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Re: [microsound] an interesting monolake answer

On 12/18/06, Graham Miller <grahammiller@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
any thoughts on this? agree? disagree?

from: http://www.vagueterrain.net/content/archives/journal05/

RH: Visual representation of sound is evil.

Maybe this explains why Ableton's interface seems visually so lacking to me. Okay, it's great for doing live DJing as it was originally intended, but every time I go to write some kind of piece with it and use it more like a traditional sequencer, the interface drives me absolutely insane. I just can't get a good workflow going in it...

Also, this question of the visual vs. aural is at least as old as
Western Europeans started seriously notating music (not sure if this
would apply to any other cultures).

More to the point, I think it's silly to call visual representation
"evil" in fact. Sure, there is a danger that the visual as tool has a
detrimental influence on the music. But, it is equally true that there
are fascinating musical processes, which are only made possible, or
can only be controlled, through or with the assistance of various
visualization and abstraction procedures (whether it is traditional
notation, mathematical represesentation, or digital representation).
Some examples:
Traditional counterpoint
Any complex symphonic orchestration
Serial/post-serial musical procedures
John Cage's music and various chance procedures
generative patches created in PD, Max, or Reaktor
all DSP (not the GUI, but the code as the representation of sound)

Another example (again not from the digital domain):
Every music school has their students in, say, the jazz program, who
learn a bunch of scales off a page but can't seem to ever use their
ears and put those patterns together in a musical way. But John
Coltrane was known to practice extensively from Slominzky's Thesaurus
of Scales (which is simply an abstract representation of basic musical
building blocks), and I think everyone would agree this only enhanced
his ability to improvise.


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