Masters of space, time and tone

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ian_greant, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    I was chatting with Eric R the other day a couple comments he made got me going on a mental tangent.

    Photography (or any visual art) is chiefly about mastering space and tone (add color if you're one of those silly people that *likes* shooting chromes :wink: )

    Music is about mastering timing (space between notes or beats) and tone.

    I'm not going to bother repeating the many other parrallels as I'm sure most of you have heard them many times before.

    What I'm curious about is how many of you and how many photographers you know are musically inclined?

    How mentally related do you think musical and visual composition is?
    I've often heard the old thing "oh, they're creative... they can do anything" but I've started to wonder what the actual mental predespotion is? Are painters more likely to sing? Are sculpters more likely to compose? Are photographers more likely to play in punk rock or country bands depending on whether they are from London or Texas?

    Look forward to your replies :smile:
    Ian
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    Well, there is a definite connection between photography and music. I cannot explain it except to say it may be a right brain/left brain type of thing. I know several photographers that are or were playing music. As to photographers here playing in country bands in Texas that may just be situational.

    lee\c
     
  3. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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    PS I'm kinda kidding about the texas photographers and country bands thing.. a slight inside joke.

    I used to live in Texas and despite playing some rocker stuff in my youngers days (big amps, wailing guitars) I now play a lot more Man in Black than Black Flag. :smile:
     
  4. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I am not a practicing musician although I played the trumpet and some bass guitar some years ago. I do have a pretty good appreciation of music and very eclectic taste, everything from Classical to Celtic, Punk to Country western (the real stuff pre 1980s) country swing, big band and lots of jazz. I have even been enjoying listening to late 70s early 80s disco due to my wife's sudden nostalgia for that music, even though I wouldn"t be caught dead listening to it in high school. Much rather listen to the Clash, Agent Orange, Jerry Jeff Walker or Asleep at the Wheel.

    My interest in Jazz came about around the same time I began to really become interested in photography and has grown over the years with my growth in photography.
    I have always equated photography and the process more to jazz than classical music.
     
  5. Lex Jenkins

    Lex Jenkins Member

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    Music influences my photographic process, from concept to titles. I was never much of a musician, tho', but I did enjoy bashing away with a loud guitar.
     
  6. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I majored in music. Adam's Zone system made immediate sense to me - I've always believed because his zones correlate to the intervals of the scale (and the chords built on those intervals).
    juan
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    Jerry Jeff Walker...

    We may be getting older quicker than we think. Jerry Jeff Walker has a kid out on the music trail. His name is Django Walker. (from Django Rienhart?) Follows in Pop's footsteps pretty well. It also helps if your dad owns a record lable.

    As I have stated in this forum before, "There is only two kinds of music. Country and Western. I got to hear a bunch of Western music this last Saturday. I went to Red Stegall's Cowboy Poetry and Western Swing Festival. It is held in Fort Worth in the Cowtown area on the north side of town. They had a Chuckwagon cook off with maybe 20 wagons and cowboy poetry and music and a trade show and ranch rodeo. These differ slightly from a regular rodeo in that they focus on real ranch activities like branding and herding and the like. Then there was a dance after all the other events were done. A good time was had by all.

    lee\c
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I used to sing in the local opera chorus, but gave it up due to demands of my work. Also, my wife and I met in a student's orchestra, where she played trumpet and I alternated between tuba and piccolo (!).

    I agree with lee\c that there are only two kinds of music, but in my opinion Country and Western is not among the two :wink:
     
  9. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Lee - Wow Red Steagall. I saw him perform at the walls in Huntsville. I was a visitor, not a resident, there... 8)

    Music and photography do go together. Ol' EW said that whenever he saw a Bach Fugue in his photographs, he knew he had a good one.

    I will listen to most anything, but in the darkroom, it's usually jazz.
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I play the piano. In fact when I played a lot, when I heard something, I could just sit down and play it.

    It's called playing by ear, and it saves wear and tear on the fingers.

    Michael McBlane
     
  11. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I used to play pretty much anything that took breath to make it work from recorder and tin whistle up to tenor horn and trombone (no good with strings or keys). I even got a tune out of an aquarium air pump once! Currently I fool around with a couple of harmonicas, although I'm not all that good.

    Of course, I'm not exactly a world-class photographer either. Draw your own conclusions...!
     
  12. lee

    lee Member

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    Joe, what the hell were you doing at the walls at Huntsville? For those who don't know that is where the maximum security prison and death chamber are located in Texas.

    I was listening to classical today while working in the darkroom.


    lee\c
     
  13. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    I was almost a musician before I was a photographer--recorder (played in a recorder consort), clarinet (played in an local orchestra), and now I play and compose music on the hammered dulcimer.

    Music has been a big influence on my work. First musical influence was the music of Hindemith and Bartok. In 1971 and 1972 the complexity of their music was a major influence on my work becoming more complex.

    And then in 1978 I came across sonograms of bird songs and thet directly influenced the way I saw the world. Some of my photographs from this time, if you squint at them, look pretty much like the sonograms. I kind of liked the idea of making photographs as beautiful as a bird song.

    These influences have stayed with me right up to the present and, while not in every picture (because new influences have been added to the mix), they can be readily seen not infrequently.
     
  14. Silverpixels5

    Silverpixels5 Member

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    I've played the recorder, clarinet and dabbled in the piano. The former two by instruction, and the latter I learned on my own accord, playing mainly by ear. I was actually quite good, but then stopped when I went to college. I havn't touched an instrument since. I usually always have to have some sort of creative outlet. It was music in HS, then graphic arts in college. Photography was always there, but not really taken up seriously until I graduated college...it has been with me ever since.
     
