Random Borrowing #7: Gold

The random item of the day was a photography book called “Spectacular Gold Coast & Brisbane” by Grant Murray.



I chose a page at random (page 24) with pictures of kites during the annual kite festival at Surfers Paradise.


Now to think of links to music composition:

Photos as art

Photography seems to be about making a picture that is an artwork, but the construction of that picture is done by the camera. The creativity comes in how that picture is composed, the choice of picture, the skill of the photographer in capturing the moment. In painting, the picture is sometimes trying to do something similar, but is much more difficult since the picture is constructed by the artist rather than by the camera. In painting, the picture can be the product of the artist’s imagination. Arguably, the trick is finding a picture in the world and capturing it beautifully. Recording the picture, rather than creating it.

In music:

  • photography is like recording sounds from the world and presenting those as music.
  • Posed photos are like a recording of a live musical performance.
  • Mixing and applying effects is like artificially modifying photos.

Music much is closer to painting in this analogy. It is constructed from scratch using notes and sounds as the building blocks.

Kite Flying

Flying Kites as a hobby = Making music as a hobby.

Listening to music = watching kites being flown.

Performing music = flying kites

Composition = designing kites

Recording = making a video of the kite flying.

Kites have limitations: materials must be light, you need wind to fly them.

Music has limitations too. What they are is not easy to define. Perhaps, the limitation that matters is making music that people actually enjoy listening to. My current theory is all about pattern matching. Humans hear sounds as music when there are lots of patterns for our brains to find. The music is enjoyable when this is combined with an optimal level of unpredictability  Too predictable is boring, and too unpredictable is not enjoyable  This level is a personal one and I think it goes a long way to explaining why people prefer different kinds of music. It’s all about how unexpected it is.

That’s enough for today.