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Re: GG Radio documentaries a failure?

Here's a thought.  When I was studying psychology in high school, the
textbook made a point that when we are, say, at a party with many
conversations going on simultaneously, that we are actually hearing all of
them.  We just choose to attend or focus on the one where the people closest
to us physically are speaking, but we are actually hearing all of them in
the entire room.

The proof of this was that if someone in the far corner of the room said
your name, your ears would perk up.

There have been many times in history where artists have stretched their
listeners or viewers.  When the 32nd note or whatever was invented in Europe
in the middle ages, the Pope tried to ban it as being disrespectful and
profane.  Fast notes were revolutionary.  Later, various composers such as
those of the Renaissance in the Netherlands certainly wrote music that I
imagine people at the time probably thought was unlistenably complex.  I
know that was said about Beethoven's "Grosse Fuge," and of course Schoenberg.

I met someone who went to Princeton for four years and he said after four
years of listening to Babbitt and company, you can even hear things like a
12-tone row migrating between different instruments in a texture.

In the visual arts, there is no doubt that our eyes take in things of
incredible complexity.  What would someone of even 40 years ago think about
MTV?  They would probably say there is no way the human eye could possibly
take in changes of image that fast.  Yet any teenager can do this now.

At the GG Gathering someone in the audience stood up in a comment period and
said outright that contrapuntal radio was, and never would be, listenable by
humans.  I don't get the Standard, but I hope Mr. Tait didn't make such a
comment, as history has a way of proving that the capabilities of the human
brain are being continually expanded over the generations.

I'll admit I don't exactly know what "denotative" means, but sounds in music
certainly carry content such as words do in a language.  In fact, music is a
language, with syntax, grammar, and the like.  I can't think of any reason
why a counterpoint of sounds would be inherently any less confusing than a
counterpoint of words.


At 08:39 AM 02/15/2000 -0500, Anne wrote:
>Dear F minors,
>I know that many of you belong to the Glenn Gould Foundation.  You should
have received the Gould Standard yesterday.  I was puzzled by some of the
things that Michael Tait said in his Letter to the Editor.  If  Mr Tait is
on this list I would like him to explain his 6th point.  Perhaps some of you
will have an opinion on this.
>"6. His radio documentaries were interesting failures.  A fugue of words,
because of their denotative content, results in confusion and mess in
contrast to a fugue of pure sounds." 
>Mr. Tait belongs to Glenn Gould's generation and I am a generation younger,
so he was around when the documentaries were first broadcast and I was not.
Also, he lives in Toronto.  Perhaps he is in a better position to judge
their success than I am.  If they were not a success when they were first
produced, why are we still listening to them today?  Any thoughts?