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Is electronic music actually music?

Vaarka
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1/11/2016 8:00:46 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
So a couple months ago, I saw a debate where two new users debated over whether or not if dubstep was actually music: http://www.debate.org...

I originally planned on having a debate over this, but that never ended up happening. So I decided "nothing much happens in the Arts forum. Why don't I try to discuss it there?"

So first, I want to set some basic crap about this. While the debate I added above was about dubstep, this isn't just about dubstep. Yes, dubstep is included, but I've widened the topic from dubstep to electronic in general. So, this can include any kind of EDM or other sub-genres underneath the electronic category of music. These sub-genres include, but are not limited to, dubstep, drum and bass, electro, trance, progressive house (house), glitch hop, Happy Hardcore/Hard dance, trap, drumstep, indie dance, and others.

I wanted to make this so members could discuss whether or not if you think electronic music is actually music or not (My opinion is that it is music. I love EDM, I love listening to it, and I actually wish to compose drum and bass styled songs. So, obviously, I do plan to be a part of this discussion on the "yes" side of it). I hope you guys will be at least somewhat respectful towards each other, but if you feel the urge to flame over it, go right ahead (although I doubt something as simple as this would reach that point).

So feel free to express why you think electronic music is or is not real music. Give your opinions, sources, songs, and any other crap that gives you reason.
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

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"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
Subutai
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1/12/2016 1:56:14 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
It depends on how one defines "music". For instance, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "Vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion." Let's define "beauty" broadly. Electronic music has both form and harmony (in most cases). Now, the expression of emotion is inherently dependent on the individual, so I'd interpret this as being able to move anyone (although preferably many people), meaning that electronic music also satisfies this. So, even by a rather strict definition (that definition excludes music without form (free atonal music, for instance) or harmony (noise music, for instance).

Contrary to what the contender of the debate you posted believes, electronic music is not random. He also relies on the exclusive definition I presented above. Thus, I don't think his argument holds any water.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
000ike
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1/12/2016 2:51:49 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
I should say upfront that this is more or less a settled issue.

The putative definition of music is "organized sound" -- a maximally inclusive reformulation of the concept driven by postmodern experimentation. That means we've reached a point where any sonic arrangement with aesthetic value to anyone qualifies as music. And I should add that it really doesn't even matter whether the sound is produced or in any way mediated by a human being, the mere collection of sounds from the forest, or bird songs, or industrial noises or silence itself becomes music if presented as such --- 'organized' is a relatively weak qualifier. Don't believe me? Look to your right; John Cage, a luminary of contemporary classical music, literally strips away the last vestige of order and tradition in musical form.

So yes, of course dubstep (and the rest) is music .... seeing as far more radical and deconstructive arrangements have been conceived, celebrated, and incorporated into the canon of modern composition.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
1harderthanyouthink
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1/12/2016 3:05:05 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
You can say it's music, but is it good music?
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

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000ike
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1/12/2016 3:09:27 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
lol of course I'm just telling you what pretty much any informed person thinks about the boundaries of music ... to show that I'm aware of the consensus.

In truth, I don't exactly agree,....more specifically, I don't believe the definition of music itself is a relevant question in the first place. What people really want when they ask whether "X" qualifies as music is a clear exposition of the standard by which we appreciate and evaluate sounds presented to us. Music, like any other word, can mean anything we want it to mean .... but whether that music is valuable I think is something dependent on the labor infused into it, its creativity, and its affective power. Valuable music is something that commands appreciation....not something a person should have to twist and contort his mind to make sense of.

So I might be willing to grant that electronic music is actually music in a strict definitional sense, or that John Cage's 4'33" (and a host of other absurd concoctions) is music,.... but I think they lack essential qualities of labor and commandment that would make me appreciate them.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
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1/12/2016 3:11:42 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 3:05:05 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
You can say it's music, but is it good music?

lol pretty much this.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Vaarka
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1/12/2016 3:31:45 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Man, you guys aren't nearly as exciting as some people I've seen XP. I've witnessed an argument or two over it, and one that looked good enough to break into a fight eventually (they didn't).

Ah well, hopefully more will show.
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
000ike
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1/12/2016 4:08:48 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 3:31:45 AM, Vaarka wrote:
Man, you guys aren't nearly as exciting as some people I've seen XP. I've witnessed an argument or two over it, and one that looked good enough to break into a fight eventually (they didn't).

