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Quoth the Wally

“Music is feeling, then, not sound …” – Peter Quince at the Clavier, Wallace Stevens

Posted on August 10, 2015 at 8:23 am by rachmiel · Permalink

What Would Computers Compose for Pleasure?

Sure, computers can’t feel pleasure, at least not in the sense that we humans feel it. But they can be programmed to “feel” something akin to human pleasure. And, perhaps, when AI comes of age, they can program themselves to feel their own native form of deep digital pleasure. With this in mind: What kind […]

Posted on November 23, 2014 at 10:51 am by rachmiel · Permalink

What Makes Music Beautiful?

Different cultures have different takes on what makes music beautiful. Conyach, a term used by the Scottish travellers, is a quality of music that inspires strong emotional response in listeners. Salsa, as in salsa music, is used to describe musical wildness and ecstatic frenzy. Duende is a mysterious and difficult-to-translate term from Spanish music (especially […]

Posted on April 21, 2013 at 9:48 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Shhh …

Music is (un)filled with silence. On the macro level this silence occurs between movements, sections, passages, phrases, and even single notes: gaps in sound-time. On the micro level it occurs within every sonic event, at the infinitesimal points when the sound waves attain zero amplitude (zero crossings). Silence can be pure (absolute) or coloured (relative). […]

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:15 am by rachmiel · Permalink

Wabi-Sabi Music

The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi is an approach to aesthetics (and life) based on impermanence: change, aging, transformation, loss, death. Wabi expresses simplicity, austerity, modesty – all of which impart freshness of character. Sabi implies the serenity, melancholy and loneliness that comes with age. Together, in wabi-sabi, they point to a bittersweet beauty based on […]

Posted on June 9, 2012 at 8:40 am by rachmiel · Permalink

The Rhythmic Divide

I grew up loving the complex, jagged, unpulsed rhythms of the post-Webernian Euros: Stockhausen, Xenakis, Boulez, etc. They were, and continue to be, as — or often more — satisfying to me on a purely rhythmic level than pulsed/metered beats. Naively, I assumed that most progressive music fans also loved aperiodic rhythmic flows. Now, after […]

Posted on January 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm by rachmiel · Permalink

Foreground: Endangered Species?

When taking in a sensory experience (listening to music, watching a movie, etc.), we tend to assign levels of importance to the various strands of sensory input. We relegate, consciously or not, some strands to the background, some (often one) to the foreground, and the rest to the middle. Contemporary electronic composers are adept with […]

Posted on December 24, 2011 at 10:20 am by rachmiel · Permalink