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Philosophical question about "song"

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#1
If a song is sound dependent, and we know that sound is always changing between staggered, non-contiguous, time-separated listening (due to many things, from setup to aural room impact), is it correct to state that a song is evolving and changing continuously?
 

Wombat

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#2
If a song is sound dependent, and we know that sound is always changing between staggered, non-contiguous, time-separated listening (due to many things, from setup to aural room impact), is it correct to state that a song is evolving and changing continuously?
The song remains the same. What is heard in the environment is a modification.

May I ask 'is there a point to your question'?
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #3
May I ask 'is there a point to your question'?
Its just a philosophical reflection, not a "point" I think.

The song remains the same. What is heard in the environment is a modification.
So you confirm you are listening always a colored version of it? Never itself as... itself!

What do you mean with "The song remains the same"?
 

NorthSky

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#4
It depends; what are the lyrics. And, when was it written, does it still ring right today. Is it an eternal song or a temporary one.

The sound of a classical orchestra without words, without opera singers, without a choral, without an organ, without voices, without lyrics can create our own movies with dialog in our imagination...the height of the sky is the limit, there are no boundaries in the universe of the brain. ...If is limitless, in my opinion.
 

Wombat

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#5
Its just a philosophical reflection, not a "point" I think.


So you confirm you are listening always a colored version of it? Never itself as... itself!

What do you mean with "The song remains the same"?
The recording is consistent/unchanged.
By the time the brain perceives the sound signal it has been affected in various ways. HiFi seeks to minimise these influences but some are more significant than others in their influence, e.g. rooms, transducers and psychoacoustical processing.
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #6
The recording is consistent/unchanged.
But the recordings is... a recordings! Not the song.

If the same song is recorded/mixed/mastered many times (522 "edits", just an example), does it remain the same song?
Or it will change because recordings (thus resulting soung) change?
 

Wombat

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#7
But the recordings is... a recordings! Not the song.

If the same song is recorded/mixed/mastered many times (522 "edits", just an example), does it remain the same song?
Or it will change because recordings (thus resulting soung) change?

As it is a philosophical question my reply will have to suffice as I don't wish to engage in ducking-and-weaving to no conclusive end. This engagement is difficult on multi-user internet forums as they are inadequate for lengthy, focused, exchanges re such pursuit. And, few members are into it.

I don't wish to explain starting a sentence with 'and' either. :rolleyes:
 
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garbulky

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#8
But the recordings is... a recordings! Not the song.

If the same song is recorded/mixed/mastered many times (522 "edits", just an example), does it remain the same song?
Or it will change because recordings (thus resulting soung) change?
It's the same old song but with a different meaning since you've been gone.

But what do I know?
Nothing but a sentimental fool, am I, to hear a old love song and wanna cry!
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #9
It's the same old song but with a different meaning since you've been gone.
I'm not talking about "what it represent for me, or what it triggers to me".
Instead, what it is, ontologically probably, since (if I consider it as "sound") there are N different version recorded and M different ways to listen to it.
 

garbulky

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#10
I'm not talking about "what it represent for me, or what it triggers to me".
Instead, what it is, ontologically probably, since (if I consider it as "sound") there are N different version recorded and M different ways to listen to it.
Ah, but that's just the beginning.
If you accept inflation theory of an expanding universe, SPACE is constantly expanding everywhere including between you and the speaker.
This means that assuming you haven't moved your speakers since the last time you listened to it, the distance between it and you and even you and the walls has grown causing different reflections in the same room. Interestingly this is proof that the feeling of the walls closing in on you is only in your head. Because the walls have actually grown farther away according to Einstein.

But I digress...
Since you are further now from everything than you were the last time you were listening, it means that the gravitational pull of your speakers is now just a little further away. Which means the mass of your speaker distorts time less because you are further away from it.


Which means that time literally changes since you are affected by the speakers gravitational time distortion. Hence the song will play closer to the correct tempo the more times you listen to it because gravity decreases between you and the speaker over time due to the space being greater. But if you only listen to the song once, you can guarantee the tempo will be the slowest it has been because . Which btw is why people hate listening to new music.
http://thescienceexplorer.com/unive...time-effect-known-gravitational-time-dilation

Other thoughts
If you use Young's double slit experiment, but in this case use sound waves instead of photons, the sound from your speaker will go through both slits due to the wave nature of sound and the wave existing in a probability field. ....if you are not there tgat us. However if you are there, the sound will go through one slit or the other because of the effect of the observer. The observer effect COLLAPSES the wave duality possibility field and changes the way the sound wave goes through the slit making the sound come out in MONO.

