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Music and the Integral Vision

Last post 06-05-2008, 3:53 PM by balder. 32 replies.
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  •  05-27-2008, 12:03 PM 53140 in reply to 53132

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Thanks Schalk,

    I'm with you on the inclusion of each meme but tend to hear a few memes expressed in any one of the genre that several of us have, for the sake of discussion, been associating with single memes.

    You're right about the Frontiers thread. That's in the board designated for theoretical/hypothetical discussion and is full of speculative postulations.

    (I'm at work now and...gotta go.)

    K

     


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  •  05-27-2008, 1:05 PM 53151 in reply to 53140

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi again,

    Grass roots; I'm with you there too. 'As at home clogging with the buskers as in the concert hall.

    To continue with the above post, re: meme and genre, we have instances such as Public Enemy # 1 getting their green on, and Wagner wallowing in magic/myth. We've got amberland two stepping to the bright green of Martina McBride.

    (still at work..) to be cont.

    K


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  •  05-27-2008, 10:38 PM 53228 in reply to 53151

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  05-28-2008, 7:52 AM 53325 in reply to 53228

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Schalk,

    In some respects it looks like human interface with media is increasingly becoming social, our new socialization. Every hour that a television babysat has consequences.

    One of my old ideals is to balance cultural production and consumption, an impossible task, but a compensation or countering, a way to be careful about the symbiosis of commercial forces with personal expression.

    I don't have your answers but it sounds as though you're responding to your own impulse to adapt with integrity.

    be well,

    K


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  •  06-01-2008, 9:40 PM 54018 in reply to 53325

    • caveman1 is not online. Last active: 12-05-2008, 12:31 PM caveman1
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    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Let me throw in something...

    It hard for me to imagine being integral in the creation of music.  As I understand AQAL to be a way of viewing things from all angles, it would seem that we could assess any existing piece of music from all quadrants, getting into levels within specific musically-oriented lines, and on and on.  In doing so, we may be able to rank two things:

    1.  The degree to which the piece is inherently integral.  For example, take Dylan's "Blowin In The Wind". 
      UL - We can infer from writings, interviews, and such that Dylan was a cynical idealist, and that the internal conflict between those two occupied a lot of his head space.  Moreover, his obvious rejection of conventionality - due to the insufferable nature of the harm done by it - indicates at least a green level of consciousness (at that time).  He might have even had peak experiences in 2nd tier.  Anyhow, that's my swag on his UL, and we could score him fairly highly for this song.  (say a 7 out of 10)
      UR - Dylan did some very innovative things - with his guitar playing, his melody lines, his phrasing, and his themes.  He ranks high on that "line," but he doesn't shatter any records with his basic use of the musical language - as in, the chord progression isn't particularly advanced (an occasional 7th chord, notwithstanding).  So maybe in terms of the external assessment of his music, he gets say a 5.
      LL - Dylan was expressing ideas that others had (or sensed) but often were incapable of sufficiently articulating.  In "Blowin In The Wind," he not only latched onto a shared sensability in a lot of people, he created new, shared sensibilities - hope, in particular, in a fairly depressed populace.  Further, his song succeeded in converting some people who previously did not have any internal reference at all for the angst of the time.  So, on the LL scale, he scores very high - say a 9.
      LR - Dylan could not have been more perfectly situated in the social fabric of the time.  He, no doubt, recognized his influence as a high-attention invidual (read: star), which makes "Blowin In The Wind", an anthem, one that simultaneously expressed the perceived negativity on the part of a growing population and proclaimed that the answers are out there (somewhere).  In the eyes of many, Dylan is the ultimate LR expression of the social situation at that time, so we would rank him very high.  Again, a 9.

    If we average the scores, "Blowin In The Wind" gets a 30 out of a possible 40.  That's a pretty integral tune, I'd say.  Others that might rank highly in one or two but nearly flat-line on the others would not enjoy such a distinction.  (BTW - like all endeavors such as this - arguments aplenty would be expected at any attempt to "score" a given song.  I don't intend to argue this, as it is only meant to be an example.  We'll be ok if it's a bad one.)

