Ignorance of the Apparent
We always look at things from our perspective. We see the world through our eyes. We think thoughts and are not conscious of the thoughts of others. Unspoken Certainty. Oblivious Ignorance. Oblivious Self-Absorption. We are absorbed with ourselves. We don’t see through other people’s eyes. Left is only left in reference to our vantage point. It takes thinking to associate left with another’s reference point. Mental Transformation. This is not wrong, but it deserves recognition. Other people have totally different ways of thinking about the world. Although, we all have influence constantly assaulting our minds and shaping our perceptions, ideas and ideals. The things which are most familiar are the things least questioned. The things with which we are in constant contact are given the least thought. They become Granted Assumptions. Unquestionable Certainties.
It’s like in the world of music. I see it all the time. People in the Western world are self-consumed thinking that all music just has to be made up of 12 equally-spaced pitches. It’s such a taken-for-granted thought that half the people that see my last sentence don’t even know what I’m saying. Music people, even, will say, “What? OF COURSE music uses those pitches! Those are the pitches you can use!” Yeah? Why? Seriously, has it ever even crossed your mind to question why music must use those pitches? There is no reason but Cultural Acclimation. People do things a certain way for so long and you never see someone do it a different way so you believe NO ONE can do it the other way!
But guess what! Other worlds are out there. And other worlds outside this US of A are constantly involved with pitch-systems completely separated from our 12-tone system. Turkey, Indonesia, Africa, India, even people WITHIN our America are involved with microtonalism. And probably the 90% of them also HAVE NO CLUE that they’re composing “microtonally”. THAT is the the norm for them! Heh, it just goes right back to Self-Centralism and it being “All I’ve Ever Known”. The cure for all this is not to say one way of doing things is right and the other is wrong, but to simply acknowledge the existence of both. And once you do that, you can even come beyond that idea to understand there are possibilities extending beyond the knowns and assumptions of cultures on into experimental territory. Spectralism, xenharmonic music, all kinds of things.
And by the way, this all applies to time signatures (and rhythms in general) as well! The West tends to use 4/4 for a good majority of music, plus some 3/4, 6/8 and traces of 12/8 and other little things. But other cultures like Bulgaria often use “odd time signatures” like 5/8, 7/8, 11/8, 5/4, 7/4 and others. There is no right or wrong with this. The only problem is Comfort Zone and Resources. What can your audience digest? Can that be changed? And do you have the tools to change it?
These thoughts, by the way, are based in part off of a post by Derek Sivers: http://sivers.org/fish Except I added in the music correlation. =)
Whether others join me or not, I’m here to explore new realms of musical creativity. Expanded Horizons.