The Nature of Music
The Nature of Music for the Performing Musician


Nature of Music Cover

The following material is designed for the sound performer or musician who wishes to explore new musical boundaries, or to expand one's musical vocabulary. The material exists as a resource for sound artists, performers, and musicians who wish to develop a natural, more relaxed approach to the problems associated with sound presentation, including new ways of addressing rehearsal and performance practices.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section includes general definitions of various musical subjects including sound sources, the elements of music, the perception of music, and performance issues, as well as a treatise concerning the musical representation of physical events in the real world. In the various subjects outlined in the first section, I have made an attempt to clarify generic terms such as sound and music, hearing and listening, musical content, language and syntax, and to help clarify what have historically been ambiguous points of concern, such as the distinction between structure and form, style and genre, concept and idea. In addition, I have defined general categories of performance which include technical considerations, content development, musicianship, performance context, and the total performance state.

The second section consists of the studies themselves, which explore the elements of musical texture (i.e. pitch, dynamics, duration, rhythm, etc.), structures (ratio, repetition, variation, continuity, simultaneity), forms (musical forms, abstract forms, forms in nature, simulations and models), concepts and ideas (musical ideas, non-musical ideas, presentational ideas), as well as specific performance issues (focus and relaxation, projection and resonance, timing, tone control, spontaneity, endurance). For each of the studies, there is a detailed discussion of the subject, followed by a set of instructions which take the form of various exercises. In addition, there is an introduction which precedes the studies which is intended to aid the performer in the use of the exercises.

On the whole, the material contained in this book is intended to serve as a comprehensive resource or syllabus in which performers of varied backgrounds and interests may explore and expand their own musical idioms, directions, and goals. The studies themselves comprise a method for creating unique musical patterns and textures, for expanding the techniques used to explore and realize new and existing musical ideas, and for representing non-musical events in real time.




The Elements of Music:

Sound Sources 1
Musical Sounds 2
Musical Texture 3
Structures and Forms 4
Concepts and Ideas 6

The Perception of Music:

Hearing and Listening 8
Musical Content 10
Musical Style and Genre 12
The Musical Representation of Physical Events in the Real World 13

Performance Issues:

Technical Considerations 15
Content Development 17
Musicianship 19
Performance Context 21
The Total Performance State 24

The Studies

Introduction to the Studies 26

Musical Texture:

Pitch 28
Dynamics 31
Envelope 34
Speed 38
Duration 41
Rhythm 43
Character 47
Tone Color 55
Intensity 59
Density 62


Ratio 64
Repetition 67
Variation 69
Continuity 72
Simultaneity 75


Musical Forms 78
Abstract Forms 81
Forms in Nature 83

Concepts and Ideas:

Musical Ideas 85
Non-musical Ideas 87
Presentational Ideas 89

Technical Considerations:

Focus and Relaxation 91
Projection and Resonance 92
Timing 96
Tone Control 99
Spontaneity 101
Endurance 104

Performance Context:

Spatial Dimension 107



THE NATURE OF MUSIC is available for order through
Spectrum Music (781-862-0088).