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BinniLee
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*Does the Randoid*

Harder, better, faster, stronger....

Well I've read the romantic manifesto and I agree with it.

But since it was written have there been any further insights into Objectivist music theory?

The Randroid, eh? I wasn't aware it was a dance. Sort of like the robot, but more heroic?

And is that a quote from a Daft Punk song? I was sure I was the only one who appreciated that vocoder lyric on a spiritual level.

There has been a LOT of discussion on this board towards a more detailed Objectivist music theory, though I haven't heard much from the "official" Objectivist institutions. One of my favorite (probably because I rap) is this discussion of whether rap music qualifies as music.

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  • 11 months later...

I think the greatest anthem of self-respect out there right now is "Love Song" by Sara Bareilis. Not only is it amazing lyrically, it is also so profoundly different from most modern music melodically as well. If objectivism is to formulate a standard for music, it should start there.

Also, I have some song lyrics that I think would also fit the standard. It was obviously written in reaction to outcries of multiculturalist-pacifism toward to the terrorists of the Middle East.

Out in the desert

with brute jelousy

they stare at what we've done

with our right to be free.

Down with those structures

should've crashed our divides

but still hatred between us

and towards us resides.

I don't care what they say

we should do when

they slaughtered our brethren

and they'll do it again

and how can one say

it's only our problem to rid

when the very same people

put a bomb in madrid.

So remember, as we quarrell among ourselves

they are stacking crude weapons upon storage shelves

so please heed my warning, before this great nation falls

please heed my warning, if you care about it at all.

We're repeating roman history

and most don't realize

we might kill the last free-loving land

before our own eyes.

They dismantle us with caution

so we'll let them remain

in the hopes

that we won't sustain.

So remember, as we quarrell among ourselves

they are stacking crude weapons upon storage shelves

so please heed my warning, before this great nation falls

please heed my warning, if you care about it at all.

They don't believe in our system

they believe we should die.

Well I don't want to, again,

see the great eagle cry.

The minds of our fellow men

believe it's not fair

that we should be able to solve this

without even a care.

Well, that's just our problem

our own just don't care

they just think what they're told

by the ones on the air.

So remember, as we quarrell among ourselves

they are stacking crude weapons upon storage shelves

so please heed my warning, before this great nation falls

please heed my warning, if you care about it at all.

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Excellent lyrics yourself, but I think that the melodies are too overly distorted in the music, as if there is none. It seems like the song is just trying to get the message out, like a lecture. Even Rand stated that "it must also be enjoyable just to experience" which, in my opinion, it is not. If you could get lyrics like that into a better melody, I would buy the album in an instant.

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Excellent lyrics yourself, but I think that the melodies are too overly distorted in the music, as if there is none. It seems like the song is just trying to get the message out, like a lecture. Even Rand stated that "it must also be enjoyable just to experience" which, in my opinion, it is not. If you could get lyrics like that into a better melody, I would buy the album in an instant.

I agree with that aesthetic assessment, I think that is part of the reason I have moved towards more melodic vocals that are implicitly objectivist (ie, you have to listen and understand what philosophical principles are being referenced), as opposed to the explicitly objectivist hip-hop that I was doing prior to that. It was fun to cram all kinds of objectivist messages into clever rhymes, but there is nothing like creating something that expresses a love of life without having to put that message in the lyrics.

Here is a good example of that, a song called "Oxygen" that I recently finished. I've been getting some great feedback on Myspace for this song, but only a few people who really seem to get it.

On an interesting side note, the more I feel that I am able to integrate the melody, phrasing, etc. with the message in the lyrics, the less I want to post lyrics. I can't stand to see or present the words I wrote to be sung appear in print.

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I agree with that aesthetic assessment, I think that is part of the reason I have moved towards more melodic vocals that are implicitly objectivist (ie, you have to listen and understand what philosophical principles are being referenced), as opposed to the explicitly objectivist hip-hop that I was doing prior to that. It was fun to cram all kinds of objectivist messages into clever rhymes, but there is nothing like creating something that expresses a love of life without having to put that message in the lyrics.

Here is a good example of that, a song called "Oxygen" that I recently finished. I've been getting some great feedback on Myspace for this song, but only a few people who really seem to get it.

On an interesting side note, the more I feel that I am able to integrate the melody, phrasing, etc. with the message in the lyrics, the less I want to post lyrics. I can't stand to see or present the words I wrote to be sung appear in print.

I like this one better. The melody still seems to be too broken though.

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  • 8 months later...
*Does the Randoid*

Harder, better, faster, stronger....

Well I've read the romantic manifesto and I agree with it.

But since it was written have there been any further insights into Objectivist music theory?

"Objectivist" music theory? Well, Rand said herself that there was no such thing as Objectivist music...but, if you mean research into the questions she asked in "Art and Cognition," about how and why music does its thing...

