Abstract experiences in music

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by trxx, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Here is something that I never really see anyone bring up when talking about music and making it.

    Some pieces of music bring about a strong feeling, something like an emotional, mental, maybe even mental visual experience. I'm not talking on a happy and sad sort of plain, where a song might lift you up or make you feel sorrowful. And it's not about lyrics at all. You probably have had experiences with this 'thing' when hearing music from a distance or through a wall, where much of the details of the music are audibly obscured. It's something more primal and abstract and more involving that is very difficult to put into words. Each piece of music that has this 'thing' is it's own unique experience that is almost alien but at the same time very recognizable once you experience it. We can have these same sorts of experiences just the same with life experiences, moments of reflection, and with visual art. Something that isn't really concrete emerges from what is. It's strange stuff when you stop to ponder it. Music that carries within it such an experience is to me, the greatest music, no matter the genre, style, musicianship, whatever. Everything else going on in the music is subservient to that thing, or maybe even irrelevant in some cases.

    So enough talk. Let's listen to an example. My suggestion here is to turn this up in another room and walk away. Don't think about the lyrics or the elements of the music. Just experience it kind of like you would as a kid seeing a horror movie for the first time. You are just taking it in without trying to make logical sense of it or pick it to bits musically. And being that this may be a very personal thing (I can't say how something might affect you), maybe this little exercise is in vein. But let's see. Here is a piece of music which I think has that 'thing' and which everyone here is familiar with. You may not even like the song, but that isn't the point. I have intentionally left only a URL to be copy/pasted so as to lessen any pre-thinking about the piece of music. If you can, just copy/paste it and walk away to another room to hear it from a distance or through a wall so as to obscure any details.

    Code:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiZHNw1MtzI
    Let me know what you think on the subject and if you hear the 'thing' in the piece of music. And if you understand what I'm talking about here, feel free to share any thoughts and any music which carries that sort of 'thing' being talked about here.
     
  2. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

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    Kandinsky famously wrote "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" and though I'm not interested in verbalizing or rationalizing the experience, I think many of us find that instrumental music, from trance to classical, evokes responses that need not and often cannot be put into words. Ditto meditation, or some kinds of religious experiences, or taste, etc. for that matter. Though our nutty head-case culture is big on "explaining" (= talking about) everything as though only the things you can put into words count, the reality is otherwise. A vast % of impactful experiences never get processed as words or ideas, and don't need to be. That's why music is so powerful. Language can be liberating -- or a barrier.
     
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  3. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Much appreciate the thoughts. It's interesting to think that we have this whole other plain of communication that we can't really pin down and analyze to logical bits. Although lots of people from various fields have worked toward cracking that over the years and even used observations of it to good effect.

    Another music example (less popular than the last):
    Code:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49FB9hhoO6c
    Maybe it is pointless posting examples, being that they could be very personal and not translatable as demonstrations of the topic. Maybe interesting to not though. I listen to music across genres, styles, decades, levels of musicianship and production, and I hear very little of this 'thing' in more recent recorded music coming out of the music industry over the last two decades. It seems that commercially available music which communicates on that level has all but been abandoned.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
  4. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Holic

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    Imagine seeing the Mahavishnu Orchestra at 16. Just music. No lyrics. Never to be forgotten.
     
  5. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I have only heard them recorded. I enjoyed the experience.
     
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  6. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    any form of art requires a bit of "suspension of disbelief" from the viewer / listener / consumer to provide impact
    if you ever watch a movie and think - "these are actors, reciting lines from a script in front of a camera", the producers failed
     
  7. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    listen to the record while hiding under your bed?
     
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  8. cyclopean

    cyclopean Poster Extraordinaire

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    unless it's the end of holy mountain.
     
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  9. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Not what I was expecting but I def hear "the thing" in that piece of music. For reasons far too numerous and involved to get into here, that sends me to a place very far away and never to be returned to ... probably for the best.
     
  10. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    It's odd. Isn't it? As a young kid, that was never one of my favorite AC/DC songs. This was before many life experiences to tie it to. Something about the experience that the music carries is on the dark side and makes me uneasy. Just hearing the music brings about that feeling as if I am reliving a personal experience that I haven't actually had. In that way, I would have to say that it is great in having it's own 'thing', even if that thing isn't something that I enjoy.

    A side note here is that although most everyone has probably heard that song, alot of the lyrics are obscured by the vocal delivery. Therefore I would bet that most people probably don't actually know the lyrics (outside of the chorus and partial lines) and something about the meaning of the song. So then, the experience 'thing' that the music is carrying (including the sound of the vocal) is virtually independent of the song, assuming that I'm correct on most people not actually knowing the lyrics and meaning of the song.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
  11. BlueTele

    BlueTele TDPRI Member

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    As much as I liked Santana's version, the "prize" for soulful goes to saxophone great Gato Barbieri's "Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile)" on his album "Caliente!". For guitar - Mike Bloomfield's "Really" off "Super Session" (with Al Cooper and Steven Stills).
     
  12. Katerinaabr

    Katerinaabr NEW MEMBER!

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    Hello! I am making a small animated video about fender. I need your help. What guitars and basses do you like the most and why? What would you like to see in the video? What are your favorite guitar colors? Thanks guys!
     
  13. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think what you're describing, the 'thing', is the fundamental aspect of music....it's what music is. To my mind music is the process of making emotions audible, so to speak. And to be clear I'm talking about music... not whatever words are put to music. The 'thing' you're describing, it seems to me, is more like a culmination of all the smaller musical expressions of emotion within a piece...a sort of meta emotion. And that IMO is paralleled in human experience which only makes sense since music is a product or expression of the entire human imagination/experience. We can have the experience of an overarching emotional feeling while different emotions come and go within the broader emotional experience. For example within a period of sadness we can still have emotions of curiosity, humour, introspection, peacefulness etc. and none of those smaller emotional experiences necessarily alter the experience of sadness as an overall experience. Music can be an expression of all of that it seems to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
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  14. ASATKat

    ASATKat Friend of Leo's

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    Him, I was laying on the couch and a warm gentle breeze hit my back, I immediately remembered and experienced a time early in my life where I felt a similar breeze while at a river as a teen with family. Actually I have these sort of deja vu moments, always when I nap.
     
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