[PD] Am I alone?

Matt Barber brbrofsvl at gmail.com
Tue Mar 22 07:25:17 CET 2011

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 12:15 AM, ailo <ailo.at at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 03/21/2011 11:47 PM, Matt Barber wrote:
>> My apologies for that remark -- it's not quite how I meant it. I did
>> not mean this particular discussion or anything anyone here said. What
>> I mean is that the broad "what is music" discussion overall tends to
>> annoy me and make me sad, sick at heart, etc. In fact it's one that I
>> quite enjoy when the parties are discussing responsibly and in good
>> faith. I suppose I feel the same way about the "is there a god" or
>> "what is god" question -- it can be a fun and sometimes even fruitful
>> discussion, but most often there is astonishingly little new territory
>> to cover, many reasons for nasty partisan disputes and so forth. I
>> guess I've had too many "potentially distasteful" conversations turn
>> to actually distasteful ones, so "the discussion" (in the broad sense)
>> feels distasteful to me. Nothing any of you have said have made me sad
>> yet.
>> Matt
> That makes me feel better.
> I suppose this is a subject that doesn't necessarily belong on this list
> and most answers on this thread give away the reluctance to discuss it.
> I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing.
> Anyway, starts to feel like swimming upstream :).

I suppose I don't want to be the "what is music" police. =o)

In my experience, the discussion appears in every musical community
I've ever been a part of, especially if that community has some
technical interests. And it happens with enough frequency (there was
one on the csound list just last month), that it can start to become
an "ohhh.... not THIS again" kind of discussion, because (again) there
is just so little new territory.

Recently there have been a number of claims about the evolutionary
advantage (if any) of music (Musicians are HOTT! Music is a low-cost
drug!) which try to answer what music IS by way of "explaining" what
it is for (note the scare quotes around "explaining"). This is maybe a
little bit new, but in some ways a little more infuriating than
normal, because like all evolutionary explanations of behavior it
suffers from the is/ought problem. I keep thinking about religion as
an analogy -- I can find it very interesting if there is some
evolutionary reason for religious belief among our species, but such a
fact would say absolutely nothing about whether I should practice a
given religion or any at all in 2011.


More information about the Pd-list mailing list