Roger Bissell has written a few things, notably "Art as Microcosm," and contested Rand and Helmholtz on the sensation of tone...the latter was online, but is temporarily unavailable, but his site is http://www.rogerbissell.com/.

JARS published a symposium dedicated to Torres and Khamhi's WHAT ART IS: THE ESTHETIC THEORY OF AYN RAND, with different views, pro and con, of Rand's musical theory. Worth checking out...

My own site, Orpheus Remembered, has some things of interest as well, mainly my essay on the cognitive and gestalt theory of music as they support Rand's theory.

Hope that helps,

Joe

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Progressive rock and metal have many bands that promote Objectivist themes, most notably Rush and Dream Theater. I always found Dream Theater's very first album amazing because of the lyrics and phrasin. That said, you can still tell the young musicians are still fleshing out their styles together as the composition can get muddy in places. Here are some samples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBvlz3Pl0-0

Other bands that express heroic themes are Kamelot, Edguy and Sabaton.

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  • 8 months later...

First of all, let me introduce this post by clarifying that I am very new to objectivist philosophy, as well as this site, this being my first post.

All of the discussion in the post has been geared towards popular music, which there is nothing wrong with, however, as a "classical" musician I would be interested in a dialogue regarding contemporary classical music and its relationship to Objectivism. I am a contemporary composer studying at the University of Michigan. My music until my recent encounter with Ayn Rand was very typical of the Avant-Garde music of the latter half of this century. For those of you who are unacquainted with such music, it is characterized by extreme atonality, lack of conventional melody, employment of not traditional uses of instruments, and ranges in approach from Aleatoric "chance" music, to highly mathematically complex Serialist music. I have experimented with all of these styles, the result of which is very bleak discordant music. Ayn Rand describes this sort of music in Atlas Shrugged and is clearly opposed to it. l understand that her philosophy regarding art is that it should be a clear articulation of the artists philosophical convictions, portraying man as he "might and ought to be", and consequently understand her opposition to atonal music, the justification for which is often the "horror and suffering of the 20th century world". I too am interested in moving my music away from this direction in the interest of forwarding a positive and joyful view of not only man but myself. However as a trained musician I find the technical, mathematic, and creative aspects of much atonal to be wonderfully innovative and interesting. What I am beginning to do is write music that opens with atonal language that gradually, through the incorporation of melodic elements, coalesces into triumphant, driving, and melodic sections. Thus representing a journey towards mans realization of his full potential, and mirroring my own feelings as I abandoned the bleak philosophies which dominated my life for the incredible self esteem which I have gained through Objectivism. I also am trying to incorporate innovative techniques that can be utilized in a variety of musical contexts, such as electronics, or extended-techniques, examples of which include plucking piano strings, or tapping the body of a string instrument. None of my most recent music has been recorded yet, so I am unable to refer anyone to it. However if the ideas I explained are of interest to any of you I would love to discuss them. I also agree with Pete Caya about progressive rock. I play in a prog rock band myself and find the sheer technicality of the music to represent something heroic.

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Could be interesting, sort of rising above modern atonality. Yes, I'd like to hear it.

One of the fastest ways to get a chorus of agreement here is to condemn Schoenberg. Not many here are fans of the atonal. You're not the first who has said that modern classical music is technically complex, mathematically complicated. In a word, virtuosic. But geez, if it's hard and challenging to write, why does it have to be hard and challenging to listen to?

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One of the fastest ways to get a chorus of agreement here is to condemn Schoenberg. Not many here are fans of the atonal. You're not the first who has said that modern classical music is technically complex, mathematically complicated. In a word, virtuosic. But geez, if it's hard and challenging to write, why does it have to be hard and challenging to listen to?

It isn't challenging and hard to listen to. Your ears are the challenged ones.

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I do think the idea that atonality is an aquired taste, so to speak, is quite valid. I for one found atonal music repulsive at my first encounter, now, though I think of it as bleak sounding, I have no "difficulty" listening to it. Ultimately though, it comes down to personal values of aesthetic judgement I suppose. As far as my new style, I plan to have a movment of my Third String Quartet (My first Objectivist influenced piece) ready for performance by early November and would love to share it here once I have a recording. Also, what did Rand say about conditioning the ear?

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I am not a musician, just a listener, a long time listener. In the past I have talked with one or two professional musicians who were performing “modern” music, and I was surprised and intrigued with their attitude toward that music. They considered the music a technical challenge. It was a thrill to them to be able to play it properly, hit their marks, you might say. There is nothing wrong in principle with music that is technically challenging for the professional. Classical music, say 19thC, has many parts of concertos for example, that are there just to challenge the performer. But that is not the purpose of music. Remember, Ayn Rand talked about the question of how the sounds, etc., of music reach our ideas, our values, and then our feeling. It is the emotions that music must reach. Being able to listen, follow, or figure out a piece may have some intellectual pleasure, but once you have that language integrated, the music then has to “move” you. You have to feel the music. Much of 20thC music leaves me angry because I feel defrauded, or depressed, an emotion that the 20thC seems to relish.

