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Discuss the Relationship Between Music and Noise

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Essay title: Discuss the Relationship Between Music and Noise

Discuss the relationship between music and noise

To be able to discuss the relationship between music and noise I must first give the definition of both.

‘Music; an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony and colour’

Dictionary.com 2006

Where noise is defined as ‘A sound of any kind.’ Dictionary.com 2006

Noise and music can be looked at as either the same or completely different depending on whom the listener is. William Shakespeare once said ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ Perception can be the difference between one person’s love of a song and another person’s idea of noise.

Almost all music is based on a structure whether it is rhythm melody or the production of the piece; however there are forms of music which have no consistent form or rhythm within the sound. Take for example the Balinese gamelan music, the rhythmic style and melody used can be perceived as noise by some, where as the local people see it as music, this could be because of the cultural context that the local people have been brought up with and the isolation of which such communities have existed. The cultural context is an important issue for relationship between music and noise like with many factors the culture which a person has brought up in directly effects there perception of music and noise.

Contempory music is often based on the ideas and emotions that inspired the composer to create it. A way in which we all interpret music is natural editing; natural editing is the way in which we automatically filter out the difference between music and noise. Now depending on the culture and environment in which were brought up in directly effects the way we naturally edit and perceive music and noise.

Culture effects us all no matter where we live or what we do, Music is a key component in any type of culture and expresses the ideas, emotions and attitudes people have towards there society.

Music, as defined at the start is almost always a collection of ideas and emotions. Whether it be the upbeat rock n roll songs of the 60’s or the tribal songs of the aborigines all music is based on ideas and emotions, where as noise can be translated as a disturbance of the ears, however are several composers over the years who have tried to critically question and transgress the borders between music and noise, Luigi Russolo was one of the first composers of the 20th century who attempted to emancipate noise.

I’m looking into a piece of music written in 1952 by John Cage entitled “4’33”, a piece where a performer walked on stage sat at a grand piano opened the lid, occasionally turned some music pages but otherwise sat as quietly as possible for four minutes and thirty three seconds then rose, bowed and left. Although this is described as a silent piece, “4’33”

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