NOisE FloOR: Reading Assignment 4/18


Ok so this reading assignment reminded me of being like in an art museum and watching two people debate whether the painting in front of them is considered art. Instead now it’s challenging what is the difference between music, noise, signal, etc. Can noise be considered music? (I always tend to be the skeptic or the devil’s advocate.)
I found the analogy of the orchestra puzzling. Peter states an orchestra tuning their instruments is considered “noise.” How is it noise if they are are actual MUSICAL instruments being played on a musical note in unison to tune?  Yes it probably sounds like a whale died but it doesn’t mean it’s not music. When does noise become music? Is it only music if it has a melody?
Noise has to be exclusive from sound, but it creates a sound. Yet applause is received as something “meaningful” and hence a signal. But then he states there is no absolute structural difference between noise and signal. He also says,
“A noise is a signal that the sender does not want to transmit.” (p55.) I find this contradicting. If we go back to the orchestra scenario, if tuning is considered noise… and they are intentionally transmitting that sound to figure out the exact pitch… then a noise can be something the sender wants to transmit.
I found it creative that noise from errors, quantization noise (what is that???), or the noise floor of computer sound cards are the raw materials composers seek to incorporate into their music. I mean talk about going above and beyond here. I’m a classically trained musician so I am not that familiar with other music but it made me think of weird electronic music or dub step? (Is that what it is called?) At the same time it made me think if I was being senile or creative in trying to wonder what glitch or error noise I could use to incorporate into something musical. My first thought was a printer. You know how when it’s trying to grab more paper but there is no more paper and it goes in this cycle of noise and you can tell something is wrong and the error light goes on? That’s when it usually beeps. Or how about when a paper is jammed in a printer? Am I too out there?


2 thoughts on “NOisE FloOR: Reading Assignment 4/18

  1. I like where you being up the point about intentional noises and the example of tuning an instrument or making sounds that arent “perfected” Any sound no matter what is can be made by a person regardless of what type of noise/sound it is


  2. I like how many questions you always ask! such a smart little cookie you are! I thought all the points you brought up were interesting. I do also find this article to be a bit confusing and i have never thought about sound vs noise. i liked your example of the printer.. when the printer is our of paper and needs help it makes a beeping noise exposing the glitch in the system. I would have to say I do think there is a difference between noise and sound based on the intentions of both of them


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