did music come from?
Is it a gift from God? How does it do what it does to us when we hear
it? These are tough
open to speculation. I do know that it is essentially mathematical. Upon
observing my guitar string, I realized that an octave is exactly one half
the length of the string. An interval of an augmented fourth (which is
the same thing as a diminished fifth, also called a tritone for it is
three full tones or steps either up or down from the given note) is an
exact division of the string once again. Also, a fourth up is a fifth
down, and a fifth down gets you to the same note as going a fourth up.
Same thing with 3rd's and 6th's and 2nd's and 9th's. It's simply ordered
vibrations. The real magic is our emotional response to these organized
vibrations. But it's something that we humans had to develop. God couldn't
just say to us "Here have a saxophone" We had to invent it.
Perhaps primitive man would have been frightened near to death by the
very thunder of the William Tell Overture. Or imagine their complete confusion
upon listening to John Coltrane's Giant Steps (I still get confused listening
to that!) This is because he had to learn to appreciate music. I think
it was Einstein who said Mother Nature does not reveal all of her secrets
at once. She leaves some for each generation to uncover. How boring it
would be if we had finally written the final piece of music and that every
possible order of the only twelve notes we have, had been achieved and
that's that. No more new music. Done. Finished. Not likely. Music is a
tool. It is used an expression of culture. I believe it is to tell us
what it was like to have lived in that time when it was created. It's
aural history. Which brings to mind a funny little word play. Oral means
to speak and aural means to listen. Go figure. That's the beauty of it
Music as we know it is comprised of three elemental components. These
components are rhythm, melody and harmony. Period. You can't have harmony
without melody, you can't have melody without rhythm, and you don't
got music if you ain't got rhythm. I like to think of the invention
of music in chronological terms.
This is a bit preemptive, but it reflects my belief in the importance
of the synthesizer. As a compositional tool, there has never been anything
quite like it and as a composer I feel quite lucky to be alive during
the advent of such a powerful creative tool.
- Ancient Cave Man beat on a drum
- Modern Cave Man beat on a drum and sang along
- Renaissance Man beat on a drum and invented the symphony orchestra
- Industrial Age Man invents recorded music
- Modern Man beat on several drums simultaneously and invents jazz
harmony with chords and improvisation
- Futuristic Man invented the synthesizer
Lately there has been a backlash against the synthesizer. Many think
it too sterile-lacking the human "touch" that gives music
it's magic. I will admit it can sometimes come off that way, however,
it's a new instrument. Historically, the piano was not first accepted
initially either. I say give the synthesizer a chance. It's young. Give
it a couple centuries and a body of work to call it's own. Then judge.
In the meantime, it certainly is a fun tool.
NEXT CHAPTER >>>
Part I. The Synthesizer
Chapter 1: Dream Machine?
Chapter 2: Brief History Of Music
Chapter 3: Brief History Of The Synthesizer
Chapter 4: Brief History Of Recorded Music
Part II. Creating
Chapter 5: A Brief History Of Creating
Chapter 6: Why
Chapter 7: When
Chapter 8: Where
Chapter 9: Who
Chapter 10: What
Part III. How
Chapter 11: How: Composing From Scratch
Part IV. Aaarghhh!
Chapter 12: Inspirations, Jump Starts
Part V. Directions
Chapter 13: The Logical Next Step