Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 9/20/06

When is Music not Music?
By, Puns McKenna

So I went to a local area nightclub the other night. And before I got to the entrance I could hear the "music". I loosely call it music because...well... it really was just noise in my opinion.

So to me, what is music? Easy. Music is a mixing together of harmonies. Words are simply a way to enhance what you are hearing. Music has to have basic components before it can be called music. What are these basic components? Hmm... Let me see if I can give a short list.

The first component is the notes. What notes do you want your song to have? Do you want it to be a single note repeated? Or would you prefer a patterned note repetition? The notes are what make up the core of your song. Notes create the melody and harmony of any song.

The second component is rhythm. Rhythm helps you decide what pattern your notes follow. This is where your melody and harmony are set. You give a certain pattern to your notes, so that they fit together to create a vibrant masterpiece of interlocking notes/

The third component is Tempo. Now what is tempo? Well, I suppose I can best put it in the same terms that my children's favorite Blues Clues movie does. Tempo is how fast the notes go, or how slow. Once you've picked the note pattern that appeals to you, you have to figure out how fast you want the pattern to play. Trying to decide that is what makes music so fun.

The fourth component is instrumentation. What instruments is this song geared towards? Instruments are the tools with which we tell our musical story. They are our voices so to speak. Without this component, all we have are a bunch of notes on paper.

And the final component is feeling. Why is feeling last? Feeling is last in the text book process, because that is where most people think that the heart and soul of the song comes into play. Is this accurate? For some it may be. For me, it certainly isn't.

See for me, when I write music, I usually have the heart and soul of the song all figured out. Why you ask? Well, because for me, in order to get the song just the way I want it, I usually have to sing it. Then I can write it down.

So back to the main topic. When is music not music? Well for me, and many other music appreciators. Music isn't music when it doesn't have a tempo, rhythm, melody, and harmony. A lot of what I hear today is simply noise. People with little to no real talent screaming into a microphone, and slamming away at the instrument of their choice. What it means to you is of course your opinion. But these are my thoughts.


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