Invention and Experimentation
Experimentation takes on a specialized meaning when used with regard to music. Experimental music is music that is unusual, significantly different from other music, often not targeted at an average listener or consumer. It is often shocking or outrageous. A significant portion of the population may claim that they do not like or deny that it is music and define it as noise. The upbeat innocent ballads of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, the heart wrenching ballads of a cowboys love gone bad, the impassioned scream of the Trent Reznor's expression of the injustices of life, the primitive pulsations of Stravinsky, the elite challenges of Xenakis, the humming of the air circulation units and electronic alarms of an integrated circuit clean room. These are all either noise or music depending on the listener's response.
Ah but I digress. Experimentation in a scientific sense follows the scientific method. Observations are made which may lead to some type of inspiration which forms a hypothesis or idea. Some predictions are made based on this hypothesis and an experiment is done to verify this hypothesis. Sometimes we are trying to determine an understanding of a particular mechanism and an experiment must be designed to give us understanding into the mechanism of the phenomenon. What is the dance that the electrons perform when a halogen combines with an allene?
Invention means to come up with a new concept that is inspired and no one has thought of doing before that way. Much of my experimentation in music involves taking concepts from mathematics and applying them musically. Much of what may be considered the experimental music from the past several decades follows this pattern.
What is perhaps most important is the emotion that the music produces. Does it make you weep for joy? Does it make you take a stand for what is right? Does it give you insight into the composers soul that resounds in your own?
Any fool of a mathematician can apply a genetically enhanced set of differential equations to a set of music but it takes a musician to make this noise into music.