Saturday, October 22, 2011


If the aims of music are more than the perpetuation of vanity and greed, the listener will know.

Art exists for reasons as old as human existence, and music, as an art form, invigorates the senses and the imagination.

It may be crass, exploitative, absurd, and pointless from time to time, but whatever its negative attributes, it can always be more than a sign of the times and a signal of despair and desperation. 

It can symbolize, through sound, our higher ideals and most uplifting desires.

It can, and does, illuminate past, present, and future.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Between the Lines

As sensory images, sounds may be metaphoric, and so symbolic.

Symbols and metaphors conveyed non-verbally will be associated with universal meanings in many cases, and these archetypes-- in the case of sounds suggesting flight, for example, or depth, or solitude-- bring to mind concepts associated with such things as freedom, mystery, the serene and the sinister, the obscure or uncanny, the pastoral and the seasonal.

Music moves and is moved by culture and the imagination, and the transformational ambient sketches discussed here are designed to immerse the listener in an atmospheric hour for the refreshment and renewal of the mind's eye.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Synthesis II

Sounds are considered warm, cool, even cold.  When a sound or combination is hot, you know it.

Listening for other sounds and ways to describe them we may find them wet, dry, light, heavy, metallic, silken, glassy, airy, ethereal.  In terms of mood they might be called stormy, serene, highly charged, gloomy, bright, or anything related to the feeling they bring to the listener.

Composers and musicians always capitalize on these sensory images.  Any examples that come to mind are illustrative, past or present, in any genre, with any type of instrumentation.

It is the capacity of the electronic music synthesizer to access and generate an abundance of sounds that may be manipulated to breathe life into these aural images that make it a marvelous tool for sound design and collage.  And by marvelous, I mean evocative of magic.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reality, Existence and Art

Chaos and order exist together.

Disordered thinking is manifested in daily living as impatience, emotional instability, clutter, hazard, and noise.  Chaos happens of itself; it is trifling, irrevalent, and easy to perpetuate. 

To create a perspective free of the pettiness of chaos is no small challenge, and requires effort and vision equal to the task.  Beyond the labor and choices involved, it is also an art.

Out of that art comes culture, and its strength.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Like Water

In the visual arts, a sense of movement may be evoked by line, pattern, repetition, and shading.

In music, these elements are produced over a period of time, in the course of the musical piece.

An "atmospheric" design made with sounds similarly gives this impression of movement.  Unlike a song or instrumental performance, however, created to move more or less directly from beginning to end, the ambient work suggests movement in multiple directions. 

These may approximate an ebb and flow, for example, or movements near and distant, high and low, in asymmetrical juxtapositions and in varied placements in space.  Technological developments in digital stereo and surround-sound recording greatly augment the capability of creating such apparent movements and perspectives with subtlety and clarity.

Ultimately, from an artistic viewpoint, these aspects of the work, with their simplicity and elegance, are meant solely to enhance of the experience of the listener. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Total Effect

Combinations of elements and their arrangements contribute to the completeness of an artistic work.

In a work designed with sound, such things as the production of tones and elements of movement, contrast, and pattern develop a sonic environment experienced by the listener in ways that differ from those typically fitting the definition of music.  While there are no specific organizational structures that the piece must follow, neither are such structures out of bounds.  They simply may not be useful in contributing to the total effect of the work.

If the goal of a piece is to liberate thought and emotion from the dominance of standard musical patterns, for instance, or to engage listening in ways other than the insistently repetitive and predictable, elements of melody, rhythm and percussion may prove more shopworn than interesting or uplifting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Balance and Emphasis

Our reactions to things are for the most part unconscious; our responses to events and information are more often thoughtful, well-considered, reasoned.  Both are subjective, both authentic.

Works of art are of a different nature than such things as provide what is commonly called instant gratification.  The enjoyment of an art work, even one appreciated fully upon first encounter, increases with repeated experience of it; it cannot all be absorbed at once like an ice cream cone or an intense sporting event.  Knowledge and experience gained between one viewing or listening and another may allow one's appreciation to increase beyond what was previously possible.

Art engages the intellect and the emotions when it elicits a response with time rather than an immediate reaction and nothing more.