VPMA93H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Music Of Star Wars, Darth Vader, Background Music

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4 Aug 2016
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VPMA93 Lecture 1 – Introduction to Listening and Sound
John Blacking, How Musical is Man? (1973)
Quotes on the idea of listening:
- “The importance of creative listening is too often ignored in discussion of musical ability, and
yet it is as fundamental to music as it is to language.”
- Star Wars music: Movie theatre, Darth Vader on the screen or about to enter the screen
- Spooky soundtrack: Dark alley at night, movie theatre watching someone do this
- Mozart: Concert hall
- France in the 60s, frustrated on hold, elevator music, in a lounge
- As listeners, we imagined ourselves in scenarios with this kind of music
- We are all musical. Certain genres of music are associated with different kinds of people.
- “…it is clear that the creation and performance of most music is generated first and foremost by
the human capacity to discover patterns of sound and to identify them on subsequent
occasions. Without biological processes of aural perception, and without cultural agreement
among at least some human beings on what is perceived, there can be neither music nor
musical communication.”
- “Even if a person describes musical experiences in the technical language of music, he is in fact
describing emotional experiences which he has learned to associate with particular musical
sounds.”
- We just did this by linking patterns of sounds to information and communication.
- Music is made of communication.
Quotes on Western music:
- “Currently recognized divisions between Art Music and Folk Music are inadequate and
misleading as conceptual tools. They are neither meaningful nor accurate as indices of musical
differences; at best, they merely define the interests and activities of different social groups.”
- Value judgements that state one kind of music is more worthwhile than another is inadequate.
Each form has it’s own meaning and worthwhile for its own purpose
- No one type is better than another
- “…all music is folk music, in the sense that music cannot be transmitted or have meaning
without associations between people.”
On music:
- “Music is a product of the behaviour of human groups, whether formal or informal: it is humanly
organized sound.”
Timbre
Frequency – in acoustics, the number of complete vibrations or cycles per second in a vibrating system,
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