In essence, if you are not there and your speakers play using slits, the sound will be in stereo. But if you are there the sound will come out in mono simply because you exist as an observer. So what I am trying to say here is that most of the Beatles albums sound best in this situation.

As clearly illustrated below. Just replace photons with a Beatles LP.
[youtube]
[/youtube]
:)
 
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Guermantes

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#11
Actually this is a problem I grappled with during post-grad study but I have come to a provisional solution.

In the wake of the ascendance of Historically Informed Performance (HIP) practice, I started to question what about a piece of music changes over time and what stays the same.

Before recording technologies, music relied solely on performances and the traditions associated with them and perhaps scores (another way of "recording" music) for existence. HIP practice seeks to resurrect the performance traditions and urtexts surrounding a musical work's origin in history to arrive at an "authentic" version. But the perspectives and opinions on authenticity are varied -- what we really have are partial reconstructions made through the lens of our own historical standpoint based on the texts we have at our disposal.

In light of this, I asked the question, "Is Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, for example, the same piece of music now as when it was created by the composer?" My conclusion was that some aspects are apparently the same and some are not. Things like performances are haecceitic in that they are products of all the elements at play at that time -- the performers, the instruments, the chosen score, the social milieu, the acoustics, etc. Things like provenance, tradition, scores and recordings are relatively slow to change or closer to being fixed. However, even scores and recordings are subject to amendments, edits, remasters, destruction, critical debate over authenticity, etc.

Further, if I go to a performance of the Brandenburg Concertos and there are lots of wrong notes or the instruments are out of tune, I might call it a bad performance but I would still call it "a performance of the Brandenburg Concertos" because something remains mostly recognisable. I can even hear jazz or heavy metal interpretations and recognise them as performances of the those works. However, if I hear a performance or recording where the notes are completely rearranged so that it is unrecognisable, would I still call it "a performance of the Brandenburg Concertos?" What is the threshold of recognisability? How much of my interpretation as a listener is based on my expectation based on background knowledge, etc? And who decides what elements are essential for recognisability? This is what keeps musical copyright lawyers in the lifestyles to which they are accustomed.

For me, those things we call "the Brandenburg Concertos" are in a state of flux but there are aspects of them that remain identifiable through time which function as synecdoches to the whole: manuscripts and other texts, recordings and the chain of human memory between Bach's time and ours (tradition). Pedagogy is also a big element in there.

So in an ontological context this leads me to say that a piece of music (e.g. a song) is a complex of things and not a fixed Platonic Idea. It is better to think of it as a set: The set is created by a composer (or group of composer-performers) and as a new performance, edited score, technique of playing or recording is produced, then that gets added to the set and it changes and grows all the time. Some things in the set fall out of fashion historically, some things are in there controversially but add to the overall picture anyway and there are things that have been forgotten entirely or are waiting to be re/discovered.

As I mentioned at the start, this is all provisional. There are many problems and I'm still thinking about this, but it is where I am at the moment.
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #12
So in an ontological context this leads me to say that a piece of music (e.g. a song) is a complex of things and not a fixed Platonic Idea. It is better to think of it as a set: The set is created by a composer (or group of composer-performers) and as a new performance, edited score, technique of playing or recording is produced, then that gets added to the set and it changes and grows all the time. Some things in the set fall out of fashion historically, some things are in there controversially but add to the overall picture anyway and there are things that have been forgotten entirely or are waiting to be re/discovered.
So the song is also in function of the listener?
Because if I change environment/setup, basically I add "my own nuances" to "my own set", for that song.
Also changing volume of the track mess up with Fletcher–Munson curves, which in some aspect will change the sound as well. Thus the message.

This way, it seems that music (song) is totally bind with sound in this sense, and the sound (also from a common source/record) is infinite.

I don't think an artist is creating a "infinite" kind of stuff. Are you? o_O
 

Cosmik

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#13
This way, it seems that music (song) is totally bind with sound in this sense, and the sound (also from a common source/record) is infinite.

I don't think an artist is creating a "infinite" kind of stuff. Are you? o_O
An analogue synthesiser can create an infinite number of sounds, but it can't say "Hello". In fact, an ordinary volume control alone has an infinite number of settings, but it can't change the tune.

Infinity is overrated. :)
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #14
An analogue synthesiser can create an infinite number of sounds, but it can't say "Hello". In fact, an ordinary volume control alone has an infinite number of settings, but it can't change the tune.

Infinity is overrated. :)
Not quite sure of what you had written!