  15. Victor M.

    Victor M. Member

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    Greetings and salutations,
    Just want to add a few thoughts to the conversation. First of all, while I am a visual artist, I opt for seeing music is not the same as visual art. The areas of the brain that apply to visual modalities would not apply across the board to all art. In addition, I think we lose something of real value if we work with the assumption that visual art covers the territory, or that visual art is somehow primary.
    My point here is that a musician does not "use" his mental imagery the same as a visual artist, or as a sculptor. Musicians think in notes, sounds, music structures, etc. Sculptors think in regards to touch, texture, and the like. etc. The photographer thinks in regards of control of image shape, sharpness, perspective, and depth of field, etc. The inherent training for each of these art discipline force one to entrain and condition one's mind accordingly. I have met musicians that could not notice any shade of a particular color on a photograph, let alone a difference in luminocity. However, will notice a note played by a piccolo in a symphony orchestra, while the opposite for a photographer will be the case. He might love music, but might not be able to make sense of the harmonic or contrapuntal structure of the piece.
    We train our mind to respond accordingly to our interest and I should say focal interest. We attend to what gives us the best aesthetic "pleasure" and experience, ignoring and even denigrating other things
    Many similarities between composing music and composing "art" could be inferred -Rhythm, Repetition, Unity, Mood, Movement, Use of Positive/Negative Space, etc... The creative process.

    p.s. I play hand drums and guitar … music stimulates the creative process …
     
  16. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Yes, I have heard and realized the continuity between photographic art and music. You might say I am a "professional" singer. I recently acquired the tenor soloist for the performances (3) of Handle's "Messiah" this year with the Eastern Shore Symphony. This will be my first experience with this organization. Actually this is _not_ my favorite piece of music to perform. I much prefer something (anything) by Mozart or Puccini I listen to a lot of stuff including the Beatles, ZZ-Top, and Kenton (used to play trombone in a ‘40s style jazz band). I have pretty set ideas of what is and what is not "good" music. I have _no_ idea of what makes a "good" photograph....
     
  17. David Hedley

    David Hedley Member

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    Music - specifically twentieth century piano and string quartets - is probably the biggest single influence on my photography.

    You are probably familiar with it already, but Messiaen's music is largely a response to bird song and colour - in particular the magnificent Catalogue d'Oiseaux. On the surface a literal representation of nature, this music is actually a profound imaginative transformation of a remembered scene - there are clearly strong parallels to certain approaches to photography.
     
  18. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Posted: 29 Oct 2003 13:49    Post subject:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    David Hedley wrote: Music - specifically twentieth century piano and string quartets - is probably the biggest single influence on my photography.

    David, as I read it, I thought you were quoting me from earlier writing I had done. It could have been my writing. Besides Bartok and Hindemith, who were my first twentieth century influences, I have been especially influenced by twentieth century French music--piano and string quartets. And it was the quartets of Bartok and the chamber music of Hindemith that got to me--not the "bigger" works.
     
  19. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Lee - Sorry this thread got away from me, otherwise I would have responded sooner. Don't know if they still do it down at Huntsville, but every fall there was the Texas Prison Rodeo. All contestants (men and women) are inmates. Between some of the events Red sang some songs.

    Pretty good rodeo, really good music.

    The big event was called the "Hard Money Event." A Bull Durham Tobacco sack was filled with money and suspended between a Bull's horns. Any prisoner who wished to was allowed to don a red shirt, walk up to the Bull and take the money from the Bull.

    Ah, Texas.....

    This is not off topic, but very tangential...
     
  20. lee

    lee Member

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    Hi Joe,
    yes, I believe that they still have the Prison Rodeo. I know about the Bull Durham sack with maybe $300 in it. Lunacy, put hey they are criminals. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to be a criminal. Ah the crimianal mind.


    now it is off topic!
     
  21. David Hedley

    David Hedley Member

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    I'm not familiar with your writing, Michael.

    For string quartets, I would certainly agree on Bartok, and would also mention Janacek. Moving the into the post WWII period, the key figures for me are Elliott Carter and Brian Ferneyhough.

    In piano, apart from Messiaen, there are Shostakovich (24 Preludes and Fugues), Stockhausen (Klavierstucke), Boulez, Barraque's Sonata, and - a recent discovery for me - Bill Hopkin's Etudes en Serie.

    David
     
  22. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Bartok? Bela Bartok by a string quartet?

    I'm familiar with some of his work ... like olives, his "dissonance" is an acquired taste. A lot of it incorporates piano work ... but I've never heard it by a string quartet. Any specific pieces?
     
  23. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    Well, David, how nice to find someone out there has the same taste in music that I do. Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues, when played by Shostakovich himself, is the most beautiful piano music I know.

    I never did really like Elliot Carter's music (too academic) and I do not know Ferneyhough at all.

    For the first time in a long while I played Bill Hopkins (wonderful!) and now the Barraque sonata is on. Discovering Stockhausen's piano music a few years ago was a delightful surprise. I was ready for the axing of the pianos and it is anything but that.

    Best of all is Morton Feldman's piano music. He was a close friend of and was heavily influenced by the abstract expressionist painters.

    And there are so many others.

    Ed: Bartok wrote six well-known string quartets, #1-#6. At first it takes repeated listening to get it, but after a while the music is as easy to listen to as the music of Mozart. If you are not used to it, you may have to perservere.