Lots of schematics and articles in old magazines and newsletters on electronic music and electronic instruments ,magazines like Polyphony ,Synapse and Electronotes have so many ,so here's one from Electronotes Issue #42 .
5c. ESTHETICS OF NEW MUSIC :
Thoughts on Electronic Music
On Defining Music*
-by Jim Wilson
In explaining electronic music to friends one is frequently confronted with a question which is usually asked after many hours of discussion. "Yes , i agree with what you say ,but is it music ?" It is a frustrating question because , at first ,it seems hardly relevant . After all ,if electronic music is artistically valid ,what does it matters if it is music or not ?
And yet the question is interesting in itself .Is electronic music a new art form , or is it a continuation of the art of music ? What is called for to settle this question is nothing less then the definition of music .
Traditional definitions of music have centered around a type of sound being used .A musical tone was one where the overtones were in whole number ratios to the fundamental .A musical composition is one that uses musical tones. \Every very recent critics have accepted this definition .For example Zuckerandl in Sound and Symbol even goes to the extreme of banishing glissando from the realm of music because they can not be perceived as musical tones .
Surely ,if we accept this definition we are immediately in troube - even disregarding glissandos for a moment . What do we do about bells ,for example ?
These instruments (and i doubt that anyone would deny that bells are instruments ) have overtones that are in non-whole number ratios to the fundamental . In fact ,it is precisely the fact that these overtones are in fractional relation to the fundamental which gives them their distinctive quality .yet ,according to the definition of music they should be banished from the realm of music .
Let's go one step further . What do we do about snare drums ,wood blocks ,tam tams,tom toms, and a whole battery of pitchless and near pitchless instruments ? It is obvious ,I would even go so far as to say self-evident that composers use these instruments for stunning musical effect .But if we are going to admit woodblocks to the realm of music , why not Bartok's wind machine in his opera Bluebeard's Castle .And why not the all percussion pieces of the 20th century .Finally ,when one arrives at the electronic music all hell breaks loose with such pieces as Variations on a Door and a Sigh .It is clear that a traditional definitions based on the type tone employed is simply inadequate to cover even traditional music .it should therefore be dropped .
What we are searching for is a definition that would distinguish between musical sounds and non-musical sounds .We are looking for characteristic which all musical sounds have in common and which no-non-musical sounds have .
I think we can approach a valid definition of music thru Leonard B. Mayer's definition of sound term . A sound term is a sound or group of sounds ,simultaneous or successive ,which implies a consequent musical event . In other words a sound which refers to another sound is a sound term . What i propose is to define a musical sound in precisely the saame way ; A musical sound is a sound that can be understood as exclusively refering to another sound .A musical composition would therefore be a sound structure that could be understood as exclusively self-referential .
Notice that these definitions carefully avoid limiting music to any type of sound .Notice also that , according to these definitions ,under certain conditions ,what had previously been labeled musical would now not be considered so .
For example ,a doorbell ,no matter how pleasant it's chimes ,would not be a musical event because it refers to the action of answering the door , not to another sound .At the same time the definition implies that any sound, even a doorbell - is potentially musical if put in the proper context ,a context where the sound is used to refer to another sound .
Notice also that the definition carefully excludes ordinary speech from the realm of music since ordinary speech refers to the external world ,either directly or via concepts ,and is used primarily to manipulate the world .
The idea of defining musical sounds by context as opposed to type clarified many problems and therefore it should be given serious consideration .