    2.  The degree to which the piece is likely to resonate with any given audience.  By digging more carefully into the lower quadrants, paying attention to musically-oriented lines of development, we should be able to make some guess at the which segments (or better, proportions) of the population will find the piece appealing.  For example, if we say that hip-hop has that tribal (or lower-level) beat, then we should expect that it will appeal to a lot more people than some bizarre time signature, though the latter is likely to be more sophisticated (read: developmentally advanced).  Taking the same Dylan song, we would expect (had we no access to real popularity data) that the song would resonate with quite a large audience - given its simple chord progressions, folksy beats, and anti-war theme (which can be seen as an example of a larger common theme - complaining about how things are - i.e. the blues).

    So here we have a couple of ways to perhaps evaluate music in Integral terms.  It might be interesting, but I don't know that we can do it ahead of time and get anywhere.  I guess what I am saying is that good music - i.e. music that fulfills its promise as communicating experience through emotion - cannot be reduced (as in reductionism) to the sum of its parts.  Thus, I fear this exercise is doomed.

    I just keep thinking about how so many factors come into play when it comes to a song's resonance with people that you get to a level of complexity that points to emergence.  So, with all emergent systems, the thing to do is to create the circumstances for it to occur.  And then you roll the dice a zillion times until something amazing happens. 

    So...yes, I think you can save yourself quite a few rolls of the dice by positing a starting point that does not exclude any useful possibilities but throws out that which will surely be nonsense. Perhaps that's really the question here.  If you were going to do that, what would that starting point be?  Is that what you're asking?

    (BTW - I'm not a Dylan fan (taking fan to mean fanatic).  The tune was the first that came to mind. 
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  •  06-02-2008, 1:02 AM 54031 in reply to 54018

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  06-02-2008, 6:59 PM 54115 in reply to 54031

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi, Schalk,

    I've been following this thread and appreciating it, but unfortunately the comment that is getting me to join in is your doubtful-sounding question whether those of us writing on my "Integral Frontiers of Sacred Music" thread could actually get together in a room and make moving music, since we seemed to be so stuck in ethereal abstraction.  We were discussing the topic on a board dedicated to theory, as Kerry pointed out, so that's the direction we headed.  But I would like to think that those of us talking actually could make some decent music together.  Maybe not me anymore -- I haven't played an instrument in a number of years now -- but when I was younger, I played in a number of bands, and we crafted songs which did move our audiences.  Rock songs, folks songs, world-fusion instrumentals. 

    So ... that's me defending myself against what seemed like a dismissive remark.  I haven't heard Kerry's music yet, but if it's half as good as his artwork, it's bound to be quite good.

    I think Kerry's remark about eclecticism wasn't a dismissal or "forbiddance" of eclecticism, but just a warning that "Integral music" may not be an additive thing at all.  Although that is a direction we are likely to be tempted to go -- and it was a direction we went on the thread I started, only to realize it was probably a dead end, or at least overly burdened down with presuppositions about what "makes" Integral.

    As I came away from the thread, I realized I don't really know yet what a truly Integral music would be like.  My sense of the "unknownness" of this isn't an elitist, "above the commoners" type of position, though.   Like you, I do like dreaming aloud and brainstorming.  On a forum like this, that's all we can really do.  But my sense is that ultimately, we just have to wait for it to arise, organically, out of this community, as inspired musicians come together and begin to find ways to celebrate the Integral vision we admire and towards which we aspire.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  06-02-2008, 8:41 PM 54123 in reply to 54115

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  06-02-2008, 10:50 PM 54133 in reply to 54123

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Thanks again Schalk, and thanks balder for your kind comments,

    Maybe I can find a kinder way to say what I meant.

    I love the idea of reverse engineering in order to produce optimal arts. For me this requires a working view of how forms come about, of what comprises a form and what the 'lineage', or pattern-sourses of that form may be. Frankly it's been very difficult for me to explore this and feel like I'm free of the myth of the given.

