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#85790 11/11/02 12:19 PM
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Bach's compositions do seem to work well in almost any instrumentation.
Ah, but would the tortoise agree? <eg>
Oh, now I remember what I wanted to put in my last post (I was doing about 6 things at once, and got distracted.) Are there people who, like eatoin and his backwards alphabet, see written music as mathematical patterns? Or even visual patterns? By the latter, I mean reasonably complicated compositions--even I could see that one line of notes written down an octave and then back up would form a V.



#85791 11/11/02 01:17 PM
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I think that someone could appreciate the abstract beauty of Bach's works by looking at the sheet music (if they understood what they were seeing) or some other representation of the score, such as on the grooves of a disc (presumably you mean a vinyl LP), but I think if that was all they appreciated they would be missing the complete experience.

Who was it that said "Mathematics is music for the mind, and music is mathematics for the soul"?


#85792 11/11/02 01:21 PM
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I appreciate the symmetry, and therein lies the beauty
Symmetry is certainly an feature that transcends the subjectivity of spontaneously perceived Beauty. David Hume explained this by the rarity of naturally occurring perfect symmetry. But there must be more to it: In my experience, really captivating beauty arises from symmetry (including periodicity) which is just slightly broken.


#85793 11/11/02 08:54 PM
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I think that someone could appreciate the abstract beauty of Bach's works by looking at the sheet music

When Hofstadter wrote about the Tortoise and the Disk he was being tongue-in-cheek. But he also did a column in Metamagical Themas, during the couple of years he took over for Martin Gardner in Scientific American, in which he stressed the visual beauty of Chopin piano scores, distinct from their musical charm. And I think he meant it that time.


#85794 11/11/02 09:00 PM
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if that was all they appreciated they would be missing the complete experience.
Thanks, Alex--that's something else I forgot to put. Now:
guess what, guess what, you-all? Look at what I found just this afternoon, in Anu's book! (p. 101)
J. S. Bach's Crab Canon is an example of cancrine music. It can be read--and played--from start to finish or from finish to start. Put the music sheet upside down? No problem! You can still play it and it will sound the same. You can see this curious piece of music for yourself on the web. Just go to:
http://www.btinternet.com/~derek.hasted/takeaway/crab.html




#85795 11/11/02 09:26 PM
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that's in G, E, & B, too.

symmetry can be a component of beauty. I would agree with wsieber that a subtle non-symmetry can be what makes the difference. for me, beauty arises out of things being experience-able on several levels, all with a proportion and sense of structure that speaks to those different levels.

now if someone can tell me what the hell that means I would really appreciate it!





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#85796 11/12/02 11:44 AM
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In reply to:

In my experience, really captivating beauty arises from symmetry (including periodicity) which is just slightly broken.


Similarly, to me the most beautiful tunes combine harmony and dissonance. For example, at times the note in the melody is in harmony with the underlying bass or chords, and at other times is off a little, like a D note played over a C major chord. (Not sure if I explained that properly...oh well.)


#85797 11/12/02 01:27 PM
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...the most beautiful tunes combine harmony and dissonance

Another (related) set of attributes is Tension and Resolution. They are generally easy to spot if you're looking at that dimension, and when well realized the outcome is exquisite.


#85798 11/12/02 06:04 PM
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Bach's compositions do seem to work well in almost any instrumentation.

I believe this is because he was a composer/performer on pianoforte, not to mention his "big ears".

...and at other times is off a little, like a D note played over a C major chord.

This sound is so "key centered" (to me) that it is not at all "off" [crossthreading], but I know what you meant!


#85799 11/12/02 07:04 PM
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Well it's certainly true that you can get a lot more dissonant than a D 9th chord.


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