Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Complexity and Stuff

While there are countless conceptions or definitions of complexity, there are two sorts of complexity that are probably most relevant to music. One is basically quantitative: the impression of complexity due to the amount of stuff squeezed into a piece. The other is qualitative and due to wonder about how the stuff, whatever quantity there may be of it, is connected, within and without the world of a piece. While a composer can certainly push an extreme of quantity up or down into a state of inescapable wonder, my own taste certainly runs more in the direction of pushing quality to extremes, where wonder is an option, not forced.

1 comment:

Daniel M said...

I'd like to propose the title for this blogposting "the complexity of music" - it may help people understand how interesting your article is. There's a lot of 'talk' about complexity out there but not a lot of folks write in terms of music. Thanks for the cool posting. - DM