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Music theory

Parent categories: music - theory

Related: experimental music - modern music - modernist music - musicology - Musique Concrète - music and technology - music critics - music genre theory - music history - music industry - musicology - postmodernism in music - recorded music

People: Jacques Attali - Brian Eno - Kodwo Eshun - Dick Hebdige (for his work in Cut 'n Mix) - David Toop - people at Wire Magazine -


Music theory is a set of systems for classifying the elements of music. Narrowly it may be defined as knowledge about music, as opposed to experience of music. The academic study of music is called musicology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_theory

The music experience

The music that composers make can be heard through several media; the most traditional way is to hear it live, in the presence, or as one of, the musicians. Live music can also be broadcast over the radio or television. Some musical styles focus on producing a sound for a performance, while others focus on producing a recording which mixes together sounds which were never played "live". Recording, even of styles which are essentially live often uses the ability to edit and splice to produce recordings which are considered "better" than the actual performance.

In many cultures there is less distinction between performing and listening to music, as virtually everyone is involved in some sort of musical activity, often communal. Sometime in the middle 20th century, listening to music through a recorded form, such as sound recording or watching a music video became more common than experiencing live performance. Sometimes, live performances incorporate prerecorded sounds; for example, a DJ uses records for scratching. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music#Media [Jul 2004]

Ocean of Sound (1995) - David Toop

Ocean of Sound (1995) - David Toop [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

A member of a radical editorial collective on the cutting edge of British music criticism in the 1970s, later a critic for more standard papers, including the Times, David Toop'S second book covers a vast expanse of music. His tour-de-force survey describes a dissonant and invigorating clash of music and noise from western classical to Javanese gamelan, from Claude Debussy to Miles Davis to Brian Eno, from disco to techno to ambient. He discusses the changes in our sound world caused by the global reach of radio and recordings, and shows himself a rigorous pluralist, open to all styles and forms, but unafraid to offer robust criticism in any musical sphere. --via Amazon.com

The Soundscape (1977) - R. Murray Schafer

For fans of David Toop's Ocean of Sound (1995).

The Soundscape (1977) - R. Murray Schafer [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Raymond Murray Schafer (1933- ) is a Canadian composer, writer, music educator and environmentalist best known for his World Soundscape Project, a concern for acoustic ecology, and the book The Tuning of the World (1977). Born in Sarnia, Ontario, he then studied at the Royal Schools of Music (England), the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the University of Toronto.

His music education theories are followed in one way or another a bit around the world. He started soundscape studies at Simon Fraser University in the 60's. In addition to introducing the concept of soundscape he also coined the term schizophonia (1977), the splitting of a sound from its source or the condition caused by this split: "We have split the sound form the maker of the sound. Sounds have been torn from their natural sockets and given an amplified and independent existence. Vocal sound, for instance, is no longer tied to a hole in the head but is free to issue from anywhere in the landscape" (quoted in Mathieu 1994, p.223). Steven Feld (1994, p.265-271), borrowing a term from Gregory Bateson, calls the recombination and recontextualization of sounds split from their sources schismogenesis.

In 1987 he was awarded the first Glenn Gould Prize in recognition of his contributions.

In 2005 he was awarded the Walter Carsen Prize, by the Canada Council for the Arts, one of the top honours for lifetime achievement by a Canadian artist.

Schafer is probably Canada's most prominent composer today. He lives in his farm in Ontario and grows his own vegetables. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._Murray_Schafer [Jan 2006]

See also: sound - sculpture - music theory

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