Ah well, hopefully more will show.

lol the median art forum thread receives like what, 1 reply? This is actually pretty good
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Skepsikyma
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1/12/2016 5:53:57 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:51:49 AM, 000ike wrote:


Lol, this is like watching a live version of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. It's a room full of the creme de la creme, all too afraid to admit that they were dumb enough to just listen to the ambient sounds of a theater for five minutes. So, instead of being outraged at the fact that they've basically been trolled, it's 'oh, how meaningful!' 'It really made you think about music as a concept, didn't it, Janet?' 'It was actually quite ingenious, don't you agree?' It's pluralistic ignorance at it's best.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
000ike
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1/12/2016 6:20:07 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 5:53:57 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:51:49 AM, 000ike wrote:


Lol, this is like watching a live version of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. It's a room full of the creme de la creme, all too afraid to admit that they were dumb enough to just listen to the ambient sounds of a theater for five minutes. So, instead of being outraged at the fact that they've basically been trolled, it's 'oh, how meaningful!' 'It really made you think about music as a concept, didn't it, Janet?' 'It was actually quite ingenious, don't you agree?' It's pluralistic ignorance at it's best.

lmao I couldn't agree more .... the injustice of people rioting at the premiere of Stravinsky's masterpiece, but applauding this nonsense.

But I also realize that you have contrarian impulses, so I'm not sure whether this is an honest reflection of the piece's artistic merit or just an expression of disdain for herd mentality.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
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1/12/2016 6:33:18 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
lol notice, by the way, that they were so invested in this charade that they saved their coughs for the interregnum between 'movements'.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Skepsikyma
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1/12/2016 6:41:19 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 6:20:07 AM, 000ike wrote:
At 1/12/2016 5:53:57 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 1/12/2016 2:51:49 AM, 000ike wrote:


Lol, this is like watching a live version of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. It's a room full of the creme de la creme, all too afraid to admit that they were dumb enough to just listen to the ambient sounds of a theater for five minutes. So, instead of being outraged at the fact that they've basically been trolled, it's 'oh, how meaningful!' 'It really made you think about music as a concept, didn't it, Janet?' 'It was actually quite ingenious, don't you agree?' It's pluralistic ignorance at it's best.

lmao I couldn't agree more .... the injustice of people rioting at the premiere of Stravinsky's masterpiece, but applauding this nonsense.

Yes. My, how standards have dropped.

But I also realize that you have contrarian impulses, so I'm not sure whether this is an honest reflection of the piece's artistic merit or just an expression of disdain for herd mentality.

I'm not a contrarian so much as someone who dislikes basing things like artistic taste off of social signalling. Popular things can be good; I think that great art tends to stand the test of time better than mediocre art. I've also liked a few pieces which have been considered 'modern'. But art is about art, not what your friends think about that art. This sort of fawning gentility annoys me. As to the piece's artistic merit, there isn't a piece to begin with, so I think it's kind of moot. I just think the whole event beautifully captures the philistinism which Nabokov brutally skewered.

"A philistine is a full-grown person whose interests are of a material and commonplace nature, and whose mentality is formed of the stock ideas and conventional ideals of his or her group and time. I have said 'full-grown person' because the child or the adolescent who may look like a small philistine is only a small parrot mimicking the ways of confirmed vulgarians, and it is easier to be a parrot than to be a white heron. 'Vulgarian' is more or less synonymous with 'philistine': the stress in a vulgarian is not so much on the conventionalism of a philistine as on the vulgarity of some of his conventional notions. I may also use the terms genteel and bourgeois. Genteel implies the lace-curtain refined vulgarity which is worse than simple coarseness. To burp in company may be rude, but to say 'excuse me' after a burp is genteel and thus worse than vulgar. The term bourgeois I use following Flaubert, not Marx. Bourgeois in Flaubert's sense is a state of mind, not a state of pocket. A bourgeois is a smug philistine, a dignified vulgarian.

A philistine is not likely to exist in a very primitive society although no doubt rudiments of philistinism may be found even there. We may imagine, for instance, a cannibal who would prefer the human head he eats to be artistically colored, just as the American philistine prefers his oranges to be painted orange, his salmon pink, and his whisky yellow. But generally speaking philistinism presupposes a certain advanced state of civilization where throughout the ages certain traditions have accumulated in a heap and have started to stink.