    The 'eclectic' that I try to stear clear of myself is the kind of aggregating that aspires to be all to all. I've come to view the unfolding of musical forms as heavily influenced by specific mundane factors.

    For instance: J.S.Bach's development of the fugal form. There's a guy who, for most days of his adulthood, performed the chore of gathering kindling for a nearby estate. Putting ourselves in his shoes, imagine what a relief that spell of meandering might have been for him. In whatever state he performed that task, he was (thinking in his shoes,here) functionally focused on some simple basic features of his environment. Among these were the fractal forms of trees, and the visual/auditory correspondence between the diameter of a twig, where in the tree-form the twig sprang, where it gets snapped, and the note produced thereby. Imagining the persistance of that habit of gathering wood and what that might have meant in his own sensory life, I am not surprised that he sprouted fugues like there was no tomorrow.

    An important part of what I caution myself from is surveying diversity and sythethizing a unity. I'd rather notice where things fit and pay attention to what integration might already be presented [myth-o-th-given allert]. Of course my view gets skewed by my own fragmentedness, but I find it helpful to re-present only that which presents.

    Altitude,or the ability to place [noun] at an altitude, seems so complex to me. We've got musicians like Thelonious Monk, heard here playing his Epistrophy in Denmark in '66, who, when challenged by a concert pianist who began to ridicule his "altitude" one night at a club, responded by playing a piece by Tchaikovsky (as was planted in his performative memory during his studies at Juliard).

    Did Monk transcend and include Tchaikovsky? What might that concert pianist have transcended and included if he was, as was reported, clueless as to the value of Monk's idiosyncratic, post-conventional and fluidly evolving style, let alone able to replicate it. It's such a moving set of targets. Monk (credited as a founding "modernist")'s altitude was also impacted or influenced by his progressively degenerative brain disease.

    Bob Dylan (once my neighbor) had what appeared to me to be a solid amber / fundamentalist phase most of a decade after Blowing in the Wind. I recall a clear red response from him to a LIFE article on himself.

    My alti-meter may not be up and running just yet, but I find it worthwhile to refrain from persuing the transrational with a rational approach; to allow intuition the room it deserves to state what it will.

    gratefull to you, Schalk,

    K


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  •  06-02-2008, 11:40 PM 54137 in reply to 54133

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  06-03-2008, 12:42 AM 54143 in reply to 54137

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Schalk,

    "...an example of a kinesthetic line influencing an aesthetic line?"

    Not exactly, or directly. I can't know how well Bach snapped sticks but we can safely say that his keyboarding influenced his twig breaking and vice versa.

    I'd say that that is an example of Nature influencing Self, in turn influencing Culture, so, there's the main domains not being inter-reduced, but co-informing together.

    Since this thread began I've been enjoying looking again at this interplay of I/We/It(s) in regards to a, a what, a developmental musicology. 'Trying to get at how music got this way, and from t/here 'look where it's going'.

    My central questions re: Music and the Integral Vision continue to center on how the biosphere might have it's say in our aesthetic progress. How the LR presents patterns which the UR become 'carriers of' (through ededic presence) and which are represented in the subjective and intersubjective quads.

    Whatever the processes are which shape human musics I'd also guess that these don't necessarily begin in any one quadrant, but are 'picked up on' by different musicians at different times, at any point in the flows of influence.

    all for now,

    K


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  •  06-03-2008, 8:51 AM 54177 in reply to 54143

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    Hi, Schalk,

    Thank you for your comments about my contributions to the online Integral community.  That caught me by (pleasant) surprise.  And thank you also for luring me back to post again in the Multiplex...

    I am not at all opposed to eclecticism in music.  In fact, I tend to be attracted to musicians who bring unexpected instruments or approaches or genres together.  Almost 20 years ago, after I was exposed to a number of different forms of music I'd never heard before in a music appreciation class, I began to dream and brainstorm about "world music" ensembles that would bring different instruments (and artforms, such as dance and shadow theater) together.  If I had stayed more fully on track with the development of my own musical line, I would probably be working actively to realize that vision right now.  (Instead, I'm enjoying talking about it with you!). 

