Consciousness and Anti-Music

Photo by stuant63

Photo by stuant63

All things spring into being with the sundering of nothing into two opposing halves. The universe demonstrates this on the largest scales where the sum total of all things is zero. Electrical charge, angular momentum, and physical space itself, are all examples of basic constituents of reality that when added together sum to exactly nothing.

Music at its roots is an act of consciousness or will imposed upon sound. Music has expanded from being primary the construction of melodies, rhythm, etc., through abstract representations of emotion or parts of the physical world, to surrendering composition to the will of the composer (Stockhausen, Wolff), unpredictable noise resulting from the physical manipulation of objects (Marclay), to the very act of the imposition of consciousness upon silence (Cage).

John Cage & David Tudor

Speculation that consciousness is a fundamental element of the universe has gained some serious attention, and if this should follow the same pattern as other fundamental elements then it stands there should exist anti-consciousness.Accepting that music is a by-product of consciousness admits the possibility that anti-music would be the result of the it’s opposite. Note: here I will be maintaining that what is often termed anti-music is actually a more extreme expression of the imposing of consciousness on sound and would actually be better termed para-music (as in beyond or past). To take an extreme example, Takehisa Kosugi‘s “Music for a Revolution” directs the performer to gouge out one of his/her eyes ‘five years from now’. While this is a definite statement against what is traditionally conceived of as music, it is highly dependent on an extreme act of consciousness.
If this is the case then what I would like to hear is the anti-music that stems from it. This would be the removal of consciousness from the manipulation of sound, and the removal of its demand upon the listener. The questions this leads to are…

  • What does it sound like?
  • How is it created?
  • Would it even be possible to recognize?
  • Has it even been created yet?
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2 responses to “Consciousness and Anti-Music

  1. Loved your post! I don’t have music education, but i am aware of the profound impact tunes and melodies have on consciousness – as well as of the ‘umbilical cord’ between the two… “Music at its roots is an act of consciousness or will imposed upon sound” – this definition does resonate with me! Merry cyber-meet, Ruth 😉

    • Thank you for the comment, and I’d like to add that formal education in the arts often runs the risk of stifling free thinking, and locking us in to fixed patterns. True learning comes from attention with judgement.

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