Expand my vocabulary
28/02/10 15:12 Filed under: Study
...John Stuart Mill once wrote: "I was seriously tormented by the thought of the exhaustibility of musical combinations. The octave consists only of five tones and two semitones, which can be put together in only a limited number of ways of which but a small proportion are beautiful: most of these, it seems to me, must have been already discovered, and there could not be room for a long succession of Mozarts and Webers to strike out, as they have done, entirely new surpassing rich veins of musical beauty. This sort of anxiety, may, perhaps, be thought to resemble that of the philosophers of Laputa, who feared lest the sun be burnt out"...
...There are 479,001,600 possible combinations of the 12 tones of the chromatic scale. With rhythmic variety added to the unbounded universe of melodic patterns, there is no likelihood that new music will die of internal starvation in the next 1000 years.
- Nicols Slonimsky (from the preface to his amazing and insanely exhaustive tome “Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns” from 1947)
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine anything existing beyond the world we know. But I’m going to embrace the things that I am uncomfortable with, and with Rob’s help, try to get inside the music I don’t understand. Its a similar problem to not understanding a set of words you hear someone using - rather than reject the message as meaningless, I should make an effort to understand and expand my vocabulary. Any other action is really just ignorance, right?