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FaSheezy
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It has been my experience that most Objectivists I have spoken with hold a severe distaste for the genre of music called Hip Hop...

...To support my case I submit the lyrics to Eric Benet's "I Know" from his album "Hurricane."...

...the music is a classic example of Hip Hop...

I listened to a 30 second sound clip sample of this piece. What I heard may have not been representative. But I heard no rapping (i.e. talking in rhyming, rhythmic form), What I heard was actually singing (i.e. lyrics being sung with discernable pitches; "melodically"). Since Hip Hop typically contains rapping as it primary means of presenting the words of a piece, I thought...

On second thought, Eric Benet is actually Rythmn and Blues.

Exactly!

Alot of members of the White upper class take isssue with Hip Hop as it goes against the very grain of high brow poerty and verse - it is non-structured free verse. Keep in mind that for centuries there were extensive rules governing the form (14 lines in Shakepeare's day) and content (love in the 1500's, Classics in the 1600's, etc.) of poetry and verse. Hip Hop's emphasis on improvision and free form challenge the very core of what has been accepted.

:P ???? Walt Whitman? Emily Dickinson? Beat generation-era? You have conveniently skipped from 1600 to approximately 1975. Leaving out this large a chunk of contextual history it might be possible to regard Hip Hop (& rap) as "challenging" and "innovative".

A "beat" is fine. But if all you are going to do is cut and paste and loop a beat made on a machine, add in overbearing bass tones, and then talk endlessly to me over it, you haven't acheived music.

Exactly.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that that form is not capable of producing something that I would like (or incapable of having something in common with music besides a time signature).

That seems unnecessarily harsh. Definition of "music" semantics aside, the "beat" is just frosting on the cake; the lyrics are the real artistry. And there has been progress in that respect.

Music (noun) - The art of arranging sounds to be heard in linear time passage which produce a unified auditory object (i.e. a "composition") using characteristic components of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.

Without all necessary components (i.e. in this case melody & harmony) it is NOT music. I know I already went into this in another thread, but I wanted to stress this again. It is annoying to me that rap & hip hop artists refer to something they do as music when it isn't.

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Without all necessary components (i.e. in this case melody & harmony) it is NOT music. I know I already went into this in another thread, but I wanted to stress this again. It is annoying to me that rap & hip hop artists refer to something they do as music when it isn't.
I cant think of any good reason to limit the word 'music' to pieces which have a melody. Perhaps thats how the word was once used back when thats all that humans produced, but things have moved on since then (whether this is evolution or devolution depends on your viewpoint I suppose). A reasonable amount of modern music isnt melodic (some electronica for instance, along with drum and bass which I admittedly dont like), and it seems fairly arbitrary to say that it 'isnt really' music because of this. We can argue over whether its good music or bad music, but theres no justification for excluding it from discussion beforehand by playing with definitions.

Tribal drum beats werent melodic, but they still played a similar functional role to what we call music.

Anyway, from further down dictionary.com (which I assume is where you got that definition from)

#

# An aesthetically pleasing or harmonious sound or combination of sounds: the music of the wind in the pines.

edit: For an example of a good hiphop song which combines a positive (without being cliche or cheesy) outlook on life with great lyrics and a catchy tune, I would recommend Aesop Rock - No Regrets.

Edited by Hal
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And it's annoying to me that people get hung up on whether a particular form of art qualifies as music.

Okay, you're annoyed. Fortunately, you don't have to live your life by other people's values huh? Isn't that what really matters?

Don't call it music then,
That's what he did. He even defined why it wasn't which means he has a good reason for not considering music, not simply some whimsical purpose.

but I fail to see how viewing it from one side or the other really matters.

Proper definitions, individual tastes, and individual values are important to some people. Why are you so worried that someone doesn't like something that you do like? Why does that matter so much? Why do some people feel it necessary to save other people from their tastes?

Edited by RationalCop
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You could have just as easily asked ChristopherSchlegel that :P

I suppose I could question whether the present usage of "music" is a "proper definition" or an "individual taste," but once again I doubt this "rap != music" distinction is significant.

So rap isn't music, it's an "auditory artform?" Erm.

