MusicNovatory/Introduction/Reference/Comments and Questions/Introduction/Reactions

A resumé of reactions to the scientific approach of MN

Through the years, and especially with the development of the MusicNovatory web site, many have contributed reactions and comments. Since these are authentic and natural reactions and since many of us go through similar learning processes, this section gathers and presents some of them, often with comments and/or responses. Reactions vary according to individuals, background, timing, availability, understanding, and many other factors. There are also similarities and it was convenient to group them here accordingly.

The musicians, composers, teachers, and theoreticians, who have taken the time and the effort to understand and assimilate the science of music, have overcome many uncertainties and superstitions about music. They have also discovered a new deep control and freedom over their art as well as the enlightenment of a better understanding and usage of music's magnificent natural language.

Composers have always worked by ear more than from the traditional theories. Traveling without map or compass, they often find working with guidelines baffling and restrictive. While the intuitive ear is an indispensable tool for the job, better understanding of what one hears, feels and does is as useful in composition as in any other field. However, probably because of an unfruitful experience with traditional academic theories, some composers might express skepticism and fear that a definitive cosmic scientific model may limit their artistic creativity and freedom.

Some composers have felt especially threatened by the Analysis section which evaluates compositions. The step from building a musical dictionary by collecting new sounds to understanding how we naturally feel their relationships and interactions can be steep. While the arrangement or structure in a musical dictionary can be arbitrary, perceptions, feelings, understanding, and meaning are not.

Performers are often attracted more by performance related concepts than by underlying scientific principles concerning their art, and many are first interested in (a) Alternation for phrasing, and/or in (b) Just Intonation for playing in tune.

Teachers typically teach what they have learnt. Often, to learn something new, especially if the new concepts have to replace old ones, professional incentives may be required, and, unfortunately, academia is not easily transformed. Yet some teachers, closer to their students' needs, discover Music Novatory as a treasure chest. Prestigious music schools usually do not have a strong re-evaluation process and even when some teachers have been enthusiastic, application has often been difficult because of resistance to change. But time is precious, especially when students minds are deprived of science and knowledge.

So far, students have been the most receptive and appreciative group. With open minds, they are generally more eager to learn and they react favorably to help in understanding their work, such as the sections on voice-leading and doubling in triads of Harmony 101. Some are, however overwhelmed by the depth and novelty of the concepts, the terminology, and the science.

Scientists also have their own academic establishment. Throughout history, there are excellent reminders of how academia tends to react to new or innovative concepts, especially if these concepts do not come from within their fold and even more so if the new scientific concepts have the temerity to reach into the domain of art despite evident advantages, as in drawing, with perspective, the golden mean, etc.

Mystics, or mystic minded individuals, either appreciate the divine beauty of Music's magnificent scientific structure, or refuse to discover it simply because they either (a) believe that only “God knows everything and humans don't know everything about anything” or (b) have a fascination for mystery, believing that the mysterious and unknown give much more pleasure than knowing and understanding.

As if understanding took away the charm and pleasure of composing music. Modern airplanes can fly and maneuver beyond a human being's capability and even beyond that of other naturally flying beings. Science pushed our ability to fly far beyond the romantic dreams of Icarus. Is flying a Space Shuttle, or an F-18, or even a small jet, or plane, less fun than jumping over a cliff just to try and prove one's theory about flying without science? Is pleasure the only issue? How about content, efficiency, elegance?

Some comments include:

- Wonderful Site

- Novatory is very exciting

- Incredibly interesting your MusicNovatory

- Has my wish come true? Joy!

- I just found Novatory and started reading the fascinating pre-history.

- Please keep this fabulous work alive, growing and flowing!!

- Great, wonderful, clever stuff your MusicNovatory. The rest of theory, harmony,... treatises become obsolete and dull !

- MusicNovatory might have made the greatest contribution to music theory since Pythagoras.

- Just a few words to say how deeply I have been moved by Music Novatory. Since I discovered it a week ago I have been spending my free time reading it. It has been the second blow to my musical vision of the world in my life (the first one being the reading of Salzer's Structural Hearing, which made me discover Schenkerian analysis) and in many respects the strongest: after all, I had heard something of Schenker before, while Letendre and his theory were a fresh discovery to me. I cannot understand why such a comprehensive, extremely well-knitted, coherent theory could not get a much wider diffusion.