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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

What is a composition?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next [all]
Author What is a composition?
joejoejoejoe
Though I've been making music on synths and computers for several years now, I still have trouble answering the question about just what is an electronic composition. I come from a classical music background and when I think "composition" I still think of some kind of sonata form and some sort of fixed instrumentation. Without constraints on the thematic and timbral forces, music often seems directionless and arbitrary. How can music made with electronic means and recorded to some sort of permanent medium (hard drive, tape, cd, whatever) retain the thematic and timbral integrity of, say, a string quartet by Schubert or an orchestral piece by Messiaen?

Or is an electronic composition more concerned with mood? Or groove? Or gesture? Or "concept"? Etc. What do YOU think makes an electronic composition a unified artistic statement and not just an expression of one's technical ability and "musical feeling"?
ndkent
I'd say electronics enable one to break the restraints that may be imposed on music making. Now one may counter that maybe restraints are a good thing but that's probably best for the individual to determine.

Mention of Form makes me think of Satie whom I guess was badgered by criticism of his music not falling into traditional compositional forms so he countered by making a set that rather than being in say a Sonata form was "In the Shape of a Pear"

Personally I do see a difference between noodling/tweaking/trying out stuff and something recorded or performed that demonstrates what was discovered by the former. That's the point I think is a composition.

There are some people with the skills to improvise with meaning but I also hear a lot of people who mistake the enjoyment they get from hands on (or mousing) electronic sound production with making a meaningful musical statement to others. By "meaningful" I'm talking about an experience that communicates to the listener even if it's not immediately understood. That may be a source of what comes off as "arbitrary"
GuyaGuy
Composition is organizing sound. Anything more specific than that starts excluding a lot. For example, insisting on rhythm excludes La Monte Young drones. Or insisting on melody excludes a large chunk of Reich's Drumming and all of his Clapping Music.

In that sense electronic music isn't any different. What is different is the specificity of orchestration, which is defined by what is at the composer's fingertips--whether it's Subotnick's Buchla, Vangelis's CS-80, or Skrillex's laptop. Arguably the sound of a Skrillex sample morphed into a booming bass drop is arrangement and not composition and theoretically the same composition could be played on other instruments--say an orchestra. But with popular music--and indeed most electronic "art" music--there's a stronger link between composition and orchestration, in contrast with folk or classical music where arranging music for different orchestration is quite common. In other words, Gesang der Jünglinge could theoretically be arranged for piano but it would be quite different than the original than, say, a Bach cello piece played on guitar.
Moskowitz
Organizing sound is weak - anyone can organize sound.

Composition requires INTENT. Composition is intent. its assiduous application, and the result.
JohnLRice
Moskowitz wrote:
Organizing sound is weak - anyone can organize sound.

Composition requires INTENT. Composition is intent. its assiduous application, and the result.
hmmm..... Organization IS intentional! cool

Definition of organize
transitive verb
1 : to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole

3 : to arrange by systematic planning and united effort
Dcramer
Enjoy the show!
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
I think the answer to the question of "what is a composition" is as simple as "what makes a piece of music 'A' rather than 'not A'.

The "limitations" mentioned by the OP are self-imposed ones, which the composer imposes in order to enforce the A/not-A boundary in a composition.

I have always been the most intrigued by music which takes just a few interesting elements and combines them in enticing ways. One of my favorite pieces in this vein is "Batik" by Ralph Towner (but I can't find it on Youtube).
GuyaGuy
Moskowitz wrote:
Organizing sound is weak - anyone can organize sound.

Composition requires INTENT. Composition is intent. its assiduous application, and the result.

Insisting on assiduous application already starts excluding a lot--from aleatoric music to a quick simple song I could bash out on my guitar right now if I wanted. I'm open to a better definition but I've found the more specific a definition becomes the more it starts excluding.

JohnLRice wrote:
hmmm..... Organization IS intentional! cool

Definition of organize
transitive verb
1 : to form into a coherent unity or functioning whole

3 : to arrange by systematic planning and united effort
thumbs up

Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
"Batik" by Ralph Towner

RT love
https://open.spotify.com/track/2cLkpnkha1LBlXKCwPwzPA?si=EXMpYEgETQaJF gloX9T2yQ
Panason
A composition is music. My definition of music is "a sequence of sounds that people other than the person(s) making the sounds may find enjoyable in some way".
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Panason wrote:
A composition is music. My definition of music is "a sequence of sounds that people other than the person(s) making the sounds may find enjoyable in some way".


You're wrong.
BRNT
... and don’t forget Time.

