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What's the difference between music and audio?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by werk, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. werk

    werk Active Member

    I know it appears to be silly to ask such a question. But I just could not give a straight answer when my friend ask me this question. So maybe someone would have a good explanation for this. Thanks in advance!
  2. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    t0 put it broadly all music is audio but not all audio is music.

    of course this is open to interpretation- depending on who you are (and perhaps what sort of drugs you have taken) you may find musical qualities in ANYTHING that makes a sound. may purists will insist however, that audio should have both rythm and melody to qualify as music.
  3. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    I am back in a good mood...

    You fart...that is audio. You sing and play....it CAN be music, but is certainly audio....lol...
    Not very scientific, is it?

  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    So what's John Cage's 4'33"?

    (And yes, I know that a lot of people regard that as far more than a rhetorical question and will vigorously debate the answer.)
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    A silent one.

    Impressive length, though.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I don't know how seriously the question was meant, but giving a serious definition of music is harder than it seems. I looked at a couple on line and they were not very satisfying. I'd want to differentiate music from speech and ambient noise (e.g. 4'33" and new age ocean waves, waterfall recordings) but I'd rather not tie it to particular tools like rhythm and harmony. I'd want to emphasize human creation and the transmission of human consciousness somehow. Not easy to do.

    Audio, of course, is just all sound reproduction, amplification, and transmission. Easy.
  7. natural

    natural Active Member

    What you're really asking is 'When does audio become music?' - Within the grey area, you will never have an answer.
    As BobRogers said, any sound is Audio.

    Music, we generally reserve for instruments or things that create pitches and/or rhythm and are then arranged in some specific order.
    But within the grey area, there can be no answer. When do lines on a page become art? When does a block of stone become a sculpture.
    Music is art, and art is subjective. Don't waste your time trying to quantify it. You have more important things to do in your day.
  8. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Yeah, it definitely goes past rhythm and melody (and certainly both are not required, no one would say that a single drum line is not music!). I'm with the others that say it's too difficult to define when sound becomes music... maybe a definition like "sound organized with the intention of being perceived as musical" (holy circular logic batman!) or something whacky like that might kinda work if you had to explain music to an alien.
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Audio is an electronic, optical, magnetic, physical or other technical representation of sound. Music is a form of art using sound, usually including rhythmic, melodic and harmonic elements.
  10. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Art is art because someone calls it art. When someone mounted a urinal on a gallery wall it became art because of the intent of the artist and the acceptance of the viewers. Of course that doesn't make it good art.

    Think of it like this. What is a tool? A hammer is a tool. A bulldozer is a tool. But a rock is just a rock, until someone cracks open a bone to get at the marrow, then the rock has become a tool.
  11. taxmanmrthief19

    taxmanmrthief19 Active Member


    When I was playing with an University symphony last year, we actually performed this piece (along with an Ives piece as well). So I'd assume it's music, but whose to say?
  12. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    I agree, I just love the circular logic of art, it makes me smile.
  13. song4gabriel

    song4gabriel Active Member

    indeed art is art because someone says it is, but can we really apply that to music as well?

    take cage's piece as an example. i would guess most of the people at that concert were patrons of the arts, and as such may have been surprised but not totally shocked at the piece.

    on the other hand if 30,000 people paid to see a pearl jam concert and they all stood there silient for an hour, there would be a riot.

    i would say:
    art is subjective
    music is subjective
    audio is not subjective

    but none of this really has anything to do with the fact that i hate pancakes.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Its a really easy question once you get around all the convolutions that can arise and , of course, all the little brain folds lighting each other up.....

    Audio is FACT

    Music is OPINION

    Arent you all glad Uncle Dogg is nearby
  15. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Well, I would not classify it as music, but rather as a piece of performance art. The point is to get an audience of people who are primed to listen closely and then to leave them with nothing but the ambient sounds that they themselves create. It's supposed to be about observation, concentration, etc. Like a lot of performance art, it's pretty gimmicky, and I'm not a big fan. (Though listening to ambient sound is very interesting - I just don't like to be coerced into it.) To me music has to have more human intention - a purposeful organization of sound to communicate ideas and emotions.
  16. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Cage has always seemed to me to be "musical art" for the sake of art alone. Some Webern leaves me the same way. There is visual art in that same category and I don't see the point of it. Art is supposed to elevate the soul but there should be something rooted in reality. Just my NSHO.
  17. werk

    werk Active Member

    I was thinking that audio refers to any sound that can be perceived by human beings. So the question is ' what turns audio into music'.

  18. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Loosely speaking, audio becomes music when you arrange the sounds into a pattern. Think seventies "free jazz". Then look up Spinal Tap. Kidding. Sort of. Free Jazz is fully scored but sounds chaotic. Is it music? Arguable. I find Cage offensive, but brilliant. Who would have known that people would pay to sit in a silent auditorium? It's art for people who have never seen the end of their nose. It's always been there. They just never bothered to look.
  19. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Audio isn't sound, it's a technical representation of sound. Sound is radiating vibrations of air or some other medium.
  20. mdb

    mdb Active Member

    Music makes you move and groove or reflect, etc. - it's emotional. One person may call something music while another thinks it's just noise. Although there's probably a definition somewhere, it's personal and up to interpretation much of the time. Audio is anything audible. So music is audio too.

    I also believe there's a big difference between playing music and making music. When you've jammed with a band and "made music", you know the difference.

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