Samm, I am impressed with your plan for a piece moving from the atonal to a victorious melodic conclusion. I am not sure that I want to hear the beginning. But I greatly admire your thought, and hope that your future brings many melodic triumphs.

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Well, I've listened to Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd Concertos, and I think they're vastly overrated. Frankly, I hardly felt any soaring notes or any feeling of exaltation, as Rand describes in her works. I don't feel much of that with Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich either, and I have no idea how these three are rated as composers with an Objectivist touch. In my opinion, they have all made some pretty ordinary music, nothing superb or brilliant to talk about. The only Rachmaninoff piece that I think is really worth mentioning here, is possibly Vocalize. And also, loads of people tell us of how Jupiter by Holst is great as well. Well, I don't really think so. In fact, I'd rate Saturn better, although many people haven't listened to it.

If you want some soaring pieces of Music, that really make you feel like you can stand up, with your convictions against 6 billion people, then listen to pieces like, The Bumblebee in the Transformers soundtrack, or the Gladiator theme, or the Schindler's list theme. There was a very good piece in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button somewhere in the middle of the movie, but I haven't seen what it is yet. Inception rocks on the soundtrack level as well. A bit more classically, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings is brilliant, though it is depressing. It does touch some pretty high notes though, and I'd think you'd be a downright fool if you can't appreciate that. Try listening to some of Ludovico Einaudi's pieces, especially two, Divinere, and In Principio. Enya is pretty nice as well, although I have listened to only two of her songs. Richard Clayderman's Liebestraum is beautiful too, no doubting that. Pachelbel's Canon is pretty uplifting too. And I think Mahler composes some dark and beautiful pieces as well, which though sad, makes you feel a quiet, inner joy as well. And who can forget Moonlight Sonata, by Beethoven?

If you're more of the rock-type, then Stairway To Heaven is indeed one of the most beautiful, epic songs I've heard, though the theme of the song is generally theistic, and I am an atheist. Still, try to procure that Orchestral version of Stairway. It is the most enchanting, heroic pieces I've heard. Try it!

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Well, I've listened to Rachmaninoff's 2nd and 3rd Concertos, and I think they're vastly overrated. Frankly, I hardly felt any soaring notes or any feeling of exaltation, as Rand describes in her works. I don't feel much of that with Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich either, and I have no idea how these three are rated as composers with an Objectivist touch. In my opinion, they have all made some pretty ordinary music, nothing superb or brilliant to talk about. The only Rachmaninoff piece that I think is really worth mentioning here, is possibly Vocalize. And also, loads of people tell us of how Jupiter by Holst is great as well. Well, I don't really think so. In fact, I'd rate Saturn better, although many people haven't listened to it.

If you want some soaring pieces of Music, that really make you feel like you can stand up, with your convictions against 6 billion people, then listen to pieces like, The Bumblebee in the Transformers soundtrack, or the Gladiator theme, or the Schindler's list theme. There was a very good piece in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button somewhere in the middle of the movie, but I haven't seen what it is yet. Inception rocks on the soundtrack level as well. A bit more classically, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings is brilliant, though it is depressing. It does touch some pretty high notes though, and I'd think you'd be a downright fool if you can't appreciate that. Try listening to some of Ludovico Einaudi's pieces, especially two, Divinere, and In Principio. Enya is pretty nice as well, although I have listened to only two of her songs. Richard Clayderman's Liebestraum is beautiful too, no doubting that. Pachelbel's Canon is pretty uplifting too. And I think Mahler composes some dark and beautiful pieces as well, which though sad, makes you feel a quiet, inner joy as well. And who can forget Moonlight Sonata, by Beethoven?

If you're more of the rock-type, then Stairway To Heaven is indeed one of the most beautiful, epic songs I've heard, though the theme of the song is generally theistic, and I am an atheist. Still, try to procure that Orchestral version of Stairway. It is the most enchanting, heroic pieces I've heard. Try it!

If you're speaking of uplifting music, it is hard to beat Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever or the William Tell Overture, or Saint Saens' Fifth Concerto...

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  • 2 weeks later...

This song always picks me up:

I think music is hard because so much of it is just people whining and wallowing is self pity. Everyone seems to thing that Depression is "Artistic", but to me it's just boring. Lyrics usually ruin songs for me because of the content, I have a hard time ignoring them.

Even though its somewhat sarcastic, this song has such confidence that I can't help but love it:

I'd really love to find some good, up tempo, lyric-less music - like Scott Joplin, but a bit more modern, and with a few more 'voices'.

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  • 7 months later...

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