Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 74

Thread: How do I translate music to information?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    138
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default How do I translate music to information?

    Okay, so after years of fruitless attempts to intuitively "get" classical music I was finally informed that it all just revolves around cadences. And since cadences are pretty much the easiest thing to hear, including for an untrained listener like me, this was a revelation. I can finally tell where a musical thought begins and ends. It's not much but it has definitely brought actual structure to what I hear.

    I figure I just need to do this for every other possible permutation of chords, learn to recognize those along with their meanings and over time the music should get more transparent - like learning to listen to and read in a foreign language, basically.

    So right now I can tell different musical thoughts apart but I don't know what the thoughts themselves mean. There isn't something like a "dictionary" for what common chord progressions mean so how do I pick that up? I understand roughly how the music is structured, but how do I get to the meaning of the structure?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,147
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post

    So right now I can tell different musical thoughts apart but I don't know what the thoughts themselves mean.
    They dont mean anything. Music has no meaning, just try to listen attentively without thinking about it

    You cant think too much about music while you listen, because then you are out of time - thinking about what you just heard and missing what is currently happening.

  3. Likes Woodduck liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    138
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    They dont mean anything.
    I often think that but then if it doesn't mean anything, what's the point of creating it and listening to it at all? And classical music of all things is the result of quite an elaborate thought process, right - all those years studying theory and training one's ear in order to produce it...? Surely all those people who literally devoted their entire lives to composing it can't have thought it doesn't mean anything, so there must be some kind of meaning invested in it. I'm just bad at decoding it like I'm bad at decoding French.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,147
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    I often think that but then if it doesn't mean anything, what's the point of creating it and listening to it at all? And classical music of all things is the result of quite an elaborate thought process, right - all those years studying theory and training one's ear in order to produce it...? Surely all those people who literally devoted their entire lives to composing it can't have thought it doesn't mean anything, so there must be some kind of meaning invested in it. I'm just bad at decoding it like I'm bad at decoding French.
    Its just art, what do other works of art 'mean'? No one sees a dance and asks 'what does that mean', what does a still life painting mean?

  6. #5
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    moscow, russia
    Posts
    1,209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Music has no meaning,
    it does, a lot really, and is all about meaning, in fact.

    Richard Strauss, for example, as he takes on the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, firstly does a presentation of this literary piece to its future readers in the poem suite Overture that represents not what is in the book (which follows next) thus far but the book itself, so this is a world premiere of a book portrayed by the means of music; the score comprises two relating themes, where 1st one represents the Author proffering his book to the universe of Readers, while 2nd represents the yet reluctant Reader:

    1st theme melody calls - 'read. This. BOOK.'

    2nd theme snaps back - 'NO way!'

    (the timpani show resentment)

    1st theme second try - 'read. This. BOOK.'

    2nd theme eyebrows indignantly raised - 'you WHAT?!'

    (the timpani show resentment)

    1st theme persists - 'read. This. BOOK.'

    2nd theme now gets it - 'all RIGHT!' and then continues 'i will GIVE. this Book A TRY.'

    1st theme relaxedly - 'GOOD. Luck. on. that. etc.'

    (the timpani show approval)

    and then our Reader opens this great Book to read:


  7. #6
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    moscow, russia
    Posts
    1,209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    No one sees a dance and asks 'what does that mean'
    everyone does, take for instance Swan Lake, if they ask 'why dance so?'

    the answer is 'for swans representation':

    Last edited by sharik; Oct-26-2021 at 07:14. Reason: time codes won't load, the very dance - here at 38:22

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    138
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Its just art, what do other works of art 'mean'? No one sees a dance and asks 'what does that mean', what does a still life painting mean?
    It provides insight on aspects of experience by providing a direct representation of those aspects - basically philosophy in a form aimed at the uneducated like me. I already have concepts to think about shapes, colours, light, etc, etc though. What are the concepts necessary to process music and how do I acquire them?

  9. #8
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,147
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sharik View Post
    it does, a lot really, and is all about meaning, in fact.

    Richard Strauss, for example, as he takes on the book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, firstly does a presentation of this literary piece to its future readers in the poem suite Overture that represents not what is in the book (which follows next) thus far but the book itself, so this is a world premiere of a book portrayed by the means of music; the score comprises two relating themes, where 1st one represents the Author proffering his book to the universe of Readers, while 2nd represents the yet reluctant Reader:
    Overblown German romanticism trying to literally interpret a crappy book not withstanding

    what does a Bach fugue mean?

    Certainly within a (sub)culture people can attach connotations to certain items. Its kind of cool to know that the D-Eb-C-B is Shosty's initials, Hindustani ragas have connotations with the time of day that completely escape me, etc. But the OP seemed to be struggling with a much more basic issue of being unable to listen to absolute music, so thought the best remedy would be to just listen and stop thinking about it so much

  10. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    138
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Overblown German romanticism trying to literally interpret a crappy book not withstanding

    what does a Bach fugue mean?