For the “Composition Cake” we should have Sounds (and it’s negative: silence); an Agreement (or Organization) about these sounds and silences (or about the structure or ‘parameters’, like in generative music or a Jazz jam where no one really knows the future melody); and Time, a composition has a beginning, an end, and each note (a sound of a certain pitch) has a particular birth and death.

.. and sugar, pepper and salt. Rockin' Banana!
Panason
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:

You're wrong.


LOL, OK. We'll go with the usual definition: "It is whatever I say it is"
Nelson Baboon
joejoejoejoe wrote:
Though I've been making music on synths and computers for several years now, I still have trouble answering the question about just what is an electronic composition. I come from a classical music background and when I think "composition" I still think of some kind of sonata form and some sort of fixed instrumentation. Without constraints on the thematic and timbral forces, music often seems directionless and arbitrary. How can music made with electronic means and recorded to some sort of permanent medium (hard drive, tape, cd, whatever) retain the thematic and timbral integrity of, say, a string quartet by Schubert or an orchestral piece by Messiaen?

Or is an electronic composition more concerned with mood? Or groove? Or gesture? Or "concept"? Etc. What do YOU think makes an electronic composition a unified artistic statement and not just an expression of one's technical ability and "musical feeling"?


if I record myself reading this post, and make a track of it, it is a composition. Anything that I call a composition is a composition. Whether it is 'good' or 'bad', whether you enjoy it as music, or not, is rather another issue.
Nelson Baboon
Moskowitz wrote:
Organizing sound is weak - anyone can organize sound.

Composition requires INTENT. Composition is intent. its assiduous application, and the result.


yes. you have to grunt, and record the grunting.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
The word "compose" literally means "to place together." Hence, this is what is required: to put things together. If you accidentally take a picture of your feet with your cellphone, this is not a composition. However, if you point your camera at the horizon, and try to get roughly equal parts earth and sky in the frame, this is a composition. Composition implies intentional arrangement, of taking some modicum of control over the elements in the work.

This also gives some guidance for judging the quality of a composition.
Nelson Baboon
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
The word "compose" literally means "to place together." Hence, this is what is required: to put things together. If you accidentally take a picture of your feet with your cellphone, this is not a composition. However, if you point your camera at the horizon, and try to get roughly equal parts earth and sky in the frame, this is a composition. Composition implies intentional arrangement, of taking some modicum of control over the elements in the work.

This also gives some guidance for judging the quality of a composition.


Words achieve different meaning in conversation and other usage, so the 'literal' meaning of compose isn't really relevant.

If you accidentally take a picture of your feet, and you submit it in a photography exhibition, then it is being 'put together'. An arrangement may consist of the choice and the intention.

And no. it gives no guidance at all for judging the quality of a composition.

I saw the photo of your feet, and they smelled really bad.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
Don't you have anything better to do than disagree with me, Baboon?

The word was chosen very carefully. If it no longer retains its meaning, then why was it chosen to describe a composition, and not some other looser word, like "barf"?
HighLordFixer
He's obviously merely decomposing your statement:P
composing is the difference between random impromptu wiggling
and actually having a clue what you are doing and exactly why
plus much reflecting & refining
every millisecond of purposeful will
until it meets with you original creative inspiration
or mutates/evolves in total new directions
or you can just take an impromptu shit and call it art
that's on you
plus some people just don't have any actual composition skills
Nelson Baboon
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch wrote:
Don't you have anything better to do than disagree with me, Baboon?

The word was chosen very carefully. If it no longer retains its meaning, then why was it chosen to describe a composition, and not some other looser word, like "barf"?


I'm not changing its meaning. I'm saying that using only the strictly literal or etymological meanings of words is actually changing the meaning.

If you want to use 'barf', that's fine too.
HighLordFixer
Definition of composition
1 a : the act or process of composing; specifically : arrangement into specific proportion or relation and especially into artistic form

the painting's unique composition

b (1) : the arrangement of type for printing

hand composition

(2) : the production of type or typographic characters (as in photocomposition) arranged for printing
2 a : the manner in which something is composed
b : general makeup

the changing ethnic composition of the city's population

c : the qualitative and quantitative makeup of a chemical compound

the chemical composition of a polymer

3 : mutual settlement or agreement

The two parties came to a composition.

4 : a product of mixing or combining various elements or ingredients

a composition of rubber and cork

5 : an intellectual creation: such as
a : a piece of writing; especially : a school exercise in the form of a brief essay

wrote a composition on the role of the police in our society

b : a written piece of music especially of considerable size and complexity

Her composition for piano and flute was played at the recital.

