Epistemology, Relativity, Pragmatism

In some way… a simple post intended to invite unexperienced users to share their composition with no fear… turned into a philosophical battle about the role of “personal taste” in music… that started a complex flow of considerations about the way we perceive reality and other psychological, social, epistemological implications…

(in case you need an "Epistemology"definition)

As the discussion rages on in the songs forum I thought to move it here, where it is definitely more in-topic.
I also take the chance to clarify some points of my position that unfortunately does not seemed to result clear to some other users…

Are our perceptions absolute? No

Is everything relative to our perception? Yes

Are “great music” and “crappy music” ideas based on personal taste and personal cultural experiences? Yes.

Can a random mix of noises and freely oscillating freqz be pleasant to someone? Yes.

Can a tune crafted by some certain musical culture sound unpleasant and noisy to those out of that musical culture? Yes.

Can a tune crafted by some certain musical culture sound pleasant and cool to those out of that musical culture? Yes.

I intend this points as an obvious base for anyone… Those unaware of this simple mind dynamic will hardly manage to conquer any self-consciousness.

On another side, other points are to be remarked…
As everything is relative… we should also ask ourselves: “Relative, yes… but relative to what?”. Most probably the answer is “Relative to your situation”. Meaning that you should consider things in a way that’s relative to that very moment and to that certain situation you have around you, your cultural context, people around you, the world you’re perceiving with your senses in the moment you’re alive… no matter if that moment is a real moment of our life or a simple perception illusion.

Is it good or bad that I… say… eat an apple?
There is no absolute good and bad… There is what is relative to you in that very moment. Is the apple rotten? then it is bad to eat the apple… or it might be good if I like rotten apples… Is the apple good? Then it might be good to eat it… if I’m hungry… otherwise it could be bad…

Under this point of view it is maybe slightly clearer the reason that pushes me to claim that our whole compositors and arrangers role as Renoise users is not only a matter of taste

I’m obviously speaking about the fact that we find ourselves into a certain cultural environment… and, like it or not, right or wrong, we find ourselves continously facing requests from this environment, from “Allos”… a greek word to define what is “Else” from us.

In our relative situation the “allos” takes shape in the figure of some well-known producer that listen to your demo in some big studio.
Will the fact that “you like your tune” be enough for him to publish it?

If making music is not a professional job for you… and you use it as an expressive tool to freely explore and experiment… then you might joyfully live your artistic life on your own musical ideas with the most complete disregard for any comment or opinion or trend or culture…

But if you’re trying to sell your music and diffuse it throug the commonly known media… then it all changes suddenly. You immediately have to face a reality that’s very selective and sharp… and leaves no door open to philosophical arguments.

People facing this moment are indeed invited to grow in their consciousness. Some musicians are not ready yet to concieve they could be wrong somewhere… They just lock themselves in the highest tower of their dark castles and they keep mumbling that “the rest of the world is crap because they do not understand”…

What is the solution then?
Turning to commercial dance because it is what it’s selling the most?

No, the solution is not the “opposition” to the “Allos”…

If my father wants me NOT to eat apples… and I eat apples on purpose to contrast him and demonstrate to myself that I can oppose to my father… all in all I’m still giving him “power”… I’m still giving him “importance”… I’m not evolving and growing to an adult because I’m still in a dynamic “dance” with him… I will eat apples even when I don’t really feel like…

I will be grown into an adult when I will chose to eat or not eat my apple regardless of what my father thinks.

In the same way I don’t think that religiously absorbing the rules of this musical culture can be a solution… as well as I don’t think that opposing to this musical culture is the solution.

What I think is that we all should use this cultural elements to craft our own functionality… being well cautious not to believe in any cultural suggestion… but using the one that best fits your needs in that very moment. If this social contest has been “trained” to certain rules… trained to “listen and like” only certain frequencies or grooves… it doesn’t mean that I have to bow to these rules… and it does not mean that I have to fight against these ideas.
I just have to use em for my functionality.

It’s something we do already with languages.
We are not born with our language but we “learn it” and use it for our own convenience, as a tool, to communicate our ideas.
We would be very wrong in thinking that our mother language is the only good language existing… “believing” the cultural suggestion and refusing to be contacted and contaminated by new cultures, new mind schemes, new ideas.

We would better learn new languages in order to be understood by the highest number of people, more or less like I’m doing in this moment.

I will never suggest anyone about “taste” or ideas… but when someone intended to work into music will ask how to get professional eq for his productions… I will not reply [i]“I don’t know, dear… we can’t be sure of anything, everything depends on personal taste… one might like it, the other might not… good luck”[/i]

I will do my best to make him understand (and use for his own good) this cultural area’s standards… (or at least what I understood about em) …even if I know that audio frequencies are just an illusion and I know that I’m not even sure about the way other people hear the very same freqz…

Hey Parsec,

I did not take part to all that discussion mainly because of two things:

  1. I don’t sell my music and do not want to, so I have the “right” to just don’t care about what people say of my music

  2. I agree with this “everything is relative” point of view so much that I actually ask myself why are you telling us all this: during these years spent in making music, I’ve realized that being disliked by everyone is much more difficult than being liked by everyone: even what most adhere to the universal holy concept of crap will be liked by someone else than the author.

So in the end I suggest people opening their copy of ReNoise and express themselves :drummer:

An interesting post Parsec. It’s usually a good thing when your post becomes part of a broader discussion. Unless it’s a flame-war. :)

Relativity is relative.
That’s always a good thing to say.

(Edit: I have to vent though. There’s a reason why one sets boundaries. The idea is that you be crystal clear on what you want to do, hear and eat, and if you know that someone relies on you to do, hear or eat something else, consider that. The whole problem with humanity is that ppl have used relentlessy for their own, selfish and short-sighted benefit, in the way that you mention. Their heart and will not being faithful to it, so it eventually becomes spoiled and meaningless, before they move on, not considering the state of what they leave behind. The only thing I seem to agree on is that one should be allowed to set one’s own boundaries. But with thought and sensitivity.)