Recently I've had trouble comprehending the idea of a divide between music and noise. I was wondering, are noise and music one and the same? To compose something with the intention that it be noise music seems paradoxical to me, since music and noise seem to be two opposite ends on the line of 'sound'. Yet there exists noise music and even freeform jazz, with completely random notes and seemingly no structure at all. Is this still music? It seems to me that music is a form of art, and art is expression - so there is no reason really why this kind of noise shouldn't be classed as music, since it is the artists intention that it is music, even if its just random noise being recorded. I'm having real trouble understanding whether this is an actual problem or not. It seems to me there shouldn't exist any kind of boundaries in music (and so no boundaries between music and noise?), yet I am reluctant (for some intuitive reason perhaps?) to acknowledge these noise projects as forms of music. Thanks for your time, any help would be greatly appreciated.

A similar question has already been asked. Have a look at:

http://www.askphilosophers.org/question/729

It seems to me that 'music' and 'noise' are being used in twodifferent senses here. First, an 'objective' sense, as types ofthings whose properties can be enumerated. Second, as values: 'I likethis', 'this is important', 'this is what music should be' and soforth. Here as in so many cases, distinguishing these senses andkeeping them separate is very difficult, perhaps impossible.

It may be possible to give a fully objective description of sometypes of noise (e.g. 'white noise') but otherwise the term is appliedin a value-laden fashion: what is noise to one person is joyfullyraucous to another; even to the same person at a different time.Moreover, music is not a thing, it is a cultural production and a culturalreception, and any definition will have to rely upon cultural normsand histories. So, a piece of contemporary music that appears asnoise at first may 'resolve' itself into something meaningful for mesimply because I become aware of the cultural traditions within whichit rests.

The problem you identify is a real one, but it is not a problem of definitions or establishing a divide. Rather, the issue is understanding the processes of cultural production and both cultural and individual reception.

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