Musings from Stan Monroe on Fb, 11/08/20: I have always felt that music is more than the sum of its parts. Much more. Few objects in our world truly fit that definition. For example, if you consider an automobile, airplane, or dishwasher, there is no reason to believe the final product is worth more than the parts needed to construct it.
But music is little more than the manipulation of sound waves. That’s it. Sound waves are physical phenomena that can easily be represented on two-dimensional graphs that include frequency, amplitude, and waveform. Every song you have ever heard can be fully diagrammed on a simple two-dimensional graph.
The complex workings of a car can’t be so simply modeled. I can’t imagine any simple two-dimensional diagram explaining a car. Yet songs – which emerge from the elementary action of pressure waves hitting our eardrums – can jog memories, influence emotions, and drive populations to dance in unison.
Good music, whether it be from Ariana Grande, Hall & Oats, or Beethoven, is much more than its representation on sheet music, grooves on an album, or bits in a computer code. Music is an emergent phenomena that adds 2 + 2 and gets 5.
(By the way, Beethoven’s 250th birthday is this December. Please plan accordingly.)