    But thinking and talking about "integral (sacred) music" on the other thread, I began to realize that this movement to combine different instruments and genres wouldn't necessarily make the music "integral" -- someone could just as easily do it from an Orange or Green center of gravity, for instance.  So, I began to wonder ... what would a uniquely Integral music look like?

    Part of a music's "integralness" might be communicated through lyrics -- the messages that are communicated, the themes that are evoked.  Or you might create certain Integrally informed compositions, such as a long orchestral piece that takes time to unfold through different v-Memetic expressions of music, finally weaving all of the elements together at the end.  Or you might just have an eclectic, v-Meme-sampling style overall, writing albums that span a range of moods, technical styles, themes, and genres.  (For instance, a couple years ago, I had an idea for a new genre of Integral Travelers' Tales, where you would collect tales which evoke, from the inside, what each v-Memetic world is like, with an AQAL map at the front of each piece, letting you know where you'd be travelling internally as well as externally.  You could do something similar with an album of music -- maybe not "mapping" the songs, but just feeling free to explore a wide range of themes, moods, and styles on an album or in a body of work.)  And of course there are many other approaches possible, as well -- very many I am sure I haven't thought of yet.  On the other thread, I believe we discussed the performative aspect of music -- with "Integral" entering that way, in the active performance (mindset, affect, behavior) of the musicians, and also possibly in the ways the music is "realized" (with other supportive media).

    I hear you with regard to our culture's fixation on experts and our "fear" of musical expression.  I did express shyness/embarrassment about my the state of my own musical skills now, and that definitely does plug in to this overall cultural attitude.  But I have stepped out of that attitude (and enjoyed it!) on many occasions.  I recall how impressed I was in Indonesia by the communal nature of the music there.  In villages, there would be a central pendopo (sort of like a gazebo) where musical instruments were kept, and adults and children would gather together in the evenings to play.  The adults would practice and play various pieces, but children would be all around them, also playing instruments, dancing, joining in in their own ways.  It was wonderful.  And I experienced something like this in my own life, when I lived in a log cabin out near the national forest lands in Arizona.  Many people would gather at my house every evening and we would cook together, eat outside watching the sun set over the canyons, and then we would go inside and play music together for a couple hours -- often by candlelight, with the sound of our instruments punctuated by cricketsong and the howls of coyotes.  No one was a "professional" musician, some had no practice or training at all.  But I had a house full of instruments and we put them all to use.

    I loved Kerry's reflection on Bach's wood collecting duties in relation to his music.  Exquisite, indeed.  Thinking about how I-We-It/s have influenced the development of music, I am reminded how music often is a reflection of the natural worlds in which it is born.  In so many traditional forms, the instruments and vocal styles have developed actively and intentionally as an "echo" of the natural world in which the musicians lived -- as they attempted to replicate the voices of animals, the pattern and flow of the elements.  Even modern music like techno does this.  The "eclectic" impulse, I believe, is a reflection of this as well, since now our "worldspace" includes so much of the world -- so much of its various histories and geographies and cultural forms.  So, I think eclecticism can be a natural element of "integral music," even if "Integral" itself isn't simply the result of a deliberate effort to make an "everything pizza," as you say.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  06-03-2008, 9:48 AM 54190 in reply to 54143

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  06-03-2008, 11:47 AM 54219 in reply to 54177

    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

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  •  06-04-2008, 8:14 AM 54357 in reply to 54143

    • caveman1 is not online. Last active: 12-05-2008, 12:31 PM caveman1
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    Re: Music and the Integral Vision

    There's an interesting article that Malcolm Gladwell wrote regarding the possibility of predicting hits - movies or music.  Though there's nothing akin to an AQAL evaluation in the article, it's pretty easy to infer them.  Take a look...

    http://www.gladwell.com/2006/2006_10_16_a_formula.html
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