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Thread: What is the meaning of music?

  1. #1
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    What is the meaning of music?

    Does music have any fundamental meaning? Can music just be people writing advanced, culturally informed stuff using instruments, notes and sounds?


    Thank you

  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Uh, uh, I'm not sure about the industry of music, the histories and mysteries,
    but beating your brains out, expressing your raw emotion,
    is still music for me.

    To further my expression of music as a physical act with sound as a benefit,
    you can play classical music in greenhouses and see plants respond in a growth manner,
    or you can play heavy metal and watch it have an adverse effect.
    I've never heard of any plants sending away for sheet music,
    or vines growing to wrap around knobs to change stations.

    Music! The quieter it is, the further you can hear.
    That's enough proof for me that music is an unnatural act.
    And why go to all that trouble, even generating electricity,
    when no-one knows where all those notes go after you hear them?
    Last edited by John Watt; Aug-14-2017 at 21:23.

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    These vague and ambivalent thoughts about the nature of music, oh yes,
    have affected my thoughts about nature, and of course,
    I have to question my own humanity, as masculine as it is.

    There I was, tossing some food bits on the ground, watching the ants going for it,
    when small insects began to appear, too small to see their shapes, but seeing them fly.
    It's amazing that a creature that only lives for two weeks or less, can fly,
    taking off like a rocket when I try to touch them. I can't fly.

    The world weight of ants is more than humans, so I'm asking myself again,
    not only what is music, but what is life, and what lives are truly worth living.
    Those notes I just sung felt good, but I didn't see them, and where did they go?
    Are my two ears connecting in the middle of my head?
    Will I some day, make Q-tips touch together, as so many say I probably could?
    And can I, some beautific day, get a left-handed piano?
    I feel lost. I need my guitar, but it's in storage.

  4. #4
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    The lost guitar feeling is transposing into singing out loud.
    This is proof for me that, unlike all the North American media,
    that say you need to be an alcoholic, drug addict or pedophiled person,
    to become a musician. That might be the artists that the biz likes to exploit,
    but I know music is a humane thing to do, a loving expression,
    or an expression of any other human emotion, or an attempt to portray them.
    Right now, I'm trying to develop a new singing technique and singing sensation,
    inspired by the Nakooruk, what Inuit call themselves, a word that means good.
    That's their throat-singing, singing the same breaths back and forth between them,
    what began with women doing what they could to help pass the time,
    while the men were out hunting.
    Now I'm singing into a paper bag, also inspired by me bagging it, sleep-bagging it.
    A little oxygen deprivation goes a long way.

    Hey! And don't you dare start thinking I'm not hot for modern times.
    I'm always saying this is the new millennium, and the past needs to be updated,
    even Shakespeare.
    To B upper case or not to b lower case, that is now the querie.

  5. #5
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    I see music as an expression of one's being. As such, it is unique. Any performer who connects with people does so by the expression of their being. Music is part of their identity. That's why it is not possible to copy anyone, for example, bass player Jaco Pastorius. His sound, instrument, and compositions, and the music he made whenever he played, were an expression of his being, and that cannot be copied.
    I think this can be sensed intuitively. Audiences respond to this, even when it cannot be identified or explained.

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    millions! I'm sure you can tell that I was being, uh, cartoonish, if not buffoonish, with my first replies.
    You have made this more than real.
    I went to Kleinhan's Music Hall in Buffalo, one of my few trips into the disUnited States,
    to see Weather Report, after they hit the charts with Birdland, with Jaco Pastorius on bass.
    I had a press pass as a music columnist from my local newspaper, but there was no backstage access,
    for anyone. I was standing around with major newspaper reporters, outside, no buffet or open bar.
    Security said Josef Zawinul and Wayner Shorter were feuding, so I went back to the hall to sit with friends.

    For the concert, Joe and Wayne would come out, play the intro theme, and walk offstage.
    After Jaco finished jamming, for ten or fifteen minutes, with Alex Acuna on drums with another drummer,
    Joe and Wayne would come back onstage and play the theme to end the song.

