Is it interesting?

9 posts / 0 new
Last post

I was watching a 5090 video on youtube then this Ted talk by Mark Applebaum randomly popped up next.

Before watching this I was not familiar with him or his work but it inspired me and reminded me of some of the ilk (outside of FAWM and 5090) I've heard over the years trying to push my creativity into a pigeonhole. I feel like instead of trying to follow pre-determined rules, conventions, or expectations, it is more important for my songwriting output to continue to go outside my comfort zone, push the envelope, experiment, and then afterward to ask myself the question "is it interesting?".

I watched the video and had to think about this. I agree that interesting matters, and that we should avoid the "you're supposed to do it this way" restrictions, that appear quite often in music. But I'm not sure I agree with Mark Applebaum's methods of avoiding boredom. He seemed to me to chose novelty over depth, to relieve boredom whereas the search for interesting should be an attempt to find more depth within the existing song framework. How you do that though is another issue.

Okay all other things aside.... I found this clip FASCINATING from a music and information processing standpoint. I've known since college that an unusually high number of collegiate and professional musicians have very strong visual processing and are predominantly visual learners. I skew more towards auditory learning which is why even though I can read and write music very well I love logic. I skip all that in between stuff for me. This guy is performing and processing music at a much higher level than most of us, but it's so fascinating because he is such a visual processor. He's clearly hearing the music and processing it aurally very well, but he keeps talking about what the music looks like and though he talks briefly about timbres, mostly, he's adding visual elements to his music.

Ultimately I agree with him. You have to do something that is interesting to you.

Also, this video led to the TED talk by Reggie Watts and now I think I'm in LOVE!!!!

Agreed, it is a fascinating clip. I enjoyed the exerpts from his works and admired the originality. Doing something interesting is an important principle for composer and its essential that people like Applebaum break out and do something new otherwise we really would be stuck in a cycle of the familiar. However, for those who usually listen to more conventional songs and music then sometimes the familiar and the conventional is just what is needed. If a listener is looking for something comforting or a song that will evoke a particular emotion then often the conventional is just what's needed. As Noel Coward wrote' Strange how potent cheap music is.' So I think we need all kinds of music including radically new stuff that has still to be invented.

He's definitely a fan of John Cage. The biggest difference is when John Cage asked the question "what is music," he answered "everything." This guy answered "Who cares?"

I'm not sure when I stopped using negative and positive to describe things..and its not with all things, but with food and music I use "interesting". The flavor may not be what I was used to and so it seemed unpleasant, but I can appreciate the sharpness etc....with music - genres I wouldn't listen to before are now interesting. I enjoy finding what is interesting in things.

Wow, this is an interesting discussion :). @Frances Smith I'm not exactly inventing new instruments either, and my experiments each have different results LOL, but I have used unusual items for percussion, unusual chord combinations, alternate guitar tuning, and used less familiar instruments. @katpiercemusic the Reggie Watts video popped up in a youtube you may be interested in e-mail I received the next day, hmmmmm. @Roddy I would note that song forms, uses of instruments, or musical approaches that are now considered conventional and comforting, at one point were unknown, or least outside the mainstream and breaking the rules and conventions of the day. @Tasha Parker Gibbs I'm also working on the black-and-white thinking that I was brought up in. Maybe my approach to music is part of my therapy for that. Progress is progress Smile

@AndyGetch it sure is therapy for me! I realized quickly once I started FAWM that my black and white thinking was not going to get me far - and although I listened to a lot of songs I wouldn't choose on my own, I was able to expand myself and get out of my own way by trying to find the artist's idea of beauty in what they created. It's a stepping out of ones self. When you change your perception, you lose the defensiveness and its not about black or white - Smile it's all kinda zen and I can't really explain it well in words LOL