,
> for lack of a better term), it definitely doesn't to a large fraction of
> 20th-c music, and especially Xenakis.  

i wasn't talking about all composers. i stuck to crashes.
however throwing dice and making music is, in my opinion, understanding

you're not understanding the procedure after, you're understanding the music 

>> often i find the meaning of what i've done after i look at it.
>> it reveals itself to me. is it worth anything then? 
> Only you can say.  If you prize the journey rather than the destination
> (which is the base principle for plenty of 20th-c erudite music), you'll
> probably feel that way, when it still was something "to be discovered" even
> after you finished composing it.

well, there's also a prize in the result: if what i hear in the end
really gives me joy (and that obviously has to do with many factors,
including the way i've done it) and questions me (since i never feel
that i'm the only rational creator of what i do - and i'm not taking
it into religion - i just feel compelled without reasoning many times),
then i'll be forced to discover something, regardless of the way i've 
achieved it. 

usually i understand myself better that way. 

>> having a theorical edifice doesn't necessarily give birth to art. 
> On the other hand, not having it isn't also a guarantee of better art.
> Theoretical edifices do not detract from good art nor bad art.  It's what
> you do with them that counts -- i.e. when you set out to _make art_ with
> them. 

that's exactly what i'm saying! so where do i place the intelligence? 

in the end it's what you do. (not the theory under it) 

i've heard nurse with wound do the most amazing things out of
the most "dumb" sources. 

>> >Shannon's model only works for networks like telephony and data
>> >transfer...not humans... 
>> music is data transfer. 
> Nope.  There isn't a universal meaning conveyed by music;  you have a series
> of stimuli that will reach your audience and it will have the most disparate
> effects from one person to the next.  In that sense, you can't speak of
> data.

yep, you're right.
but in a sense there is transfer (propagation of pressure waves in an
elastic medium).
and, as i said (and you omitted), the decoding is the "human" part.
(and the composing, on the first hand) 

this makes it to my eyes even more clear that intelligence cannot be
carried: the message "will have the most disparate effects from one person 
to the next" 

if you have read my other mail, when i came up with shannon
i did it to say exactly this, that i understand
how one can set parameters in a mathematical frameset (like in shannon's
model), but i cannot see how it can be made when emotions come to play. 

i know that "emotions" are just a series of neurotransmitters having
fun, but still, they're so many, that it's just impossible to have
an identical response to the same stimulii from everyone. 

>> and from these quotes it really seems that Xenakis approves only
>> music which derives from a rigid scheme on which people can have
>> nice long discussions on a theorical basis. 
> No, those quotes merely reflect how tastes impose and influence our judgment
> of music.  Instead, Xenakis' quotes call for other criteria (if any) to
> judge music, such as the quantity of intelligence carried by the sounds,
> i.e. what is really the reason for it being that way, regardless of "other",
> "arbitrary" subjective criteria.  Note that the quantification procedure is
> left unspecified, another example of subjectivity rearing up its ugly head. 
> In essence, Xenakis' criterion is no different than Stockhausen's four
> criteria of electronic music.  You can disagree with them, but that's beside
> the point.  They all work as axioms for the specific exploratory work the
> composers are setting themselves out to do. 

of course quantification is left aside!! (i would be sort of offended
if they even wanted to determine how much beauty or intelligence there
is... let people do that alone) 

but quality isn't... 

of course i know that to appreciate somethings, one must have a theorical
basis, otherwise her/his considerations might be faulted. 

still it occurred to me at times to have found a piece of art/music
beautiful, but i hated the idea under it; and viceversa. 

it's a very subtle point, and i'm definitely not the right person
to enfire the discussion: i lack the notions and the words. 

i feel that there should be some sort of understanding of
the procedures and ideas of a composer's piece. but that they alone
shouldn't determine the value (quality) of their work. 

it has to be both. 

ideas and procedures work on our rational level, music alone might
just be emotions. 

>> music doesn't even need words to be appreciated. 
> Then what are we doing here on this list?  Xenakis' music stands on its own,
> it doesn't require a read of _Formalized Music_ to be appreciated.  On the
> other hand, talking about music, exchanging ideas, thoughts, only adds to
> the whole musical experience -- at least for those that strive to understand
> it, or seek ways in which to improve and augment that experience. 

i agree: i'm not judging his music, i'm saying that his words are trying
to set values in order to judge music, which is wrong. 

i'm not saying that this discussion is bad... i like it. so i owe
Xenakis this as well as some beautiful (in my opinion, without any meter)

>> what about all the randomness in life? 
> What about it?  Xenakis actually brought randomness to the world of music in
> a most thorough way. 

nothing, about it. i meant: why do i have to feel that something i've
composed through mere chance is stupid? isn't it part of what happens

you might say: no one is saying you'd have to feel that way... 

of course, i'm only relating to X's words when he says that to value
one must give it "a reasoned support less perishable than the impulse
of the moment, and hence more serious, more worthy of the fierce fight
which the human intelligence wages in all other domains(...)" 

i love the impulse of the moment when it just surprises everything
and makes you feel alive! it's serious and worthy, i tell you. 

other times i like to ponder a lot before i do something. 

any way i'll have to read the whole book (and i'll look for it and read it)
because it's unfair that i decontextualize completely... 

>> any way, the quote by Tobias is much better than the one by Xenakis,
>> which sounds so pretentious. 
> I don't see how Tobias' quote adds to or subtracts from Xenakis' quote.  I
> still have to see it "properly invalidated".  And it only sounds pretentious
> if you understand it as a "dogma or divine proclamation", which by now I
> hope I made clear it isn't.

i wasn't worried it had become some sort of dogma. i just felt that the 
"unintelligence" of Tobias' quote had more open sides. 

his mail is very interesting and gives some insight on this need to 
rationalize to create standards and scales. 

and i agree that "intelligent" is equal to "beautiful"
in this dialectic game of power rules,
but Xenakis escapes this tautology saying that "beautiful"
and "ugly" have no sense in his schema,
only "intelligence" can give value. but how? 

to me they all seem the same. and that's why i'm writing. 

(and why i was inspired to draw the t-shirt...) 


cheers to all. 




partial derivative of a point