Musical Idea 8: Potential of Worlds

11.24.2013 § Leave a comment

When we first brought up the idea of aspectual unison and continuity, we also introduced the concept of a musical entity, which is a functional grouping of aspects that are all continuously in unison together; at any time any of these aspects can diverge, and maybe some are even slipping or coming and going regularly enough that we can still fudge them as part of the entity.

Here I would like to introduce a variation on the idea of an entity: a world. Consider a world like a super-entity, a grouping of entities. Certainly there can be any number of tiers between your most granular entities and your highest hierarchal grouping of aspectual behaviors, and the lines between those tiers can be blurry. For purposes of this article, it will probably be clearest to consider the topmost of these groupings, where and when your entities may group into two or three supergroups, or worlds.

These worlds can coexist sameltimeously, sure. But they can also take turns being present and absent, as if they are separate radio stations that we are clicking or dialing between. Compositionally this could be acknowledged by, upon returning to a world that had been left, finding it in the place we would expect it to be at given the patterns we left it in, implying that while we weren’t hearing it, those patterns were persisting. They weren’t silent or non-existent, just elsewhere. Or, after such an expectation has been established, musical interestingness can be added by breaking it.

You could take the retro radio metaphor literally and include static as you turn the knob. Or some variation on static. Or not at all.

We could explore the possibilities that exist between coexisting and mutually exclusive worlds. Perhaps in general it’s one world or another but not more than one at a time, however, subtle threads of the absent worlds are there, but hiding, translucent, refracting the present world, like cloaked Predators or StarCraft units. For example, you could reduce a melodic voice to a percussion voice so that it doesn’t affect harmony (I’m aware of this technique being used in some technical/math/prog rock/metal already). Or the rhythm of that melody takes over the melody in the other world without affecting that second melody’s pitches. Perhaps our worlds always lend a single one of their entities or aspects to each other. Perhaps each world always receives its own content for that aspect from another, instigating a process of elimination game to solve whose aspect is whose.

Perhaps we’d rather conceive of our worlds layering on top of each other, sonically occluding each other, their transparencies animated, as if your ProTools tracks began behaving like Photoshop layers and masks. That is, when your top world was at 100% opacity everywhere, it would be all that could be heard. Perhaps it starts fading, letting sound through around a certain pitch range, or tempo range, or a certain timbre, or certain style or recording signature or acoustic signature or performance, or any aspect. Your worlds could be allowed to rise or fall in order, or not (the top world could become the bottom, or vice versa).

Presence of worlds may occur at moments related to durations involved in the composition, or may happen randomly or noisily, or a combination of both. The behavior of these worlds’ presences may be entirely independent from any multidimensionity or spatiality or diegeticity within them, operating on a level completely transcendent from these types of worlds. At this point, four different types of musical worlds have been articulated, so make sure not to confuse them!

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