Below you will find different links to attempts of mine to blur the boundaries between what
we believe Beethoven intended "Ode to Joy" to "sound like" and what might be considered to be
increasingly cacophonous noises produced on acoustic plug-in violin and acoustic plug-in mandolin.
The "original" piece I worked from was an already distorted version of "Ode to Joy" because it was
a reinterpretation of the original scoring of the piece. Because it is impossible to know Beethoven's
true intentions for the piece, any performances of it are naturally perverted replications.
I was wondering what was considered music to us and what wasn't as I played the snippet in all
of the different styles. We often hear people ask questions like "How can you listen to that
noise?" in relation to rock music or heavy metal. How do we define music? What is nice to my
ears may be horrid to yours. I tried to use several different techniques to try and hover on the
boundary between what some listeners might consider music and what some listeners might consider
to be "too odd" to be music. In my own performance, I am taking the already once-perverted
rendering of "Ode to Joy" and taking it further from what Beethoven had intended by disregarding
notes on the original score and by not orchestrating the piece with the originally intended instruments.
The changes which I imparted on the piece reflect the current trend in Western music of distorting
the original sound of instruments through the use of electronic effects and amplification.
In order to help discern different variations on the theme,
I have named each of them according to the type of "spin" I've put on them in order to somehow
distort them from the original "real" version. After you have heard each version, please take
part in my poll on whether you felt that what you heard was "real music." The link to the poll
is below the downloadable samples. You can also listen to the .mp3s without downloading them if your
web browser can play the samples which are in .mp3 format.
Go to the "Listen Now" page if you
would like to hear them without downloading them.
to listen to these samples, you will need an .mp3-reading program of some sort.
For PC users, this can be found and downloaded from:
For Macintosh users, this can be found and downloaded from:
In order to download these .mp3 files, you will need
to right-click on the link to the .mp3 if you are using a PC or
option-click on the .mp3 if you are using a Macintosh. Some
browsers will allow you to listen to the MP3 without downloading the software but this capability
is not yet available on all computers.
The downloadable .mp3s:
1/26/02: Please email me if you would like to hear the MP3s. I have taken them down due to space restraints.
The snippet of the fourth movement of the Ninth Symphony composed
by Beethoven that I based my harmonies around.
A basic harmony different than what Beethoven had written
A more complex harmony played on the mandolin
A harmony which utilized various effects pedals to create an
"underwater" kind of sound
A harmony of sorts which consists of a sole note played repeatedly
A harmony exemplifying how a major scale can be tucked into the melody
An odd-to-Western-music-standards harmony consisting of the melody played
simultaneously with the major third above it
Another un-Western-music harmony consisting of the melody played
simultaneously with the perfect fourth below it
My attempt to play a harmony with tinges of bluegrass and country
A harmony using screaming distortion effects along with a Jimi
Hendrix-esque solo ending
Don't forget to take part in the
. Please participate in the poll only once so the results can maintain some semblance of
to see the results of the poll thus far.
If you felt that some samples went across the boundaries of music/not music, please
email me with which ones you felt were blurred and
which ones crossed the boundary into what you considered to be something other than music. Due
to the limitations of the poll, I am unable to offer a poll for each individual question. I will
do my best to keep the page updated with what people have told me they consider to be something
other than music. Thanks!
If you have any comments on this page, please email them
here and I'll do my best to get back to you if you have questions. Thanks for visiting!
Thanks to Michaela De Soucey,
Vale Jokisch, and
Michael Marissen for their ideas on this project,
and to James Muspratt for his
music encoding expertise.
Baudrillard, J. (1983). Simulations. NY: Semiotext[e] and Jean Baudrillard.
Cook, N. (1993). Beethoven: Symphony No. 9. MA: Cambridge University Press.
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