    Jaco Pastorius was incredible. His amp could make him sound like a four stringed, classical string quartet,
    to using feedback up to the Jimi Hendrix on lead guitar tone zone.
    I'm sure you know Jaco, his music and innovative playing ability.
    What astonished me was his showmanship.
    He would hold the bass out and up in front of him, level with his shoulders,
    while he was playing,
    and then lean back in slow motion until it looked impossible that he wouldn't fall.
    He'd be doing that at the edge of the stage, over the front row,
    and audience members would stand up with their arms up, as if to catch him.
    He never fell.
    I was watching him move around the stage, working his amplifier,
    and started to think I was watching a slow motion, Circ de Soleil show.
    Both drummers were up five feet on a higher back stage section, about twenty feet apart,
    and Jaco would walk up in front, facing each drummer, or stand in between them, looking up,
    and that's when the most intense jamming happened, incredible, simply incredible.

    I've been interested in Wayne Shorter after hearing him with Miles Davis in the sixties,
    but after all was played and done, it was one of the best concert experiences I ever felt, and saw.
    Of all the musicians I've ever heard,
    Jaco Pastorius is the only musician I feel should have been a musical partner with Jimi Hendrix.
    Maybe Lyle Mayes on keys with Pat Methany on second guitar could be next.
    They were local for Buffalo at the time.
    I stopped crossing that border when the city was burning.
    Last edited by John Watt; Oct-09-2017 at 18:42.

  7. #7
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    That's a beautiful story, John Watt. I got to see Jaco at the now-defunct Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Tx, with Weather Report. As soon a he began to play "Portrait of Tracy," I got up as close as I could. Everything I had heard on the solo record was true; he was actually doing it with his hands. This performance was lower-key than the one you described.

    But this is true of all art and music; it is not a "thing" out there that is objective and separate; it is a talisman, if you will, a sacred object or act which connects the being & experience of the artist with the being & experience of the observer. It is a two-way street, a way of "mapping" one experience on to another's experience.

    Ultimately, this mapping of experience comes from the artist, and reflects the depth and character of his being.

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Oh! I'm not in the same transcendental mood you are in, right now, thinking about you saying,
    "he was actually doing it with his hands".
    But as far as a "sacred object or act" or "mapping one experience on to another's experience",
    I can feel it. I'm not calling it nerves as in being nervous, even if that's part of it,
    but I'm always unsure before I'm onstage, unsure of myself and how I'm going to play,
    and unsure of the sound, until the band gets going. Not lately, however.
    If I wasn't feeling any nerves at all, I'd be just showing off or trying to play the same again.

    Watching Jimi Hendrix, seeing him play a right-handed guitar upside-down,
    made me decide to be left-handed myself, when I was playing my brothers and friends guitars right-handed.
    Of course, they were right-handed guitars.
    Seeing how Jimi got sounds by beating up his guitar, and how he held it up close to his eyes,
    so he could set the volume and tone controls, as well as changing his effects and amp settings,
    made me aware of the technology and how hard he worked to get all of his different sounds.
    That's before I knew what a barre chord was.

    What's with Austin, Texas, and music? You're saying defunct for the Armadillo World Headquarters,
    but that live concert show is still on TV and still going strong.
    A buy and sell store-owner friend got some music DVDs in, so he put one on.
    It was a Willy Nelson birthday concert, with performers turning over for every song,
    with different stars on at the same time.
    When Leon Russell and Ray Charles were on together, playing a Willy Nelson song,
    Leon started with a verse, and then Ray took over for the rest of the song,
    and it showed Willy, just standing there, tears coming out of his eyes.
    That also featured President Bill Clinton, walking out just to talk.
    I could be jealous of Willy.
    He got over close to Shania Twain, and starting harmonizing along,
    and really got into hugging her after it was done.
    I played a couple of the same Holiday Inns she did, around Huntsville.

