The Corpus Callosum

The Three Laws of Musicodynamics

1. Good music can neither be created, nor destroyed.

All the good music already exists.  It does not matter how
many hours you spend at the keyboard trying to come up with something
new.  All of your efforts are in vain.

2. The degree of disorganization in music increases to a maximum.

From now on, all music will be increasingly cacophonous.  Any
new musical instrument that is created will be even more frightening,
unsettling, and disgusting than all preceding instruments.

3. As the tempo of music approaches absolute zero, the entropy of the
audience approaches a constant

…a constant series of coughs, sneezes, shoulder
tappings, murmurings, and other general unpleasantness.  No
interlude shall go unspoiled.


  1. #1 Anon
    November 27, 2007

    1) as of when do you consider this true? Was it true for Thelonius Monk? For Art Tatum?
    For Jelly Roll Morton? … For J. S. Bach? Or maybe just last year?

    2) The Moog was built on sine waves. It was preceded (greatly) by …say… bagpipes. Would you like to reconsider?

    3) *looks to the left* Psychiatrist? Ok… never mind. Tempo approaches absolute zero? Did music beat you up as a child?

  2. #2 HP
    November 28, 2007

    The thing about music is, there is so much of it. If Sturgeon’s Law applies to music (and I so no reason why it doesn’t), and 95% of it is crud, there is still more good music than you will ever be able to process in your lifetime.

    The average person’s conception of what constitutes the complete range of “music” is only a tiny slice of what’s out there. Most folks are unforgivably parochial when they speak of music. People have been making rich, complex, fully realized music for at least 80,000 years. More good music has been lost into the ether than all the world’s libraries could ever hold. There were singers and composers walking across the Bering land bridge who could make you cry.

    I have dedicated thirty years of my life to an infinitesimally tiny slice of music (early 20th century American popular music, mostly), and not a week goes by that I don’t hear or read a song I’ve never heard before, and say to myself, “Damn, there is so much good music, and I’ll never be able to learn it all.”

    And I’m a trained, discriminating listener, who finds 95% of what I hear unforgivably boring, drab, dull, and awful. Consider: I have absolutely no use for rock music — no offense to those who do. And yet, I know that there are more subgenres of Death Metal alone than the average headbanger can begin to deal with.

    I haven’t even begun to expose myself to the Edo-period shamisen repertoire, or Australian clapping-stick music, or Beijing opera, or Carnatic music, or Fado, or Hi-Life, or Soviet film music, or Choctaw round-dance music, or the music of 19th c. Buenos Aires salons, or ….

  3. #3 bwv
    November 28, 2007

    Elliott Carter is still writing so #1 cannot be true

  4. #4 Jonathan
    November 29, 2007

    Oh OK, I’ll bite just to keep you happy.

    1. Who decides if it’s good or not? You, perhaps? What culture/prejudice/historical era are they/you in? If a time machine had brought back recordings of Stravinsky for Mozart to hear, would he have unequivically declared it ‘good’, ‘bad’ or the work of a madman?

    2. This may have been true in the 50s and 60s classical scene but it’s definitely not true today.

    3. Doesn’t this all depend on how “good” the audience perceives the music to be? Alcohol seems to play a significant role too.

    Good wind-up though.

  5. #5 soguk hava deposu
    April 16, 2008


  6. still writing so #1 cannot be true

  7. This may have been true in the 50s and 60s classical scene but it’s definitely not true today.

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