    Certainly within a (sub)culture people can attach connotations to certain items. Its kind of cool to know that the D-Eb-C-B is Shosty's initials, Hindustani ragas have connotations with the time of day that completely escape me, etc. But the OP seemed to be struggling with a much more basic issue of being unable to listen to absolute music, so thought the best remedy would be to just listen and stop thinking about it so much
    How can you understand it if you don't think about it? It's a series of notes organized in a way. If you don't recognize the notes and the relations between them, how do you listen to it? How do you read a book without knowing the language?

  11. #10
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,147
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    How can you understand it if you don't think about it? It's a series of notes organized in a way. If you don't recognize the notes and the relations between them, how do you listen to it? How do you read a book without knowing the language?
    Can you hear the relations (without trying to label them)in the two pieces here?



    Great thing about music is that its suggestive, but ultimately a blank canvas on which you can put your own meaning on to if you like

  12. Likes mikeh375 liked this post
  13. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    138
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I don't know what I'm hearing - only the form, arpeggiated chords, counterpoint, etc, etc, but nothing when it comes to content. I just hear music, like listening to a language without understanding it. How do you learn to interpret the music and derive something more than just emotions from it?

  14. #12
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Posts
    1,147
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    I don't know what I'm hearing - only the form, arpeggiated chords, counterpoint, etc, etc, but nothing when it comes to content. I just hear music, like listening to a language without understanding it. How do you learn to interpret the music and derive something more than just emotions from it?
    There is not anything more than that, what do you expect there to be?

  15. #13
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    moscow, russia
    Posts
    1,209
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    I don't know what I'm hearing - only the form, arpeggiated chords, counterpoint, etc, etc, but nothing when it comes to content.
    chords may represent gladness or sadness, be they major or minor and (when arpeggiated) they can show the course the mood unfolds... counterpoint, as opposed to melody unique line, which stands for unity of views in one person, denotes variety of beliefs in many... a higher register would mean close to heavens and further into space, while lower note's - standing on earth or going deeper underground.

  16. #14
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,533
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    I often think that but then if it doesn't mean anything, what's the point of creating it and listening to it at all? And classical music of all things is the result of quite an elaborate thought process, right - all those years studying theory and training one's ear in order to produce it...? Surely all those people who literally devoted their entire lives to composing it can't have thought it doesn't mean anything, so there must be some kind of meaning invested in it. I'm just bad at decoding it like I'm bad at decoding French.
    Have you seen the mosaics and arabesques inside the Alhambra palace in Granada Spain? They have no particular meaning but one can stare at them for hours. Some music is like that -- graceful abstract form that is rewarding to contemplate.

    The "content" of much Romantic music is expressive. Many short piano pieces of that era make sense because they have the same form as common sequences of human emotional life. The most common pattern for such short pieces is ternary, that is ABA. Imagine you are in a tranquil, happy mood, call it A, and then some disturbing thought or event intervenes and you become agitated, a completely different emotional state (call it B). After the agitation runs it course the original tranquil state returns and one is happy again (A). As an example listen to the Db major prelude of Chopin. It doesn't mean anything specific, but it has resonance with human emotional life because so many chapters in our lives are like that. The same ABA pattern can have the opposite resonance as well. One can begin in a state of enormous stress (A) but find brief solace in prayer or in the memory of happier times (B). But the relief is fleeting and one ends in frenzied exhaustion (A). In responding to this music one enjoys the musical patterns for their own sake, but with the added layer of realizing: "Yes, life is like that: there are storms and troubles but eventually peace returns.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Oct-28-2021 at 14:52.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

  17. Likes Forster, Woodduck, hammeredklavier liked this post
  18. #15
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Posts
    12
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Boychev View Post
    - like learning to listen to and read in a foreign language, basically.
    Very rarely, certain people (for genetic or other reasons) end up with alternate ways of perceiving sound, which makes them (among other things?) unable to hear music the way others do - say, they can't hear the difference between "consonance and dissonance", or maybe they don't even have the octave perception etc.

    However for regular people, the ones who listen and respond to anything from folk/traditional to film scores that are aimed at the broad masses, the so called "classical music" should be just as accessible and intuitive - since it's mostly the same style (like the movie scores), or derived from the same folk influences as most "pop" genres etc.

    So if you don't find any of those other categories to be some kind of cryptic foreign language, if you have a standard hearing perception with all the octaves and intervals etc., then this shouldn't be "like a foreign language" either?

    I'm quite confused by this post overall; however alternate perceptions and qualia are generally a fascinating topic imo.

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •