View Full Version : Postmodern architecture and postmodern music

Sep-24-2005, 06:21
I wanted to point out the similarity between the architectural technique of gradually changing detail elaborations as one walks through a postmodern building and the gradually changing groove in techno and of placing the background into the foreground or elsewhere such as putting paintings on ceilings or where the floor flows into the wall which becomes the ceiling in one big swoosh. This may be related to polyphonic inversion where the melody is played in the bass or where the accompaniment is used for a transition or an entire section.

A related point is the congregational aspect of western religious buildings and the aspect of pilgrimmage of far eastern
sacred sites where one circumambulates the structure which might not even have a room one could enter. The eastern buildings are based on perfect symmetry and forms such as ankor wat and the pyramid at giza which are intended to be magical talismans to ward off evil and to spread good fortune emanating from above. To the eastern mind, spiritual power is constantly coming down and in here.

To the western mind spirit is up and out there. Hell is down here. Eastern music is often of a ritual nature and for the gods. The Indonesian gamelan might play all night for the benefit of the village with no one attending the concert! African music is often a ritual for the gods and there's no thought of making a pretty sound for people to listen to. Eastern sacred music is often based on perfect cycles which repeat indefinitely though usually additive (5+3) and not usually divided in half as in (4+4).

One article I read said that if one were allowed to make sweeping generalizations, the eastern position comes from a fear of foreign people and ideas or at least negative spiritual influences and a willfull denial of the death of the individual personality wishing it to continue after the death of the body in some imagined magical relationship with geometric perfection.

About 1/4 of westerners explored the world in the age of exploration and seem to embrace the alien other/foreign neighbor and ideas or at least are willing to entertain them and therefore must deal with both the positive and negative aspects of admitting the enemy.

However, not all eastern music or easterns fit this generalization and neither do westerners. As if a fine line could ever be drawn.

Another point was that symmetry in art and music usually comes only after the establishment of city states. The Mongolian shaman riding on horseback playing his spike fiddle took his aesthetic from the natural environment unconsciously. Trees, mountains and rocks are not perfectly symmetrical and neither was his musical form. I imagine the Nomadic aesthetic of musicians in the deserts of Africa and Arabia are assymetrical as well.

This is also related to Japanese music which was purposefully/consciously assymetrical. This was desirable to Zen Buddhists (those that didn't denounce music entirely) because the surprising changes caused by extreme assymetry represented egolessness to them.

What do you think?