It doesn’t invite you in. Usually rappers have an attitude and point fingers at the audience.
I don't feel that that is the case, but I can understand how someone can come to that.
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I cant think of any good reason to limit the word 'music' to pieces which have a melody.

Do you mean to say that melody is a primitive vulgarity in music, as plot is a primitive vulgarity in writing, as logic is a primitive vulgarity in philosophy?

Tribal drum beats werent melodic, but they still played a similar functional role to what we call music.

To induce a trance for the working of shaman miracles, and ritualistic sacrifices? To pray to the sun god, or the ceramonial reading of entrails?

Tell me, after you eviscerate melody from music, what then is music thereafter?

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And it's annoying to me that people get hung up on whether a particular form of art qualifies as music. Don't call it music then, but I fail to see how viewing it from one side or the other really matters.

I agree, let's drop all words and logic and definitions. I am going to get blinding drunk right now, make sure my guitar is wildly out of tune, record an arhythmical drum track, slur out some obscenities, and call it music. When someone objects, I'll just blithely tell them it doesn't matter how it is viewed one way or the other.

After all, words are just tags for loose assemblages of things that we arbitrarily decide to call by the same word, right?

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When someone objects, I'll just blithely tell them it doesn't matter how it is viewed one way or the other.

Let's assume that hip hop is not within the definition of music. (A point which I neither contest nor support at this time.) What then? How does that change your evaluation of it? A tuna sandwich isn't music, either. Is your evaluation of musical or nonmusical things one of the function for which one uses them?

To induce a trance for the working of shaman miracles, and ritualistic sacrifices? To pray to the sun god, or the ceramonial reading of entrails?

I don't see how that's any different in essence from the many children of the 70s who put on Kashmir and lit up doobies.

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Let's assume that hip hop is not within the definition of music. (A point which I neither contest nor support at this time.) What then? How does that change your evaluation of it? A tuna sandwich isn't music, either. Is your evaluation of musical or nonmusical things one of the function for which one uses them?

I don't see how that's any different in essence from the many children of the 70s who put on Kashmir and lit up doobies.

Well, since I judge it to not be music, then it not being within the definition of music would not change my evaluation of it.

I don't see anyone putting a tuna sandwich in a cd player and trying to tell me it's music, and no one is trying to tell me it doesn't matter either way.

Although I must say that the cd spinner would make a very quiet, rhythmic thunk thunk against the bread for awhile, and then a slushy whirl against the fish meat, and then the album would be over, and then we could listen to some peanut butter brittle for awhile.

If we are to put aside definitions, I don't see anything wrong with that either as long as I can count 1,2,3,4 to it while the sound lasts. Unless, of course, we are going to say that they have to have some kind of particular sounds, like drums, or some other percussive sound.

Here is a working definition. A modern form of lyrical delivery delivered against a rhythmic background, and employing, sometimes, some elements of music for added color.

No, function is not a criteria of evaluation, but rather the content of a given piece to the nature of music.

About Kashmir. There were kids that did not light up to listen to Kashmir ( a fabulous song, I must say). I don't light up when I listen to it. The whole purpose of the tribal beat was to induce the state I mentioned. These were not 3 minute beats like our little ditties of today, this beat was employed for hours and hours. The creation of Kashmir was a commercial product for purchase by individuals for individuals (the concert notwithstanding). The tribal beat has no such relationship, and no such purpose. It is for the unthinking collective action of a group, to induce a certain psychological state as a group.

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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My main point in posts 33 and 34.

Nominalism is not a way to defend anything you might enjoy. It does matter what the defintion of music (or any concept) is. Does it matter if Hip Hop doesn't qualify as music? Does it have to be called music for you to enjoy it? Nobody ever said that this form of lyricism violated any intrinsic rules about what can come to the human ear (except the basterdization of the English language, not exactly the time of Homer, is it?).

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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I don't see anyone putting a tuna sandwich in a cd player and trying to tell me it's music, and no one is trying to tell me it doesn't matter either way.