    It's strange what being the source of attention for a crowd can be.
    There were times, after walking up onstage, and turning around to set my amp and effects up,
    getting down on my haunches, you could sense the attention, and sometimes it quieted down.
    Seeing people dancing, hearing people clapping, were easy ways to see how you were going over.
    But making speeches, just standing up behind a microphone, showed me a whole new thing,
    and my best lines came from stopping my theme of talking, and shouting out over the applause.
    I haven't been in a band onstage for a long, long time,
    but the next time, I'll be looking forward to being better onstage, with the audience.

    I'm still thinking about you saying "mapping", and considering what a map can be,
    I know I haven't made as deep a reply.
    I could accuse you of being too right-handed, with your playing and thinking,
    but I won't.
    I guess all I can say is, if I'm feeling good about it after it's all sung and done,
    that's as good as it can get for me, unless someone says free oriental food and diet cola.

    I don't investigate with all the functions this domain allows,
    but if you're from Texas, you have my sympathy for the record rainfalls and tornadoes,
    down to the fire bug infestation. And let's not forget Galveston.
    If you think my first reply to you was a beautiful story,
    you inspired it.

  9. #9
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    Hi, Everyone experiences certain moments where you want to express yourself in a different way. some time music is the best part of our life when we feel lonely than we listing music and enjoy the loneliness.

  10. #10
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    I agree with Tones6.
    While I am a professional lead guitarist-vocalist, left-handed all the way,
    playing a piano, or keyboard, is always a new expression for me.
    I learned the C minor scale when I was a teenager, and just jam away on that.
    No songs, no singing, just trying out the keys whenever I can,
    searching out a piano when I need to just play without any expectations,
    unless wanting to just cut loose can be considered a kind of foreplay.

    My first musical instrument was a harmonica that my mother bought,
    after seeing Little Stevie Wonder on TV, but I never had a chromatic harp.
    I'm thinking of getting one now, an instrument I can carry with me,
    and play more often, instead of a piano every once in a while.

  11. #11
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    I don't see musical activity as 'emotional' as much as a thinking exercise, albeit very highly intuitive; and I see this as the greatest accomplishment of my life, to be able to think like this. It's been a long, winding road, but now is paying its dividends. The "emotional" and self-esteem parts I get from it are all a result of the development of my "being," and many years of work.
    Last edited by millions; Oct-18-2017 at 00:00.

  12. #12
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    You've got me thinking, more than feeling this, but it's more this cold screen and font that's doing it.
    I can understand what you're saying, and what I'm feeling, because I'me an old man, doing it both.
    I was playing an acoustic guitar, just strumming and finger-picking, and writing my own songs.
    I grew up singing in the choir of a church my Scottish family founded,
    and singing my own songs was writing them.
    So backing myself up with guitar wasn't a real instrument challenge, while my singing was emotional.

    After I saw Jimi Hendrix in Toronto, I bought a Strat and Marshall with effects, wanting to be a lead guitarist.
    When I played electric, jamming at matinees in bars, or with other musicians my age in homes,
    I didn't sing, finding it difficult enough to play lead guitar and use effects to get the changing sounds I wanted.

    It took until I was 27 before I was starting to sing onstage while I played electric guitar.
    Even now, if I'm jamming on guitar, I don't sing.
    It's nice when you've got your technique and tones down,
    so the music becomes a language to share with other players.
    What makes me a musical hero, here in my old age,
    is that fact that there are so many singer-writers and solo artists out there,
    who never played or worked with a professional musician.
    When I start playing along, stopping and starting when they do,
    everyone wants me to play with them, and wonder what I'm doing.

    Of course, building and playing only the electric guitar I have as my instrument,
    evolving into the semi-solid-body, very innovative,
    and using the same pick and strings since 1970, only makes it easy for me to get into it.

    Hey! I just said the same thing you did, only, not like a musician who could write a song,
    but like a music columnist, something I did a couple of times for a newspaper.
    I'm glad to see that your long and winding road,
    didn't just take you back to where you used to belong.

  13. #13
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    I'm reading a biography of John Coltrane.

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