So I had a proper lunch, and did a brief Pilates video, and got lots of work done, and talked with members of my family.
Both my daughters are having decision points in their lives. Decision points make for good drama, on TV or in books, but not necessarily for comfortable, pleasant days.
I tried to be useful to them. Honest, as I told a student who invited me to be brutal about his paper, but I hope never brutal.
#1 son had been given a definition of music in class. He didn’t recall it exactly, and I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I found this very similar definition online:
Non-musicians may be feeling confused about the color part, but we think of music as dark or bright, and also as warm or less warm.
We were in agreement with the “organized sound’ bit, which has I think been the standard phrase since the ’50s. If, as #1 son’s teacher put it, you cut down a tree in a forest, it’s not music. If you record it and repeat it in an organized way, then it can be music.
The teacher hadn’t been sure that the “time” part was necessary, since we can’t live outside of time, but I think it’s essential. If you played notes on successive days, especially at random intervals, then I think it wou ldn’t be music. #1 son had a counter-example, but I think it would be conceptual art of some kind, but not music.
The expressing part seemed central to #1 son. Birdsong may be tuneful and pretty, but it’s not music because it doesn’t express anything, said the teacher. Really badly performed songs or intentionally hideous noises can be music when they’re intended to express something. Music doesn’t have to be pretty in order to be music. But the intention seems to be defining. Accidental music doesn’t count. Yet this also bothered him, since it might be the intention of the listener, who perceives it as music and makes it into music in his or her brain while listening.
“I don’t think we were supposed to think so hardly about this,” #1 son remarked, having expanded his brain to the point at which it was being kind of flexible about language.
The quilt squares at right are not music, and indeed one of them has been put together wrong, as you can see, and is not making a pinwheel. In fact, since I’ve been looking at the one on the top of the stack as I put together the next one, a couple of them have been put together in exactly that same wrong way. Now both Salt Peanuts and Dutchman’s Puzzle have errors that have to be undone before I can go ahead with them. Sigh.
It’s Friday, which may or may not mean anything. I still have a lot of work to do before I can consider the week ended.