[...]

The character I have in view when I say 'smug vulgarian' is, thus, not the part-time philistine, but the total type, the genteel bourgeois, the complete universal product of triteness and mediocrity. He is the conformist, the man who conforms to his group, and he also is typified by something else: he is a pseudo-idealist, he is pseudo-compassionate, he is pseudo-wise. The fraud is the closest ally of the true philistine. All such great words as 'Beauty,' 'Love,' 'Nature,' 'Truth,' and so on become masks and dupes when the smug vulgarian employs them. In Dead Souls you have heard Chichikov. In Bleak House you have heard Skimpole. You have heard Homais in Madame Bovary. The philistine likes to impress and he likes to be impressed, in consequence of which a world of deception, of mutual cheating, is formed by him and around him.

The philistine in his passionate urge to conform, to belong, to join, is torn between two longings: to act as everybody does, to admire, to use this or that thing because millions of people do; or else he craves to belong to an exclusive set, to an organization, to a club, to a hotel patronage or an ocean liner community (with the captain in white and wonderful food), and to delight in the knowledge that there is the head of a corporation or a European count sitting next to him. The philistine is often a snob. He is thrilled by riches and rank -- 'Darling, I've actually talked to a duchess!'

[...]

Russians have, or had, a special name for smug philistinism -- poshlust. Poshlism is not only the obviously trashy but mainly the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive. To apply the deadly label of poshlism to something is not only an esthetic judgment but also a moral indictment. The genuine, the guileless, the good is never poshlust. It is possible to maintain that a simple, uncivilized man is seldom if ever a poshlust since poshlism presupposes the veneer of civilization. A peasant has to become a townsman in order to become vulgar. A painted necktie has to hide the honest Adam's apple in order to produce poshlism."
- Lectures on Russian Literature, Vladimir Nabokov -
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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1/12/2016 2:03:46 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 3:05:05 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
You can say it's music, but is it good music?

This.

IMO, music is both about the beauty of the composition (which most electronic music lacks anyway, including the academic electronic music like Stockhausen's) and about the skill and technique of the performer. Both are humanistic elements that contribute to the humanistic tradition that is music. Electronic music is deprived of one element, and usually lacking in the other.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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Vaarka
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1/12/2016 2:39:42 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:03:46 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 1/12/2016 3:05:05 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
You can say it's music, but is it good music?

This.

IMO, music is both about the beauty of the composition (which most electronic music lacks anyway, including the academic electronic music like Stockhausen's) and about the skill and technique of the performer. Both are humanistic elements that contribute to the humanistic tradition that is music. Electronic music is deprived of one element, and usually lacking in the other.

Not necessarily. Again, it all depends on preference and opinion, but it can be both. Just like and form of music, it can have both to some people, but only show one of these traits to other people.

I'll probably make a small list of some songs later today, assuming I have to time.
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
Vaarka
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1/12/2016 2:41:26 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:39:42 PM, Vaarka wrote:

I'll probably make a small list of some songs later today, assuming I have the* time.

fix'd
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya
Vaarka
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1/12/2016 2:50:39 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 1/12/2016 2:03:46 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 1/12/2016 3:05:05 AM, 1harderthanyouthink wrote:
You can say it's music, but is it good music?

This.

IMO, music is both about the beauty of the composition (which most electronic music lacks anyway, including the academic electronic music like Stockhausen's) and about the skill and technique of the performer. Both are humanistic elements that contribute to the humanistic tradition that is music. Electronic music is deprived of one element, and usually lacking in the other.

I know I've replied once, but I wanted to post a link to a song.
This is under the category of Drum and Bass: Etherwood - Cast Away ~ https://www.youtube.com...
You're probably thinking right now "haha I'm a genius". Well you're not -Valkrin

inferno: "I don't know, are you attracted to women?"
ButterCatX: "No, Vaarka is mine!"

All hail scum Vaarka, wielder of the bastard sword, smiter of nations, destroyer of spiders -VOT

"Vaarka, I've been thinking about this for a long time now," (pulls out small box made of macaroni) "W-will you be my noodle buddy?" -Kirigaya