Although I must say that the cd spinner would make a very quiet, rhythmic thunk thunk against the bread for awhile, and then a slushy whirl against the fish meat, and then the album would be over, and then we could listen to some peanut butter brittle for awhile.

I don't know, some people might try. But then again, you'd probably never get to that point, because those same people would be telling you not to waste the tuna sandwich by putting it in the CD player. Instead, they'd rather you heave it on a canvas and call it modern art.

Peanut butter brittle, now there's an idea. That would probably be the heavy metal of this new "food music" genre we've invented. :P

Here is a working definition. A modern form of lyrical delivery delivered against a rhythmic background, and employing, sometimes, some elements of music for added color.

So, in your view (I'm not being sarcastic, I'm trying to figure this out), hip hop is a kind of poetry usually having some type of instrumental accompaniment? I use "instrument" to include percussive instruments as well, but as I haven't given that definition much thought either so I'm open to discussion.

No, function is not a criteria of evaluation, but rather the content of a given piece to the nature of music.
I don't understand what you mean here, which may be the result of what I now see was a poorly worded question. I'll try to rephrase it at some point when I'm a bit less tired. Sorry.

About Kashmir. There were kids that did not light up to listen to Kashmir ( a fabulous song, I must say). I don't light up when I listen to it. The whole purpose of the tribal beat was to induce the state I mentioned. These were not 3 minute beats like our little ditties of today, this beat was employed for hours and hours. The creation of Kashmir was a commercial product for purchase by individuals for individuals (the concert notwithstanding). The tribal beat has no such relationship, and no such purpose. It is for the unthinking collective action of a group, to induce a certain psychological state as a group.

I guess I lack enough knowledge about tribal beats to allow me to comment intelligently about their history. When I made my comment, I was thinking about when some of my college mates would just bang out rhythms together on assorted percussion instruments. Sometimes they were on drugs and such when doing that, but other times they were lucid and the point was just to relax and have a little fun making some head-bobbing sounds. It now appears to me that your reference to "tribal beat" was much more narrow, meant only to include those instances in which such a beat was used for the purpose you described.

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Convey the meaning of music and dancing as the esthetic expression of a "sense of life."

Music employs the sounds produced by the periodic vibrations of a sonorous body, and evokes man's sense-of-life emotions.

A sense of life is a preconceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence. It is in terms of his fundamental emotions—i.e., the emotions produced by his own metaphysical value-judgments- that man responds to music.

The single exception is in the field of sounds produced by periodic vibrations, i.e., music.

According to the above definitions and quotes Rap is most definitly a form of music according to Objectivism. It is the sense of life aspects however that either draw people to or cause people to violently oppose the genre.

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Peanut butter brittle, now there's an idea. That would probably be the heavy metal of this new "food music" genre we've invented. :P

I had the same thought when I was writing it-ha!

So, in your view (I'm not being sarcastic, I'm trying to figure this out), hip hop is a kind of poetry usually having some type of instrumental accompaniment? I use "instrument" to include percussive instruments as well, but as I haven't given that definition much thought either so I'm open to discussion.

I really wanted to avoid the word poetry. This does not cover enough instances-if they exist. If some of this stuff is poetry, then Kipling, Whitman et all are gone. Do we call Spinal Tap's Big Bottoms, or Sex Farm Woman poetry as well? The destruction of poetry is what follows if we allow it to mean any sets of words in an organized order that is called such by he who made it. The same problem we are having with music. Lyrical was as close as I wanted to get - too close I guess.

The whole focus of this music is the "lyric", what the person has to say. Everything else is secondary. The words are not sung, they are spoken, or auctioned as I like to say. The beat is a programmed (I saw an exception to this a few weeks ago) percussive track with bass tones added in. Usually this completes the piece. Sometimes there is the inclusion of a ripped piece of instumentation usually from someone else's work and slapped in as a track.

There are obviously pieces of it that we recognize as elements of music. The question is, is it, as a whole, music?

Here is another question. If I sit in front of my Mac all day and, using some midi and a drum machine make something with a beat and some notes in it, have I made music? Can we consider it music if no human played an instrument in its development? What if there were even words being sung but it was the speech program reading my typed text, but I chose the singing lady effect instead of regular speech? Where do we draw the line? Should Ahmed Best be eligable for best supporting actor Oscar (let's say people went crazy) for his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks in the last Star Wars even though he had no speaking lines, and probably wasn't even there? Was that acting?