6 : the quality or state of being compound
7 : the operation of forming a composite function; also : composite function
— compositional play \ˌkäm-pə-ˈzish-nəl, -ˈzi-shə-nᵊl\ adjective
— compositionally adverb



n composition the act of creating written works "writing was a form of therapy for him","it was a matter of disputed authorship"
n composition musical creation
n composition something that is created by arranging several things to form a unified whole "he envied the composition of their faculty"
n composition the way in which someone or something is composed
n composition the spatial property resulting from the arrangement of parts in relation to each other and to the whole "harmonious composition is essential in a serious work of art"
n composition an essay (especially one written as an assignment) "he got an A on his composition"
n composition art and technique of printing with movable type
n composition a musical work that has been created "the composition is written in four movements"
n composition a mixture of ingredients
HighLordFixer
composition (n.)

late 14c., composicioun, "action of combining," also "manner in which a thing is composed," from Old French composicion (13c., Modern French composition) "composition, make-up, literary work, agreement, settlement," and directly from Latin compositionem (nominative compositio) "a putting together, connecting, arranging," noun of action from past participle stem of componere "to put together, to collect a whole from several parts," from com "with, together" (see com-) + ponere "to place" (past participle positus; see position (n.)).

Meaning "art of constructing sentences" is from 1550s; that of "literary production, that which results from composing" (often also "writing exercise for students") is from c. 1600. Meaning "orderly disposition" is from 1590s. Printing sense "the setting of type" is from 1832; meaning "arrangement of parts in a picture" is from 1706.
HighLordFixer
since you mentioned definition and etymology figured should post it
thanks
anyways... need getting busy working on another composition:P
sitting here reviewing reference track whilst posting
https://unitus.org/FULL/Belkin.pdf
https://archive.org/details/composershandboo00dunsuoft
https://monoskop.org/images/d/da/Schoenberg_Arnold_Fundamentals_of_Mus ical_Composition_no_OCR.pdf
facklr
Oh good, we get to

--> Do https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=162932&highlight=

--> This https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=151085&highlight=

--> Thread https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=49170&highlight=

--> Again https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=43734&highlight=
HighLordFixer
btw do those slider caps on your fake korg/arp fit a real Arp?
here's another old super basic book on electronic music composition
http://www.n01ze.com/synthwizards/ADSR.html
plus this thread is making me reread that Schoenberg book
go forth and wiggle
or whatever
authorless
joejoejoejoe wrote:
Though I've been making music on synths and computers for several years now, I still have trouble answering the question about just what is an electronic composition. I come from a classical music background and when I think "composition" I still think of some kind of sonata form and some sort of fixed instrumentation.


That is your own biases. And the "fix instrumentation" is unrealistic a parameter. If someone plays a piece of music written for harpsichord on a guitar does it suddenly become recognizable?

joejoejoejoe wrote:
Without constraints on the thematic and timbral forces, music often seems directionless and arbitrary. How can music made with electronic means and recorded to some sort of permanent medium (hard drive, tape, cd, whatever) retain the thematic and timbral integrity of, say, a string quartet by Schubert or an orchestral piece by Messiaen?


If you listen to music expecting it to be one thing, or judge it by the merits of other forms of music, then I could see that. Mozart is terrible hip hop. The Kinks are terrible techno. Van Halen is terrible jazz. J Dilla is terrible death metal. you have to listen to music and judge it on its own merits.

joejoejoejoe wrote:
Or is an electronic composition more concerned with mood? Or groove? Or gesture? Or "concept"? Etc.


"Electronic music" is a pointless term. All it means is music made with electronic instruments. It has nothing to do with the actual music made. There is no "unified" anything with electronic music. Frankie Knuckles is pretty far from Morton Subotnick. If you ignore that it is made with electronic instrumentation then you are left with "music". You are left asking what is the compositional paradigm of music, which maybe you don't agree, but I think is kind of silly. It will be different for jazz, or techno, or noise, or serialism, or prog rock, or pop, or country, or ambient, or...


joejoejoejoe wrote:
What do YOU think makes an electronic composition a unified artistic statement and not just an expression of one's technical ability and "musical feeling"?


Why would "just an expression of one's technical ability and "musical feeling"" not be a composition? Like, Dream Theater's songs definitely fit that bill, but they are certainly composed and, therefore, they are certainly compositions.

In broad terms, intention and direction. I guess.

4'33" by John Cage is a composition.
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