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MMD > Archives > December 2007 > 2007.12.01 > 05Prev  Next

Promoting Non-Mechanical Music
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  As well-meaning as I'm certain that Adam Ramet is regarding
his distaste for the phrase "Mechanical Music", I must disagree with
his opinion.  To begin with, all written music is "mechanical" in its
precision.  There are, in fact, a precise number of beats per measure,
and the division of those beats (or spaces) _must_ conform quite

From there, 'we' interpret the mechanical and turn it into 'music'
that is pleasing to 'our' ear.  Some people truly enjoy the 'ticking'
of a 'fine watch', and would have it no other way.  But, when it comes
to music, no two people have exactly the same tastes.  Therefore,
one person's interpretation of a piece of music might sound deplorable
to another person.  It is the fact that all music begins with very
accurate mechanical precision that lends it to interpretation.

If songwriters could write music so it would be played exactly as they
intended it to sound, it would be too complex to read.  I know this
fact first hand.  I created a very simple piece of music in CakeWalk
and printed it out exactly as I had played it.  I was very pleased with
the way it sounded, because it was exactly like me playing the piano.

Then I printed the sheet music and sent it to my mother, who was
classically trained for 20 years.  She politely wrote back and told
me the music was impossible to play.  She said that no one could play
an eighth note that was 1/128th of a note longer than an 1/8 note.  So,
I went back to my program and shortened and lengthened notes until they
conformed to a "human" capability.  Once again I sent her the music.
She wrote back, "That's better.  Now I can play it."

My point is, the term "mechanical music" is suppose to denote a
particular sound that is unique unto itself.  To call it anything else
would be stretching the truth or embellishing the facts.  So, I contend
that we leave the term alone.  It speaks for itself very well, thank

John A Tuttle
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Sat 1 Dec 2007, 13:50:44 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Music, Non-Mechanical, Promoting

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