The Idea of Music

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Moreover, as Charity McAdams explains in her recent book Poe and the Idea of Music: Failure, Transcendence, and Dark Romanticism , Poe's writing depends on the idea of music—rather than what she calls "real-world music" 1 —as a way of generating peculiar textual effects.

Poe, she argues, deliberately "complicates and obscures music" , thereby distinguishing "otherworldly, impossible music" ix from the "vulgarly musical" performances of everyday life. The apparent difficulty of translating Poe's literary works into "real-world music" might be viewed, in light of McAdams's critical perspective, as a reflection of Poe's own complex understanding of the aesthetic and theoretical implications of music.

McAdams acknowledges that while this work is not the first critical study of the role of music in Poe's aesthetic theory, it is the only in-depth, book-length exploration of the topic to date.

This fact, along with its erudite and nuanced analyses of a great many of Poe's works, make it a valuable new addition to Poe scholarship. In her brief and rather compressed introduction, McAdams describes the role of music in Poe's aesthetic theory, noting that his "oblique references to music seem to mirror Romantic Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Institutional Login. LOG IN. The Edgar Allan Poe Review. Repeating them to yourself helps, since rehearsal is the way that short-term memories gets turned into long-term ones.

As the neurobiologists like to say, neurons that fire together, wire together.

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It works better, though, to involve the rest of my body in the process. I get the best results if I start with my voice, or tapping my foot, or putting my fingers down on an instrument, since the brain does a lot of its thinking with the motor areas. It works even better to get an instrumental track together and then improvise over it while recording. Songwriting by jamming, playing around, tossing an idea around in a repetitive way, alone or with some people I know well — these are all highly effective strategies.

I mostly want my prefrontal cortex out of the way for this efflorescence of ideas. I only bring my full consciousness to bear later for the pruning: the editing, the rejection of possibilities and alternatives. The evolution people say that the memes assemble themselves in our heads, the way embryos self-assemble in the womb or egg, following whatever combination of genetic instructions are floating around.

Every piece of music shares the same basic set of melodic and rhythmic motifs, scales, and chord progressions with most of the other music of its time and place. Different Mozart sonatas all operate within the tight stylistic constraints of Baroque-era Europe. Different Wu-Tang Clan tracks all operate within the tight stylistic constraints of nineties East Coast hip-hop. All musical memes are unique, the way all humans and marine snails are, but like humans and marine snails, all pieces of music are narrow variations on pre-existing and broadly similar themes.

In recent years and in Western countries, we have this rule that if you write a meme down first and copyright it, then you own it. This system has a lot of problems.


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For any musician, you can see the source of all of their ideas in their record collection or local folk tradition or church hymnal. All inspiration is based on imitation. But what about the real mavericks and weirdos?

MUSIC LICENSING | BIG IDEA MUSIC – BUILDING

I would say, even the mavericks are imitating. The avant-gardists and adventurers are floating in a smaller and more personally-defined memepool than the rest of us, but no one operates in isolation. Thelonious Monk had nearly all of his ideas in the context of a small set of song forms borrowed from showtunes and blues. A more accurate word for this activity is transcribing. Composition is basically just transcribing the contents of your unconscious. He woke up, rolled over, grabbed his guitar and his notebook, and out it came. How many people are that careful to keep records of their thoughts?

The most creative musicians are the ones who crank out lots and lots of new combinations of their existing memes. The more combinations you try, the more likely you are to find a successful one. The mediocre musicians I know are usually very hung up on a small set of ideas that they fiddle with incessantly. The really good ones crank out a song in a few hours and move on. Matthew: totally fair response.

They just sound original because of the rock context. The fact that all songs are essentially made of sound, and that sound is something we have heard before and existed before us does not disprove the idea that there are varying levels of originality, or at least in the realistic sense in which we use that word.

How To Use This Free Song Idea Generator

Pingback: No one has ever written an original song flux-rad. If I alter an existing melody by one note and claim it as original, neither the law nor common sense is going to agree with me. Even if glitch was made by mistake, still original. And even if altered slightly by a small increment, it is still original.

The first guitarist to play a pentatonic scale with distortion and sweep picking is original to the regular scale played clean. Nothing has to be radically different to be original.