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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According to the above definitions and quotes Rap is most definitly a form of music according to Objectivism. It is the sense of life aspects however that either draw people to or cause people to violently oppose the genre.

Except for this one.

(The Objectivist—April 1971)

Music employs the sounds produced by the periodic vibrations of a sonorous body, and evokes man's sense-of-life emotions.

I suggest you examine every word of that definition. It is one of the most exacting definitions she ever used.

Pay particular attention to the word sonorous. It is not there as hyperbole. Talking fast (and usually nasally) is not an example of sonorous even though man's diaphram is capable of producing sonorous sounds.

Pavarotti produces a sonorous body when he sings, but not when he is ordering pasta.

The electronic beats also fail as "period vibrations of a sonorous body" since they not even "body".

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I really wanted to avoid the word poetry. This does not cover enough instances-if they exist. If some of this stuff is poetry, then Kipling, Whitman et all are gone. Do we call Spinal Tap's Big Bottoms, or Sex Farm Woman poetry as well? The destruction of poetry is what follows if we allow it to mean any sets of words in an organized order that is called such by he who made it. The same problem we are having with music.

TL, the problem I'm having with your points is that they seem to be hinting at an evaluation of quality as part of the definition. Put another way, I'm having trouble seeing what you're saying as anything other than a "no true Scotsman" argument. I'm guessing you don't mean it that way, so can you tell me in your view, can bad music or bad poetry exist? If so, how are they distinguished from nonmusic and nonpoetry?

If I sit in front of my Mac all day and, using some midi and a drum machine make something with a beat and some notes in it, have I made music? Can we consider it music if no human played an instrument in its development?

If a drum beat can qualify as music (which I don't know), then I say yes, your example is music. I don't see any relevant distinction between that and the creation of nonpercussive sounds via electronic means. Can something be music if a person never placed his hands upon a keyboard, but instead entered the notes using midi software, found all the sounds and effects he wanted, etc.? A person could certainly create a pleasant sounding piece of [music or some other word] doing just that. He could also do so deliberately, knowing what every sound would be and placing them together in an organized and calculated way. No instrument is required, unless by instrument you would include the computer that made the sounds possible (which I would guess you would not).

Would you include in your definition of music any modifications made to sounds? Anything electronic?

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Do you mean to say that melody is a primitive vulgarity in music, as plot is a primitive vulgarity in writing, as logic is a primitive vulgarity in philosophy?
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html

To induce a trance for the working of shaman miracles, and ritualistic sacrifices? To pray to the sun god, or the ceramonial reading of entrails?
:P

Tell me, after you eviscerate melody from music, what then is music thereafter?

Hip-hop for instance.

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I really wanted to avoid the word poetry. This does not cover enough instances-if they exist. If some of this stuff is poetry, then Kipling, Whitman et all are gone. Do we call Spinal Tap's Big Bottoms, or Sex Farm Woman poetry as well? The destruction of poetry is what follows if we allow it to mean any sets of words in an organized order that is called such by he who made it. The same problem we are having with music. Lyrical was as close as I wanted to get - too close I guess.

I agree with Groovenstein here. If you don't consider rap "music" because of the given definition, then are you presenting a definition to make the similar case that rap isn't poetry?

I highly question the idea that considering rap qua poetry will result in the "destruction of poetry." And since your problem with rap qua music is definitional, it can't be the same problem with rap qua poetry (sans definition.)

It might also be relevant to note that the other "comparisons" to music (tuna fish, peanut brittle, drunken twanking) wouldn't be considered as art in the first place, whereas rap (presumably?) would. If rap is not music, then what other art forms are in this neutered category of "non-music auditory artforms?"

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If you don't want to explain what you meant, just say you don't explain your statements, and that you are just going to make flat assertions. Don't send me a link to a fallacy when I am attempting to understand what you are saying.

Your entire post was without intellectual worth.

