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Definining Experimental Music -- was: Dangerous (learning) curves (was Fast & Trashy, Slow and Chaste)
Richard Zvonar, PhD writes....
>> What is "experimental music"?
Oh help! I feel a semant-a-thon in the making... :-) my $0.02 follow...in
1) The Pedantic View
So much "experimental music" lacks a defined goal or stated aim. To
what I mean, perhaps it can be useful to paraphrase the steps used in a
research experiment. An experiment involves the following steps: doing
research, identifying the problem, stating a hypothesis, conducting project
experimentation, and reaching a conclusion.
- Research = the process of collecting information from experiences,
knowledgeable sources, and data from exploratory experiments.
- Problem = the musical question to be solved or examined.
- Hypothesis = an idea about the musical question, based on knowledge and
- Project Experimentation = the process of testing a hypothesis. Things
effecting the experiment are called variables. There are three kinds of
variables to identify in an experiments: independent, dependent, and
- Project Conclusion = the project conclusion is a summary of the results
the project experimentation and a statement of how the results relate to
hypothesis. Reasons for experimental results contrary to the hypothesis are
included. If applicable, the conclusion can end by giving ideas for further
I have many conceptual artist friends who go through this process for their
sculptural installations. To them, this is part of what makes their work
meaningful, and not purely random and haphazard entities.
OK -- JUST TO BE CLEAR -- music, like any art form, is related to my people
on an emotional level, and so nice tidy descriptions of experiments will
never seem appropriate or adequate. Random organization and haphazard
groupings of sounds can have deeply moving effects, to be sure. But, so
much of what is termed "experimental" in music and other forms lacks a
stated goal or aim, and so really is not consciously experimenting with
2) The Punter View
Experimental music is whatever you think is experimental for you -- one
man's noodling is another man's new found insight.
OK. Now I'm reaching for my popcorn...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Zvonar" <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 12:23 PM
Subject: RE: Dangerous (learning) curves (was Fast & Trashy, Slow and
> At 9:04 AM -0700 8/15/03, Paolo Valladolid wrote:
> >Common criticisms of experimental music...
> What is "experimental music"?
> Richard Zvonar, PhD
> (818) 788-2202