An ordinary volume control alone can change the timbre (due to the Fletcher-Munson curves cited above). Product by the Frequency response of a pair setup/environment... well, is quite infinite I would say :rolleyes:
So, whether it can't change the pitch/tune, it could change other properties of sound, thus changing the sound anyway.

Also, a synth can say "hello", as well it can say "meow" :cool:
 
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Cosmik

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#15

Wombat

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#16
The song has ended but a malady lingers on. Apologies to Irving Berlin. ;)
 

Guermantes

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#17
Playing the infinity card as reductio ad absurdum doesn't wash with me, I'm afraid (cf. Zeno's paradoxes). I agree with @Cosmik -- infinity is overrated (nice to bring in Cantor, too).

The multitude of variations in the playback of the recording of a song is potentially infinite (cf. Aristotle and Cantor) rather than actually infinite. This potential is intrinsic to the temporal nature of music (and existence) and is really quite mundane.

But I think you are asking if we can conceive the sound of the song (I think you are talking about recorded sound) as a thing-in-itself or whether it is always a product of the reproduction mechanisms, environmental acoustics and psychoacoustical contexts of the listeners.

My lecturer on electroacoustic music in university was a follower of Pierre Schaeffer's acousmatic school of thought: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acousmatic_sound. The idea of the acousmatic is that the sound is, as much as possible, divorced from it's original context and listened to as an object-in-itself. An experiment he had us do was make a tape loop of a single sustained piano note and play that over and over. After several iterations we began to hear the loop less as "a piano note" and became more attuned to the small elements and fluctuations in the sound. As our listening session progressed some people became irritated and wanted it to stop while others seemed to cross a threshold and became quite intrigued by the sound. This was really an exercise in psychoacoustics and perception rather than metaphysics but the motivation was to conceive it as a sound-in-itself and somehow gain access to that.
 
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Nowhk
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Thread Starter #19
But I think you are asking if we can conceive the sound of the song (I think you are talking about recorded sound) as a thing-in-itself or whether it is always a product of the reproduction mechanisms, environmental acoustics and psychoacoustical contexts of the listeners.
Isn't the song... the sound? What does it mean "sound of the song"?

Take an instrumental (maybe synthetised) recorded track, and listen to it.
What is if not an organized sound? Melody, rhythm, pitch, volume, timbre... that's what you perceive and enjoy. All of them are components of sounds, nothing other.

So I would start asking (as I did) "what's a song if not an organized sound"?
Than we could argue about its deviations/reproductions mechanisms and such, I believe.

Or simly skip the ontology part (for a moment), and go directly to your dichotomy about song, from a single-individual/listener point of view:

- a thing-in-itself: if that's true, this imply that you listener extrapolate a "common" audio object from different/similar sources, that's what you mean? If that's true, any high fidelty system will be enough to everyone so.
Instead, there are a world behind this, with people struggling on lots of gears and quality setups, due to... what? Any fidely reproduction/environment system will be enough for our brain, to catch and decode "the thing-in-itself". Because any fidelty setup is already advanced and pretty flat/linear.
It seems instead they choose such that particular system because they love the properties it "adds" to the listening; which is against the idea of "the thing-in-itself" (i.e. I can't have 10 setups that decode 10 thing-in-itself, otherwise I fall to the other point of your dichotomy). I would call it "searching from a invidual objectivity".

- a product of the reproduction mechanisms, environmental acoustics and psychoacoustical contexts of the listeners: if that's true, I (as listener) have the mastery to take a record and shape it as I want, editing some properties of the sound (thus the song? previous question): dynamics, timbre, tonal balance, reverb/reflections, and such. Which makes me think that maybe there's somethings wrong.
There isn't a convergence, and most aspects become aleatory (still from a single point of view; I'm not arguing the differences between people).

Both the points got some inconsistency in my opinion.
Do I feel confuse? Yes I am, that's why I'm writing topic like this :confused:

If you say a synthesiser (or a volume control) can produce "an infinite number of sounds" the superficial suggestion seems to be that it can produce all sounds. But of course that's not true even though it can produce an infinite number of sounds...
This doesn't help my doubt. Even if you have resized the "infinity" part, you are still dealing with a very huge amount of cases (with some unpredictable parts).
And that's introduce the very same question: if small deviations doesn't impact the result, why there are lots of setups/techniques that manipulate (and they differs) exactly and only for those "small" parts?
 
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RayDunzl

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#20
Isn't the song... the sound?
Not so much to me.

Here's someone holding a song he has written:

upload_2018-5-11_9-10-42.png


It exists separately from any "sound".

It permits interpretation, and reinterpretation.

"This time, let's play that tuba part on the piccolo during the second refrain".
 

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