Edited by Thoyd Loki
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TL, the problem I'm having with your points is that they seem to be hinting at an evaluation of quality as part of the definition. Put another way, I'm having trouble seeing what you're saying as anything other than a "no true Scotsman" argument. I'm guessing you don't mean it that way, so can you tell me in your view, can bad music or bad poetry exist? If so, how are they distinguished from nonmusic and nonpoetry?

Would you include in your definition of music any modifications made to sounds? Anything electronic?

I am more than hinting at it when it comes to the poetry aspect, although because of it, I am not ready to defend it. I was merely trying to avoid using the word poetry, I personally do not want to ascribe the word poetry to it.

There may be instances in the genre of phrases that I may say, "yeah, that's poetry". Maybe even good, perhaps bad. You cannot exempt something from the field merely because it is bad or below par.

I have not made enough of a study of poetry as a form to be able to say, objectively, that it is not poetry. I'd love to be able to, but I cannot.

I would say that considering some of the slime that is dumped in Hip Hop as poetry would lead to the destruction of poetry of the beautiful form. Though I hasten to add, this would not be the fault merely of Hip Hop. Care to learn some Too Short or Snoop Dog in college anyone?

Now as pertains to music. There is no "Scotsman" argument there.

Bad music and bad poetry can certainly exist. It is good music and good poetry that I am sometimes led to question the existence of! See my post 39 for the answer to the second part of your question. I have no answer, yet, for the poetry part of the question, sorry.

I can't see why there is anything wrong with sound modification. You mean like reverb, or delay effects, compression? I see nothing wrong with that. If the original sound fits the nature of music, was musical then it just changes the character of the sound. Now it were squashed into a screech, then no.

Anything electronic? You goddamn bet!

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It might also be relevant to note that the other "comparisons" to music (tuna fish, peanut brittle, drunken twanking) wouldn't be considered as art in the first place, whereas rap (presumably?) would. If rap is not music, then what other art forms are in this neutered category of "non-music auditory artforms?"

I answered most of your point in my post to Groovenstein.

It was a tuna sandwich, not tuna fish. That whole food genre was brought up to show the absurdity of dispensing with melody as a necessary ingredient in music. I was also making the point against a nominalisitic attitude to concepts.

You don't think you can get people to buy records of whirling tuna fish sandwiches? Just tell them its profound and they will. Destroy the concept first, of course, always necessary to incapacitate your victim before you kill them. Yes...very necessary...very important...mmmm....

What would be a "non-music auditory artform"? Would it be something that would be considered music? Or do you mean something else like sound production/effects for movies?

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I can't see why there is anything wrong with sound modification. You mean like reverb, or delay effects, compression? I see nothing wrong with that. If the original sound fits the nature of music, was musical then it just changes the character of the sound.

Yes, I meant effects and such. What I'm trying to do is figure out where we draw the line at instrument and whether that should be the place where a line is drawn. You asked about the Mac thing, which I addressed as being music, and that helped me start to figure this out.

I'm also thinking about drums. I would probably include a lot of drumming as "music." Drums have tones, timbres, notes of a certain duration, etc. In fact, with a guy like Terry Bozzio, they have a lot of tones! What are your thoughts on drums as music?

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Yes, I meant effects and such. What I'm trying to do is figure out where we draw the line at instrument and whether that should be the place where a line is drawn. You asked about the Mac thing, which I addressed as being music, and that helped me start to figure this out.

I'm also thinking about drums. I would probably include a lot of drumming as "music." Drums have tones, timbres, notes of a certain duration, etc. In fact, with a guy like Terry Bozzio, they have a lot of tones! What are your thoughts on drums as music?

I really started to throw too many questions out there, didnt I?

Drums are certainly a musical instrument, they even have to be tuned. Ever heard a set of toms out of tune? Yech. I don't think drums by themselves can constitute music. But that is a tricky thing to peg down. Even the tribal beats can be said to evoke the savage's sense of life...But, do we accept the savage's experience as an acceptable datum on our understanding of music?

I think this is something I'd like to pass to Christopher Schlegel if he happens upon this. He is by far more qualified to answer whether drums by themselves constitute music than I.

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